On the 31st December I caused chaos, uproar and great discussion on twitter with this one tweet! I got over 50 ReTweets (when you combine new style with the old style) and had deep discussions and arguments with about 15 people over this issue so I thought with such a controversial issue it is only fair to blog about it now and explain why 2011 is the start of ‘the next decade’ and not 2010!
Before I start I am going to clarify that there is no doubt that the 70s run from 1970 to 1979, the 80s from 1980 to 1989, the 90s from 1990 to 1999, and so forth however this naming of decades is what causes the confusion. Any 10 years are a decade, so in theory what is stated before is perfectly correct and is what is understood in common culture. I, however want to look at the technicalities and the decades in accordance with our calendar.
In most countries nowadays we use the Gregorian Calendar which is based upon the Julian Calendar. Both the Gregorian and Julian Calendar have no Year 0. This means that the first year in these calendars is 1AD and that 1BC is followed by 1AD. If the first year is 1AD then the 10th year is 10AD and so the second decade begins on 11AD. The simplest way to think about this is to think about counting to 10 – you start from 1 and stop at 10.
This in turn also means that the centuries and mileniums start in on years enidng with a 1 and not a 0 – as the common perception would have you beleive so the celebrations for the new Millenium, should have been in the year 2001!