Ordinal date

Ordinal date

Date written as number

An ordinal date is a calendar date typically consisting of a year and an ordinal number, ranging between 1 and 366 (starting on January 1), representing the multiples of a day, called day of the year or ordinal day number (also known as ordinal day or day number). The two parts of the date can be formatted as "YYYY-DDD" to comply with the ISO 8601 ordinal date format. The year may sometimes be omitted, if it is implied by the context; the day may be generalized from integers to include a decimal part representing a fraction of a day.

Quick Facts Date ...
Mission control center's board with time data, displaying universal time with ordinal date (without year) prepended, on 22nd October 2013 (i.e. 2013-295)


Ordinal date is the preferred name for what was formerly called the "Julian date" or JD, or JDATE, which still seen in old programming languages and spreadsheet software. The older names are deprecated because they are easily confused with the earlier dating system called 'Julian day number' or JDN, which was in prior use and which remains ubiquitous in astronomical and some historical calculations.


Computation of the ordinal day within a year is part of calculating the ordinal day throughout the years from a reference date, such as the Julian date. It is also part of calculating the day of the week, though for this purpose modulo 7 simplifications can be made.

In the following text, several algorithms for calculating the ordinal day O are presented. The inputs taken are integers y, m and d, for the year, month, and day numbers of the Gregorian or Julian calendar date.

Trivial methods

The most trivial method of calculating the ordinal day involves counting up all days that have elapsed per the definition:

  1. Let O be 0.
  2. From i = 1 .. m - 1, add the length of month i to O, taking care of leap year according to the calendar used.
  3. Add d to O.

Similarly trivial is the use of a lookup table, such as the one referenced.[1]


The table of month lengths can be replaced following the method of encoding the month-length variation in Zeller's congruence. As in Zeller, the m is changed to m + 12 if m 2. It can be shown (see below) that for a month-number m, the total days of the preceding months is equal to ⌊(153 * (m 3) + 2) / 5⌋. As a result, the March 1-based ordinal day number is OMar = ⌊(153 × (m 3) + 2) / 5⌋ + d.

The formula reflects the fact that any five consecutive months in the range March–January have a total length of 153 days, due to a fixed pattern 31–30–31–30–31 repeating itself twice. This is similar to encoding of the month offset (which would be the same sequence modulo 7) in Zeller's congruence. As 153/5 is 30.6, the sequence oscillates in the desired pattern with the desired period 5.

To go from the March 1 based ordinal day to a January 1 based ordinal day:

  • For m 12 (March through December), O = OMar + 59 + isLeap(y) , where isLeap is a function returning 0 or 1 depending whether the input is a leap year.
  • For January and February, two methods can be used:
    1. The trivial method is to skip the calculation of OMar and go straight for O = d for January and O = d + 31 for February.
    2. The less redundant method is to use O = OMar 306, where 306 is the number of dates in March through December. This makes use of the fact that the formula correctly gives a month-length of 31 for January.

"Doomsday" properties:

With and gives

giving consecutive differences of 63 (9 weeks) for n = 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, i.e., between 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, and 12/12.

and gives

and with m and d interchanged

giving a difference of 119 (17 weeks) for n = 2 (difference between 5/9 and 9/5), and also for n = 3 (difference between 7/11 and 11/7).


More information ...

For example, the ordinal date of April 15 is 90 + 15 = 105 in a common year, and 91 + 15 = 106 in a leap year.


The number of the month and date is given by

the term can also be replaced by with the ordinal date.

  • Day 100 of a common year:
April 10.
  • Day 200 of a common year:
July 19.
  • Day 300 of a leap year:
November - 5 = October 26 (31 - 5).

Helper conversion table

More information ord. date, common year ...
More information ord. date, comm. year ...
More information ord. date, comm. year ...
More information ord. date, comm. year ...

See also


  1. "Table of ordinal day number for various calendar dates". Retrieved 2021-04-08.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Ordinal_date, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.