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Mnemonic Calendar


Mnemonic Calendar

They say people should exercise their brain more the older they get. Doing crossword or Sudoku puzzles is supposed to strengthen the brain like physical exercise improves the body. All ages can benefit from mental exercises.

Mnemonics is a way to easily remember information by replacing multiple bits of info with a single, memorable image. “Memorable” is the key.

It takes less than an hour to create your personal Mnemonic Calendar. Once ‘plugged’ into your head, it is good for 4 years, or until Leap Year arrives, at which time it will need a little revamping. Use it occasionally, so you don’t forget.

With the Mnemonic Calendar, you can name any date or day for your mnemonic calendar period.

In other words, someone can name any date, March 22, 2017, for example, and you can instantly tell them what day of the week it falls on. Or, someone can name any day, for example: the 3rd Friday of July, and you can tell them the date. This is handy when making appointments, planning trips, etc. Besides being useful in everyday life, one can also perform impressive mental tricks.

Create your Mnemonic Calendar:

1. On a pad of paper, write the 12 months in a vertical row on the left side of the page, starting with January at the top.

(Photo is of my Mnemonic Calendar Images. You should personalize your list.)

2. To the right of each month, record the date of the first Monday for that month. For example, in 2017, the first Monday in January is the 2nd. When finished, there should be a number to the right of each month.

3. To the right of the dates, record an image that will tell you the month and date. Often phonetic images work well for the month. Like June/Moon, May/Bay. Holiday months can use holiday images, for example: carved pumpkin for Oct., Turkey for Nov. Or it can be something personal: January 2nd (January image from my list) is a Birthday cake with Two candles. Reason: January is my birthday month.

Remembering the month image is easy. Remembering numbers is a little harder. To make it easier, make-up a little story. I tell myself age 2 was the first year I got to blow out birthday candles. Now, thanks to this short story, the image of a Birthday cake with two candles pops into my head every time I hear January. Which means I instantly know the date of the first Monday of January.

Mnemonic Tip: The more interesting or bizarre the image or story, the easier it is to remember. Also, images should be ‘concrete’ and not ‘abstract.’ The Liberty Bell is a concrete item, the term “liberty” is abstract, since it means different things to different people.

November on my list is Six Sick Turkeys. I could’ve picked just Six Turkeys, but the image of six turkeys vomiting is easier to remember, due to its bizarre nature.

4. Do the same for the remaining months. Below is my calendar as an example.

Jan. 2nd - Cake with 2 candles.

Feb. 6th - Spider Web with six hungry spiders.

March 6th - A marching band with six tuba players.

April 3rd - 3 Pearls, huge pearls on a small finger ring.

May 1st - One ship in a bay that is on fire.

June 5th - Five smiling moons in the night sky.

July 3rd - Three firecrackers on a cartoon face (one each each ear and mouth).

Aug. 6th - Six saw-bugs sailing a boat.

Sept. 4th - A king holding four scepters.

Oct. 2nd - The Jack-o-lantern Twins (two pumpkins carved as twins).

Nov. 6th - Six sick turkeys (I visualize six turkeys puking).

Dec. 4th - A square room with a Christmas tree in each corner.

Once you have made your own list and run through it a few times, you will be surprised how easily and quickly the info is remembered.

Telling the date or day:

Whenever someone names a date, you instantly know the first Monday of that month. Then it is a simple matter to add (or subtract) to the selected date.

Everyone does math differently and I am not a math expert. If the named date is close to your key date (less than 7 days), simple count to that date. For example, if Nov. 9th is chosen, I visualize Six Sick Turkeys, telling me the first Monday is the 6th. The 9th is 3 days later, or Thursday.

If it is a later day, for example: November 28th, take that month’s first Monday (6th) and add sevens until you get to less than 7 days from the selected date (6th, 13th, 20th, 27th). The 28th is Tuesday, one day after Monday the 27th. When you get more familiar with the adding, you can add groups of 7 (14, 21 or 28) to reach the desired number faster.

The above sounds like more work than it really is. Creating and remembering your Mnemonic Calendar and doing the simple math gets easy with a little repetition.


1. To mess with the heads of friends and strangers, I will tell someone I don’t use a calendar in my home or on my phone. Every year I glimpse the new calendar and remember it! Demonstrate that you know every date and day of the current year.

2. Photographic Memory Demonstration. Get four calendars for the four years of your Mnemonic Calendar. If you are somewhere in the middle of the four year period, you’ll need a couple old calendars as well as a couple new ones.

Place the calendars on a table and have them examined. Ask someone to pick any calendar and name a month. Turn to the month and do your best “Evelyn Wood Speed Reading” impersonation. Take only a few seconds, then claim you’ve remembered every day/date of that month and ask someone test you.

After impressing them by remembering an entire month in a few seconds, ask them to pick another calendar, then quickly flip through all 12 months, pretending to remember 356 dates and their corresponding days. Give the calendar to your spectators and ask them to take turns picking any date or day of any month in that calendar. If desired, you can look through the remaining three calendars, then give all four to your spectators, asking them to name days or dates from any of the four years. People will be impressed!

(A magician could have a dozen calendars by using some that are not connected to your Mnemonic Calendar. Then use a force to direct a spectator’s choice(s) to the desired calendar(s).

Note: Thanks to calendars on everyone’s smart phones, you can perform calendar tricks anywhere or anytime.

Note #2: Each year you need to advance your calendar date (first Monday) one day forward. So the second year, the first Tuesday will be your key date, Wednesday the next year, etc., until you reach the Leap Year.)

Good luck!

Chuck Leach

The above Mnemonic Calendar was inspired by Harry Lorayne. If you are interested in memory methods, you should read some of Harry’s books, including Super Power Memory. Harry is also one of the top card magicians on the planet.  

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