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I am looking for a word or phrase to describe when a date (or other factual information, but especially dates) is changed in later retelling so that it aligns with some other date that is considered 'special' (specific to the real event, or just in general).

I'm not speaking of rounding errors here; reporting $1,976,450.00 as $2 million is not the same thing as reporting something that happened on January 2nd as "New Year's day"

For instance: "William Shakespeare is believed to have died on April 23, 1616, exactly 52 years to the day of his birth." (from some textbook, not sure exactly which)

Disproportionately many real-world historical events seem to have happened on Leap Day, New Year's day, Spring/Fall Equinox, Winter/Summer Solstace, Christmas or other holidays.

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1  
Relevant XKCD: xkcd.com/1140 –  AJMansfield Oct 24 '13 at 0:56
    
The "Queen's birthday" syndrome? –  Blessed Geek Oct 24 '13 at 1:45

2 Answers 2

To some extent, changes like the question asks about are a form of historical revisionism, also known as negationism. Changes to history sometimes are called by names such as lies, whitewashing (sense 2), expurgation, historical tidying-up, etc. Changing an actual historical date to a more-special date may be a case of wishful thinking.

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I'd say that

apocryphal : (of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true.

is appropriate.

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