Almost 436 years ago (on February 24 to be precise), Pope Gregory XIII instituted a reform to the previous Julian calendar: the Gregorian calendar. To make a short history lesson, the Julian calendar had errantly calculated Earth’s trip around the sun as exactly 365.25 days, or 365 days and 6 hours, which made the calendar drift away from the observed equinoxes and solstices as the years passed. After calculating the exact date of Easter as it was originally celebrated, the Roman Catholic Church found that a year of 365.2425 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds, appropriately placed Easter at its requisite spring equinox each year.
All this to say, the new year we celebrate today is a relatively arbitrary time, set by one of the world’s great religions and adopted by most governments and states worldwide. As individuals during the new year, we set resolutions, we make changes, and we celebrate–but not because we have any reason other than the reset of the newest iteration of our timekeeping system. Many things reset on the new year, out of respect for tradition, but many forces of nature don’t pay much attention to the date of January 1.
One of those forces is political turmoil. This month, as things continue to change, break down, and malfunction as much as ever, we’ve written about these developments and transitions in a variety of ways. In this issue, we’ll take looks at our system of political discourse, changing regimes in Africa, the interplay of politics and religion, and many other local, national, and world issues.
We’d love to hear what you think about the articles, the publication, and what we should be writing about next. Feel free to email us at email@example.com, follow us on Twitter @byupolitics, like us on Facebook @BYUPR, and view our articles on the web at politicalreview.byu.edu.
Happy (pretty arbitrary) New Year,
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