1701 (Concerning date formats around the world)


Here in the United States of America, we commonly use the date format mm/dd/yyyy.

So, the date I’m writing this post—January 17, 2020—is commonly written out as follows:


It should come as no real surprise that date formats differ around the world. China and Mongolia use the yyyy/mm/dd format. A few parts of the world alternate freely between dd/mm/yyyy and yyyy/mm/dd. But, the majority of the world uses the dd/mm/yyyy format.

Only the US insists upon mm/dd/yyyy.

Why, you ask? I’m not sure. At this point, I’m sure tradition must figure into it. Maybe it’s an innate drive to be different or contrarian. Certainly, we’ve demonstrated those tendencies before. It’s why we’re crazy for American football (in which the only foot that ever strikes a ball belongs to the kicker), and not so much over soccer (more justifiably known as football to the rest of the world). We also love our guns, which we celebrate each year with a higher rate of gun deaths than the other wealthy countries of the world (also higher than many less-than-wealthy countries, now that you mention it).

Maybe it’s just rugged individualism at its most obtuse.

Until today, however, I’ve never wanted to format my dates any other way. One of my UK friends posted that today we celebrate Star Trek Day.

You understand, today’s date in London was 17/01/2020.

And the registration number of the USS Enterprise was, of course, NCC-1701.

Which makes perfect sense in the rest of the world. I join them in celebration today, even though here in the States we celebrate Star Trek Day on September 8th, because the series began airing on September 8, 1966. I don’t mind celebrating twice.

This made me start wondering something else, though. The US celebrates Star Wars Day on May 4 (as in “May the 4th Be with You). When does the rest of the world celebrate that fandom?


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