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Cards and the Calendar

Posted on February 15, 2012 in Articles

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!