Thursday, January 2, 2020

Dear O'Abby, Is 2020 really the beginning of the decade?

Dear O'Abby,

I find myself having arguments with people all the time about things I find perfectly obvious (like Sunday, not Monday being the first day of the week - look at a calendar, people) so I thought I'd ask you if you had a definitive answer to this one:  Is 2020 the beginning of the decade, or is 2021?

I know it's not a writing question, but enquiring minds must know...

Best,

Decade-Confused

Dear Decade-Confused,

I too have that Sunday/Monday argument with various family members on a regular basis, and while some calendars do start the week on the right day (Sunday), rather maddeningly, some start the week on a Monday.  Which just gives those damn Monday people more ammunition for their argument.

But I digress...

Voices of authority say that because there was no 'year zero' when the current era began more than 2,000 years ago, all decades, centuries and millenia begin with 'year 1'.  Which means that technically, the new decade won't begin until 2021.  It also means we all celebrated the turn of the century and the beginning of the new millennium a year early.  Boy, do I feel foolish now.

But the popular voice has, for many decades past, said that the new decade begins the day that third digit changes.  So the 1960s ended as soon as the clock ticked to midnight on 1 January 1970 rather than struggling along for another year to the point the 1970s actually began.

Over half the population believes the new decade begins in 2020, so despite this not being technically correct, I doubt that's going to stop anyone celebrating this week.  But you will know the truth, and you can confuse the hell out of everyone next year when you throw your welcome to the '20's party on the true and actual date, feeling intellectually superior to all your friends.

Happy New Year to you all!  I hope 2020 is a great year for you, first year of the new decade or not!

X O'Abby.


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