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The photo shows several favorite calendars I have saved from various years. Some were gifts from family. One was photographed and commissioned for printing by a friend. One was mailed to me after correspondence with a shortwave radio broadcaster in Germany. All of them have memories. A couple come from the same year, but most are from different years. It would be nice to hang them on the wall again. 

Step 1: 14 Calendars

You may not know there are only 14 different calendars. Together, they cover any year that ever has been, or ever will be. But, they do not repeat on a regular rotational schedule. 

The graphic is a table from a web page that tells the user which basic calendar applies to any year in the 1900s and in the 2000s (20th and 21st Centuries). Click on this link to go to that web page in order to see this table in a more legible form. A table like this also appears in the calendar section of various almanacs. You can find an almanac in most libraries.

If you consult the table, the calendar for the year 2011 is followed by the numeral 6. Look for other occurrences of the code numeral 6. The calendar for 2011 will be repeated again during the 21st Century in 2022, 2033, 2039, 2050, 2061, 2067, 2078, 2089, and 2095. During my lifetime it was also the pattern calendar for 2005, 1994, 1983, 1977, 1966, 1955, and 1949. (I was born in 1946.) 


Step 2: Back to 1990, Forward to 2018

This is the July page from my 1990 calendar that depicts scenes in Ostfriesland (Lower Saxony) in Germany. It is the area from which my father's father came. I spent quite a bit of effort and several steps of sleuthing to find a publisher and order this calendar back in 1990. I could have hung this calendar on my wall in 2001 and 2007. I will be able to hang it on my wall again in 2018.

This calendar was printed in Germany. Like many other countries, some things are different. First, the German word for "July" is "Juli." Second, the week on many calendars begins with Monday and runs through Sunday, rather than beginning with Sunday and running through Saturday. Third, the abbreviations for the days of the week are different because the names of the days in German are different. I do have one calendar from Germany that prints the names of the days above one another in five or six languages, including English. 

You can have some fun directing a friend to a calendar on your wall that is obviously the wrong year, and yet, the dates are correct. And, you can enjoy an old calendar with a favorite theme or favorite pictures yet one more time.  
Hi Phil! i love your inscrutables. I have a kid that i'm working with who is dealing with Asperger syndrome. i knew that he's obsessed with numbers and dateד. when i share with him you column he said that it is true, and he once calculate and checked it out. he said there's 14 kind of calenders because there 7 days that calender can start with and a multiplication of two because of the two types of February that exists. he also added that every calender is exactly the same of the one 28 years ego. INTERESTING!
Thank you. I am sorry, but I somehow missed your comment until now. Your young student has some interesting insights. Thank you for sharing this.
Very interesting, Phil.
Thank you. Would you enjoy pointing a friend to a calendar in order to plan an event and watch his face as he realizes the calendar is 15 years old? The dates would be correct, but you could tell him there is really no difference. An old calendar works as well as a new calendar. The expression on his face would be wonderful to watch.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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