18 more days till the turn of the millennium! We can read it in the papers, in the tourist advertisements, it is resounded by the radio and the television. Popular television series say farewell to us day by day saying that we will not see them in this millennium any more, but “see you again” in the third millennium. But is the third millennium really so close to us?
I think it is not! We have to wait a little more than a year for this yet. The mathematical explanation is very simple. The first one thousand year could not have passed in the December of 999 according to our calendar because also the whole thousandth year was needed for this. It is just as true as nine-hundred and ninety-nine forints is not a thousand forints. To have the second thousand forints (years) we need the two-thousandth forint (year). So the first year of the third millennium is the year 2001. So the turn of the second and third millenniums will be on December 30 in 2000 at 12 PM!
Then why is this fuss, why is this ambiguous explanation that we can count either this way or that way too? I am convinced that the real reason is nothing else but on the one hand it is (big) business), on the other hand people like celebrating, awaiting something good, something special. However the two-thousand – may it be either the beginning or the end of the year – is a really nice round number. We can consider the last year of the millennium as a festive year for even all year long, when we should do and create something special.
Of course nor for the trade, the hospitality and mainly the tourism it is useless to take the expected extra profit twice of the same event. I gladly foretell that from the third of January 2000 more and more writings will be about that the events of the last new-year’s eve were nice but the real sensation would be the end of December 2000 because the real events of the turn of the millennium would be then.
I am awaiting this new-year’s eve too, because it will cause a special feeling also for me to begin the date of my writings with two-thousand. And in the next year I will know that what I do not complete that year will fall to the next millennium! It is not really a matter that we have one more year of this millennium. I would like to believe that the last year of this millennium will be nicer and more peaceful than which we are leaving behind in 1999. It would be nice if we were not await the coming of the next millennium just to have something bad turn into good but because a millennium deservedly proud of its successes would like to be the basis of the next one-thousand years of development!
December 13, 1999 János Palotás