Build your own "On This Day" page for WordPress

I blog. A lot. Too much really. One of the things I like to do is see what I was rambling on about this time last year. And the year before that. And so on.

So, here's my On This Day page and here's how I built it.

WARNING Extremely quick and dirty code ahead!

This allows you to add a shortcode like [ edent_on_this_day ] to a page and have it auto generate a list of posts you published on this day in previous years. You may need to exclude that page from your cache.

Add these functions to your theme or to a new plugin:

function edent_on_this_day_shortcode() {
    $today = getdate();
    $args = array(
        'date_query' => array(
                'month' => $today['mon'],
                'day'   => $today['mday'],
    $query = new WP_Query( $args );
    $posts = $query->get_posts();

    $today = getdate();
    $pubDate =  date("D, d M Y") . " 00:00:00 GMT";

    $output  = "<h2>From the " . date("jS \of F") . " archives</h2>";
    $output .= "<ul>";

    foreach($posts as $post) {
        $title = $post->post_title;
        $id    = $post->ID;
        $link  = get_permalink($id);
        $date  = $post->post_date;
        $postDate = date("D, d M Y") . " " . date("h:i:s O", strtotime($date));
        // $thumb = get_the_post_thumbnail($id, 'full');

        $archive = "" . date("Y", strtotime($date)) . ": ";

        //  Only add an item if it is before *this year*
        if (
            intval(date("Y", strtotime($date))) <  intval($today['year'])
        ) {
            $output .= '<li><a href="' . htmlspecialchars($link) .'">';
            $output .= html_entity_decode($archive . $title) . '</a></li>';
    $output .= "</ul>";
    return $output;

//  Set up the shortcode
function edent_on_this_day_shortcode_init() {
    add_shortcode( 'edent_on_this_day', 'edent_on_this_day_shortcode' );
add_action( 'init', 'edent_on_this_day_shortcode_init' );

I really can't be bothered to deal with WordPress's complicated plugin publishing system - so feel free to copy the above with or without attribution.

I originally built this as an RSS feed - but decided recently that a regular HTML page was more useful. If you spot any bugs, you can contribute on GitHub.


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