Letter: Myth of the century

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In reply to Dr David Williams, I too have had enough - of the 2001- ers. They seem to think the millennium is real. Of course years (like days) are objective entities, but year numbers and dates are not.

The Western calendar is a mishmash of bodges and compromises. The day we call 1 January is a human invention, and wasn't in fact the start of the new year until the Gregorian calendar was adopted, in the 16th century over much of Europe but not until 1753 in England.

New Year celebrations are about the symbolism and magic of numbers, not about reality. Does Dr Williams watch in fascination as the car mileometer clicks over to 10001? The 2001 exponents are mathematically right, but have missed the point.

Dr SALLY WRAIGHT

Cambridge

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