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  • Writer's pictureBarbra Davis

What Are You Celebrating? The Origins of “National Days”

Did you know that August 27th is National Just Because Day, or that December 8th is Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day? You have probably heard about such unique “National Days” as these, or even May 14th, National Dance Like a Chicken Day, but did you ever wonder who picked them and why they are “national” days? Are They Acts of Congress? Of course, when I came across Gorgeous Grandma Day (July 23rd) I had to find out who had the good taste to honor us gorgeous grannies. I had always assumed that Congress named these special holidays, but a little research determined there are only 11 national holidays created by law. Crazy as congress is, those guys and gals aren’t the ones who came up with Make Up Your Mind Day (December 31) and thousands of others. Well, actually, Congress did name some interesting “National Days” in the past, but these were called “commemoratives,” not holidays. This was especially true during the 1980's, when about 1 in every 3 laws established things like National Bowling Week. The process took up so much time, though, that the House of Representatives eventually said, “We’re not doing this anymore.” Are They Someone Else’s Idea? So where did the thousands of “National Days” we enjoy come from after that? With a bit more checking, I learned the “National Day Calendar” is the clever marketing idea of entrepreneur Marlo Anderson. In 2013, Anderson co-founded a website designed to post those special days, which he created as he chose. His first offering was National Popcorn Day. To date, the site includes about 1,500 national days, weeks and months, all of which were determined by a committee working for the site. Now before you get excited about creating a National (insert your name here) Day, be warned that this site only allows companies and organizations to apply for a national day, and there is a fee involved (naturally). While the site doesn’t allow birthdays, anniversaries or individuals to be honored with a National holiday, there already is a National Barbie Day (March 9) which I am claiming as my own. Another source for “national” days is the huge book, "Chase's Calendar Of Events,” which sells for almost $100. When it was first published, the book was a collection of actual holidays, published for news organizations. They used the manual to keep track of holidays for their publications and broadcasts. But, at some point, the book’s editors started to accept submissions for special days from people besides their original sources. Now most special days in the book come from advocacy groups who want to raise awareness about their chosen issue, or ordinary people who make them up for a variety of reasons – mostly silly. It now contains 12,500 different “National Days” and celebrations. Some Special Days Some of the special days I read about are a bit outdated, like National Eight Track Tape Day (April 11) and National Drive In Movie Day (June 6). Some, like National Star Wars Day on May 4th, make sense (“May the fourth be with you.”) Some are food-based (National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day on January 5), and some are downright silly (National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day, March 13 or National Step in the Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day on January 11). Many, I really question, like National Sneak Some Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (August 8), National Public Sleeping Day (February 28) and Cat Herders Day (December 15). Conclusion So my suggestion is, when you have some free time and want a laugh, look up the sites which publish these fun holidays. You may be surprised to find many you want to celebrate! For instance, you might want to post such days as National Leave The Office Early Day (June 2), or International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) on a bulletin board at the office. Though I advise you to leave May first (No Pants Day) off that list. You might want to celebrate National Eat What You Want Day on May 11 or National Give Something Away Day on July 15. Warn your friends about National Everything You Think is Wrong Day (March 15) and National Multiple Personality Day (March 5). Enjoy National Leave The Office Early Day (June 2) and National Everything You Do is Right Day (March 16), but don’t take all those “holidays” too seriously. Remember most of them were created just for fun, so celebrate everything!

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