I am a beginner in org-mode (and Emacs, for that matter), but I thought that org-mode would be a good place/format to store my contacts. One thing I like to do is to add birthdays to contacts. I found org-contacts.el, which appears to have what I want: I add a person in contacts.org and add a birthday property.

* Ficitive Person
:EMAIL: [email protected]
:BIRTHDAY: 2000-09-24

Now in another file (agenda.org), I have the following:

* Birthday

When I press C-c a a (M-x org-agenda-list), I see their birthday and how old they are, cool!

However, for some people I know their birthday, but not their age. Still I'd like to see that it is their birthday on my calendar, but when I enter a birthday in any other format, I get an error:

Bad sexp at line 24 in [...]/org/agenda.org: (org-contacts-anniversaries)

Is there a format for inserting birthdays without knowing the year?

Like I said, I am an emacs noob, so if there is another better way than org-contacts (or org-mode, for that matter) I am happy to learn that way.

  • 4
    Does something tolerable like 0000 work in this situation as a workaround? See also this related thread entitled Programmatically add birthdays/holidays to agenda view in org-mode: emacs.stackexchange.com/a/10872/2287 The method described in the aforementioned link does not require a birth year.
    – lawlist
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


org-contacts has one format for birthdays


which means 4 digits of year dash two digits of month dash two digits to day.

I can suggest to edit the format of the anniversary agenda entry. By default the format is:

Birthday: %l (%Y),

where %l - Link to the heading and %Y - Number of year (ordinal).

So you can put random year in the contact's birthday and edit line 110 in file org-contacts: remove (%Y) and result will be Birthday: Contact Name without years.

Another way than org-contacts described in comments.

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