# Sorting by month by chronological occurrence when the year doesn't matter?

Given a table with a date column, and given a query that selects dates in a given range of the year (like "November 20th through February 20th"), and where the year portion of the date doesn't matter (such as upcoming birthdays), how can the results be sorted by month in the correct chronological order for the selected time range?

For example, if the query grabs all dates between November 20th and February 20th regardless of year, it should sort them in the order:

``````Nov -> Dec -> Jan -> Feb
``````

But a regular sort by month actually produces:

``````Jan -> Feb -> Nov -> Dec
``````

Or an inverted sort produces:

``````Dec -> Nov -> Feb -> Jan
``````

both of which are wrong.

Here's a sample query with a three day range at the end of the year:

``````SELECT EventDate
FROM Events
WHERE TIMESTAMPDIFF(YEAR, EventDate, "2012-12-28" + INTERVAL 3 DAY)
> TIMESTAMPDIFF(YEAR, EventDate, "2012-12-28" - INTERVAL 1 DAY)
ORDER BY DATE_FORMAT(EventDate, "%m-%d") DESC
``````

It produces:

``````2012-01-01
2008-01-01
2008-01-01
1987-01-02
1994-12-28
``````

Where it should produce:

``````1994-12-28
2012-01-01
2008-01-01
2008-01-01
1987-01-02
``````

Is there a way to get it to sort by month and day in a "going forward from range start" order?

I searched here and on SO but didn't find an answer that dealt with both year end wrapping of months and a scenario where the year in the date field isn't relevant for sorting.

Update: The range should always sort forward, so if the range is Feb to Nov, it does a standard sort of `Feb - > Mar -> Apr ...`. If the range is Nov to Feb, it sorts `Nov -> Dec -> Jan ...`.

Although I don't anticipate that being an issue since I don't need to query more than a 3 month window.

• How do you distinguish the cases when you query "between November 20th and February 20th" and "between February 20th and November 20th"? – mustaccio May 30 '16 at 12:08
• Oracle or MySQL? Can you please update the tag? – Julien Vavasseur May 30 '16 at 12:11

Try adding a specific field to order by. That field is the value of the month if it is greater than the value of current month, and add 12 if it is less (or equal), then order by that field:

``````mysql> select now();
+---------------------+
| now()               |
+---------------------+
| 2016-05-30 15:02:45 |
+---------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> select * from dates;
+------------+
| d          |
+------------+
| 2012-01-01 |
| 2008-01-01 |
| 2008-02-01 |
| 1987-01-02 |
| 1994-12-28 |
| 1987-05-02 |
| 1994-11-28 |
+------------+
7 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> select d, month(d), if(month(d)>month(now()), month(d), month(d)+12) ord from dates order by ord;
+------------+----------+------+
| d          | month(d) | ord  |
+------------+----------+------+
| 1994-11-28 |       11 |   11 |
| 1994-12-28 |       12 |   12 |
| 2012-01-01 |        1 |   13 |
| 2008-01-01 |        1 |   13 |
| 1987-01-02 |        1 |   13 |
| 2008-02-01 |        2 |   14 |
| 1987-05-02 |        5 |   17 |
+------------+----------+------+
7 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> select d from (select d, month(d), if(month(d)>month(now()), month(d), month(d)+12) ord from dates order by ord)x;
+------------+
| d          |
+------------+
| 1994-11-28 |
| 1994-12-28 |
| 2012-01-01 |
| 2008-01-01 |
| 1987-01-02 |
| 2008-02-01 |
| 1987-05-02 |
+------------+
7 rows in set (0.00 sec)
``````

Test data

``````create table dates ( d date);
insert dates values ('2012-01-01')
,('2008-01-01')
,('2008-02-01')
,('1987-01-02')
,('1994-12-28')
,('1987-05-02')
,('1994-11-28')
``````

Query

``````select d, DATE_FORMAT(d, "%m-%d")
from dates
join (select 11 ms, 2 me) params
where ms<=me and MONTH(d) between ms and me
or ms>me and (MONTH(d) >=ms or MONTH(d) <= me)
order by case when MONTH(d) < ms then 100+MONTH(d) else MONTH(d) end
``````
• How does adding 100 to the month fix the sorting? – Nick May 30 '16 at 16:17
• Not necessary 100. Having 1<=`MONTH(d)`<=12 , 13 is just enough. And it's added to months which are less then starting value `ms`, which is only possible if parameter `ms` (starting month) is greater then parameter `me` (end month), that is if period requested crosses the year end. – Serg May 30 '16 at 17:52
• Since the type control in mysql is not particulary strict an alternative solution is: `order by MONTH(d) + 100 * (MONTH(d) < ms)`. MONTH(d) < ms is evaluated to 0 or 1. – Lennart May 30 '16 at 19:45
• @Lennart: This is what I ended up using in combination with Jehad's answer. The answer above doesn't take days into account and relies on explicit month numbers being set. – Nick May 31 '16 at 8:18

Improved version of Serg's solution. This one takes in account days.

``````create table events (event_date date);
insert events values
('2012-01-01')
,('2008-01-01')
,('2008-02-01')
,('1987-01-02')
,('1994-12-28')
,('1987-05-02')
,('1994-11-28')

select
*
from
events
order by
case
when
MONTH(event_date) < MONTH(curdate())
or (
MONTH(event_date) = MONTH(curdate())
and DAY(event_date) < DAY(curdate())
) then 100 + MONTH(event_date)
else MONTH(event_date)
end,
DAY(event_date)
``````