15 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.
Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day: January 11
After the rush of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, who wouldn’t want to unwind with a hilarious holiday like this? According to Dictionary.com, it was first mentioned in a Usenet forum, way back in 1998. It was popularized by the Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac in 2012 and, as such, is probably targeted mainly at children—but what adult could resist the opportunity to relieve some stress by splashing in a puddle? Though many people living in colder climes have pointed out that January 11 is a rather odd choice for the date, as most “puddles” near them are frozen at that time of year.
Kiss a Ginger Day: January 12
In 2005, South Park, the naughty cartoon for adults, ran an episode called “Ginger Kids,” which imagined 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. 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. People took to it much more enthusiastically than its more mean-spirited antecedent.
Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day: Last Monday in January
Anyone who’s ever joyously popped their way through a sheet of bubble wrap can totally endorse having a holiday to appreciate it. In addition to the sheer joy that comes with popping it, bubble wrap also has a delightful origin story. Back in 1957, its inventors were actually trying to create a new “textured” wallpaper. That failed—but the inventors luckily recognized its potential as a packaging material. Whether you pop a smaller sheet by hand or raucously jump around on a giant one (no judgment here), celebrate their discovery on the last Monday in January. Here are some more fascinating accidental inventions that changed the world.
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. 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 90 or so unusual holidays, including “Answer Your Cat’s Question Day,” “No Housework Day,” and, of course, 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. But still! Anything for that little ray of cheer, right? And honestly, the very concept of Groundhog Day is strange enough to make this list, too. Here’s the story behind Groundhog Day.
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. 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. Its first three digits are 3.14, which on a calendar equates to: March 14. Plus, it sounds like a delicious dessert, making March 14 a great day to celebrate math and pie. 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. To get you ready to celebrate, here are some more fun facts about pi.
Star Wars Day: May 4
The new episodical Star Wars films have been coming out around Christmastime—so why celebrate the world-famous adventures in a Galaxy Far, Far Away in May? Because of the famous line “May the Force be with you,” which savvy Star Wars fans turned into “May the Fourth be with you.” A pair of fans, Sean Ward and Alice Quinn, held the first “official” Star Wars Day celebration in 2011, and a whole new holiday was born. So go ahead and cosplay as a Jedi or Stormtrooper, binge-watch the films, and share your favorite quotes. Just don’t say “Luke, I am your father”—Star Wars fans know that that’s not actually the line in the film!
Free Comic Book Day: First Saturday in May
Bring out 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!
Limerick Day: May 12
Celebrate the singsongy rhyming poem form we all love to hate on May 12, the birthday of the famous 19th-century limerick author Edward Lear. If you’re unfamiliar with the limerick (or can’t keep straight the different types of poems you learned about in English class), a limerick is a five-line poem, usually humorous in subject matter, where the first, second, and last lines rhyme, and then the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, also rhyme. For example:
“There once was a farmer from Leeds
Who swallowed a packet of seeds.
It soon came to pass
He was covered with grass
But has all the tomatoes he needs!”
Celebrate by trying your hand at creating a limerick of your own, or reciting one of these funny limericks that will make both kids and grown-ups chuckle.
Helen Keller Day: June 27
National holidays dedicated to private citizens are rare, with Martin Luther King being the notable exception. But celebrating the birthday of the most well-known blind and deaf woman 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. We love these 20 confidence-boosting quotes from inspiring women, including a quip from Helen Keller.
Talk Like a Pirate Day: September 19
According to TalkLikeAPirate.com, 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 grown-up guilty pleasures—pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow awakens a special kind of joy.
National Adoption Day: Third Saturday in November
Here’s a “raising awareness” holiday that has tangible, quantifiable, and tear-jerking results. You might know that the Wendy’s fast-food chain was named by its founder, Dave Thomas, after his daughter, Wendy (who is now a spokesperson for 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 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. Though the Thomas Foundation’s chosen day is the third Saturday in November, there are many events on different days around the country listed on the National Adoption Day website.
Sweetest Day: October 19
This holiday started way back in 1922, when philanthropist Herbert Birch Kingston started passing out candy to orphaned children, elderly people, and other disenfranchised people. He wanted Sweetest Day to be a philanthropic holiday. But, in a rather sad but predictable move, candy companies got wind of this and were like, “That sounds like a day for eating lots of candy!” So marketing campaigns based around the holiday surged, and it changed into just a(nother) day to eat candy and give loved ones gifts of candy. Today, it’s most popular in Midwestern states. We think the best way to celebrate this holiday would be to treat yourself with something sweet for every good deed you do—that way you’ll get the best of both worlds. These real-life adoption stories will melt your heart.
Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day: November 12
Is February 9’s National Pizza Day too ho-hum for you? Luckily, you can take your pizza celebration to the next level on November 12. In a holiday born “from pure common sense,” you can pile whatever you like on your pie—almost. Celebrants of this holiday are pretty clear about what would be a fishy deal breaker for their pizza party. Check out some more delicious food holidays you’ll want to start celebrating every year.
Stay Home Because You’re Well Day: November 30
Seriously, why should illness be the only reason you take a day off work? Spoiler alert: You’re not having any fun when you’re home sick. You should be able to take a day off work just to relax and do what you want to do—and this November 30 holiday gives you an excuse to do that. This is especially beneficial since it’s closing in on the end of the year when you might be scrambling to use up your remaining vacation time anyway. The only potential pitfall is the fact that it’s not always a traditional workday (November 30 fell on a Saturday in 2019). And also, maybe just make sure your coworkers don’t also celebrate this day; otherwise, your workplace might be nearly empty, which probably won’t work in your favor.
Festivus: December 23
Even if you’re not a fan of Seinfeld, you might be able to see the appeal of this not-so-fictional holiday that shuns the over-commercialization of the holiday season. It started as a funny scene from the show, where Jerry Stiller’s Frank Constanza describes his family’s holiday-cheer-averse celebration, but it’s resonated with people everywhere, who continue to celebrate it more than 20 years after the episode’s 1997 release. As detailed during the show, there are only a few things necessary. The first is an aluminum Festivus pole—a less care-intensive version of a Christmas tree. The second is the airing of grievances, which is exactly what it sounds like—you and your family members share how you’ve disappointed one another in the past year (which usually ends up being part of the holidays anyway; why not make it official?). And, of course, there are the “feats of strength,” where someone attempts to wrestle the head of the household to the ground.