I'm trying to describe the phenomenon behind dates like March 21st being Down Syndrome awareness day (signifying 3 chromosome 21's); July 10th being dab day among cannabis enthusists (upsidedown it spells OIL); March 14th being Pi day because it resembles 3.14.

A pun isn't exactly right, though I'd say May the 4th (may the force...) being Starwars Day is a pun. Numerology isn't exactly right either, as the definition has to do with magic. I mean more like the numbers are symbolic. I'm sure there are other examples I can't think of.

Is there a specific word for this other than simply "symbolism"?

  • Not an answer, as I don't know my ass from my elbow in regards to this, but maybe isopsephy or gematria might further... Feb 28 at 3:19
  • Are you looking for a word to describe the days themselves? The process of establishing them? The general existence of such dates?
    – alphabet
    Feb 28 at 4:48
  • @alphabet I guess the days themselves? The context is a short story I'm writing where the character knows a date is an in-universe holiday but is unaware of the reasoning behind the symbolism. Example sentence, "[holiday] happened every [date] due to [reason]--though the symbolism(?) had been lost to time". But I like being a bit pretentious in my writing, so if a hyperspecific word exists for this phenomenon, I'd love to use it
    – Zaya
    Feb 28 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


How about "number symbolism"?

number symbolism, cultural associations—including religious, philosophic, and aesthetic—with various numbers.



There does not seem to be any common term for this. I looked at the Wikipedia pages of four such dates: Pi Day, Star Wars Day, Singles' Day, and World Down Syndrome Day. English-language Wikipedia is widely used by speakers of many varieties of English and can be edited by anyone who has information to contribute, so one could reasonably expect that descriptions of these special dates would contain references to categories to which they belonged. In particular, at the bottom of each page is a text box titled "categories" that links to various categories of Wikipedia pages ("unofficial observances", "puns", "1990s neologisms", etc.). However, none of these pages contain any references as far as I can tell to such a category or term.

You could certainly call these "symbolic dates", but to specify that they are symbolic because of their numerals, you'd probably have to include some extra words.

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