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new millennium

A millennium is a period of one thousand years. The new millennium begins in 2001. There was no year 0, so the first millennium began in the year 1 and ended one thousand years later in 1,001. Of course, the year 1 is arbitrary, as are the concepts of a millennium, a century, and a decade, although it is clear why members of our species prefer a numbering system with base 10.

There have been any number of millennia, depending on where you start counting. Today could be considered the end of a millennium. It could also be considered somewhere near the middle of the 12,000,000th millennia. So could tomorrow and the next day. Any moment could be considered both the beginning and the end of a millennium.

Another thing to consider is that not everybody in the world uses the Gregorian calendar, which places the beginning of the new millennium on January 1, 2001, and the newfaux millennium on January 1, 2000. In fact, some people still prefer lunar years to solar years. For example, it is 1420 according to the Egyptian Muslim (lunar) calendar, which marks the beginning of historical time from the day the Prophet Mohammed fled Mecca. The few Jews still living in Egypt consider Gregorian 1999 to be the year 5760. They use a Hebrew calendar, as do the Hebrews in Israel.

According to one group of Hindus in India, 1999 Gregorian is 2056. According to another group, it is 1921. In Iran, Shiite Muslims are in the year 1378. The Mayans consider this year to be 5119, while the Buddhist calendar says it is 2544.

Others accept the Gregorian calendar but don't celebrate New Year's Eve on December 31. The Copts (Egyptian Christians), for example, consider September 11 to be New Year's Day. Still others follow ecological, rather than solar or lunar, calendars, and pay no heed to such concepts as millennia.

something BIG will happen

The idea that something BIG will happen in the New Millennium is based on nothing worth considering, unless you consider New Age hype worth a minute of your time. Nevertheless, the belief that we are on the verge of something REALLY BIG is spreading. It could be the end of the world and the arrival of the Anti-Christ. It could be the elevation to cosmic consciousness of even the dopiest amongst us. Market economies may be abandoned for Universal Multi-Level Marketing. All aliens may be identifying themselves in the greatest OUTING in history. Then again, the New Millennium could be just another delusion.

The only REALLY BIG thing that the New Millennium is likely to bring about is more hype about how REALLY BIG THINGS are about to begin or end. Will the New Millennium be a Great New Beginning for Humankind or will it be the End of the World? One thing is certain, however: the HYPE regarding the New Millennium will expand faster than the universe. The question is, will there be enough brain matter to stop it?

further reading


Duncan, David Ewing. Calendar : Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year (Bard Books, 1999).


Utopians? Dystopians? (Let's call the whole thing off) by Jayne L. Bowman

Last updated 26-Oct-2015


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Did you know?

A solar year is 365.2421199 days, more or less.

The Gregorian calendar gives each fourth year a 366th day, except for years divisible by 100 but not divisible by 400.

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