Countdown Day

Day 4






Today is Countdown Day in places that date things in a way that makes sense–from smallest unit to largest–day, month, year. 4/3/21. A special day you’ve never heard of, I would imagine.

Theoretically and head-knowledge-wise, I can see it makes total sense to write the date like this. However, I grew up with month, day, year dates in the U.S., and so for decades I didn’t know there was another way to write the date. Nine times out of ten, automaticity ensures I still manage to write the date with the month first, even though I’m living in a country where the day comes first in the date.

I didn’t know it was Countdown Day until I saw it in a chat in one of my many–count them (I just did)–six Zoom meetings today!

This came from a teacher from Down Under. Actually, I’ve learned since living in Bahrain that most of the world writes the date with the day first.

Imagine how confused I get when I have students write their birthdays on a candle for our birthday bulletin board. I see 7/5 or 5/7 and inevitably I have to ask, “Is your birthday in May or July?” The student does a double take between the candle and me and wonders why I don’t know my months. I love it when the day is anywhere between 13-31. Only then can I be confident I know for sure what month we are talking about.

Throw in the use of Google Sheets, where the default date format is from the U.S.–month, day, year–and our school reports can really get confusing.

The good thing about doing dates in both ways, though, is that we can “celebrate” Countdown Day twice this year. Once today and once on April 3rd in the U.S. Or is that, 3/4/21? Oh, dear!

Anyway, in honor of the Mars landing, let’s celebrate twice in 2021.

A chance for another Countdown Day anywhere in the world won’t come for another hundred years.




4 thoughts on “Countdown Day

  1. What fun! I love this slice all about calendar fun (and confusion!)

  2. I never really thought about this. Living in the U.S. I only ever write the date one way. I imagine if I were to move to a place that wrote the day first I would cause all kinds of confusion.

  3. I’m slow. It took me until the end to realize this is the 4th day of the 3rd month of the year 21: hence, 4-3-2-1. Duh! Anyway, this is fun to think about. We are not logical in the US, but I do remember learning to write 4 March 2021 as a kid. I think that’s how the military dates things.

    P.S. See you in comment moderation! 😉😂

  4. What a rare day indeed! I have always loved how ‘commanding’ this date is – MARCH FORTH! I love thinking about it as “countdown” – that happens just once a century…very cool. Thank you! This was the brainteaser I needed today!

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