Cards and the Calendar

Find out why card decks and calendars have so much in common.

Cards and the Calendar

The numbers and values in a deck of cards are very similar to the weeks and months of a modern calendar. Is this just a coincidence, or was this relationship intended? A complete deck of playing cards contains four suits, two primary colors, and thirteen values ranging from the Ace to the King. Usually, it contains two Jokers.

Lurking within these colors, suits, and values is an astonishing, but entirely coincidental, relationship to our modern calendar. Some of the proposed “alignments” between cards and the calendar are:

  • Two colors representing night and day
  • Four suits representing the four seasons
  • Twelve court cards representing the 12 months
  • Thirteen values representing the 13 lunar cycles in a year
  • 52 cards representing 52 weeks in a year

Perhaps the most interesting coincidence is that if you add up all of the values in a deck, using the Aces as one, and the Jacks, Queens and Kings as eleven, twelve and thirteen respectively, you arrive at a total of 364. Adding the first Joker as another one gets you to 365 – the same number as there are days in a year – and adding the second Joker gets you to 366, so we even have leap years covered!

The modern deck of cards wasn’t designed with these relationships in mind. They’re merely a coincidence due to the numbers involved. It all adds up to a lot of fun.

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Comments(1)

  • I disagree with this article. It is not coincidental that the numbers in a deck of cards coincide with the Gregorian Calendar. Catholicism and Judaism are both based on the Calendar, as is almost everything else in the modern world. Man is born, lives, and dies by the Calendar. The quality of Man’s birth, life, and death are also determined by it. All food, crops, liquor, animals, fortune, and misfortune are determined by it. Charting the passage of time by early Man was an obsessive pursuit evidenced by the fantastic monuments and devices in our collective history. It is unrealistic to think that playing cards are not also based on it.

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