Toy Fair and the Calendar Riots of 1752

Did you feel a little off-kilter preparing for Toy Fair this year? I know I did. It was nothing major, but it felt like my timing was off. I checked around and learned that colleagues were having the same experience. What was the cause? Toy Fair taking place four months early. They found themselves continually needing to catch up in getting their preparations done. They were chronologically and chronically late.

As I thought about it, it occurred to me that it was a form of Jet Lag. Instead of losing hours, we were losing months.

Changing the calendar has always been tricky. In 1752, England switched from the old Julian to the new Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar has existed since Julius Caesar (hence, called the Julian Calendar) launched it in 46 BC. The calendar change became necessary because the Julian calendar was flawed, losing a day every 128 years. All European countries except England had already converted to the new calendar. It was necessary so England would be in sync with the rest of Europe.

When the authorities put England on the Gregorian calendar, to make it work, they had to shorten the year 1752 by eleven days. The days they removed were between September 2 and September 14. People went to bed on Wednesday the 2nd and woke up the next day only to find that it was eleven days later.

People went crazy. They thought they would die eleven days earlier than they were supposed to. They rioted, demanding their days back.

They never got their eleven days back, and it is open question as to whether Toy Fair will revert. We will just have to wait and see.

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