Taiwan Calendar System – What’s wrong with my Orange Juice?

You might notice something weird when buying food in Taiwan. A lot of stuff expired 11 years ago! Check out the orange juice I bought on the picture – the expiration day states 97 03 01. Nope, there’s nothing wrong with this orange juice. Some stuff in the convenience store show the year “97” and some show the correct year (2008). But what’s with the “best consumed before 1997” thing? Well, it’s not really 1997… It’s not 1997 AD – Christians, and most of the world, follow the AD format since it’s how old Jesus Christ would be if he lived up to this day. It’s 97. The year 97.

Ok, so what’s with the year 97? Someone (or something) was born 97 years
ago and he (or it) was special? Yes, to the Taiwanese (and Chinese) people, the answer is YES. On October 10, 1911, there was this WuChang Uprising in China which eventually led to the end of the Qing Dynasty and the “Birth” of the Republic of China. This “10/10” or Double Ten Day is a holiday (wooohooo!) and is called National Celebration Day ???. Going back to the story, a couple of months later after the uprising,they have set January 1, 1912 as the First Year of the Republic. And so, the year 2008 is the 97th year of the Republic.

So anyway, the next time you buy orange juice, or milk, or any stuff with a weird year, confirm it by adding 1,911. 97 + 1911 = 2008! The year would look more weird on 2011, the expiration date on my juice would be 100 03 01, it would not look like a date at all!

Whew! The history stuff made me thirsty, let’s drink that orange juice!

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Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter is not your average tourist. He is a lover of tourism! This website is dedicated to his love for all things Taiwan. Ten years ago, he left his native USA and set out to trek as far as Asia and to many major Asian cities but ended up loving Taiwan. The beauty of the island and its rich cultural history are what drive Scott's passion even more to help others experience a memorable stay in Taiwan. This tourist is here to stay.