7 Silly Holidays Everyone Really Should Start Celebrating
Ever wonder where all those unusual, unofficial holidays come from? These themed holidays seem to pop up more and more lately. Some are health “awareness” days. Some are goofy fun. And some are real head-scratchers. We tracked down the origins of a few of our favorites.
Kiss a Ginger Day: January 12
In 2005, South Park, the naughty cartoon for adults, ran an episode of their show called “Ginger Kids,” which imagines what it would be like if people were bigoted against people with red hair and freckles. Because people often take things too literally, people actually began acting like this was a thing and began “celebrating” with random “Kick a Ginger” days on random dates. Seriously, kids were getting beat up. Hearing about this, a standup comic and actor named Derek Forgie—who has flaming red hair – decided to strike back by starting a Facebook page encouraging people to celebrate the opposite of kicking gingers—kissing them instead—and it instantly became so popular, he realized he had tapped into something great—and much-needed. People took to it much more enthusiastically than its more mean-spirited antecedent. Today, it’s a thriving community that uplifts red-haired performers of all ilks. Kind of gives you faith in people, doesn’t it? Speaking of gingers, here are fascinating facts you never knew about redheads.
Hoodie-Hoo Day: February 20
You might think that we already have a holiday celebrating the fact that winter will eventually end, in a painfully long time, and you’d be right. We have Groundhog Day, and we have about a kajillion winter holidays that involve candles and lights and food and cheer. But winter is really long and really dark, and there is always room for more, don’t you think? A kooky couple named Ruth and Thomas Roy, joined by their son, Michael, say they have secured the copyrights to 80 or so unusual holidays, including “Answer Your Cat’s Question Day,” “No Housework Day,” and—of course—the above mentioned Hoodie-Hoo Day. The concept is simple, and extraordinarily non-partisan. All you do is go outside at noon, wave your hands at the sky, and shriek “HOODIE-HOO!” to chase away the winter blues. Exactly one month later, if you do it right, it’ll be the first day of spring. Well, it’ll be the first day of spring either way. And as northern-dwellers know, that’s just a name, and doesn’t promise the weather will improve. But still! Anything for that little ray of cheer, right?
Pi Day: March 14
In case you weren’t paying attention in geometry class, Pi is the result of a mathematical equation for calculating the relationship of a circle’s diameter to its circumference; its first three digits are 3.14, which on a calendar equates to: March 14. According to math journalist Julie Rehmeyer, “[Pi] has the odd quirk that if you can’t calculate it precisely. When you try, you end up with an infinite number of digits after the decimal point. That’s weird,” she adds, “because the circumference has a clear, finite length, and the diameter has a clear, finite length. But then you divide the circumference by the diameter, and you find yourself in the land of infinity, with a number you can never finish writing down.” This deceptively simple formula is used not just in geometry, but in statistics and physics. It captures a lot of people’s imaginations and never seems to run out of uses. It represents infinite possibilities and the endless nature of human curiosity. Plus, it sounds like a delicious dessert. Anyway, the holiday originated at the Exploratorium, a science museum in San Francisco, and has become so popular that, in 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution encouraging the entire country to celebrate the holiday. Check in with your local science museum—you can bet there’ll be something cookin’ (or bakin’) that day. To get you ready to celebrate, here are some math jokes every nerd will appreciate.
Free Comic Book Day: First Saturday in May
Sometimes it can seem icky to celebrate a holiday invented as a marketing stunt. After all, it seems like non-marketing holidays—such as Presidents’ Day and Thanksgiving—end up becoming excuses for car companies and box stores to throw pocket-emptying sales. But once in a while, a holiday markets something so darn lovable you just can’t resist. Bring in the comic books! Once denounced as causing the downfall of civilization, these days they’re often renamed “graphic novels” and respected as an art form and a great way to hook reluctant readers. And in 2002, a guy writing about the retail business floated the idea of comic-book giveaways tied to successful comic-book-character movie launches. Individual shops took to the idea, and within a couple of years it was popular enough to be unofficially official. It’s not a designated holiday. But you can count on hearing about it every year. And it’s a really fun way to support local businesses, learn about interesting new characters, and, of course, get some free stuff that isn’t candy! Find out the nine graphic novels every adult should read.
Helen Keller Day: June 27
National holidays dedicated to private citizens are rare—Martin Luther King being the notable exception. But celebrating the birthday of the most well-known blind and deaf women in history, whose story is so inspiring to so many, seems like a no-brainer. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed, in 1980, that the author and activist be celebrated on her birthday. In practical terms, that means that many organizations offering support and advocacy for people with disabilities conduct fundraising activities on this day. But it’s also worth noting that this woman, who overcame such tremendous odds and who had such thrilling tenacity, was also an activist in support of labor unions, suffragettes, and other politics considered quite radical at the time. Anyway, watch for it at the start of summer, especially if you’ve been saving up your pennies for a charitable cause. We love these 20 confidence-boosting quotes from inspiring women, including a quip from Hellen Keller.
Talk Like a Pirate Day: September 19
According to TalkLikeAPirate.com (yes, they were smart enough to buy the domain name), this salty holiday was the brainchild of two guys in Oregon who came up with the idea while playing racquetball. It was just one of those weird things friends do—and they celebrated it every year until 2002, when one of them stumbled across humor columnist Dave Barry’s email address and decided he needed to know about it. Sure enough, Barry wrote a column about it, and a national phen-arrrr-menon was born. Somehow, this fake-turned-real holiday hits us right in that sweet spot where childhood aspirations meet grownup guilty pleasures—pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow awakens a special kind of joy in the fellas. And let’s be honest, it gives the mommies a special little frisson as well. Get in the spirit of the day with these 21 corny pirate jokes and puns.
National Adoption Day: Third Saturday in November
Here’s a “raising awareness” holiday that has tangible, quantifiable, and tear-jerking results. You probably know that the Wendy’s fast-food chain was named by its founder, Dave Thomas, after his daughter, Wendy (who now runs the corporation). What you probably don’t know is that Thomas himself was adopted, which makes that earlier fact extra significant. Thomas had a lifelong interest in supporting adoption, with special emphasis on bringing children out of foster care and into permanent homes, and connected his Foundation for Adoption (which provides education, support and even grant money to adoptive families) with a coalition of similar organizations to create a dedicated day reminding people that there are many ways to make a family—and that there are resources to help make that happen. In reality, there are many events on different days around the country listed on the National Adoption Day website, and anyone can sponsor one at a convenient time. But it’s such a darn good idea that we are listing the Thomas Foundation’s chosen day, along with this list of related events. Find out all the intel adoptive parents wish you knew.