21.1.5 Setting the time

If given an argument that does not start with ‘+’, date sets the system clock to the date and time specified by that argument (as described below). You must have appropriate privileges to set the system clock. Note for changes to persist across a reboot, the hardware clock may need to be updated from the system clock, which might not happen automatically on your system.

The argument must consist entirely of digits, which have the following meaning:

MM
month
DD
day within month
hh
hour
mm
minute
CC
first two digits of year (optional)
YY
last two digits of year (optional)
ss
second (optional)

Note, the --date and --set options may not be used with an argument in the above format. The --universal option may be used with such an argument to indicate that the specified date and time are relative to Universal Time rather than to the local time zone.