Working with calendars

Although a date and time value represents a moment in time, its string representation is culture-sensitive and depends both on the conventions used for displaying date and time values by a specific culture and on the calendar used by that culture. This topic explores the support for calendars in .NET and discusses the use of the calendar classes when working with date values.

Calendars in .NET

All calendars in .NET derive from the System.Globalization.Calendar class, which provides the base calendar implementation. One of the classes that inherits from the Calendar class is the EastAsianLunisolarCalendar class, which is the base class for all lunisolar calendars. .NET includes the following calendar implementations:

A calendar can be used in one of two ways:

  • As the calendar used by a specific culture. Each CultureInfo object has a current calendar, which is the calendar that the object is currently using. The string representations of all date and time values automatically reflect the current culture and its current calendar. Typically, the current calendar is the culture's default calendar. CultureInfo objects also have optional calendars, which include additional calendars that the culture can use.

  • As a standalone calendar independent of a specific culture. In this case, Calendar methods are used to express dates as values that reflect the calendar.

Note that six calendar classes – ChineseLunisolarCalendar, JapaneseLunisolarCalendar, JulianCalendar, KoreanLunisolarCalendar, PersianCalendar, and TaiwanLunisolarCalendar – can be used only as standalone calendars. They are not used by any culture as either the default calendar or as an optional calendar.

Calendars and cultures

Each culture has a default calendar, which is defined by the CultureInfo.Calendar property. The CultureInfo.OptionalCalendars property returns an array of Calendar objects that specifies all the calendars supported by a particular culture, including that culture's default calendar.

The following example illustrates the CultureInfo.Calendar and CultureInfo.OptionalCalendars properties. It creates CultureInfo objects for the Thai (Thailand) and Japanese (Japan) cultures and displays their default and optional calendars. Note that in both cases, the culture's default calendar is also included in the CultureInfo.OptionalCalendars collection.

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      // Create a CultureInfo for Thai in Thailand.
      CultureInfo th = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("th-TH");
      DisplayCalendars(th);

      // Create a CultureInfo for Japanese in Japan.
      CultureInfo ja = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP");
      DisplayCalendars(ja);
   }

   static void DisplayCalendars(CultureInfo ci)
   {
      Console.WriteLine("Calendars for the {0} culture:", ci.Name);

      // Get the culture's default calendar.
      Calendar defaultCalendar = ci.Calendar;
      Console.Write("   Default Calendar: {0}", GetCalendarName(defaultCalendar));      

      if (defaultCalendar is GregorianCalendar)
         Console.WriteLine(" ({0})", 
                           ((GregorianCalendar) defaultCalendar).CalendarType);
      else
         Console.WriteLine();
      
      // Get the culture's optional calendars.
      Console.WriteLine("   Optional Calendars:");      
      foreach (var optionalCalendar in ci.OptionalCalendars) {
         Console.Write("{0,6}{1}", "", GetCalendarName(optionalCalendar));
         if (optionalCalendar is GregorianCalendar)
            Console.Write(" ({0})", 
                          ((GregorianCalendar) optionalCalendar).CalendarType);

         Console.WriteLine();
      }
      Console.WriteLine();
   }

   static string GetCalendarName(Calendar cal)
   {
      return cal.ToString().Replace("System.Globalization.", "");
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//       Calendars for the th-TH culture:
//          Default Calendar: ThaiBuddhistCalendar
//          Optional Calendars:
//             ThaiBuddhistCalendar
//             GregorianCalendar (Localized)
//       
//       Calendars for the ja-JP culture:
//          Default Calendar: GregorianCalendar (Localized)
//          Optional Calendars:
//             GregorianCalendar (Localized)
//             JapaneseCalendar
//             GregorianCalendar (USEnglish)
Imports System.Globalization

Public Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      ' Create a CultureInfo for Thai in Thailand.
      Dim th As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("th-TH")
      DisplayCalendars(th)

      ' Create a CultureInfo for Japanese in Japan.
      Dim ja As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP")
      DisplayCalendars(ja)
   End Sub

   Sub DisplayCalendars(ci As CultureInfo)
      Console.WriteLine("Calendars for the {0} culture:", ci.Name)

      ' Get the culture's default calendar.
      Dim defaultCalendar As Calendar = ci.Calendar
      Console.Write("   Default Calendar: {0}", GetCalendarName(defaultCalendar))      

      If TypeOf defaultCalendar Is GregorianCalendar Then
         Console.WriteLine(" ({0})", 
                           CType(defaultCalendar, GregorianCalendar).CalendarType)
      Else
         Console.WriteLine()
      End If
      
      ' Get the culture's optional calendars.
      Console.WriteLine("   Optional Calendars:")      
      For Each optionalCalendar In ci.OptionalCalendars
         Console.Write("{0,6}{1}", "", GetCalendarName(optionalCalendar))
         If TypeOf optionalCalendar Is GregorianCalendar Then
            Console.Write(" ({0})", 
                          CType(optionalCalendar, GregorianCalendar).CalendarType)
         End If
         Console.WriteLine()
      Next
      Console.WriteLine()
   End Sub

   Function GetCalendarName(cal As Calendar) As String
      Return cal.ToString().Replace("System.Globalization.", "")
   End Function
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'       Calendars for the th-TH culture:
'          Default Calendar: ThaiBuddhistCalendar
'          Optional Calendars:
'             ThaiBuddhistCalendar
'             GregorianCalendar (Localized)
'       
'       Calendars for the ja-JP culture:
'          Default Calendar: GregorianCalendar (Localized)
'          Optional Calendars:
'             GregorianCalendar (Localized)
'             JapaneseCalendar
'             GregorianCalendar (USEnglish)

The calendar currently in use by a particular CultureInfo object is defined by the culture's DateTimeFormatInfo.Calendar property. A culture's DateTimeFormatInfo object is returned by the CultureInfo.DateTimeFormat property. When a culture is created, its default value is the same as the value of the CultureInfo.Calendar property. However, you can change the culture's current calendar to any calendar contained in the array returned by the CultureInfo.OptionalCalendars property. If you try to set the current calendar to a calendar that is not included in the CultureInfo.OptionalCalendars property value, an ArgumentException is thrown.

The following example changes the calendar used by the Arabic (Saudi Arabia) culture. It first instantiates a DateTime value and displays it using the current culture - which, in this case, is English (United States) - and the current culture's calendar (which, in this case, is the Gregorian calendar). Next, it changes the current culture to Arabic (Saudi Arabia) and displays the date using its default Um Al-Qura calendar. It then calls the CalendarExists method to determine whether the Hijri calendar is supported by the Arabic (Saudi Arabia) culture. Because the calendar is supported, it changes the current calendar to Hijri and again displays the date. Note that in each case, the date is displayed using the current culture's current calendar.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Threading;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(2011, 6, 20);

      DisplayCurrentInfo();
      // Display the date using the current culture and calendar.
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"));       
      Console.WriteLine();
      
      CultureInfo arSA = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ar-SA");
      
      // Change the current culture to Arabic (Saudi Arabia).
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = arSA;
      // Display date and information about the current culture.
      DisplayCurrentInfo();
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"));
      Console.WriteLine();
      
      // Change the calendar to Hijri.
      Calendar hijri = new HijriCalendar();
      if (CalendarExists(arSA, hijri)) {
         arSA.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = hijri;
         // Display date and information about the current culture.
         DisplayCurrentInfo();
         Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"));
      }       
   }

   private static void DisplayCurrentInfo()
   {
      Console.WriteLine("Current Culture: {0}", 
                        CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Name);
      Console.WriteLine("Current Calendar: {0}", 
                        DateTimeFormatInfo.CurrentInfo.Calendar);
   }

   private static bool CalendarExists(CultureInfo culture, Calendar cal)
   {
      foreach (Calendar optionalCalendar in culture.OptionalCalendars)
         if (cal.ToString().Equals(optionalCalendar.ToString())) 
            return true;

      return false;
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    Current Culture: en-US
//    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar
//    6/20/2011
//    
//    Current Culture: ar-SA
//    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.UmAlQuraCalendar
//    18/07/32
//    
//    Current Culture: ar-SA
//    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.HijriCalendar
//    19/07/32
Imports System.Globalization
Imports System.Threading

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim date1 As Date = #6/20/2011#

      DisplayCurrentInfo()
      ' Display the date using the current culture and calendar.
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"))       
      Console.WriteLine()
      
      Dim arSA As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ar-SA")
      
      ' Change the current culture to Arabic (Saudi Arabia).
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = arSA
      ' Display date and information about the current culture.
      DisplayCurrentInfo()
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"))
      Console.WriteLine()
      
      ' Change the calendar to Hijri.
      Dim hijri As Calendar = New HijriCalendar()
      If CalendarExists(arSA, hijri) Then
         arSA.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = hijri
         ' Display date and information about the current culture.
         DisplayCurrentInfo()
         Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"))
      End If       
   End Sub
   
   Private Sub DisplayCurrentInfo()
      Console.WriteLine("Current Culture: {0}", 
                        CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Name)
      Console.WriteLine("Current Calendar: {0}", 
                        DateTimeFormatInfo.CurrentInfo.Calendar)
   End Sub

   Private Function CalendarExists(ByVal culture As CultureInfo, 
                                   cal As Calendar) As Boolean
      For Each optionalCalendar As Calendar In culture.OptionalCalendars
         If cal.ToString().Equals(optionalCalendar.ToString()) Then Return True
      Next   
      Return False
   End Function
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'    Current Culture: en-US
'    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar
'    6/20/2011
'    
'    Current Culture: ar-SA
'    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.UmAlQuraCalendar
'    18/07/32
'    
'    Current Culture: ar-SA
'    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.HijriCalendar
'    19/07/32

Dates and calendars

With the exception of the constructors that include a parameter of type Calendar and allow the elements of a date (that is, the month, the day, and the year) to reflect values in a designated calendar, both DateTime and DateTimeOffset values are always based on the Gregorian calendar. This means, for example, that the DateTime.Year property returns the year in the Gregorian calendar, and the DateTime.Day property returns the day of the month in the Gregorian calendar.

Important

It is important to remember that there is a difference between a date value and its string representation. The former is based on the Gregorian calendar; the latter is based on the current calendar of a specific culture.

The following example illustrates this difference between DateTime properties and their corresponding Calendar methods. In the example, the current culture is Arabic (Egypt), and the current calendar is Um Al Qura. A DateTime value is set to the fifteenth day of the seventh month of 2011. It is clear that this is interpreted as a Gregorian date, because these same values are returned by the DateTime.ToString(String, IFormatProvider) method when it uses the conventions of the invariant culture. The string representation of the date that is formatted using the conventions of the current culture is 14/08/32, which is the equivalent date in the Um Al Qura calendar. Next, members of DateTime and Calendar are used to return the day, the month, and the year of the DateTime value. In each case, the values returned by DateTime members reflect values in the Gregorian calendar, whereas values returned by UmAlQuraCalendar members reflect values in the Uum al-Qura calendar.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Threading;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      // Make Arabic (Egypt) the current culture 
      // and Umm al-Qura calendar the current calendar. 
      CultureInfo arEG = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ar-EG");
      Calendar cal = new UmAlQuraCalendar();
      arEG.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = cal;
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = arEG;

      // Display information on current culture and calendar.
      DisplayCurrentInfo();      

      // Instantiate a date object.
      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(2011, 7, 15);

      // Display the string representation of the date.
      Console.WriteLine("Date: {0:d}", date1);
      Console.WriteLine("Date in the Invariant Culture: {0}", 
                        date1.ToString("d", CultureInfo.InvariantCulture));
      Console.WriteLine();
            
      // Compare DateTime properties and Calendar methods.
      Console.WriteLine("DateTime.Month property: {0}", date1.Month);
      Console.WriteLine("UmAlQura.GetMonth: {0}", 
                        cal.GetMonth(date1));
      Console.WriteLine();

      Console.WriteLine("DateTime.Day property: {0}", date1.Day);
      Console.WriteLine("UmAlQura.GetDayOfMonth: {0}", 
                        cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1));                         
      Console.WriteLine();
      
      Console.WriteLine("DateTime.Year property: {0:D4}", date1.Year);
      Console.WriteLine("UmAlQura.GetYear: {0}", 
                        cal.GetYear(date1));                         
      Console.WriteLine();
   }

   private static void DisplayCurrentInfo()
   {
      Console.WriteLine("Current Culture: {0}", 
                        CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Name);
      Console.WriteLine("Current Calendar: {0}", 
                        DateTimeFormatInfo.CurrentInfo.Calendar);
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    Current Culture: ar-EG
//    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.UmAlQuraCalendar
//    Date: 14/08/32
//    Date in the Invariant Culture: 07/15/2011
//    
//    DateTime.Month property: 7
//    UmAlQura.GetMonth: 8
//    
//    DateTime.Day property: 15
//    UmAlQura.GetDayOfMonth: 14
//    
//    DateTime.Year property: 2011
//    UmAlQura.GetYear: 1432
Imports System.Globalization
Imports System.Threading

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      ' Make Arabic (Egypt) the current culture 
      ' and Umm al-Qura calendar the current calendar. 
      Dim arEG As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ar-EG")
      Dim cal As Calendar = New UmAlQuraCalendar()
      arEG.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = cal
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = arEG

      ' Display information on current culture and calendar.
      DisplayCurrentInfo()      

      ' Instantiate a date object.
      Dim date1 As Date = #07/15/2011#

      ' Display the string representation of the date.
      Console.WriteLine("Date: {0:d}", date1)
      Console.WriteLine("Date in the Invariant Culture: {0}", 
                        date1.ToString("d", CultureInfo.InvariantCulture))
      Console.WriteLine()
            
      ' Compare DateTime properties and Calendar methods.
      Console.WriteLine("DateTime.Month property: {0}", date1.Month)
      Console.WriteLine("UmAlQura.GetMonth: {0}", 
                        cal.GetMonth(date1))
      Console.WriteLine()

      Console.WriteLine("DateTime.Day property: {0}", date1.Day)
      Console.WriteLine("UmAlQura.GetDayOfMonth: {0}", 
                        cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1))                         
      Console.WriteLine()
      
      Console.WriteLine("DateTime.Year property: {0:D4}", date1.Year)
      Console.WriteLine("UmAlQura.GetYear: {0}", 
                        cal.GetYear(date1))                         
      Console.WriteLine()
   End Sub
   
   Private Sub DisplayCurrentInfo()
      Console.WriteLine("Current Culture: {0}", 
                        CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Name)
      Console.WriteLine("Current Calendar: {0}", 
                        DateTimeFormatInfo.CurrentInfo.Calendar)
   End Sub
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'    Current Culture: ar-EG
'    Current Calendar: System.Globalization.UmAlQuraCalendar
'    Date: 14/08/32
'    Date in the Invariant Culture: 07/15/2011
'    
'    DateTime.Month property: 7
'    UmAlQura.GetMonth: 8
'    
'    DateTime.Day property: 15
'    UmAlQura.GetDayOfMonth: 14
'    
'    DateTime.Year property: 2011
'    UmAlQura.GetYear: 1432

Instantiating dates based on a calendar

Because DateTime and DateTimeOffset values are based on the Gregorian calendar, you must call an overloaded constructor that includes a parameter of type Calendar to instantiate a date value if you want to use the day, month, or year values from a different calendar. You can also call one of the overloads of a specific calendar's Calendar.ToDateTime method to instantiate a DateTime object based on the values of a particular calendar.

The following example instantiates one DateTime value by passing a HebrewCalendar object to a DateTime constructor, and instantiates a second DateTime value by calling the HebrewCalendar.ToDateTime(Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32) method. Because the two values are created with identical values from the Hebrew calendar, the call to the DateTime.Equals method shows that the two DateTime values are equal.

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      HebrewCalendar hc = new HebrewCalendar();

      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(5771, 6, 1, hc);
      DateTime date2 = hc.ToDateTime(5771, 6, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0);
      
      Console.WriteLine("{0:d} (Gregorian) = {1:d2}/{2:d2}/{3:d4} ({4}): {5}",
                        date1, 
                        hc.GetMonth(date2),
                        hc.GetDayOfMonth(date2),
                        hc.GetYear(date2), 
                        GetCalendarName(hc),
                        date1.Equals(date2));
   }
   
   private static string GetCalendarName(Calendar cal)
   {
      return cal.ToString().Replace("System.Globalization.", ""). 
                            Replace("Calendar", "");
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    2/5/2011 (Gregorian) = 06/01/5771 (Hebrew): True
Imports System.Globalization

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim hc As New HebrewCalendar()

      Dim date1 As New Date(5771, 6, 1, hc)
      Dim date2 As Date = hc.ToDateTime(5771, 6, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0)
      
      Console.WriteLine("{0:d} (Gregorian) = {1:d2}/{2:d2}/{3:d4} ({4}): {5}",
                        date1, 
                        hc.GetMonth(date2),
                        hc.GetDayOfMonth(date2),
                        hc.GetYear(date2), 
                        GetCalendarName(hc),
                        date1.Equals(date2))
   End Sub
   
   Private Function GetCalendarName(cal As Calendar) As String
      Return cal.ToString().Replace("System.Globalization.", ""). 
                            Replace("Calendar", "")
   End Function
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'   2/5/2011 (Gregorian) = 06/01/5771 (Hebrew): True

Representing dates in the current calendar

Date and time formatting methods always use the current calendar when converting dates to strings. This means that the string representation of the year, the month, and the day of the month reflect the current calendar, and do not necessarily reflect the Gregorian calendar.

The following example shows how the current calendar affects the string representation of a date. It changes the current culture to Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan), and instantiates a date value. It then displays the current calendar and the date, changes the current calendar to TaiwanCalendar, and displays the current calendar and date once again. The first time the date is displayed, it is represented as a date in the Gregorian calendar. The second time it is displayed, it is represented as a date in the Taiwan calendar.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Threading;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      // Change the current culture to zh-TW.
      CultureInfo zhTW = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("zh-TW");
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = zhTW;
      // Define a date.
      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(2011, 1, 16);
      
      // Display the date using the default (Gregorian) calendar.
      Console.WriteLine("Current calendar: {0}", 
                        zhTW.DateTimeFormat.Calendar);
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"));
      
      // Change the current calendar and display the date.
      zhTW.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = new TaiwanCalendar();      
      Console.WriteLine("Current calendar: {0}", 
                        zhTW.DateTimeFormat.Calendar);
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"));
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    Current calendar: System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar
//    2011/1/16
//    Current calendar: System.Globalization.TaiwanCalendar
//    100/1/16
Imports System.Globalization
Imports System.Threading

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      ' Change the current culture to zh-TW.
      Dim zhTW As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("zh-TW")
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = zhTW
      ' Define a date.
      Dim date1 As Date = #1/16/2011#
      
      ' Display the date using the default (Gregorian) calendar.
      Console.WriteLine("Current calendar: {0}", 
                        zhTW.DateTimeFormat.Calendar)
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"))
      
      ' Change the current calendar and display the date.
      zhTW.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = New TaiwanCalendar()      
      Console.WriteLine("Current calendar: {0}", 
                        zhTW.DateTimeFormat.Calendar)
      Console.WriteLine(date1.ToString("d"))
   End Sub
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'    Current calendar: System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar
'    2011/1/16
'    Current calendar: System.Globalization.TaiwanCalendar
'    100/1/16

Representing dates in a non-current calendar

To represent a date using a calendar that is not the current calendar of a particular culture, you must call methods of that Calendar object. For example, the Calendar.GetYear, Calendar.GetMonth, and Calendar.GetDayOfMonth methods convert the year, month, and day to values that reflect a particular calendar.

Warning

Because some calendars are not optional calendars of any culture, representing dates in these calendars always requires that you call calendar methods. This is true of all calendars that derive from the EastAsianLunisolarCalendar, JulianCalendar, and PersianCalendar classes.

The following example uses a JulianCalendar object to instantiate a date, January 9, 1905, in the Julian calendar. When this date is displayed using the default (Gregorian) calendar, it is represented as January 22, 1905. Calls to individual JulianCalendar methods enable the date to be represented in the Julian calendar.

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      JulianCalendar julian = new JulianCalendar();
      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(1905, 1, 9, julian);
      
      Console.WriteLine("Date ({0}): {1:d}", 
                        CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Calendar,
                        date1);
      Console.WriteLine("Date in Julian calendar: {0:d2}/{1:d2}/{2:d4}",
                        julian.GetMonth(date1),
                        julian.GetDayOfMonth(date1),
                        julian.GetYear(date1));
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    Date (System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar): 1/22/1905
//    Date in Julian calendar: 01/09/1905
Imports System.Globalization

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim julian As New JulianCalendar()
      Dim date1 As New Date(1905, 1, 9, julian)
      
      Console.WriteLine("Date ({0}): {1:d}", 
                        CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Calendar,
                        date1)
      Console.WriteLine("Date in Julian calendar: {0:d2}/{1:d2}/{2:d4}",
                        julian.GetMonth(date1),
                        julian.GetDayOfMonth(date1),
                        julian.GetYear(date1))
   End Sub
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'    Date (System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar): 1/22/1905
'    Date in Julian calendar: 01/09/1905

Calendars and date ranges

The earliest date supported by a calendar is indicated by that calendar's Calendar.MinSupportedDateTime property. For the GregorianCalendar class, that date is January 1, 0001 C.E. Most of the other calendars in .NET support a later date. Trying to work with a date and time value that precedes a calendar's earliest supported date throws an ArgumentOutOfRangeException exception.

However, there is one important exception. The default (uninitialized) value of a DateTime object and a DateTimeOffset object is equal to the GregorianCalendar.MinSupportedDateTime value. If you try to format this date in a calendar that does not support January 1, 0001 C.E. and you do not provide a format specifier, the formatting method uses the "s" (sortable date/time pattern) format specifier instead of the "G" (general date/time pattern) format specifier. As a result, the formatting operation does not throw an ArgumentOutOfRangeException exception. Instead, it returns the unsupported date. This is illustrated in the following example, which displays the value of DateTime.MinValue when the current culture is set to Japanese (Japan) with the Japanese calendar, and to Arabic (Egypt) with the Um Al Qura calendar. It also sets the current culture to English (United States) and calls the DateTime.ToString(IFormatProvider) method with each of these CultureInfo objects. In each case, the date is displayed by using the sortable date/time pattern.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Threading;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      DateTime dat = DateTime.MinValue;
   
      // Change the current culture to ja-JP with the Japanese Calendar.
      CultureInfo jaJP = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP");
      jaJP.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = new JapaneseCalendar();
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = jaJP;
      Console.WriteLine("Earliest supported date by {1} calendar: {0:d}", 
                        jaJP.DateTimeFormat.Calendar.MinSupportedDateTime,
                        GetCalendarName(jaJP));
      // Attempt to display the date.
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString());     
      Console.WriteLine();
      
      // Change the current culture to ar-EG with the Um Al Qura calendar.
      CultureInfo arEG = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ar-EG");
      arEG.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = new UmAlQuraCalendar();
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = arEG;
      Console.WriteLine("Earliest supported date by {1} calendar: {0:d}", 
                        arEG.DateTimeFormat.Calendar.MinSupportedDateTime,
                        GetCalendarName(arEG));
      // Attempt to display the date.
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString());     
      Console.WriteLine();
      
      // Change the current culture to en-US.
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("en-US");
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString(jaJP));
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString(arEG));
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString("d"));
   }
   
   private static string GetCalendarName(CultureInfo culture)
   {
      Calendar cal = culture.DateTimeFormat.Calendar;
      return cal.GetType().Name.Replace("System.Globalization.", "").Replace("Calendar", "");  
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//       Earliest supported date by Japanese calendar: 明治 1/9/8
//       0001-01-01T00:00:00
//       
//       Earliest supported date by UmAlQura calendar: 01/01/18
//       0001-01-01T00:00:00
//       
//       0001-01-01T00:00:00
//       0001-01-01T00:00:00
//       1/1/0001
Imports System.Globalization
Imports System.Threading

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim dat As Date = DateTime.MinValue
   
      ' Change the current culture to ja-JP with the Japanese Calendar.
      Dim jaJP As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP")
      jaJP.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = New JapaneseCalendar()
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = jaJP
      Console.WriteLine("Earliest supported date by {1} calendar: {0:d}", 
                        jaJP.DateTimeFormat.Calendar.MinSupportedDateTime,
                        GetCalendarName(jaJP))
      ' Attempt to display the date.
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString())     
      Console.WriteLine()
      
      ' Change the current culture to ar-EG with the Um Al Qura calendar.
      Dim arEG As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ar-EG")
      arEG.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = New UmAlQuraCalendar()
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = arEG
      Console.WriteLine("Earliest supported date by {1} calendar: {0:d}", 
                        arEG.DateTimeFormat.Calendar.MinSupportedDateTime,
                        GetCalendarName(arEG))
      ' Attempt to display the date.
      Console.WRiteLine(dat.ToString())     
      Console.WRiteLine()
      
      ' Change the current culture to en-US.
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("en-US")
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString(jaJP))
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString(arEG))
      Console.WriteLine(dat.ToString("d"))
   End Sub
   
   Private Function GetCalendarName(culture As CultureInfo) As String
      Dim cal As Calendar = culture.DateTimeFormat.Calendar
      Return cal.GetType().Name.Replace("System.Globalization.", "").Replace("Calendar", "")  
   End Function
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'       Earliest supported date by Japanese calendar: 明治 1/9/8
'       0001-01-01T00:00:00
'       
'       Earliest supported date by UmAlQura calendar: 01/01/18
'       0001-01-01T00:00:00
'       
'       0001-01-01T00:00:00
'       0001-01-01T00:00:00
'       1/1/0001

Working with eras

Calendars typically divide dates into eras. However, the Calendar classes in .NET do not support every era defined by a calendar, and most of the Calendar classes support only a single era. Only the JapaneseCalendar and JapaneseLunisolarCalendar classes support multiple eras.

Important

The Reiwa era, a new era in the JapaneseCalendar and JapaneseLunisolarCalendar, begins on May 1, 2019. This change affects all applications that use these calendars. See the following articles for more information:

An era in most calendars denotes an extremely long time period. In the Gregorian calendar, for example, the current era spans more than two millennia. For the JapaneseCalendar and the JapaneseLunisolarCalendar, the two calendars that support multiple eras, this is not the case. An era corresponds to the period of an emperor's reign. Support for multiple eras, particularly when the upper limit of the current era is unknown, poses special challenges.

Eras and era names

In .NET, integers that represent the eras supported by a particular calendar implementation are stored in reverse order in the Calendar.Eras array. The current era (which is the era with the latest time range) is at index zero, and for Calendar classes that support multiple eras, each successive index reflects the previous era. The static Calendar.CurrentEra property defines the index of the current era in the Calendar.Eras array; it is a constant whose value is always zero. Individual Calendar classes also include static fields that return the value of the current era. They are listed in the following table.

Calendar class Current era field
ChineseLunisolarCalendar ChineseEra
GregorianCalendar ADEra
HebrewCalendar HebrewEra
HijriCalendar HijriEra
JapaneseLunisolarCalendar JapaneseEra
JulianCalendar JulianEra
KoreanCalendar KoreanEra
KoreanLunisolarCalendar GregorianEra
PersianCalendar PersianEra
ThaiBuddhistCalendar ThaiBuddhistEra
UmAlQuraCalendar UmAlQuraEra

The name that corresponds to a particular era number can be retrieved by passing the era number to the DateTimeFormatInfo.GetEraName or DateTimeFormatInfo.GetAbbreviatedEraName method. The following example calls these methods to retrieve information about era support in the GregorianCalendar class. It displays the Gregorian calendar date that corresponds to January 1 of the second year of the current era, as well as the Gregorian calendar date that corresponds to January 1 of the second year of each supported Japanese calendar era.

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      int year = 2;
      int month = 1;
      int day = 1;
      Calendar cal = new JapaneseCalendar();

      Console.WriteLine("\nDate instantiated without an era:");
      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(year, month, day, 0, 0, 0, 0, cal);
      Console.WriteLine("{0}/{1}/{2} in Japanese Calendar -> {3:d} in Gregorian", 
                        cal.GetMonth(date1), cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1),
                        cal.GetYear(date1), date1);
      
      Console.WriteLine("\nDates instantiated with eras:");
      foreach (int era in cal.Eras) {
         DateTime date2 = cal.ToDateTime(year, month, day, 0, 0, 0, 0, era);
         Console.WriteLine("{0}/{1}/{2} era {3} in Japanese Calendar -> {4:d} in Gregorian", 
                           cal.GetMonth(date2), cal.GetDayOfMonth(date2),
                           cal.GetYear(date2), cal.GetEra(date2), date2);
      }                        
   }
}
Imports System.Globalization

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim year As Integer = 2
      Dim month As Integer = 1
      Dim day As Integer = 1
      Dim cal As New JapaneseCalendar()

      Console.WriteLine("Date instantiated without an era:")
      Dim date1 As New Date(year, month, day, 0, 0, 0, 0, cal)
      Console.WriteLine("{0}/{1}/{2} in Japanese Calendar -> {3:d} in Gregorian", 
                        cal.GetMonth(date1), cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1),
                        cal.GetYear(date1), date1)
      Console.WriteLine()
      
      Console.WriteLine("Dates instantiated with eras:")
      For Each era As Integer In cal.Eras
         Dim date2 As Date = cal.ToDateTime(year, month, day, 0, 0, 0, 0, era)
         Console.WriteLine("{0}/{1}/{2} era {3} in Japanese Calendar -> {4:d} in Gregorian", 
                           cal.GetMonth(date2), cal.GetDayOfMonth(date2),
                           cal.GetYear(date2), cal.GetEra(date2), date2)
      Next                        
   End Sub
End Module

In addition, the "g" custom date and time format string includes a calendar's era name in the string representation of a date and time. For more information, see Custom date and time format strings.

Instantiating a date with an era

For the two Calendar classes that support multiple eras, a date that consists of a particular year, month, and day of the month value can be ambiguous. For example, all eras supported by the JapaneseCalendar have years whose number is 1. Ordinarily, if an era is not specified, both date and time and calendar methods assume that values belong to the current era. This is true of the DateTime and DateTimeOffset constructors that include parameters of type Calendar, as well as the JapaneseCalendar.ToDateTime and JapaneseLunisolarCalendar.ToDateTime methods. The following example instantiates a date that represents January 1 of the second year of an unspecified era. If you execute the example when the Reiwa era is the current era, the date is interpreted as the second year of the Reiwa era. The era, 令和, precedes the year in the string returned by the DateTime.ToString(String, IFormatProvider) method and corresponds to January 1, 2020, in the Gregorian calendar. (The Reiwa era begins in the year 2019 of the Gregorian calendar.)

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
    public static void Main()
    {
        var japaneseCal = new JapaneseCalendar();
        var jaJp = new CultureInfo("ja-JP");
        jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal;

        var date = new DateTime(2, 1, 1, japaneseCal);
        Console.WriteLine($"Gregorian calendar date: {date:d}");
        Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {date.ToString("d", jaJp)}");

        
    }
}
Imports System.Globalization

Public Module Example
    Public Sub Main()
        Dim japaneseCal = New JapaneseCalendar()
        Dim jaJp = New CultureInfo("ja-JP")
        jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal

        Dim dat = New DateTime(2, 1, 1, japaneseCal)
        Console.WriteLine($"Gregorian calendar dat: {dat:d}")
        Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar dat: {dat.ToString("d", jaJp)}")
    End Sub
End Module

However, if the era changes, the intent of this code becomes ambiguous. Is the date intended to represent the second year of the current era, or is it intended to represent the second year of the Heisei era? There are two ways to avoid this ambiguity:

  • Instantiate the date and time value using the default GregorianCalendar class. You can then use the Japanese calendar or the Japanese Lunisolar calendar for the string representation of dates, as the following example shows.

    using System;
    using System.Globalization;
    
    public class Example
    {
        public static void Main()
        {
            var japaneseCal = new JapaneseCalendar();
            var jaJp = new CultureInfo("ja-JP");
            jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal;
      
            var date = new DateTime(1905, 2, 12);
            Console.WriteLine($"Gregorian calendar date: {date:d}");
    
            // Call the ToString(IFormatProvider) method.
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {date.ToString("d", jaJp)}");
            
            // Use a FormattableString object.
            FormattableString fmt = $"{date:d}";
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {fmt.ToString(jaJp)}");
    
            // Use the JapaneseCalendar object.
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(japaneseCal.GetEra(date))}" +
                              $"{japaneseCal.GetYear(date)}/{japaneseCal.GetMonth(date)}/{japaneseCal.GetDayOfMonth(date)}");
    
            // Use the current culture.
            CultureInfo.CurrentCulture = jaJp;
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {date:d}");
        }
    }
    // The example displays the following output:
    //   Gregorian calendar date: 2/12/1905
    //   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    //   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    //   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    //   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    
    Imports System.Globalization
    
    Public Module Example
        Public Sub Main()
            Dim japaneseCal = New JapaneseCalendar()
            Dim jaJp = New CultureInfo("ja-JP")
            jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal
      
            Dim dat = New DateTime(1905, 2, 12)
            Console.WriteLine($"Gregorian calendar date: {dat:d}")
    
            ' Call the ToString(IFormatProvider) method.
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {dat.ToString("d", jaJp)}")
            
            ' Use a FormattableString object.
            Dim fmt As FormattableString = $"{dat:d}"
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {fmt.ToString(jaJp)}")
    
            ' Use the JapaneseCalendar object.
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(japaneseCal.GetEra(dat))}" +
                              $"{japaneseCal.GetYear(dat)}/{japaneseCal.GetMonth(dat)}/{japaneseCal.GetDayOfMonth(dat)}")
    
            ' Use the current culture.
            CultureInfo.CurrentCulture = jaJp
            Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {dat:d}")
        End Sub
    End Module
    ' The example displays the following output:
    '   Gregorian calendar date: 2/12/1905
    '   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    '   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    '   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    '   Japanese calendar date: 明治38/2/12
    
    
    
  • Call a date and time method that explicitly specifies an era. This includes the following methods:

    The following example uses three of these methods to instantiate a date and time in the Meiji era, which began on September 8, 1868, and ended on July 29, 1912.

    using System;
    using System.Globalization;
    
    public class Example
    {
        public static void Main()
        {
            var japaneseCal = new JapaneseCalendar();
            var jaJp = new CultureInfo("ja-JP");
            jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal;
      
            // We can get the era index by calling DateTimeFormatInfo.GetEraName.
            int eraIndex = 0;
    
            for (int ctr = 0; ctr < jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar.Eras.Length; ctr++) 
               if (jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(ctr) == "明治")
                  eraIndex = ctr; 
            var date1 = japaneseCal.ToDateTime(23, 9, 8, 0, 0, 0, 0, eraIndex);
            Console.WriteLine($"{date1.ToString("d", jaJp)} (Gregorian {date1:d}");
    
            try {
                var date2 = DateTime.Parse("明治23/9/8", jaJp);
                Console.WriteLine($"{date1.ToString("d", jaJp)} (Gregorian {date1:d}");
            }
            catch (FormatException)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("The parsing operation failed.");
            }
    
            try {
                var date3 = DateTime.ParseExact("明治23/9/8", "gyy/m/d", jaJp);
                Console.WriteLine($"{date1.ToString("d", jaJp)} (Gregorian {date1:d}");
            }
            catch (FormatException)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("The parsing operation failed.");
            }
        }
    }
    // The example displays the following output:
    //   明治23/9/8 (Gregorian 9/8/1890
    //   明治23/9/8 (Gregorian 9/8/1890
    //   明治23/9/8 (Gregorian 9/8/1890
    
    
    Imports System.Globalization
    
    Public Module Example
        Public Sub Main()
            Dim japaneseCal = New JapaneseCalendar()
            Dim jaJp = New CultureInfo("ja-JP")
            jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal
      
            ' We can get the era index by calling DateTimeFormatInfo.GetEraName.
           Dim eraIndex As Integer = 0
    
            For ctr As Integer = 0 To jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar.Eras.Length - 1 
               If jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(ctr) = "明治" Then eraIndex = ctr 
            Next
            Dim date1 = japaneseCal.ToDateTime(23, 9, 8, 0, 0, 0, 0, eraIndex)
            Console.WriteLine($"{date1.ToString("d", jaJp)} (Gregorian {date1:d}")
    
            Try 
                Dim date2 = DateTime.Parse("明治23/9/8", jaJp)
                Console.WriteLine($"{date1.ToString("d", jaJp)} (Gregorian {date1:d}")
            Catch e As FormatException
                Console.WriteLine("The parsing operation failed.")
            End Try
    
            Try 
                Dim date3 = DateTime.ParseExact("明治23/9/8", "gyy/m/d", jaJp)
                Console.WriteLine($"{date1.ToString("d", jaJp)} (Gregorian {date1:d}")
            Catch e As FormatException
                Console.WriteLine("The parsing operation failed.")
            End Try
        End Sub
    End Module
    ' The example displays the following output:
    '   明治23/9/8 (Gregorian 9/8/1890
    '   明治23/9/8 (Gregorian 9/8/1890
    '   明治23/9/8 (Gregorian 9/8/1890
    

Tip

When working with calendars that support multiple eras, always use the Gregorian date to instantiate a date, or specify the era when you instantiate a date and time based on that calendar.

In specifying an era to the ToDateTime(Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32, Int32) method, you provide the index of the era in the calendar's Eras property. For calendars whose eras are subject to change, however, these indexes are not constant values; the current era is at index 0, and the oldest era is at index Eras.Length - 1. When a new era is added to a calendar, the indexes of the previous eras increase by one. You can supply the appropriate era index as follows:

Calendars, eras, and date ranges: Relaxed range checks

Very much like individual calendars have supported date ranges, eras in the JapaneseCalendar and JapaneseLunisolarCalendar classes also have supported ranges. Previously, .NET used strict era range checks to ensure that an era-specific date was within the range of that era. That is, if a date is outside of the range of the specified era, the method throws an ArgumentOutOfRangeException. Currently, .NET uses relaxed ranged checking by default. Updates to all versions of .NET introduced relaxed era range checks; the attempt to instantiate an era-specific date that is outside the range of the specified era "overflows" into the following era, and no exception is thrown.

The following example attempts to instantiate a date in the 65th year of the Showa era, which began on December 25, 1926 and ended on January 7, 1989. This date corresponds to January 9, 1990, which is outside the range of the Showa era in the JapaneseCalendar. As the output from the example illustrates, the date displayed by the example is January 9, 1990, in the second year of the Heisei era.

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      var jaJp = new CultureInfo("ja-JP");
      var cal = new JapaneseCalendar();
      jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = cal;
      string showaEra = "昭和";

      var dt = cal.ToDateTime(65, 1, 9, 15, 0, 0, 0, GetEraIndex(showaEra));
      FormattableString fmt = $"{dt:d}";

      Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {fmt.ToString(jaJp)}");
      Console.WriteLine($"Gregorian calendar date: {fmt}");

      int GetEraIndex(string eraName)
      {
         foreach (var ctr in cal.Eras)
            if (jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(ctr) == eraName)
               return ctr;

         return 0; 
      }
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//   Japanese calendar date: 平成2/1/9
//   Gregorian calendar date: 1/9/1990
Imports System.Globalization

Public Module Example
   Dim jaJp As CultureInfo
   Dim cal As Calendar

   Public Sub Main()
      jaJp = New CultureInfo("ja-JP")  
      cal = New JapaneseCalendar()
      jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = cal
      Dim showaEra = "昭和"

      Dim dt = cal.ToDateTime(65, 1, 9, 15, 0, 0, 0, GetEraIndex(showaEra))
      Dim fmt As FormattableString = $"{dt:d}"
      Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {fmt.ToString(jaJp)}")
      Console.WriteLine($"Gregorian calendar date: {fmt}")
   End Sub
  
   Private Function GetEraIndex(eraName As String) As Integer
      For Each ctr As Integer In cal.Eras
         If jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(ctr) = eraName Then Return ctr
      Next
      Return 0
   End Function
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'   Japanese calendar date: 平成2/1/9
'   Gregorian calendar date: 1/9/1990

If relaxed range checks are undesirable, you can restore strict range checks in a number of ways, depending on the version of .NET on which your application is running:

  • .NET Core: You can add the following to the .netcore.runtime.json config file:

    "runtimeOptions": {
        "configProperties": {
           "Switch.System.Globalization.EnforceJapaneseEraYearRanges": true
        } 
    }
    
  • .NET Framework 4.6 or later: You can set the following AppContext switch:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <configuration>
       <runtime>
         <AppContextSwitchOverrides value="Switch.System.Globalization.EnforceJapaneseEraYearRanges=true" />
       </runtime>
    </configuration>
    
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2 or earlier: You can set the following registry value:

    Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft.NETFramework\AppContext
    Name Switch.System.Globalization.EnforceJapaneseEraYearRanges
    Type REG_SZ
    Value 1

With strict range checks enabled, the previous example throws an ArgumentOutOfRangeException and displays the following output:

Unhandled Exception: System.ArgumentOutOfRangeException: Valid values are between 1 and 64, inclusive.
Parameter name: year
   at System.Globalization.GregorianCalendarHelper.GetYearOffset(Int32 year, Int32 era, Boolean throwOnError)
   at System.Globalization.GregorianCalendarHelper.ToDateTime(Int32 year, Int32 month, Int32 day, Int32 hour, Int32 minute, Int32 second, Int32 millisecond, Int32 era)
   at Example.Main()

Representing dates in calendars with multiple eras

If a Calendar object supports eras and is the current calendar of a CultureInfo object, the era is included in the string representation of a date and time value for the full date and time, long date, and short date patterns. The following example displays these date patterns when the current culture is Japan (Japanese) and the current calendar is the Japanese calendar.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.IO;
using System.Threading;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      StreamWriter sw = new StreamWriter(@".\eras.txt");
      DateTime dt = new DateTime(2012, 5, 1);
      
      CultureInfo culture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP");
      DateTimeFormatInfo dtfi = culture.DateTimeFormat;
      dtfi.Calendar = new JapaneseCalendar();
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = culture;
      
      sw.WriteLine("\n{0,-43} {1}", "Full Date and Time Pattern:", dtfi.FullDateTimePattern);
      sw.WriteLine(dt.ToString("F"));
      sw.WriteLine();
      
      sw.WriteLine("\n{0,-43} {1}", "Long Date Pattern:", dtfi.LongDatePattern);
      sw.WriteLine(dt.ToString("D"));
      
      sw.WriteLine("\n{0,-43} {1}", "Short Date Pattern:", dtfi.ShortDatePattern);
      sw.WriteLine(dt.ToString("d"));
      sw.Close();
    }
}
// The example writes the following output to a file:
//    Full Date and Time Pattern:                 gg y'年'M'月'd'日' H:mm:ss
//    平成 24年5月1日 0:00:00
//    
//    Long Date Pattern:                          gg y'年'M'月'd'日'
//    平成 24年5月1日
//    
//    Short Date Pattern:                         gg y/M/d
//    平成 24/5/1
Imports System.Globalization
Imports System.IO
Imports System.Threading

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim sw As New StreamWriter(".\eras.txt")
      Dim dt As Date = #05/01/2012#
      
      Dim culture As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP")
      Dim dtfi As DateTimeFormatInfo = culture.DateTimeFormat
      dtfi.Calendar = New JapaneseCalendar()
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = culture
      
      sw.WriteLine("{0,-43} {1}", "Full Date and Time Pattern:", dtfi.FullDateTimePattern)
      sw.WriteLine(dt.ToString("F"))
      sw.WriteLine()
      
      sw.WriteLine("{0,-43} {1}", "Long Date Pattern:", dtfi.LongDatePattern)
      sw.WriteLine(dt.ToString("D"))
      sw.WriteLine()
      
      sw.WriteLine("{0,-43} {1}", "Short Date Pattern:", dtfi.ShortDatePattern)
      sw.WriteLine(dt.ToString("d"))
      sw.WriteLine()
      sw.Close()
   End Sub
End Module
' The example writes the following output to a file:
'    Full Date and Time Pattern:                 gg y'年'M'月'd'日' H:mm:ss
'    平成 24年5月1日 0:00:00
'    
'    Long Date Pattern:                          gg y'年'M'月'd'日'
'    平成 24年5月1日
'    
'    Short Date Pattern:                         gg y/M/d
'    平成 24/5/1 

Warning

The JapaneseCalendar class is the only calendar class in .NET that both supports dates in more than one era and that can be the current calendar of a CultureInfo object - specifically, of a CultureInfo object that represents the Japanese (Japan) culture.

For all calendars, the "g" custom format specifier includes the era in the result string. The following example uses the "MM-dd-yyyy g" custom format string to include the era in the result string when the current calendar is the Gregorian calendar.

   DateTime dat = new DateTime(2012, 5, 1);
   Console.WriteLine("{0:MM-dd-yyyy g}", dat);
// The example displays the following output:
//     05-01-2012 A.D.      
Dim dat As Date = #05/01/2012#
Console.WriteLine("{0:MM-dd-yyyy g}", dat)
' The example displays the following output:
'     05-01-2012 A.D.      

In cases where the string representation of a date is expressed in a calendar that is not the current calendar, the Calendar class includes a Calendar.GetEra method that can be used along with the Calendar.GetYear, Calendar.GetMonth, and Calendar.GetDayOfMonth methods to unambiguously indicate a date as well as the era to which it belongs. The following example uses the JapaneseLunisolarCalendar class to provide an illustration. However, note that including a meaningful name or abbreviation instead of an integer for the era in the result string requires that you instantiate a DateTimeFormatInfo object and make JapaneseCalendar its current calendar. (The JapaneseLunisolarCalendar calendar cannot be the current calendar of any culture, but in this case the two calendars share the same eras.)

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      DateTime date1 = new DateTime(2011, 8, 28);
      Calendar cal = new JapaneseLunisolarCalendar();
      
      Console.WriteLine("{0} {1:d4}/{2:d2}/{3:d2}", 
                        cal.GetEra(date1),
                        cal.GetYear(date1),
                        cal.GetMonth(date1),
                        cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1)); 
                        
      // Display eras
      CultureInfo culture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP");
      DateTimeFormatInfo dtfi = culture.DateTimeFormat;
      dtfi.Calendar = new JapaneseCalendar();
      
      Console.WriteLine("{0} {1:d4}/{2:d2}/{3:d2}", 
                        dtfi.GetAbbreviatedEraName(cal.GetEra(date1)),
                        cal.GetYear(date1),
                        cal.GetMonth(date1),
                        cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1)); 
   }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//       4 0023/07/29
//       平 0023/07/29
Imports System.Globalization

Module Example
   Public Sub Main()
      Dim date1 As Date = #8/28/2011#
      Dim cal As New JapaneseLunisolarCalendar()
      Console.WriteLine("{0} {1:d4}/{2:d2}/{3:d2}", 
                        cal.GetEra(date1),
                        cal.GetYear(date1),
                        cal.GetMonth(date1),
                        cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1)) 
                        
      ' Display eras
      Dim culture As CultureInfo = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("ja-JP")
      Dim dtfi As DateTimeFormatInfo = culture.DateTimeFormat
      dtfi.Calendar = New JapaneseCalendar()
      
      Console.WriteLine("{0} {1:d4}/{2:d2}/{3:d2}", 
                        dtfi.GetAbbreviatedEraName(cal.GetEra(date1)),
                        cal.GetYear(date1),
                        cal.GetMonth(date1),
                        cal.GetDayOfMonth(date1)) 
   End Sub
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'       4 0023/07/29
'       平 0023/07/29

In the Japanese calendars, the first year of an era is called Gannen (元年). For example, instead of Heisei 1, the first year of the Heisei era can be described as Heisei Gannen. .NET adopts this convention in formatting operations for dates and times formatted with the following standard or custom date and time format strings when they are used with a CultureInfo object that represents the Japanese-Japan ("ja-JP") culture with the JapaneseCalendar class:

For example, the following example displays a date in the first year of the Heisei era in the JapaneseCalendar .

using System;
using System.Globalization;

public class Example
{
    public static void Main()
    {
         var enUs = new CultureInfo("en-US");
        var japaneseCal = new JapaneseCalendar();
        var jaJp = new CultureInfo("ja-JP");
        jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal;
        string heiseiEra = "平成";

        var date = japaneseCal.ToDateTime(1, 8, 18, 0, 0, 0, 0, GetEraIndex(heiseiEra));
        FormattableString fmt = $"{date:D}";
        Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {fmt.ToString(jaJp)} (Gregorian: {fmt.ToString(enUs)})");

        int GetEraIndex(string eraName)
        {
           foreach (var ctr in japaneseCal.Eras)
              if (jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(ctr) == eraName)
                 return ctr;

           return 0; 
        }
    }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    Japanese calendar date: 平成元年8月18日 (Gregorian: Friday, August 18, 1989)




Imports System.Globalization

Module Program
    Dim jaJp As CultureInfo
    Dim japaneseCal As Calendar

    Sub Main()
        Dim enUs = New CultureInfo("en-US")
        japaneseCal = New JapaneseCalendar()
        jaJp = New CultureInfo("ja-JP")
        jaJp.DateTimeFormat.Calendar = japaneseCal
        Dim heiseiEra = "平成"

        Dim dat = japaneseCal.ToDateTime(1, 8, 18, 0, 0, 0, 0, GetEraIndex(heiseiEra))
        Dim fmt As FormattableString = $"{dat:D}"
        Console.WriteLine($"Japanese calendar date: {fmt.ToString(jaJp)} (Gregorian: {fmt.ToString(enUs)})")
    End Sub

    Private Function GetEraIndex(eraName As String) As Integer
        For Each ctr In japaneseCal.Eras
            If jaJp.DateTimeFormat.GetEraName(ctr) = eraName Then
                Return ctr
            End If
        Next
        Return 0 
    End Function
End Module
' The example displays the following output:
'    Japanese calendar date: 平成元年8月18日 (Gregorian: Friday, August 18, 1989)

If this behavior is undesirable in formatting operations, you can restore the previous behavior, which always represents the first year of an era as “1” rather than “Gannen”, by doing the following, depending on the version of .NET:

  • .NET Core: You can add the following to the .netcore.runtime.json config file:

    "runtimeOptions": {
        "configProperties": {
           "Switch.System.Globalization.FormatJapaneseFirstYearAsANumber": true
        } 
    }
    
  • .NET Framework 4.6 or later: You can set the following AppContext switch:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <configuration>
       <runtime>
         <AppContextSwitchOverrides value="Switch.System.Globalization.FormatJapaneseFirstYearAsANumber=true" />
       </runtime>
    </configuration>
    
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2 or earlier: You can set the following registry value:

    Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft.NETFramework\AppContext
    Name Switch.System.Globalization.FormatJapaneseFirstYearAsANumber
    Type REG_SZ
    Value 1

With gannen support in formatting operations disabled, the previous example displays the following output:

Japanese calendar date: 平成1年8月18日 (Gregorian: Friday, August 18, 1989)

.NET has also been updated so that date and time parsing operations support strings that contain the year represented as either "1" or Gannen. Although you should not need to do this, you can restore the previous behavior to recognizes only “1” as the first year of an era. You can do this as follows, depending on the version of .NET:

  • .NET Core: You can add the following to the .netcore.runtime.json config file:

    "runtimeOptions": {
        "configProperties": {
           "Switch.System.Globalization.EnforceLegacyJapaneseDateParsing": true
        } 
    }
    
  • .NET Framework 4.6 or later: You can set the following AppContext switch:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <configuration>
       <runtime>
         <AppContextSwitchOverrides value="Switch.System.Globalization.EnforceLegacyJapaneseDateParsing=true" />
       </runtime>
    </configuration>
    
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2 or earlier: You can set the following registry value:

    Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft.NETFramework\AppContext
    Name Switch.System.Globalization.EnforceLegacyJapaneseDateParsing
    Type REG_SZ
    Value 1

See also