What is the Masonic Calendar?

Although there have been a number of Masonic dating systems, the most familiar to Craft Freemasons will be Anno Lucis (A.L.), which is the system that appears on certificates. Anno Lucis (the year of light) is based on a chronology that puts the year of creation as 4,004 B.C. and is traditionally derived by adding 4,000 to the year in question. For example 1717 A.D. the year Grand Lodge was formed would become 5717 A.L., and 2003 would become 6003 A.L. The system was not exclusive to Freemasons having been designed by an Irish cleric James Ussher (1581-1656) many years before the formation of Grand Lodge in 1717. (MC, April 2003)