Learn the Many Ways Cultures Around the World Measure Time

This year has reshaped how many of us think about time. (Turns out 31 days can last for at least nine months… even though some of those months can seem to only last for a week.) But we all “know” there are certain, fundamental truths. Each day lasts 24 hours; each hour lasts 60 minutes.

Well, while that’s how many of us keep track of things, it’s not the system everyone uses. Some places around the world break a day down in their own unique ways. It might sound confusing, but this great YouTube video explains other cultures’ approaches to keeping time, and the rationale behind each.

This great animated video from Joshua Rudder of NativLang (which we first came across at Laughing Squid) explores the many ways cultures around the globe count and break down time, both today and in the past. We might think of a day or hour as uniform, but that’s far from true. Not all hours are equal everywhere every day. Even the way we think about “day” versus “night” can vary.

In Thailand, for example, they use six-hour clocks instead of 12-hour clocks. Some places also count temporal hours, which account for longer sun hours instead of 24 equal hours. In India, a day is made up of eight pahar.

Learn the Different Ways Other Cultures Keep Track of Time_1NativLang

But our favorite alternate approach might be Japan’s concept of the 30 hour clock. This method says that as many as six additional hours, ones that will also count towards to tomorrow, are in fact part of today. So if you go out all night and don’t get to sleep until 6 a.m., you had a “wild Saturday night,” rather than a “wild Saturday night and Sunday morning.”

Truly, time is truly what we make of it. Even if we don’t exactly know what to make of it in 2020.

Featured Image: NativLang

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