Table of Contents
- General Description of the HHPC
- The Successes
- The Failures
After having posted my 45-page blog page on the Calendar Reform to a calendar reform group on Facebook I was asked for my comments on the fairly new Henry-Hanke Permanent Calendar (HHPC), which was released to the world last year (2017), I think.
Before we get started, I would like to applaud them both for attempting to tackle such a historically divisive topic and trying to come to a solution that might work, which is NOT an easy task. Many have tried throughout history and all have failed to effectuate change.
My analysis will progress in three basic stages:
- overview of the HHPC (# 2)
- talk about the good parts (# 3)
- talk about the bad parts (# 4)
B. ALERT!!! I have a definite bias!
Keep in mind, that I am very, very biased in thinking and talking about calendar reform due to my previous significant history (over 10 years of support of the IFC) and my significant recent writing on the IFC (~45 pages – see the above link), so, this critique will be heavily biased because of that and, in many ways, this writing will, in the end, be a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of HHPC to the IFC. In other words, take my biased thoughts on this topic with that grain of salt for that is how all of my Calendar Reform thoughts are framed and viewed (through the lens of IFC glory). =)
Note: I will NOT go into a great deal of detail here with the issues, because I cover them quite well in my page on Calendar Reform (link posted above). If you want to know more about those issues beyond what I cover here you will want to check out that page.
2. General Description of the HHPC
First, lets go through exactly what the Henry-Henke Permanent Calendar is so you at least know what we are talking about. Here is a link to their official site and their Wikipedia entry if you are interested so you can research it for yourself:
Here is their calendar below which is pulled directly from their website:
B. Calendar Overview
The HHPC seems like it is a version of the World Calendar which is modified to use Leap Weeks.
Here are the features of the HHPC:
- Calendar Type – perpetual calendar – you only need one calendar for all years because the days of the month fall on the same days of the week each year
- 1st Day of Calendar Week – starts on a Monday
- 12 Months: 12 months to the calendar
- Days Per Month: each quarter follows the same number of days per month pattern: 30, 30, 31
- Days Per Quarter – 91 days per month per quarter
- Leap Method – inline Leap Week – a very short 7-day long “13th month” is added every 6 years to compensate for Leap Days and for the 6 missing 365th day per year each year
I want to show you what the quarters look like because it is kinda cool! Here are the quarters, months, days of week the months start on so you can see it and this is the same each and every year:
|month||days of month||1st day of month|
They have setup a neat pattern here with the months of each quarter starting on the same days of the week, each month of the quarter has the same number of days, and the same number of days per quarter (91 days).
Here is a more simplified and fractal way of looking at the pattern:
|month||days of month||1st day of month|
|Quarter||month 1||30 days||Mon|
|month 2||30 days||Wed|
|month 3||31 days||Fri|
Just copy and paste the quarter pattern here into your calendar quarter and there ya go!
3. The Successes
Within the context of this calendar, here are the successful improvements on the Gregorian Calendar they have implemented with their reform:
- Perpetual Calendar – the days of each month fall on the same days of the week each year which is great for year to year planning
- “Equal” Quarters – each quarter follows the same monthly pattern (days per month and same 1st day of month each year and num days per quarter) – almost fractal like which is kinda neat to see. This is great for quarter to quarter analysis and for year to year analysis
- Mondays: calendar weeks start on a Monday – I offer this as a reform to the IFC and it makes more sense to start the calendar on a Monday because that is when the week really begins and the weekend is when the week ends. Some countries do this currently. Having Sunday as the beginning of the week is done due to thousands of years of religious tradition.
- Religious Accommodation: ensuring that conservative Christians (one of the very many religions of the world) will be happy due to maintaining the 7 day week
4. The Failures
In my opinion, the major issues with the HHPC are also painfully present in the Gregorian Calendar too, and these are what will keep it from really being useful, only potentially slightly more useful than our current calendar.
They had 2 primary ideals they wanted to work with when creating this calendar:
- make it more useful and regular for businesses and year to year analysis
- obey the 7 day week to prevent fundamentalist Christians from protesting
Their primary mistake in their work, which is what actually prevents this from ever being useful, was creating their calendar while bowing down to fundamentalist Christian churches and their 7 day week. The way they did this (the Leap Week) significantly limits its efficiency and long term, or any real usefulness.
With that being said, I do realize that attempting to prevent religious objections can make a given calendar reform more palatable and easier to pass, so I completely understand this powerful desire and, honestly, in that they did a great job in doing so. In my page on the Calendar Reform I specifically talk about ways to deal with the religious objections.
B. The Breakdown
Below, I will go over the primary issues with the HHPC, two of which are the same ones that the Gregorian Calendar suffers from:
- Months of Different Lengths: Months with differing days and differing weeks per month means month to month bills, scheduling, and financial calculations difficult just like it is now, although year to year are marginally better, because of the use of the Leap Week, which is assisting with creating a perpetual calendar. This also leads us to the next issue:
- Days of Week Differ – From month to month the days of the month do not fall on the same days of the week which makes month to month scheduling and analysis more difficult.
- Leap Weeks Bad! – In my post Calendar Reform: The Inferiority of Leap Weeks to Leap Days. I talk about why Leap Weeks are not good, so please read that. It is not too long.
The way they accomplish their successes from above, especially due to the use of a Leap week, comes at a very, very steep price which, in my opinion, makes the calendar untenable for actual use and possibly worse than our current mess of a calendar because of the Leap Week. Due to that taint, the only part of this attempt at calendar reform that will keep any long term accolades (from me at least) will be:
- starting each calendar week on a Monday.
If you want more info on why the differing days and weeks of the month is so much an issue, please go and read my Calendar Reform page (link above), I lay it out for you with examples.
The HHPC is a well thought out plan to attempt to create a calendar which kind of helps businesses a little bit and keeps the 7 day week, although I find it a significantly misguided to attempt to accommodate a few fundamentalist sects of a single world-wide religion. Doing so has their work of calendar reform suffer a high price in terms of efficiency and actual usefulness. It is only when we free ourselves from enslavement to the 7 day week can real reform or real efficiency be achieved.