Unusual Holidays in the US


We tend to think of holidays as limited as those time-honored traditions where we feast, as well as those days that involve presents and those that let us take off work. There’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Fourth of July, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Labor Day and so on. But do you know that the United States boasts a hundreds of funny and unusual holidays? Name a date and America has a holiday for it.

Holidays can be created by organizations who declare holidays to raise awareness (like National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day or Epilepsy Awareness Day); and by companies who create holidays to support products (Free Comic Book Day, Battery Day, Data Privacy Day or Hot Sauce Day). These holidays range from the totally random (National Clean Up Your Room Day, Tell a Joke Day, Nothing Day, Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day or Talk Like a Yoda Day) to the weirdly specific (Hole in my Bucket Day, Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, or Chocolate Covered Raisins Day). And of course, there’s a lot of holidays to appreciate your favorite foods (Apple Pie Day, Pizza Day, Donut Day or Chocolate Chip Day) and to honor important people like Alfred Hitchcock, Hellen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell.

Plus, there are also holidays made by holiday enthusiasts like Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, a Chicago woman who created more than 1,900 holidays including Pay a Compliment Day, Ant Appreciation Month, National Splurge Day and Hug a GI Day. Thomas Roy is another holiday-maker, who invented and copyrighted more than 90 holidays including No Sock Day, and Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day.

Truly, the United States of America is the land where every day is a holiday. So, check out some of the weird and unusual holidays and see if you can add a few to your calendar. We all could use a little more celebration, right?

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (First Saturday of February)

This unofficial holiday was first started in the 1960s by Florence Rappaport of Rochester, New York. It was cold and snowy and her children were complaining that it was too cold to do anything. She thought that they can have ice cream for breakfast and that started it. Her two youngest children reminded her of that special day every year after that occasion, and spread the family tradition when they went to college. Ice Cream for Breakfast Day became a subject for newspapers around the world, and celebrations were taking place in Israel, Canada, England, New Zealand and South Africa.

To celebrate this holiday, you can replace your oats and cereals with ice cream, or top your pancakes or waffles with ice cream.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19)

Oregon pals John Baur (“Ol’ Chumbucket”) and Mark Summers (“Cap’n Slappy”) created this holiday on June 6, 1995 for reasons they don’t quite recall, and they started using pirate speak during a game of racquetball. June 6 is the anniversary of D-Day, so they chose to designate Sept. 19 (the birthday of Summers’ ex-wife) as Talk Like a Pirate Day. The pals celebrated the holiday pretty much on their own for 7 years, with their friend Brian Rhodes to remind them that the event was coming up. In 2002, they reached out to syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry to share their tradition, and he wrote a piece about it. The tradition has gained a cult following, with individuals and business taking part of the fun. Today, this is celebrated as a way to raise funds for charity organizations.

On September 19 every year, feel free to answer the phone in a heavy brogue accent. Intersperse your speech with grunts and growls, slur your words and intentionally use bad grammar. Call your friends “matey.” Have fun!

Fruitcake Toss Day (January 3)

A traditional Christmas fruitcake

On January 3, the wacky US holidays begin with a bang on a Fruitcake Toss Day. This traditions originated in Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1995 as a way for people to get rid of their unwanted fruitcake after Christmas. Having hung on to the dense Christmas bread for two weeks, you are now permitted to toss it out, guilt-free.

You can collect all the unwanted fruitcakes that you can, find an empty space and start tossing it out. If your neighbors also received a lot of fruitcakes like you, why not hold a fruitcake-toss-for-distance? You can also compete for the highest of furthest throw. Just make sure that there are no elderly or child neighbors out there, as the density of the cake can cause body harm. But if you think tossing out fruitcakes is a huge waste, why not share them with your friends or bring it to the office to share with colleagues as dessert?

Blame Someone Else Day (First Friday the 13th of the year)

Blame Someone Else Day is the compulsive liar’s dream come true. It’s dedicated for not taking responsibility for any of your failures. This momentous occasion to lie and pretend takes place on the first Friday the 13th of every year. Reportedly, this holiday was started in 1982 by Anne Moeller of Clio, Michigan. Her alarm didn’t go off one Friday the 13th, which caused her to show up late for her appointments – and subsequently, make excuses throughout the day.

On the first Friday the 13th of the year, you can pin the blame on anyone you wish. You can also prank your family, friends or co-workers to make it fun. Spike on people’s drinks on a family gathering and blame the granny, loosen the screws on chairs and blame the kids, and pour chocolate mousse on people’s shoes and blame the dog. There are a lot of excuses and pranks you can make here!

Kiss and Make-up Day (August 25)

Two female friends hugging each other

August 25 is a day to let of grudges, anger, resentment and indignation with anyone you are estranged with. This unofficial holiday encourages people to make up and reconcile. Some conflicts and arguments can be set aside and forgotten easily, but some misunderstandings can take an ugly turn, which can turn people from each other. “Kiss and make-up” is an idiom that means to forgive a person and be friends with them again, but you can do that literally of course, especially if the one you should make up with is a spouse or a lover.

Jacki Milgate pitched the idea of having this holiday to Chase’s Calendar of Events and the event appeared in the publication’s 1992 edition. She chose August 25 because it’s her birthday. Her tradition caught on and she has done radio interviews with DJs as far away as Australia, and the holiday was even featured in a Wrigley gum ad in USA Today.

Hug Your Hound Day (September 14)

Created by canine behaviorist Ami Moore, Hug Your Hound Day encourages dog parents to focus on their dog’s health, safety and happiness and celebrate the special bond between dogs and humans. It was started in the late 1990s. This holiday is about truly observing your four-legged pal, and see the world from their point of view just for one day.

To celebrate this holiday, take your dog to a long walk at the park and let him or her say hello to their friends. Treat them their favorite treats and of course, give them a big hug! If you don’t have a dog but love cats, there’s also a Hug Your Cat Day holiday you can celebrate with them every June 4.

Yellow Pigs Day (July 17)

A yellow piggy bank with sunglasses

Yellow Pigs Day is not about celebrating yellow pigs but more about the number 17. This holiday dates back to early 1960s when Princeton University mathematics students David Kelly and Michael Spivak was exploring the properties of number 17. It was unclear what a yellow pig has to do with number 17, though legend has it that it is in reference to David Kelly’s collection of yellow pigs. The yellow pig mascot of the holiday has 17 toes, 17 eyelashes and 17 teeth. 

On July 17, gift the mathematicians in your life some yellow pig plush toys or marzipan Yellow Pig candies. Or do some 17 acts of kindness during the day.

Wear Something Gaudy Day (October 17)

Ugly, colorful sweaters on display

This holiday is a great day to dress in your loudest, flashiest and tackiest outfit. “Wear Something Gaudy Day” was declared a national holiday by Larry Dallas, a character in the 1970’s sitcom “Three’s Company”. This show aired from 1977 to 1984 and follows the lives of roommates in Santa Monica, California. 

It’s easy to follow this holiday. Just wear something bright, flashy and something that looks tasteless and tacky. It can be a bright neon ensemble paired with more colorful jewelry, an ugly sweater or an out-of-fashion piece.

International Caps Lock Day (October 22)

October 22 is international CAPS LOCK Day! It relates to… yes you guessed it, the caps lock key on the computer keyboard. Derek Arnold from Iowa created the holiday in 2000. Arnold decided that he, like many internet users, had enough of people using all caps to emphasize themselves on the web. He created the holiday for poking fun of people who use this abomination of a typing style, and finally bring some sanity again on the internet. 

Caps Lock Day can also be celebrated on June 28 – as Arnold added this second day of observation. June 28, 2009 was the day when infomercial king Billy Mays died. Mays has a famously loud voice, which led some people to jokingly refer to the caps lock key as the “Billy Mays” key.

National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (August 8)

Yes, this is a thing. And if you’re a vegetable gardener, you would know that zucchini harvest can go from bountiful to overwhelming. The struggle is about how to get rid of all the inevitable onslaught of the vegetable. Tom Roy from wellcat.com created this zucchini holiday. Surprisingly, this holiday has a large following and is considered one of the premier unusual holidays in the US.

To celebrate it, simply wait until the dead of night and quietly creep up to your neighbors’ porches or front doors and leave plenty of zucchini for them to enjoy. It’s like being Santa sneaking into your house in the dead of night to leave presents, but instead, it’s tiny little squashes you are desperate to get rid of. 

Be Late for Something Day (September 5)

Be Late for Something Day be-late-for-something-day

Every workday seems to be a rush, and Be Late for Something Day asks people to slow down, take a deep breath and savor the world around them. Or perhaps sleep a little while longer or stop by your favorite breakfast restaurant and be tardy for work. It’s believed that this holiday was created by the Procrastinators’ Club of America to allow people to take a break from their busy schedules.

Tardiness is bad behavior, so this is not encouraged to do any other day but September 5. Be late to something on purpose, but be considerate for the people who are waiting for you. Call or text them and let them know ahead that you are “running” late.

Be Kind to Lawyers Day (Second Tuesday in April)

A lawyer at his office desk, scribbling with one hand and holding a phone to his ear on the other hand

Lawyers may get a bad rap – they have been a subject of jokes and have been seen as evil by the public throughout history. But they are important to the society and the justice system. So, in this official holiday, people are encouraged to be kind to all who practice law and to appreciate them for the work they do. This unofficial holiday is a brainchild of Steve Hughes, a communications expert from Missouri who works with a lot of lawyers. 

To celebrate this holiday, send a thank you note or a small gift to a lawyer in your life. Take them out to lunch to show your appreciation. You can also use legal jargons when having conversations with your friends, family and colleagues. 

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