Calendar date

Calendar Today
Gregorian 9 June 2024
Julian 27 May 2024
Hebrew 3 Sivan 5784
Hijri (Tabular) 2 Dhu al-Hijjah 1445
Persian 20 Khordad 1403

A calendar date is a reference to a particular day represented within a calendar system. The calendar date allows the specific day to be identified. The number of days between two dates may be calculated. For example, "25 June 2024" is ten days after "15 June 2024". The date of a particular event depends on the observed time zone. For example, the air attack on Pearl Harbor that began at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian time on 7 December 1941 took place at 3:18 a.m. Japan Standard Time, 8 December in Japan.

A particular day may be assigned a different nominal date according to the calendar used, so an identifying suffix may be needed where ambiguity may arise. The Gregorian calendar is the world's most widely used civil calendar, and is designated (in English) as AD or CE. Many cultures use religious or regnal calendars such as the Gregorian (Western Christendom, AD), Hebrew calendar (Judaism, AM), the Hijri calendars (Islam, AH), Julian calendar (Eastern Christendom, AD) or any other of the many calendars used around the world. In most calendar systems, the date consists of three parts: the (numbered) day of the month, the month, and the (numbered) year. There may also be additional parts, such as the day of the week. Years are usually counted from a particular starting point, usually called the epoch, with era referring to the span of time since that epoch.

A date without the year may also be referred to as a date or calendar date (such as "9 June" rather than "9 June 2024"). As such, it is either shorthand for the current year or it defines the day of an annual event, such as a birthday on 31 May, a holiday on 1 September, or Christmas on 25 December.

Many computer systems internally store points in time in Unix time format or some other system time format. The date (Unix) command—internally using the C date and time functions—can be used to convert that internal representation of a point in time to most of the date representations shown here.

Date format

  Day-Month-Year   Year-Month-Day   Month-Day-Year   DMY and YMD   DMY and MDY   MDY and YMD   MDY, DMY, and YMD

There is a large variety of formats for dates in use, which differ in the order of date components. These variations use the sample date of 31 May 2006: (e.g. 31/05/2006, 05/31/2006, 2006/05/31), component separators (e.g. 31.05.2006, 31/05/2006, 31-05-2006), whether leading zeros are included (e.g. 31/5/2006 vs. 31/05/2006), whether all four digits of the year are written (e.g., 31.05.2006 vs. 31.05.06), and whether the month is represented in Arabic or Roman numerals or by name (e.g. 31.05.2006, 31.V.2006 vs. 31 May 2006).

Gregorian, day–month–year (DMY)

Postal mark of Czechoslovakia dated 13 June 1939

This little-endian sequence is used by a majority of the world and is the preferred form by the United Nations when writing the full date format in official documents. This date format originates from the custom of writing the date as "the Nth day of in the year of our Lord " in Western religious and legal documents. The format has shortened over time but the order of the elements has remained constant. The following examples use the date of 9 November 2006. (With the years 2000–2009, care must be taken to ensure that two digit years do not intend to be 1900–1909 or other similar years.) The dots have a function of ordinal dot.

Gregorian, year–month–day (YMD)

In this format, the most significant data item is written before lesser data items i.e. the year before the month before the day. It is consistent with the big-endianness of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, which progresses from the highest to the lowest order magnitude. That is, using this format textual orderings and chronological orderings are identical. This form is standard in East Asia, Iran, Lithuania, Hungary, and Sweden; and some other countries to a limited extent.

Examples for the 9th of November 2003:

It is also extended through the universal big-endian format clock time: 9 November 2003, 18h 14m 12s, or 2003/11/9/18:14:12 or (ISO 8601) 2003-11-09T18:14:12.

Gregorian, month–day–year (MDY)

This sequence is used primarily in the Philippines and the United States. It is also used to varying extents in Canada (though never in Quebec). This date format was commonly used alongside the little-endian form in the United Kingdom until the mid-20th century and can be found in both defunct and modern print media such as the London Gazette and The Times, respectively. This format was also commonly used by several English-language print media in many former British colonies and also one of two formats commonly used in India during British Raj era until the mid-20th century. In the United States, it is said as of Sunday, November 9, for example, although usage of "the" is not uncommon (e.g. Sunday, November the 9th, and even November the 9th, Sunday, are also possible and readily understood).

The modern convention is to avoid using the ordinal (th, st, rd, nd) form of numbers when the day follows the month (July 4 or July 4, 2006). The ordinal was common in the past and is still sometimes used ( 4th July or July 4th).

Gregorian, year–day–month (YDM)

This date format is used in Kazakhstan, Latvia, Nepal, and Turkmenistan. According to the official rules of documenting dates by governmental authorities, the long date format in Kazakh is written in the year–day–month order, e.g. 2006 5 April (Kazakh: 2006 жылғы 05 сәуір).


There are several standards that specify date formats:


Memorial plaque to John Etty in All Saints' Church, North Street, York, uses dual dating style to record his date of death as "28 of Jan: 170+8/9"

Many numerical forms can create confusion when used in international correspondence, particularly when abbreviating the year to its final two digits, with no context. For example, "07/08/06" could refer to either 7 August 2006 or July 8, 2006 (or 1906, or the sixth year of any century), or 2007 August 6, and even in some extremely rare cases it could mean 2007 8 June.

The date format of YYYY-MM-DD in ISO 8601, as well as other international standards, have been adopted for many applications for reasons including reducing transnational ambiguity and simplifying machine processing.

An early U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard recommended 2-digit years. This is now widely recognized as extremely problematic, because of the year 2000 problem. Some U.S. government agencies now use ISO 8601 with 4-digit years.

When transitioning from one calendar or date notation to another, a format that includes both styles may be developed; for example Old Style and New Style dates in the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

Advantages for ordering in sequence

One of the advantages of using the ISO 8601 date format is that the lexicographical order (ASCIIbetical) of the representations is equivalent to the chronological order of the dates, assuming that all dates are in the same time zone. Thus dates can be sorted using simple string comparison algorithms, and indeed by any left to right collation. For example:

2003-02-28 (28 February 2003) sorts before 2006-03-01 (1 March 2006) which sorts before 2015-01-30 (30 January 2015)

The YYYY-MM-DD layout is the only common format that can provide this. Sorting other date representations involves some parsing of the date strings. This also works when a time in 24-hour format is included after the date, as long as all times are understood to be in the same time zone.

ISO 8601 is used widely where concise, human-readable yet easily computable and unambiguous dates are required, although many applications store dates internally as UNIX time and only convert to ISO 8601 for display. All modern computer Operating Systems retain date information of files outside of their titles, allowing the user to choose which format they prefer and have them sorted thus, irrespective of the files' names.

Specialized usage

Day and year only

The U.S. military sometimes uses a system, which they call "Julian date format" that indicates the year and the actual day out of the 365 days of the year (and thus a designation of the month would not be needed). For example, "11 December 1999" can be written in some contexts as "1999345" or "99345", for the 345th day of 1999. This system is most often used in US military logistics since it simplifies the process of calculating estimated shipping and arrival dates. For example: say a tank engine takes an estimated 35 days to ship by sea from the US to South Korea. If the engine is sent on 06104 (Friday, 14 April 2006), it should arrive on 06139 (Friday, 19 May). Outside of the US military and some US government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, this format is usually referred to as "ordinal date", rather than "Julian date".

Such ordinal date formats are also used by many computer programs (especially those for mainframe systems). Using a three-digit Julian day number saves one byte of computer storage over a two-digit month plus two-digit day, for example, "January 17" is 017 in Julian versus 0117 in month-day format. OS/390 or its successor, z/OS, display dates in yy.ddd format for most operations.

UNIX time stores time as a number in seconds since the beginning of the UNIX Epoch (1970-01-01).

Another "ordinal" date system ("ordinal" in the sense of advancing in value by one as the date advances by one day) is in common use in astronomical calculations and referencing and uses the same name as this "logistics" system. The continuity of representation of period regardless of the time of year being considered is highly useful to both groups of specialists. The astronomers describe their system as also being a "Julian date" system.

Week number used

Companies in Europe often use year, week number, and day for planning purposes. So, for example, an event in a project can happen on w43 (week 43) or w43-1 (Monday, week 43) or, if the year needs to be indicated, on w0643 (the year 2006, week 43; i.e., Monday 23 October–Sunday 29 October 2006).

An ISO week-numbering year has 52 or 53 full weeks. That is 364 or 371 days instead of the conventional Gregorian year of 365 or 366 days. These 53 week years occur on all years that have Thursday as the 1st of January and on leap years that start on Wednesday the 1st. The extra week is sometimes referred to as a 'leap week', although ISO 8601 does not use this term.

Expressing dates in spoken English

In English-language outside North America (mostly in Anglophone Europe and some countries in Australasia), full dates are written as 7 December 1941 (or 7th December 1941) and spoken as "the seventh of December, nineteen forty-one" (exceedingly common usage of "the" and "of"), with the occasional usage of December 7, 1941 ("December the seventh, nineteen forty-one"). In common with most continental European usage, however, all-numeric dates are invariably ordered dd/mm/yyyy.

In Canada and the United States, the usual written form is December 7, 1941, spoken as "December seventh, nineteen forty-one" or colloquially "December the seventh, nineteen forty-one". Ordinal numerals, however, are not always used when writing and pronouncing dates, and "December seven, nineteen forty-one" is also an accepted pronunciation of the date written December 7, 1941. A notable exception to this rule is the Fourth of July (U.S. Independence Day).

See also


  1. ^ This may not always be sufficient. For example, the Western (Gregorian) and Eastern (Julian) Christian calendars each use the designation AD, but the same day in the 20th and 21st century is dated differently by the calendars by 13 days, despite each using the same format. Consequently the name of the calendar must also be stated. See also Old Style and New Style dates for the notation used followind a change of civil calendar used.
  2. ^ For details of the calculation of the epoch for each calendar, see their respective articles.


  1. ^ Dershowitz, D.; Reingold, E. M (2008). Calendrical Calculations (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 45. The calendar in use today in most of the world is the Gregorian or new-style calendar designed by a commission assembled by Pope Gregory XIII in the sixteenth century.
  2. ^ W3C Date and Time Formats Internet date/time format
  3. ^ "Canadian Payments Association – Specifications for Imageable Cheques and Other Payment Items". February 3, 2009. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Adoption of a numeric date field in one of three specified formats (YYYYMMDD, MMDDYYYY or DDMMYYYY. It is essential that field indicators be printed below the date field to indicate which format is being used.
  4. ^ Sanderson, Blair (18 January 2016). "Proposed legislation aims to settle date debate". CBC News. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Official rules of documenting in governmental authorities". Government of Kazakhstan (in Kazakh).
  6. ^ "ISO 8601:2004 Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times".
  7. ^ "5.6 Internet Date/Time Format". Date and Time on the Internet: Timestamps. sec. 5.6. doi:10.17487/RFC3339. RFC 3339.
  8. ^ "3.3 Date and Time Specification". Internet Message Format. sec. 3.3. doi:10.17487/RFC5322. RFC 5322.
  9. ^ "International standard date and time notation". Retrieved 2024-05-01.
  10. ^ "Date Format for Web site – Information Systems Department Release". Nye County, Nevada. 2002-07-01. Archived from the original on February 21, 2008.
  11. ^ Spathaky, Mike. "Old Style and New Style Dates and the change to the Gregorian Calendar". Retrieved 19 August 2023.. "Before 1752, parish registers, in addition to a new year heading after 24th March showing, for example '1733', had another heading at the end of the following December indicating '1733/4'. This showed where the Historical Year 1734 started even though the Civil Year 1733 continued until 24th March. ... We as historians have no excuse for creating ambiguity and must keep to the notation described above in one of its forms. It is no good writing simply 20th January 1745, for a reader is left wondering whether we have used the Civil or the Historical Year. The date should either be written 20th January 1745 OS (if indeed it was Old Style) or as 20th January 1745/6. The hyphen (1745-6) is best avoided as it can be interpreted as indicating a period of time."
  12. ^ "FAQ: Date formats". World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  13. ^ Hynes, John. "A summary of time formats and standards". Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  14. ^ "International standard date and time notation". Retrieved 2024-05-01.
  15. ^ Department of Defense. "Definition of Terms." March 11, 1997. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  16. ^ E. Kelly Taylor, America's Army and the Language of Grunts: Understanding the Army Lingo Legacy (Bloomington IN: AuthorHouse, 2009), 185. ISBN 1438962509, 9781438962504

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