It seems not a week goes by without at least one day being designated some kind of national recognition event. There’s National High Five Day (April 18), Left-handers Day (Aug. 13) and Kiss a Ginger Day (Jan. 12).
So many of these so-called holidays come across as either marketing efforts promoted by business groups or weak excuses to celebrate stuff someone likes. For example, Friday was National Donut Day, which sounds like an arbitrary reason to grab a fistful of sugary carbs. However, this pastry party actually has some historic significance.
According to the Salvation Army, “Each year on the first Friday in June, National Donut Day honors Salvation Army Donut Lassies, dubbed Donut Girls, who made fresh, complementary donuts for American soldiers serving in France during World War I.”
The recognition day started in 1938. An article on the history of the day posted on the Salvation Army website notes that, “In addition to serving donuts, the Donut Girls also provided writing supplies and stamps, and offered a clothes-mending service to the soldiers in battle.”
After learning about the legitimacy of National Donut Day, I started looking around for justifications for other odd holidays. I learned that Feb. 20 is Hoodie Hoo Day, which aims to help people overcome winter seasonal blues and get them ready for the joys of spring. Clearly, the person who came up with this one didn’t live in Missouri, where spring is essentially a six-hour window between the ice storm and tornado seasons.
Sure enough, Hoodie Hoo Day and about 90 other copyrighted holidays are the creations of Thomas Roy, a Pennsylvania radio host who told CNN that he was trying to come up with content for his morning show when he discovered Chase's Calendar of Events, a reference book on holidays that allowed everyday citizens the chance to submit holiday ideas. Roy turned in Hoodie Hoo Day, which he said is celebrated “by grabbing a beach blanket or sunglasses and waving them at the winter sun while twice yelling, ’Hoodie-hoo!’” With standards like this, it is no wonder that Roy also was able to establish Bathtub Party Day and Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, according to holidayscalendar.com.
A collection of these pseudo-holidays celebrate things that should be part of everyday life, things that should not require a specific date on a calendar to remind us of their value. If you need your calendar or social media feed to remind you to appreciate your spouse (Jan. 26) and siblings (April 10), love your pet (Feb. 20) or to recycle (Nov. 15), you might need to work on your priorities and awareness.
That said, I’m all for giving some more love to peanut butter (Jan. 24), random acts of kindness (Feb. 17), adoptions (Nov. 23) and wearing pajamas to work (April 16). According to promotional information about this year’s edition of Chase’s Calendar of Events, this year we also get International Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day, which seems like a fairly narrow niche.
Our next “real” holiday is Flag Day on June 14, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the stars and stripes by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. But before we get there, make sure to mark your calendar for International Axe Throwing Day, which occurs the day before, and National Selfie Day, which is June 21. In both cases, be certain to aim carefully.