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Happy Birthday to the Father of (Y)our Country!

 

Inspired by @nandapanjandrum‘s anticipatory Valentine’s Day post, I’d like to wish my favorite dentally-challenged, traitor-to-the-land-that-bred-him, Father of His Country, many happy returns today.

What do you mean, “not so fast?”

I know what day it is. It’s February 11, right? And look, right here in Wikipedia it says, “George Washington was officially born on February 11, 1731.” I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

Oh.

There is that little phrase, “Old Style,” right next to the date. What’s that all about?

Oh.

So. In 1731, The Empire (you know, The Empire. Need I be more specific? Surely not), was still using the Julian calendar, holding its breath and refusing to go along with the various Most Catholic Majesties of the world who had all adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. This Great Date Shift put most of the world out of step with reality, which, praise be, still pertained in Great Britain and its colonies until 1752, when George II finally cried Uncle (not sure why, his uncles were a pretty undistinguished lot), and switched the dates.

This catapulted The Empire forward 11 days, prompting the British Calendar riots of 1752, and the eruption of large crowds of the arithmetically and chronologically-challenged into the streets shouting “Give us back our eleven days!!!”

(I’d like to think that mankind [pace Justin Trudeau] has progressed in not only intellect and sophistication but also computational skills since those days, but I’m disabused of that quaint notion whenever I look at Twitter, and especially when I see that “nasty woman” Ashley Judd ranting at, and with, her pink pussy-hatted sisteren in the streets of America’s major cities [speaking of quaint notions]).

But, I digress. Imagine my surprise.

Back to the point. Most of you have already figured out that February 11, plus 11 days because of the calendar switch, equates to February 22, and you can clearly see why we end up where we do, vis-a-vis Washington’s putative birthday.

So let’s raise a toast to George Washington today, and, if we have to do it all over again on Thursday next week, oh well, I think I’m down with that. Since I live in one of the many counties that was named after the man, in the heart of Whiskey Rebellion country, I’m going to start with a glass of “Rebellion Rye.” Who’ll join me?

P.S. Channeling Nanda again on the subject of International Men of Mystery, I’d also like to wish a happy birthday to someone who is (I believe) a favorite of hers, fabled soldier, resistance fighter, and travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, born [102] 103 (thanks @arahant) years ago today. For real. No debate about, or fiddling with, the date in his case.

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There are 18 comments.

  1. Thatcher

    With you all the way, dear @She! (Actually, I’ll reread “Paddy’s” A Time to Keep Silence – published in the year of my birth – for Lent, I think…An armchair pilgrimage is perfect.)

    • #1
    • February 11, 2018 at 12:18 pm
    • 2 likes
  2. Coolidge

    I did not know the Gregorian calendar was resisted. Makes sense though. Truly makes sense.

    • #2
    • February 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm
    • 3 likes
  3. Member

    When I was a kid we celebrated his birthday, February 22, and there was no Presidents’ Day. After the Civil Rights campaign and legislation of the sixties it seemed fitting to honor Abraham Lincoln as well, so that gets us out of any contention about when is the proper day to honor George Washington. And we always get a long weekend holiday.

    • #3
    • February 11, 2018 at 1:50 pm
    • 3 likes
  4. Member

    George Washington is Great Britain’s favorite enemy. When Osprey started their Command series they really really wanted me to write one on Washington. I was delighted to do so. It remains one of my favorites.

    • #4
    • February 11, 2018 at 2:55 pm
    • 7 likes
  5. Moderator

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I did not know the Gregorian calendar was resisted. Makes sense though. Truly makes sense.

    And was resisted for a very long time. Russia didn’t change over until the Bolsheviks took over, hence the October / November confusion over the date of their revolution (October by Julian, November by Gregorian).

    And some Orthodox churches to this day (such as the Russian) still use the Julian dates (now 13 days offset from Gregorian) for their liturgical year, putting their observance of Christmas into January.

    • #5
    • February 11, 2018 at 3:23 pm
    • 7 likes
  6. Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I did not know the Gregorian calendar was resisted. Makes sense though. Truly makes sense.

    And was resisted for a very long time. Russia didn’t change over until the Bolsheviks took over, hence the October / November confusion over the date of their revolution (October by Julian, November by Gregorian).

    And some Orthodox churches to this day (such as the Russian) still use the Julian dates (now 13 days offset from Gregorian) for their liturgical year, putting their observance of Christmas into January.

    Okay. We’ve found the one and only thing the Bolsheviks did that might be alright???

    • #6
    • February 11, 2018 at 3:41 pm
    • 5 likes
  7. Moderator
    She Post author

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    George Washington is Great Britain’s favorite enemy. When Osprey started their Command series they really really wanted me to write one on Washington. I was delighted to do so. It remains one of my favorites.

    Wonderful, thanks very much for sharing this.

    • #7
    • February 11, 2018 at 4:02 pm
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    She: Patrick Leigh Fermor, born 102 years ago today.

    1915 to 2018 = ?

    • #8
    • February 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm
    • Like
  9. Moderator
    She Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I did not know the Gregorian calendar was resisted. Makes sense though. Truly makes sense.

    And was resisted for a very long time. Russia didn’t change over until the Bolsheviks took over, hence the October / November confusion over the date of their revolution (October by Julian, November by Gregorian).

    Several countries in the Middle and Far-East have their own national calendars which they use in conjunction with the Gregorian. Turkey was the last country to switch from the Julian Calendar, a move it made in 1926-1927.

    And some Orthodox churches to this day (such as the Russian) still use the Julian dates (now 13 days offset from Gregorian) for their liturgical year, putting their observance of Christmas into January.

    I love the history, the permutations, and the calculations implicit in liturgical calendars. It’s one of the reasons I’m deeply opposed to the move to regularize the date of Easter. Part of the fun of Easter every year is never being sure, or remembering, exactly when it is, even after you’ve been told or worked it out for yourself.

    • #9
    • February 11, 2018 at 4:15 pm
    • 5 likes
  10. Moderator
    She Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: Patrick Leigh Fermor, born 102 years ago today.

    1915 to 2018 = ?

    I have said before, and I’ll say again, without the loss of a shred of self-esteem, math was never my strong suit. My intentions are good though. Can I have a participation trophy anyway?

    Fixed. Thanks.

    • #10
    • February 11, 2018 at 4:16 pm
    • 4 likes
  11. Moderator

    She (View Comment):
    I love the history, the permutations, and the calculations implicit in liturgical calendars. It’s one of the reasons I’m deeply opposed to the move to regularize the date of Easter. Part of the fun of Easter every year is never being sure, or remembering, exactly when it is, even after you’ve been told or worked it out for yourself.

    Of course it’s the Anglicans and the governments looking to fix it. Reading their rationale I’m reminded of the French attempt to impose the Metric Revolutionary Calendar in the 1790s. A pox on them.

    • #11
    • February 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm
    • 4 likes
  12. Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I love the history, the permutations, and the calculations implicit in liturgical calendars. It’s one of the reasons I’m deeply opposed to the move to regularize the date of Easter. Part of the fun of Easter every year is never being sure, or remembering, exactly when it is, even after you’ve been told or worked it out for yourself.

    Of course it’s the Anglicans and the governments looking to fix it. Reading their rationale I’m reminded of the French attempt to impose the Metric Revolutionary Calendar in the 1790s. A pox on them.

    The French style of metrics was top down and dictatorial. In a free market of ideas, you propose a measurement system you think is better and people voluntarily accept it or not.

    • #12
    • February 11, 2018 at 9:22 pm
    • 2 likes
  13. Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    When I was a kid we celebrated his birthday, February 22, and there was no Presidents’ Day.

    There’s still no “Presidents’ Day.” The Federal holiday we celebrate on the third Monday of February is officially Washington’s Birthday (see Public Law 90-363).

    • #13
    • February 12, 2018 at 5:46 am
    • 3 likes
  14. Member

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    When I was a kid we celebrated his birthday, February 22, and there was no Presidents’ Day.

    There’s still no “Presidents’ Day.” The Federal holiday we celebrate on the third Monday of February is officially Washington’s Birthday (see Public Law 90-363).

    Yeah, only the Federal government could make someone’s birthday a different date every year. Thanks. Was my surmise about why it is called Presidents’ Day also incorrect?

    • #14
    • February 12, 2018 at 5:53 am
    • Like
  15. Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    When I was a kid we celebrated his birthday, February 22, and there was no Presidents’ Day.

    There’s still no “Presidents’ Day.” The Federal holiday we celebrate on the third Monday of February is officially Washington’s Birthday (see Public Law 90-363).

    Yeah, only the Federal government could make someone’s birthday a different date every year. Thanks. Was my surmise about why it is called Presidents’ Day also incorrect?

    I remember, back when I sipped wisdom from the primordial spring, we celebrated Lincoln on Feb. 12 and Washington on Feb. 22. When the Feddil Gummint botched things up by moving Washington’s b’day to the 3rd Monday in February, most folks (kids such as me included) thought Lincoln and Washington were combined. Not so, as noted above, but Presidents’ Day stuck in the public consciousness.

    I don’t think Lincoln’s birthday was ever a Federal holiday, but every state I lived in/every school I attended had Feb. 12 as a holiday. Take that FWIW.

    • #15
    • February 12, 2018 at 8:05 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Member

    Informative and really entertaining! Well done. :-)

    • #16
    • February 12, 2018 at 10:49 am
    • 2 likes
  17. Inactive

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I did not know the Gregorian calendar was resisted. Makes sense though. Truly makes sense.

    And was resisted for a very long time. Russia didn’t change over until the Bolsheviks took over, hence the October / November confusion over the date of their revolution (October by Julian, November by Gregorian).

    And some Orthodox churches to this day (such as the Russian) still use the Julian dates (now 13 days offset from Gregorian) for their liturgical year, putting their observance of Christmas into January.

    Huh. I consider myself a “Russia Hand”, and I didn’t know this until now. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • #17
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:41 pm
    • 3 likes
  18. Member

    Scott Abel (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I did not know the Gregorian calendar was resisted. Makes sense though. Truly makes sense.

    And was resisted for a very long time. Russia didn’t change over until the Bolsheviks took over, hence the October / November confusion over the date of their revolution (October by Julian, November by Gregorian).

    And some Orthodox churches to this day (such as the Russian) still use the Julian dates (now 13 days offset from Gregorian) for their liturgical year, putting their observance of Christmas into January.

    Huh. I consider myself a “Russia Hand”, and I didn’t know this until now. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I went to an old calendar Russian church up to a few years ago when I switched to a (much) closer Greek Orthodox church. My sons (in the DFW area) go to an Old Calendar church.

    • #18
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm
    • 5 likes