The New Millennium - 1st January 2001

For the misguided people who think the new millennium starts on 1st January 2000 AD.

In case you don't get it...

This is why Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick wrote 2001, not something called 2000.

People were just as confused as 1900 approached.

Curiously, given the amount of media coverage surrounding 31 December 1999, an ITV Teletext 'phone poll over the weekend of 22 August 1998 gave the result that 70% plan to mark the millennium on 31 December 2000 (i.e. correctly) rather than 31 December 1999. Further surveys in May 1999 showed that most people can't be bothered to do anything special on 31 December 1999.

Some people still think the millennium is about celebrating the 2000th anniversary of the birthday of Jesus Christ - too late! Current best estimates from experts put the birthday at April/May 4BC at the latest, and possibly three or more years earlier.

However much one points out the truth, people will party anyway on Dec. 31st 1999. Fine: two excuses for a party! One is (presumably) for having three zeroes in the year number and the other is for the actual change of millennium. (Logically then one should have celebrated 1911 for having three ones and 1999 for having three nines - but people do love "round" numbers.)

Those that get it right

BBC Breakfast News 23-Dec-1999
Featured the producer for the BBC's 26-hour live outside broadcast on 31-Dec. [The broadcast ends 28 hours after it starts but is interrupted for more important stuff such as the Friday edition of Eastenders.] She started by saying the new Millennium isn't actually till next year - a rather startling statement for someone with such an investment in celebrating it a year early.
Greenwich 2000: Millennium
This is the official site for the U.K.'s major public millennium event, in Greenwich.
It has some useful "Frequently Asked Questions" information about the year 2000 (which is a leap year of course, being divisible by 400) and the calendar in general.
(Greenwich On The Internet)
January 1st 2001...
Another site pointing out the error made by so many people.
Lots of links to calendar sites, incorrect sites...
The party isn't on January 1 2000...
Hythe Borough Council (Kent/Sussex border)
has decided to celebrate on the correct day - showing "independence and common sense".
Cuba (the Government presumably) has also decided to celebrate on the correct day.
Huntingdonshire District Council
was to lay on the usual nonsense around 31-Dec-1999 but has given up due to lack of enthusiasm in the community, saving a lot of Council Tax money.

Those that get it wrong

Cambridge City Council
Vagabond Cruise & Travel
Offered trips around New Years Eve 1999. Also waffled about "a new technological era" (yawn).
Old page:
New page: The new Millennium: 2000.
Millennium 2000
A very sad site, devoted to the new millennium - in 2000.
Modestly claimed it will have the details of how the people of the world are planning to celebrate the opening... [...pompous and boring stuff omitted.]
Didn't actually have anything yet as of 10-Nov-1996 and as of 21-Mar-1999 has gone anyway.
1999-2000-2001 The New Millennium
A clearinghouse for millennium events, concentrating on 31 December 1999.
Abercrombie & Kent New Year's Eve 1999
Another celebratory travel site (link dead as of 4 April 1998)
Trust Douglas Adams to chip in...
Even the Government...
The 1996 National Heritage Secretary, Virginia Bottomley, announced backing for a church plan for everyone to light a candle for a minute's silence just before midnight on New Year's Eve 1999. The Churches Together in England group is planning to send a candle to every home for people to light in the last half hour of 1999, predictably provoking do-gooder bodies to point out the dangers. Spoilsports - bonfires are supposed to be part of the "celebrations". It was said that this initative was partly responsible for most or all Fire Service leave being cancelled. (Apparently the candles weren't sent out after all - there were no reports of anyone receiving a candle.)
Virginia Bottomley also mentioned the possibility of an extra Bank Holiday - subseqently confirmed by the New Tory government in June 1998.
Greenwich Millennium clock
On 5 April 1997 a public clock at Greenwich started counting down in centiseconds the 1000 days to "the Millennium" - meaning midnight 1-Jan-2000. It was immediately criticised for omitting the intervening leap seconds (e.g. the one at the end of June 1997).
Parade in London on 1-Jan-2000
For some bizarre reason 6,500 Americans were flown in to help stage an American-style street parade in London - with the usual tacky marching bands, floats, giant balloon characters and so on. Another example of unwelcome cultural intrusion, like "Santa Claus" displacing our Father Christmas and "Trick or Treat" at Halloween.

Related topics


Our clueless Prime Minister (who admitted to only just having begun to learn about Information Technology) backed the daft campaign for a new time standard: Greenwich Electronic Time, with the "e" in lower-case of course, to fit the e-hysteria.

These people seem to be unaware that Internet time has been standarised to UTC (with its zero on the Greenwich Meridian) for years via the Network Time Protocol.

See the links below for background info.
BBC: Greenwich could mark web time


The year 2000 date problem on some computer systems: Tuesday January 4th 2000 should be an interesting first day back at work (yes, as in the Chinese curse) for most people, apart from the poor so-and-sos dragged in earlier for the millennium bug.


Another curious aspect is the word itself: millenium was a very popular spelling in the early stages of build-up (around 1997, say) but is hardly seen as of late 1999. The Oxford English Dictionary only has millennium.


19/11/1999 was the last day with all-odd digits for over 1000 years.


1916 or 1944 can be used as replacements for year 2000 by kit which can't cope with 2000, as they have the same pattern of days (days-of-month & days-of-week).


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