The End of a Decade

The End of a Decade


As December draws to a close and the new year creeps up, the end of the decade is also upon us. Or is it? There is a debate that has been going on for years about when the new decade actually begins. Does it start on January 1, 2020 or does it start on January 1, 2021? Does anyone actually know? 

The answer is no. Nobody can agree on it. According to the United States Naval Observatory, the new decade begins in 2021. This is because they use a modification of the Julian date. With this, the new decades and millenia can only begin on years ending in one, because this calendar was not created with a year zero. According to Emily Brewster, a senior editor at Merriam-Webster, the decade will begin on January 1, 2020 and end on December 31, 2029. She says this because in popular culture, a decade is not defined by scientific convention.


The Farmer’s Almanac insists that the decade most definitely begins on the first day of 2021. According to them, the beginning of the millenia was celebrated a year early, and 20 years later, the same mistake is about to occur for the decade. The blame for all this confusion is put on two men – Dionysius Exiguus and Northumbrian monk Bede. These men wanted to count the passage of the years from the date they believed Jesus Christ was born. In all their calculations, both of them failed to account for year zero.


Even with all this debate, the definition of a decade is not governed by legal guidelines, so you can technically celebrate it whenever you want. Many people feel that the decade will be ending at the end of this month. There have already been countless tributes to the 2010s on various social media platforms. 


Without a doubt, there will be many celebrations on New Years for the beginning of a new decade. These celebrations, although mainly socially accepted, will be a year too early. While there is still an obvious debate on when the decade will be ending and a new one beginning, the most solid evidence points towards a year from now.