This section is from "The Encyclopaedia Britannica". Also available from Amazon: Great Books of the Western World (60 Volumes).

The first problem which the construction of the calendar presents is to connect the week with the year, or to find the day of the week corresponding to a given day of any year of the era. As the number of days in the week and the number in the year are prime to one another, two successive years cannot begin with the same day; for if a common year begins, for example, with Sunday, the following year will begin with Monday, and if a leap year begins with Sunday, the year following will begin with Tuesday. For the sake of greater generality, the days of the week are denoted by the first seven letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, which are placed in the calendar beside the days of the year, so that A stands opposite the first day of January, B opposite the second, and so on to G, which stands opposite the seventh; after which A returns to the eighth, and so on through the 365 days of the year. Now if one of the days of the week, Sunday for example, is represented by E, Monday will be represented by F, Tuesday by G, Wednesday by A, and so on; and every Sunday through the year will have the same character E, every Monday F, and so with regard to the rest.

The letter which denotes Sunday is called the Dominical Letter, or the Sunday Letter; and when the dominical letter of the year is known, the letters which respectively correspond to the other days of the week become known at the same time.

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