holiday, it would be so nice
February 12, 2013 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Bloomsday, Festivus, Pi Day, Caturday, Diwali, Poisson d'Avril--what are some other less traditional (or less familiar to a USian) holidays that might be fun to mark on the calender to celebrate?

My husband and I enjoy holidays that are less commercial, especially when they relate to our interests in certain literary fiction, math, and science. Historic dates that are not really celebrated on the level of Memorial Day or Independence Day too, such as Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Anniversaries of important breakthroughs or pertaining to awesome figures are good too. Political/sociological ones too, like International Women's Day. I've tried to amass as many of these as possible so I can remember to keep them in mind, but I'm sure I'm forgetting some or don't know about a lot of possible ones. Can you suggest any?

I'm already familiar with CAPLOCKS DAY and Talk Like a Pirate Day and Steak and BJ Day. I don't mind internet nerd meme-y ones if they are actually fun/not too played out, but I really prefer something like Bloomsday. (Are there other important dates from great books that could be celebration-worthy? 'Cause that's my favorite.)

Oh, and I like food days that prompt me to make something specific too. You know, something like "national pasty day" or some such.

I also, at the risk of being aggravatingly exoticizing, enjoy knowing when big holidays from other cultures fall (Diwali, Moon Festival) and other cultures' takes on holidays similar to American ones (like Poisson d'Avril in France).

And I like sober, less obvious holy days (my favorite Catholic holiday is Ash Wednesday; similarly, Yom Kippur, Day of the Dead) but I'm a lapsed Catholic so I'm not up to speed with more obscure feast days (saint days when the saint is particularly interesting work too).

And yes, I checked the archives and some cheesy websites but couldn't quite find what I was hoping for.
posted by ifjuly to Society & Culture (48 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Juneteenth, which is different from the actual day of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:20 PM on February 12, 2013

Today is Mardi Gras!
posted by Sara C. at 4:26 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

National Mole Day! Also Tau Day.
posted by beryllium at 4:32 PM on February 12, 2013

I never heard of Casimir Pulaski Day until I moved to Chicago, but it's a big deal here.

Also: Happy PaƧzki Day!
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:35 PM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]

Twelfth Night (January 5), you get to drink a lot and have a scrum.
Bonfire Night (November 5), you can burn Guy Fawkes in effigy.
posted by Jehan at 4:39 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Along the lines of Mardi Gras, I've always liked St. Joseph's Day.

I've seen some people rebrand Valentine's Day as "Ada Lovelace Day", but I have no idea whether that's a real thing or just a joke from 30 Rock.

Burns Night just recently passed.

When I was a kid my somewhat-Swedish-ish family tossed around the idea of celebrating St. Lucy's Day, but we never did.

Wiccan holidays can be fun for this sort of thing, since they are a little like familiar European-based holidays but on different dates and with themes mostly around nature. For instance you could celebrate the solstices and equinoxes, which have all kinds of interesting rituals and associations in neo-Pagan culture.
posted by Sara C. at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2013

In the Caribbean its Jouvert
In Brazil they often have a ''dia de ressaca'' or hangover day to recover from the fun of the previous days.
On a literary take you should mark Burns Night and Bloomsday you have already noted.
Then there are fire festivals like Beltane or Midsummer.
posted by adamvasco at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2013

Agnostica, All Saints Day, Alvistide, Armenian Apostolic Christmas, Beiwe, Bodhi Day, Boxing Day, Candlemas, Chahar Shanbeh Suri, Chalica, Chinese New Year, Chrismahanukwanzadan, Day of the Ninja, Decemberween, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti , Diwali, Eastern Orthodox Christmas, Eid ul-Adha, Eid ul-Fitr, Epiphany, Feast of Fools, Feast of Winter Veil, Feast of the Circumcision, Festivus, Freezingman, Frostval, Goru, Hedgehog Day, Hogmanay, Hogswatch, Holy Innocents' Day, HumanLight, Imbolc, Inti Raymi, Kwansolhaneidmas, Kwanzaa, Modranect, Pancha Ganapati, Purim, Sadeh, Saint Basil's Day, Saint John the Evangelist's Day, Saint Nicholas' Day, Saint Stephen's Day, Saint Sylvester's Day, Samhain, Saturnalia, Shoe Giving, Signature of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan), St. Yorick's Day, Starlight Celebration, Tu Bishvat, Twelfth Night, Watch Night, Winter Solstice, Winter-een-mas, Wintersday, Xistlessnessmas, Yalda, Yule, Zamenhof Day

If you want the wintertime ones.
posted by poe at 4:45 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

World Toilet Day on November 19
posted by aniola at 4:52 PM on February 12, 2013

World Water Day on March 22
posted by aniola at 4:53 PM on February 12, 2013

Roman holidays are fun! For example, this week you can celebrate Lupercalia. Authentically, you (or a partner) would sacrifice a goat, skin the hide and cut strips off it, then, wearing the goat's skin, run through the streets hitting married women who wish to become pregnant with the strips of hide! YAY! :)
posted by lysimache at 4:53 PM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20
posted by aniola at 4:55 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Purim! Celebrants get to wear costumes, give and receive gifts of junk food, eat pastries that look like a triangle hat filled with jam, eat a big, festive meal and get so drunk 'until he does not know the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordechai"'. It starts at sundown on February 23 and goes until sundown the next day.
posted by lemonwheel at 4:55 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Melbourne Cup Day.
posted by pompomtom at 4:55 PM on February 12, 2013

The Hobbit Second Breakfast. It's not technically a holiday, but it's totally worth celebrating.
posted by syanna at 4:58 PM on February 12, 2013

lag b'omer
posted by brujita at 4:59 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a child I loved celebrating Festa de Sao Joao. Jumping over fires! Illuminated flame propelled balloons! What's not to like!?
posted by SyraCarol at 4:59 PM on February 12, 2013

PARK(ing) Day on the third Friday in September.
posted by aniola at 5:00 PM on February 12, 2013

July 22nd is Pi Approximation Day (22/7). And, of course, May 25th is Towel Day.
posted by sleepingcbw at 5:10 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April
posted by aniola at 5:11 PM on February 12, 2013

Chase's Calendar of Events will help you with all your non-traditional holiday needs.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:29 PM on February 12, 2013

420 Day.
posted by cazoo at 5:39 PM on February 12, 2013

Too late for this year, but January 7 is Distaff Day.
posted by atropos at 5:42 PM on February 12, 2013

Don't forget Programers Day.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:46 PM on February 12, 2013

On May Day (1st day of May) the French give close friends/family/sweethearts a bouquet of lilies of the valley.

Lily of the Valley Day.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:10 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Celebrate Percymas! Originating in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s, my father and his friends would gather (preferably funny) junk from around their homes and exchange it on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in a non-denominational celebration of the human medical skull my father had found . . . somewhere. According to the rules of the day, you must keep all junk one year past gifting. And then, preferably, regift it.

Also pot. Lots of pot.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:11 PM on February 12, 2013

Ada Lovelace Day is actually in mid-October, and commemorates the contributions of women to science and technology.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:16 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Mattoxic didn't sell it well enough, buried the food in the link! Today is pancake day, so whip up some crepe-style pancakes (not American pancakes) and serve with sugar and lemon juice to be traditional. Or fruit, or anything else sweet. Yum!
posted by Joh at 6:17 PM on February 12, 2013

Some people in my hometown celebrate a Thomas Crapper Day. It seems to be the last Friday in January, which is close to his date of death, January 27. Participating businesses hold a drive to collect toilet paper for the local food bank on that day and offer discounts to people who bring in toilet rolls. You could hold your own drive: have a fun holiday and help those in need at the same time.
posted by wiskunde at 6:30 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's a list of food holidays
posted by wiskunde at 6:36 PM on February 12, 2013

Classics majors celebrate Exelauno Day on March 4th, exelauno being Greek for "march forth."
posted by BibiRose at 6:46 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Random food consumption holidays in South Korea
Black Day (4/14) - for singletons to enjoy black bean noodles
Pepero Day (11/11) - for everyone to eat those chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks (known as Pocky in Japan)
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:22 PM on February 12, 2013

Oh, and a more traditional food consumption holiday in Korea
Winter Solstice = red bean porridge
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:30 PM on February 12, 2013

posted by empath at 8:22 PM on February 12, 2013

This year I will celebrate the Ides of March, dammit!
posted by baniak at 8:27 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

May Day is May 1st

Cesar Chavez Day is March 31

Gay Pride Day varies, but it looks like the Rainbow Grocery Coop celebrates it on the last Sunday in June
posted by aniola at 8:51 PM on February 12, 2013

Korea has a holiday on the 14th of every month. I don't know if I mean South Korea or both
posted by aniola at 9:01 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Songkran is April 13-15
posted by aniola at 9:04 PM on February 12, 2013

I observe St. Swithin's Day for no other reason than the fact that it comes with a bitchin' rhyme:

St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair

posted by dephlogisticated at 9:42 PM on February 12, 2013

July 20 should be a major American holiday: Moon Day.
posted by Rash at 11:03 PM on February 12, 2013

White Day is March 14th, a month after Valentine's Day.
posted by Rash at 11:08 PM on February 12, 2013

For now, April 30 is Koninginnedag in the Netherlands. As of next year, though, it's April 27 and it'll be Koningsdag.
posted by knile at 12:19 AM on February 13, 2013

whoa Rash, I had no idea the moon walk was on my birthday!
posted by ifjuly at 6:58 AM on February 13, 2013

My family always liked to celebrate Sneak a Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night. On the night of August 8, my sibs and I would have prepared paper bags decorated with various zucchini recipes, art, and fond wishes (as well as an explanation of the holiday to the un-initiated) and we'd slip around the neighborhood leaving them on porches. It's fun. It's totally silly. And it has the added benefit of giving neighbors an opportunity to talk about something other than the same old mundane stuff.
posted by jph at 7:02 AM on February 13, 2013

May the Fourth (be with you) - Star Wars Day

Darwin Day was yesterday, so you missed it by "that much". But I usually celebrate with my traditional Oranges of the Spices bread pudding. I'd be happy to send my recipe.

and my favorite Jewish holiday is Sukkot - it's basically a harvest festival and involves eating outside and celebrating the harvest. Since I actually have a little urban farm with chickens and tomatoes and everything, I love celebrating this one.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:23 AM on February 13, 2013

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