30 Coolest Holidays You Didn’t Know Existed
Mark your calendar for these fun, cool (and, OK, maybe a little weird) national holidays.
30 Coolest Holidays You Didn’t Know Existed
Sure, we’re all familiar with Halloween and Thanksgiving, but did you know there are holidays dedicated to eating ice cream for breakfast, appreciating static electricity, not wearing socks (or anything at all) and celebrating middle children?
Missed an anniversary or birthday? Make it up to your loved one on I Forgot Day. Feel like skipping Valentine’s Day? Try Friendship Day or show some love to a stranger on Acts of Kindness Day.
Take your pick of hundreds of fun, uniquely different (and, OK, maybe a little weird) national celebrations to add to your calendar. Here are some of our favorites.
National Fruitcake Toss Day – January 3
With the exception of unwrapping socks on Christmas morning, getting a fruitcake for the holidays is a time-honored tradition that everyone loafs to hate. Thankfully, in 1996, a group of people in Colorado came up with a way to make fruitcakes fun. Instead of tossing them in the trash, they tossed them in the air to see how far they’d fly.
The annual fruitcake toss now includes inventive activities like fruitcake slingshot and relay races, but you don’t have to go all the way to Colorado to enjoy the festivities. Simply grab your unwanted fruitcake, open your door and hurl it as far as you can. Just be careful not to dent your car.
National Dress Up Your Pet Day – January 14
Turn your furry friends into four-legged fashionistas on this paw-some holiday, which was launched in 2009 by pet lifestyle expert Colleen Paige.
Whether you want to see how your cat looks in a sparkly tutu or style your pup in a pair of cool dog jeans, this is a day for cute (but comfortable) outfits and lots of picture taking. Bonus points if you and your pet dress alike!
National Squirrel Appreciation Day – January 21
This one may sound a little nutty, but there’s a lot to appreciate about these crafty tree-dwellers. Fun fact: The act of squirrels burying their acorns has resulted in billions of oak trees around the world.
Maybe they meant to eat their nuts but forgot where they put them, but instead of throwing shade at these playful creatures for feasting from your vegetable garden, leave out some food and say thank you for all the shade they help bring to the world.
National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day – January 25
Like a good friend, bubble wrap is always there for us. Though it was intended to be used as wallpaper when it was invented in 1957, bubble wrap has become a great protector of all things fragile (seriously, can you imagine having to move without this stuff?), and studies show that spending a few minutes bursting these bubbles can be a great stress reliever.
So, mark this one on your bubble wrap calendar and spend the day getting wrapped up in this technological marvel.
National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day – February 5
In 1966, Florence Rappaport and her six children were stuck at home on a cold, snowy morning. To give her kids (and likely herself) something fun to do, Florence allowed everyone to eat their feelings in the form of ice cream for breakfast.
Today, the kid in all of us is grateful for a day where we can enjoy a bowl of Rocky Road or Cookies and Cream before 9 a.m. and feel totally good about it. Thank you, Florence!
National Random Acts of Kindness Day – February 17
While Valentine’s Day is meant to be celebrated with your significant other, this day encourages you to show some love to anyone you choose. You can compliment a friend, buy your co-worker a coffee or help a total stranger carry groceries to their car — there’s no act too small to show some kindness.
And, these acts can benefit you, too. According to scientists, doing good deeds may result in a “helper’s high” that can help reduce your own stress and anxiety.
National Get Over It Day – March 9
Sometimes, life is a heaping pile of disappointment. You don’t get the promotion you worked so hard for or your significant other breaks up with you to join the circus. Enter National Get Over It Day — 24 hours to exhale your feelings and frustrations and refocus on the positive.
This holiday was invented in 2005 when a man named Jeff Goldblatt wrote a poem to help him get over an ex-girlfriend that went viral.
National Napping Day – First Monday After Winter Daylight Savings Time
Perhaps, all the things you needed to get over left you exhausted, so it’s a good thing it’s closely followed by National Napping Day. The holiday was invented in 1999 by Dr. William Anthony and Camille Anthony, who wanted to share the health benefits of a 20- to 30-minute nap. Fun fact: These benefits include increasing your mental alertness and cognitive ability.
The couple timed the celebration to coincide with daylight savings time to help us cope with losing an hour of sleep. To observe this yawn fest, grab yourself a blanket, set aside 30 minutes and enjoy your rest.
National Take a Walk in the Park Day – March 30
Ever do something and proclaim, “Well, that was just a walk in the park?” This holiday means that literally. To welcome the arrival of spring, you’re encouraged to spend the day taking strolls in your favorite park.
The holiday’s origins remain unknown, but we do know that walking is a great form of exercise that can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. For added fun, make an awesome themed playlist with songs like “Walk This Way,” “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
National Burrito Day – First Thursday of April
Tacos may get a dedicated day every week, but once a year, Taco Tuesday shares a calendar with Burrito Thursday. To honor this delicious Mexican dish, gather your favorite ingredients like chicken, pork, vegetables, rice and sour cream into a fresh tortilla, and wash it down with a margarita.
Or take advantage of burrito specials at food chains and restaurants likeChipotle, Taco Bell and Rubio’s Coastal Grill.
National Barbershop Quartet Day – April 11
If you’re already part of a Barbershop Quartet or have been itching to get together with three friends and sing in four-part harmony, this is a day you’ll surely appreciate. National Barbershop Quartet Day was first celebrated in Oklahoma in 1938 as part of an organized movement started by the Barbershop Harmony Society.
A capella music, which has deep roots in African American culture, first began in the late 1800s when men gathered and sang together in, you guessed it, barbershops (and sometimes street corners). Today, there are about 20,000 members and 1,200 quartets registered with the Barbershop Harmony Society.
National Garlic Day – April 19
Whether you want to keep vampires away or simply love the taste of garlic, this is a day for you! Originally used in Asia 7,000 years ago, the vegetable known as the “stinking rose” is now commonly found in dishes around the world.
Spend your day making some of your favorites, like garlic mashed potatoes, garlic herb dip and, of course, garlic bread. As an added bonus, garlic has some major health benefits, such as helping to fight cancers, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and fighting the common cold.
National ‘Twilight Zone’ Day – May 11
These days, it may feel like we’re living in a real-life “Twilight Zone,” but if you want to escape reality and head to another dimension, this is the perfect holiday for you. Spend the day streaming the series’ most popular episodes like “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” or“Eye of the Beholder.”Or opt for the movie or one of the several reboots.
While the origin of this holiday remains a mystery, we do have a fun fact for your consideration: In addition to hosting the show, Rod Serling wrote most of the scripts … which were inspired by his bizarre dreams. Doo doo doo doo.
National Dance Like a Chicken Day – May 14
Flap your wings, ruffle your feathers and put aside your inhibitions, this day is all about the “Chicken Dance.” Written in the 1950s by a Swiss accordionist, the “Chicken Dance” (also known as the “Duck Dance” and the “Birdie Song”) rose to fame at wedding receptions alongside other popular group dances like the “Hokey Pokey” and“Electric Slide.”
If you’ve never tried it, today is the perfect day to grab your favorite flock and enjoy this cardio cluckfest. You can watch some videos to prepare you or just wing it.
National Scavenger Hunt Day – May 24
The holiday is celebrated on the birthday of Elsa Maxwell, an author, actress and gossip columnist who organized scavenger hunts for the New York elite in the 1930s. While her clues often involved elaborate riddles and eccentric items, the beauty of scavenger hunts is that they can be as easy or complex as you want them to be.
To get in the spirit of the day, you can hide office supplies and ask your co-workers to find them, gather random stuff from your home and get your kids to scour the backyard, or design a literary-themed scavenger hunt or pub crawl for your friends. Happy hunting!
National Wine Day – May 25
A holiday that consists of enjoying a nice bottle of red, white or rosé? Yes, please! While drinking vino is obviously a big part of this holiday, people are also encouraged to learn more about the beverage. Here are a few fun facts to help you get started:
In order, the biggest producers of wine are France, Spain, Italy, the United States and China.
It is estimated that people have been drinking wine for over 9,000 years.
Believe it or not, some people have an actual fear of wine, known as “oenophobia,” so they would probably not appreciate this day. Everyone else, cheers!
National Leave the Office Early Day – June 2
This holiday may not sit well with your boss, but National Leave the Office Early Day is meant to recognize how many hours Americans spend at the office (an average of 40 hours per week, as compared to about 29 in parts of Europe) and the importance of a little extra personal time.
The holiday was the brainchild of Laura Stack, a bestselling author who is also known as “The Productivity Pro.” But just in case this holiday doesn’t work for you, here are some fun facts about office life: Monday is the most common sick day, Friday is the least common, and the average person spends about 90,000 hours working. See, doesn’t leaving the office a little early sound really good now?
National Splurge Day – June 18
We hope you still have a job after National Leave the Office Day because today is all about treating yourself or a loved one to something nice, like those fancy shoes, a day at the spa, a nice dinner or finally booking that vacation.
There’s no need to go overboard (like Lady Gaga, who famously spent $47,000 on a portable ghost detector); the goal is to indulge a little without having major credit card debt. The holiday was created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith in the 1990s as a way to boost both people’s morale.
National I Forgot Day – July 2
Feeling guilty about missing someone’s birthday or, gasp, your anniversary? No sweat, put your forgetful mind at ease and acknowledge all the important dates you missed throughout the year on this special day. You can embrace the holiday by organizing a “better late than never” dinner, sending a very belated birthday card or making a calendar of important events to help you better remember things next year.
Another aspect of the day is to let yourself off the hook for not remembering something. With the average human brain having over 6,000 thoughts every day, some things are bound to slip our minds!
National Compliment Your Mirror Day – July 3
So, how does one compliment a mirror exactly? “Hey, you’re looking particularly clear today?” While the name of this holiday is a bit wonky, the goal is to say something nice about the person you see in the mirror. Spend a few minutes saying what you love about yourself, inside and out, or grab a washable marker or lipstick and scribble your favorite inspirational quote in your mirror. Or get together with some friends or family and point out each other’s awesomeness.
Today is all about self-assurance and celebrating the special person you are. And in today’s world, we can certainly all use more moments like this.
National Embrace Your Geekness Day – July 13
Remember when being called a geek was an insult? Well, that’s no longer the case, as exemplified by National Embrace Your Geekness Day. Today is the day to indulge in your love for board games, theater, science, knitting, comic books or whatever other hobbies you’re passionate about.
Wear your favorite themed T-shirts, binge episodes of “The Big Bang Theory,” listen to your favorite Broadway soundtracks or play Dungeons and Dragons all day long. No matter what you choose, let your geek flag fly with a sense of pride!
National Avocado Day – July 31
Another food-themed holiday, National Avocado Day honors a true superfood that’s packed with Omega 3 acids, fiber and minerals. You can spend the day making guacamole, avocado toast or even avocado fries. Or take an avocado pit and try to grow your own plant.
While avocado is widely enjoyed today, it was primarily eaten in Central and South America for about 10,000 years before coming to the United States. It grew in popularity in the 1950s thanks to restaurants serving avocado salads and guacamole.
National Night Out – August 3
The title of this holiday is a bit misleading. You might think it’s about going out to your favorite restaurant, a show or hitting the clubs, but the goal of this day is to leave your home but stay close to it.
The event, launched in 1984, is meant to stand united with your neighbors against crime. Today, over 37 million people across the United States and Canada participate. Promoting community awareness remains a focal point, but the holiday is also a great reason to hold an awesome bloc party or barbecue.
National Book Lovers’ Day – August 9
Book worshippers, rejoice! Here’s an entire day dedicated to stepping away from the internet, silencing your phones and enjoying that new bestseller, the classic you’ve been meaning to read for years or a trashy romance novel (hey, we’re not judging).
Pick your favorite spot, like the beach, under a tree or on the couch and get lost in literature, or pack up the family and head to your local library or bookstore for hours of interrupted storytime.
National Ampersand Day – September 8
Ampersand (&) Day was founded in 2015 by typographer and graphic designer Chaz DeSimone, who wanted to honor the Latin symbol for “and.” The & has been around for over 1,500 years and was once the last letter of the English alphabet.
You’re encouraged to substitute the word for the symbol wherever possible and, for added fun, replacing parts of words or names, like &drea, gr&ma and thous&. Or make calls from your AT&T phone, eat M&M’s or read more travel stories on Far & Wide.
National Talk Like a Pirate Day – September 19
Shiver me timbers! Today is all about delighting (and possibly annoying) your loved ones by speaking in your favorite pirate lingo. Dressing up as Blackbeard or your favorite pirate persona (or creating your own) is also encouraged. Need some help with some catchphrases? Try“ahoy matey” (hello), “all hand hoy” (all hands on deck; perfect for a group or family project) and “thar she blows!” (in case you spot any whales, or maybe just use it to call the dog or cat). You can always just insert an “Arrrrgh” into every sentence as well.
The holiday was created in 1995 by maties John Baur and Mark Summers when they started speaking like pirates during a racquetball game. The holiday remained an inside joke for years but gained popularity when humor columnist Dave Barry wrote about it in 2002.
National Grouch Day – October 15
Inspired by Sesame’s Street’s loveable curmudgeon, Oscar the Grouch, today is a day to embrace your inner grump. Binge-watch Oscar’s greatest hits on “Sesame Street” (with or without the kids) or movies featuring crotchety characters like “Grumpy Old Men” and“A Christmas Carol.”
We don’t recommend hiding in a garbage can, but in dishonor of the day, we are annoyed to share these not-fun facts about Oscar the Grouch: When he debuted on Sesame Street in 1969, he was once orange. And despite always wanting to be alone, Oscar became one of the show’s most popular characters who has made frequent guest appearances in movies and TV shows.
Red Planet Day – November 29
For anyone into a little thing called outer space or just feeling otherworldly, this holiday celebrates Mars, the often-beloved and sometimes-feared red planet (fun fact: it gets the color from massive amounts of iron oxide in its soil and rocks). The day was created by NASA on Nov. 28, 1964, when a robotic explorer named Mariner 4 began a journey towards Mars (and ended up capturing the world’s first close-up photos).
The sky’s the limit for this holiday. Break out your telescopes and look for the planet, see a show at a planetarium, or eat a Mars bar while watching your favorite red-planet movies like “The Martian”and “Total Recall.”
Bathtub Party Day – December 5
As the name implies, today is about skipping the shower and enjoying a long soak. Whether that means enjoying some alone time with your favorite book and soothing playlist, giving the kids a bubble bath, having a romantic night with your significant other, or hitting a hot tub with your friends, the benefits of a warm bath include soothing achy joints and muscles, relieving stress and enhancing your flow of oxygen.
They are also a great cure to cold-weather blues, which can feel especially draining.
Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day – December 8
Why look ahead to just a new year when you can spend the day pretending to be someone 1,000 years in the future. Or turning back time and posing as a person from the 1600s. The holiday was created in the online community, Koala Wallop, and the “official” rules state that you should spend the day acting like your favorite time-traveling character from the past or future (or make up your own persona).
Costumes, acting confused about events or technology, and warning others about a “catastrophic event” are also encouraged. If this doesn’t sound like fun, you can participate in the day by watching your favorite time-traveling movies and TV shows, like “Dr. Who,” “Back to the Future” and “Time Bandits.”