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In that system, it is 2009 - but should one say ad 2009 or, as is increasingly common among scholars, 2009 CE - 2009 of the 'Common Era'?The Common Era retains a Christian reference point - the birth of Christ - but this may be regarded as a historical accident of globalisation.Persians, Mayans, Jains, even Freemasons, all have their own eras.

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On average, the moon revolves around the Earth in about 29½ days.As former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan put it in a statement marking the turn of the millennium: The Christian calendar no longer belongs exclusively to Christians.' For some, these are fighting words: the Southern Baptist Convention resolved, also in 2000, to resist the 'revisionism' implicit in the CE/BCEsystem and to retain AD 'as a reminder to those in this secular age ... The AD/BC chronology is not so ancient as some proponents suppose; nor is the CE/BCE system so recent.For the first five centuries of their religion, Christians marked time according to local conventions, usually from the legendary foundation of Rome (753 BC), or from the Diocletian reforms (284 AD).Most primitive tribes used a dawn-to-dawn reckoning, calling a succession of days so many dawns, or suns.Later the Babylonians, Jews, and Greeks counted a day from sunset to sunset, whereas the day was said to begin at dawn for the Hindus and Egyptians and at midnight for the Romans.

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