Saturday, May 18, 2013

Anniversary or succession?

In preparation for This is Kirtland! this year, there has definitely been some excitement because it's the 10th run of the show. A lot of people, though, keep referring to it as the "10th anniversary", when, in reality, it's not since the show started in 2004 and 2004 + 10 = 2014. This isn't the first time I've noticed this and people seem to confuse anniversary with other things, especially events that occur annually.

An anniversary is the celebration of the number of years since something has happened. For instance, the first wedding anniversary for a couple is one year since their marriage. In other words, it celebrates the end of that first year and is also the beginning of their second year.  The same is true for birthdays. When someone celebrates their 16th birthday, they have just ended their 16th year and now they are above that age. In reality, when we celebrate an infant's "first" birthday, it's really the first birthday anniversary since the first real birthday (in the truest sense of the word) is the actual day of birth.

Now, in some things, particularly annual events, we have two ways of marking time. One is to celebrate the anniversary of the first time something occurred (like an organization celebrating 10 years in existence), while the other way is numbering beginning at the first event (like the Super Bowl). Because we use both, people seem to think they are synonymous, when in reality, they aren't, but they're obviously still related.

What's interesting is when I point out the difference, it's often treated with contempt, like a detail that doesn't matter or I'm just being too picky. OK, then why use it if doesn't really matter? All it takes is simple counting and knowing what it is you're trying to celebrate. One of the tricky things, though, is when the first year of something is a year that ends in zero. That happened here in Kent with the annual Pops Concert. The first one was in 1970, so I noticed just the other day that the ads were promoting the "43rd annual Pops Concert". Nope, it's the 44th, but the 43rd anniversary of the first one. What's even better about that is that Pops '09 was celebrated as the 40th concert (though it was often referred to as the "40th anniversary" even though 2009 is obviously not 40 years after 1970) and there hasn't been a break in the concerts since then. Again, the simple confusion of succession vs. anniversary.

Here's a visual for This is Kirtland! to show how it works:

#1: 2004 (first performance run or "season")
#2: 2005
#3: 2006
#4: 2007
#5: 2008
#6: 2009
#7: 2010
#8: 2011
#9: 2012
#10: 2013

Note that 2004 subtracted from 2013 gives you only 9, again, since it hasn't been 10 years since the show opened, but this is simply the 10th time it's being put on (as is demonstrated). It's always going to be a year ahead of an anniversary because of what I explained earlier. As such, if you noticed the logo I designed for the show in a previous post, it says "10th Season", not "10th Anniversary".

The same is true for the Pops Concert at Roosevelt:

#1: 1970 (this would've been the "1st annual Pops Concert")
#2: 1971
#3: 1972
#4: 1973...
#40: 2009
#41: 2010
#42: 2011
#43: 2012
#44: 2013

Note how the succession is one number higher than the year since #1 was in 1970. It makes it easy to remember anniversaries when you have a year that ends in zero (like my graduating class of 2000!!), but can be a tad confusing if the annual tabulation is used.

And really, those of you who know me KNOW I'm a details person and a history person, so YES I definitely notice and I do actually care. Like I said, if you're going to go to the effort of publicizing how long an event has been around, there's no reason it should be inaccurate, especially something so simple. SO, make sure you know what you're measuring to celebrate: anniversary or succession.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Thank you. This bugs me, too!