Wait, it’s National WHAT Day?
Monday, August 28, 2017
If we are to believe President Donald Trump, there's a whole lot of fake news circulating out there. But there's another kind of fakery afloat in the media — both print and online — that would have us believe virtually every day is a holiday.
We all know and duly celebrate the traditional ones like Thanksgiving and Labor Day, but there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of unofficial holidays. These "fake" holidays are the so-called national days, weeks and months dedicated to a bewildering number of events, products, organizations and causes.
You might see or hear some of the truly quirky ones bantered about — like International Naked Sailing Day or National Cream-Filled Donut Day. Today is actually National Cherry Turnovers Day, and tomorrow happens to be National Chop Suey Day.
Curious about these ersatz holidays and how they came to be, we investigated the subject. Lo and behold, we found a number of websites, including NationalDayCalendar.com and DaysoftheYear.com, devoted to compiling interminable lists of days, weeks, months and even years designated to commemorate something or another.
Realizing we'd opened a proverbial Pandora's box, we decided to limit our curiosity to checking out holidays observed during the upcoming month — September of 2017. We counted more than 150 of them.
Trying to pin down who concocted these holidays and when proved difficult. There's no central command, no agency or organization that approves, assigns or administers the dizzying roster of faux holidays. Literally anyone can hatch up his or her own national day, week or month.
You can even buy one. The aforementioned website, NationalDayCalendar.com, offers to designate a holiday for a fee ($800 or more) that buys a package including a listing on its site, a 20-inch-by-30-inch framed certificate proclaiming the designation, news releases and radio promos.
Some holidays are genuine and sincere, created by societies, associations and the government to serve in the public interest. September, for example, is Arthritis Awareness Month, promoted by the Arthritis Society, and National Asthma Week (Sept. 1-6) is part of the Asthma Foundation's awareness campaign. September also is Farm Animal Awareness Week (Sept. 16-22), created by the Humane Society of the United States.
Individuals, fostered by a variety of motives — sometimes altruistic — have created a number of holidays. National Elephant Appreciation Day (Sept. 22) is a case in point, established in 1996 by Sarasota, Florida, publisher and pachyderm-loving conservationist Wayne Hepburn.
Many holidays hint strongly of corporate involvement. It's a no-brainer that toymaker Hasbro is behind National Play-Doh Day (Sept. 16). National Dumpling Day (Sept. 26) is a promotional tool of TMI Food Group, a New York City-based producer of Asian food specialties.
Fast food giants, including Burger King and McDonald's, enthusiastically promote National Cheeseburger Day (Sept. 18) and, of course, National Double Cheeseburger Day (Sept. 15), although none of the burger-makers lays specific claim to creating these overtly fake holidays.
We were pleased to note that National Beer Lover's Day is celebrated Sept. 7. Figuring that the brewing industry was surely behind this hammy holiday, we contacted the Beer Institute — the industry's trade group — to verify our suspicion.
Communications Director Dan Roth responded, noting, "Although the Beer Institute certainly celebrates National Beer Lover's Day, we did not establish it." He said that he'd heard it may have originated on the website of an Alabama food writer named Hopkins.
Eureka! Tracking down John-Bryan Hopkins, we discovered that he holds title to a mother lode of food-related holidays, all listed on his trendy website, Foodimentary.com. The site boasts 850,000 followers on Twitter, and his was named one of the country's 140 best Twitter feeds by Time in 2013.
On a mission to ensure there's at least one food-related holiday for every day of the year, Hopkins has created hundreds of food days. Sure enough, we found him to be the source of a couple of September holidays we'd been tracking: National Beer Lover's Day and National Double Cheeseburger Day.
Hopkins reveals his true affection for confections, listing dozens of holidays dedicated to sweets and pastries. Sugary September celebrations include National Hot Cross Bun Day (Sept. 11), National Cream-Filled Donut Day (Sept. 14) and National Apple Dumpling Day (Sept. 17).
It seems to us that someone should establish a National Calorie Reduction Day — perhaps to fall just after Apple Dumpling Day.
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