The Months of the YearEveryone knows that February is Black History Month, when African-American heritage is commemorated and celebrated, but did you know that it’s also National Care About Indoor Air Health Month? And we’re sure you know that Monday is Presidents Day, but are you also aware that March 13 is Check Your Batteries Day?
We’re guessing the answer is no. And for good reason: Neither of the niche holidays has earned official recognition like Black History Month, nor will they show up in any wall calendar you buy at a store. But these are only two among the hundreds of “holidays” that have been declared by interest groups and organizations hoping to advance a cause or product.
While anyone can theoretically “declare” a holiday and advertise in connection with it, only Congress can make it part of our official calendar.
Photo Credit: Derek Hatfield
Marketing YourselfMany organizations have found signature holidays to be an effective way to promote their business or cause. Colleen Paige, editor of Pet Home magazine and a pet lifestyle expert, has been responsible for numerous pet-centric holidays since she created National Dog Day (August 26) back in 2004.
“The number one goal for me in creating pet holidays is to help animals get adopted, promote spaying and neutering and raise awareness of puppy mills,” says Paige. She notes that while she was unsuccessful in getting National Dog Day declared a national holiday, she was able to get it published in Chase’s Calendar of Events, an annual compendium of special days and commemorative months published by McGraw-Hill. The inaugural National Dog Day event set her back about $100,000 in marketing costs, but she’s been successful in promoting her goals across the country.
Of course, invented holidays aren’t just for the dogs. There are numerous obscure – and in some cases, just plain bizarre – holidays that have been declared over the years. Here are a few of our favorites.
Photo Credit: nationaldogday.com
Jan. 31: Bubble Wrap Appreciation DayWhile we’d love to believe that this ‘holiday’ was created by a grassroots group of bubble wrap enthusiasts who love popping sheets of the stuff, BWAD was actually invented by an Indiana radio station in 2001. The day is celebrated on the last Monday in January, and if you’re looking for ways to celebrate, we recommend checking out bubblewrapfun.com. Or you could just order something fragile and hope they don’t use packing peanuts, which aren’t nearly as fun.
Photo Credit: Barry Pousman
February: Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket MonthWe can all agree that the natural home of a shopping cart is the supermarket. This month, won’t you help some poor lost shopping cart get home? Doing so will not only help supermarkets save on expenses (those things aren’t free), but it will also clean up the parks and ditches where the carts wind up abandoned. As an added bonus, it might prevent some idiot teenager from careening down a hill in a cart and breaking his neck.
Photo Credit: Michael Pereckas
March 23: National Puppy DayHere’s one we can definitely get behind: National Puppy Day. This celebration of all things puppies was created by Paige in 2006 and is one of many follow-ups to National Dog Day (a list that includes National Mutt Day, National Cat Day and National Walk Your Dog Week). In addition to celebrating the cutest little creatures in the world, the day also aims to call attention to puppy mills and encourage adoption. Paige says she’ll be teaming up with Purina to promote the event, including placement on Purina’s PetCentric.com. Our only gripe is that we think puppies should be celebrated every day.
Photo Credit: nationalpuppyday.com
April 22: National Jelly Bean DayTry as we might, we can’t quite figure out how National Jelly Bean Day got started. A secret viral marketing campaign by Jelly Belly? An executive order by noted jelly bean lover Ronald Reagan? Like an oddly-colored jelly bean, it’s all a mystery. Still, we know how to celebrate it: Eat as many as jelly beans as humanly possible.
Photo Credit: Rob
May: National Salad MonthIn a world where Taco Bell can put out a “salad” with 910 calories, it can sometimes be confusing where to draw the line between salad and “salad.” Fortunately the Association for Dressings and Sauces has swooped in to save the day and tell us everything we want to know about salad. National Salad Month has actually been celebrated for the better part of two decades, and a spokesperson tells us that those looking to celebrate should visit SaladaDay.org, where the organization will be posting a different salad recipe every day for the entire month.
Photo Credit: saladaday.org
June 24: Take Your Dog to Work DayWe can understand taking your daughter to work so she can see what her mother or father does all day, but it’s unclear what your dog would get out of the experience. Plus, we can see it ending particularly poorly if you work in a cat shelter or a pet food factory. The holiday was created by Pet Sitters International in 1999, so maybe the idea is that your dog will cause such a ruckus at your office that you’ll realize how important it is to have a pet sitter on call. With that said, if the holiday leads to more pictures like this, we completely support it.
Photo Credit: Sarah Forst
Aug.19: National Men’s Grooming DayWe were hoping that National Men’s Grooming Day was created by a consortium of women sick of back hair and unclipped toe nails. Alas, this seems to be a classic case of corporate sponsorship. The “holiday” was invented in 2007 by the hair care company American Crew, and encourages salons to host men’s grooming events. Still, if you decide to take this day to shave your back, we won’t stop you.
Photo Credit: americancrew.com
October: Raptor MonthThis one was another letdown: We were really hoping someone had set aside an entire month to celebrate the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park. But Raptor Month is dedicated to actual birds of prey like hawks, owls and eagles. It was created in 2007 by Avian Promise, a group that aims to raise awareness of wild birds. That’s a noble cause, but we’re going to go ahead and invent Velociraptor Month anyway. Let’s say March.
Photo Credit: Joshua Barnett
Sept. 19: International Talk Like a Pirate DayIf any invented holiday has gone mainstream, it’s this one. Created as a joke back in 1995, Talk Like a Pirate Day is pretty self-explanatory: Once a year, you spend an entire day punctuating your speech with “arr,” “matey” and other pirate clichés. (If you’re an actual pirate, just continue speaking normally.) For more tips on speaking like a pirate, visit the official website.
Photo Credit: Joe
November: Georgia Pecan MonthYou’ll be shocked to learn that Georgia Pecan Month is the brainchild of the good folks at the Georgia Pecan Commission. It’s not entirely clear what you’re supposed to do during Georgia Pecan Month; the link on the Commission’s website just leads to an online cookbook of pecan recipes, so we suppose you’re just meant to make a bunch of pecan pies in November. We’d make fun of the idea of dedicating an entire month to a specific kind of nut from a specific U.S. state… But man, those recipes look good.
Photo Credit: Selena N. B. H.
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