There are many odd things that we take for granted today about the standard 'Gregorian Calendar' that's been in use now since 1582. One of the interesting things about this way of measuring the earth's revolutions around the sun is that you can re-use a calendar if you wait long enough. Yes, it may take a different amount of time depending on which year it is that you want to reuse, but if you wait long enough, and didn't mark up the old calendar too much, it will match up perfectly with another year in the future. So how often does the calendar repeat? Read on to find out.

How Often Does the Calendar Repeat?

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The calendar can repeat every 5, 6, 11 or 28 years depending on the year you've picked and how the distribution of leap years affects this time span. It is the 28-year repetition that seems to be the most consistent, but this will only stay that way if the 'leap year' continues to be honored. At the moment we are currently in a 4-year cycle of leap year, which means that a calendar used in 2010 can again be used in 2028. There are many online tools you can use to find out when a calendar will repeat, and re-using an old calendar can be a fun exercise.

This can be especially interesting if you take a calendar from your birth year. In a way, you can live by a similar line of time that was practiced during the year you were born. All the major holidays will fall on the same days they fell on during your birth year, and you'll also be able to look back on historical events of that year and draw conclusions as well.

As young babies, and later as children, we are able to take in a lot of information through our new five senses; but unfortunately we're not able to remember so much. This 'birth year repetition' gives you an interesting kind of access, experiencing the year the way a more fully developed person would have at that time.

Finding Connections between Repeating Years

In addition to finding parallels between calendar years that repeat, there are also certain cycles that complete and then begin again across a wide variety of different studies and disciplines. Some of these cycles line up with the way the calendars repeat and others simply revolve on their own cycle of time. But it's fascinating to see where they intersect. You can gain a level of insight in answering the question: 'how often does the calendar repeat' and also knowing how often certain cycles repeat as well.

5-Year Cycles

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One answer to 'how often does the calendar repeat' is every five years, depending on the year. In addition to this repetition, there are also a number of other cycles that complete on a five year timeline. They may be as familiar to you as how long it takes to go from from 1st to 5th grade (or perhaps a combined 5-year undergraduate/graduate degree program). Or they could be as obscure as how often dietary guidelines are updated.

The Educative Process

A critical time of learning for children is between the ages of 10-14. It is in this time span that true personalities are developed and capacities and aptitudes are discovered. It's also a time of transition from elementary school to middle school or junior high school. 

And the complex ways that information can be learned and transmitted also springs forward in leaps and bounds during this time. This cycle, which comes in accordance with answering 'how often does the calendar repeat,' will continue to evolve as the child continues to grow. This is a great way to measure learning milestones.

Nutritional Standards

You may not have known this, but when it comes to food and nutrition, the US Department of Health and Human Services, along with the US Department of Agriculture, changes their standards every five years. Based on new scientific research that comes out, they must repeat an evaluation that they made five years before. 

In this way, there is a constant evolution in terms of what is deemed healthy and unhealthy when it comes to what you eat and drink. We're willing to bet that in the time it takes to ask 'how often does the calendar repeat.' You could also probably think of the different ways your diet has changed over the past five years.

Gaming Consoles

Remember when you were a huge gamer? Here we have another instance of a product that renews itself about once every five years. This is about how long it took for the PlayStation console series to go from its original model to the PlayStation II and then onto the PlayStation III. So the next time you're considering getting a console, be sure to check out where it is in its current life cycle.

6-Year Cycles

new year fireworks

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In some ways, answering 'how often does the calendar repeat' is an exercise in both patience and wonder. Six-year cycles may only have one more additional year as opposed to 5-year ones, but there's still significance in that one year. It could be the difference that defines a decade, or the difference that marks longevity. Some things (like marriages) that last for 5 years may not make it to their 6th. Also, the El Niño cycles that happen every 6 years can prompt large quantities of lobsters to wash up on the shores of Newport Beach, CA.

Senate Terms

The term of a United States senator lasts for 6 years. And though there is no limit to how many times a senator can get re-elected, they must prove to their constituents that they still represent the best interests of their people once the cycle repeats itself.

Married Couples

When it comes to the hopes and dreams of the most well-intentioned relationships, the 6-year mark is a big deal. Based on public record, only 20 percent of marriages last past the 5-year mark, and if they don't disintegrate after this point there's a good chance that they'll stay together a great deal longer than that.

11-Year Cycles: the Decade Plus One

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The nature of this cycle may seem a little strange, but if you add nine of them together you get almost 100 years. You might be surprised to find that the 11-year cycle can encompass everything from the flipping of the sun's magnetic field to the occurrence of a 'Friday the 13th' in the month of October. This gives the 11-year cycle an almost mystical quality.

The Sun's Polarity

So what happens when the sun's polarity flips? Well not much noticeably. The biggest impact it has is on the tides. But in terms of the appearance of the sun, the amount of 'sunspots' present on the sun will either increase or decrease depending on its polarity.

Friday the 13th

Though a Friday the 13th in October can also fall in the 6-year cycle, it's the 11-year cycle that holds more weight if you're superstitious. This is because it was on the heels of an 11-year cycle that an infamous Friday the 13th took place in the 1300s. It was on Friday, October 13th, 1307 that the famed 'Knights Templar' were arrested by the armies of the French King Philip the IV. They had previously been helping protect Christian pilgrims during the crusades. This was perhaps the origin of the number 13 being associated with unluckiness.

The 28-Year Cycle: Generationals

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A leap year will occur on a Monday once every 28 years. Also, 28 years is another measure of how generations intersect. In the orthodox Jewish tradition, the special blessings of the sun happen once every 28 years. This is supposedly when, according to tradition, the sun is in the same position it was when it was originally created. The last time this happened was in 2009.

Generational Gaps

Usually depending on societal and global shifts, generations shift somewhere between every 22 and every 33 years. This puts 28 right in the middle of this changeover. Lately, because of advancements in technology and shifting cultural norms, generations are trending shorter. So the next time you ask 'how often does the calendar repeat,' it may seem like more time has passed. But even though how we're evolving is getting faster, the calendar will have shifted on the same cycle as it always has.

Conclusion

imac desktop and calendar

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So which calendar will you use? What will your own answer to the question 'how often does the calendar repeat' be? As with any question related to the traditional calendar, you'll ultimately be making your decision based on the movements and cycles of the sun. If there's a particular year you're interested in, just look up that year along with the related calendar in question and you'll figure out the next time you can use it.