The celebration of anniversaries has always been significant in human lives. Weddings, birthdays, death anniversaries, each celebration carries a different meaning to us. Throughout history, anniversaries have always been commemorated, and now, the development of language enables us to give different terms to each passing year of an anniversary.
Although quartermillenial can be used to describe the 250th anniversary, cities and government departments use other accepted terms such as semiquincentennial or sestercentennials.
Anniversaries Throughout History
Anniversaries are familiar to all of us. We encounter many types of anniversaries throughout our lives. May it be different events like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or death anniversaries, each anniversary celebration is a special commemoration of the significance of life.
First mentioned in the English language in the 13th century, the word anniversary is based on the term anniversarius, a Latin word that means returning yearly as it is a combination of the words annus, meaning year, and versus, meaning turning. (Source: The Word Detective)
Each type of anniversary has a history tied to it. Birthdays, the most commonly celebrated anniversary, are rooted in many cultures. Birthdays, the valued and celebrated day of your birth, weren’t celebrated until the creation of calendars. Ancient civilizations only indicated the passing of time through the celestial bodies and significant happenings. With that said, they paid little to no attention to a person’s birth anniversary as it was already difficult for them to keep track of time.
It took a matter of time for early civilizations to notice the repetitive moon cycles and passing of seasons until they took note of it, which eventually became the forerunner of the first calendars in existence. The first calendars now distinguished changes in time and commemorated special days, giving humans the ability to mark their birthdays and other important celebrations.
There are also Egyptian references to the celebration of birthdays. Experts state that the first mention of birthday roots back to 3,000 B.C.E, referencing the birthday of a Pharaoh, honoring their emergence as a god. The birthdays of Pharaohs are more significant than their physical and initial birth as humans.
Ancient Greeks and Romans also mention the celebration of birthdays, whether it be the birthday of their worshiped gods or the birthdays of their peers and family. When looking at the different cultures and regions of the world, it is evident that birthdays, or the general culture of celebrating anniversaries, have many origins in various contexts. (Source: Pump It Up)
The Infamous 250th Anniversary
Through the passing of time and language development, the celebration of anniversaries had become so vast that now, different Latin-derived anniversary terms are given to each passing year of the commemorated date.
Different anniversary terms range from 1 year of an anniversary to 15,000 years. Most already know the word to denote 100 years of an anniversary, which is called a centennial. Fewer people are familiar with the term for a 150th anniversary or a sesquicentennial. But how many people know the word for a 250th anniversary?
A 250th anniversary can be called a quartermillenial, but other acceptable terms are also used. When Pittsburgh and Allentown held their 250th anniversaries in 2012, both Pennsylvania cities used the term semiquincentennial, which directly means the half of 500 years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Interior and the Huffington post have used sestercentennials for the 250th anniversary, which used the Latin prefix sester to shorten the word semiquincentennial. (Source: Our Everyday Life)