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The big holidays of the calendar year are imposing and unchanging, often associated with history and time-honored traditions. Christmas, Halloween, and the Fourth of July are all US holidays that bring to mind childhood, nostalgia, and a vein of seriousness behind the happy celebrations. For those who feel a little panic at traditional holidays, the United States boasts a variety of funny and ironically unusual holidays that you can celebrate at your leisure. Many of these have origins shrouded in mystery, but nearly all are silly and worth a celebration at least once.
On 6 January each year, the wacky US holidays begin with a bang on Fruitcake Toss Day. Having hung on to the dense and often inedible Christmas bread for two weeks, you are now permitted to toss it out, guilt free. But don’t just stop the celebration there; if you and your neighbors have been blessed with multiple fruitcakes, why not hold a fruitcake-toss-for-distance? Just don’t throw it at elderly neighbors, as the incredible density of the cake can cause bodily harm.
Some unusual holidays are held in honor of a silly or notable person. On 25 May, tie a towel around your neck or purse to celebrate the memory of author Douglas Adams, the genius behind the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Celebrating Towel Day not only honors the life of a visionary writer, it also shows the world that you are a hardy traveler. According to the books, the best hitchhikers always know where their towel is.
Any vegetable gardener will tell you, the heady days of August are when the zucchini harvest goes from bountiful to overwhelming. Hence, on the eighth day of August, in the dead of night, it is time for Sneak Some Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Day! Points are given for degree of sneakiness, but taken away if you are discovered on your mission of zucchini delivery. This holiday has a surprisingly large following, and is considered one of the premier unusual holidays in the United States.
After you have successfully discarded your squash, you will have only a short while to prepare for one of the most popular unusual holidays, Talk Like A Pirate Day. This international holiday encourages you to add a bit of “yaarr” to “yaaarrr daily routine.” On 19 September each year, feel free to answer the phone in a heavy brogue, offer customers at your coffee shop an orange mocha to ward off the scurvy, or engage a public bus in a rousing chorus of “A Pirate’s Life for Me".
Some may feel that unusual holidays mock the traditions of truly memorable or noteworthy celebrations. Yet the purpose of most holidays is to enjoy life, visit with loved ones and be thankful for the good things you have. Unusual holidays may have a hint of irony, but they possess a heart of gold and a love of innocent fun. Besides, the United States of America has an officially-recognized celebration based on asking a rodent its opinion of the weather, so there is hardly room to criticize other unusual holidays. Be sure to take into account local laws in all celebrations, and have a good time celebrating.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the most unique holidays celebrated in the United States?
In the U.S., alongside traditional holidays, there are unique celebrations like National Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday in July), and National Donut Day (first Friday in June). These whimsical holidays often reflect cultural quirks and provide a reason to celebrate the lighter side of life.
How did National Talk Like a Pirate Day become an unusual holiday in the U.S.?
National Talk Like a Pirate Day was created in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers, also known as "Ol' Chumbucket" and "Cap'n Slappy." The idea was popularized after humor columnist Dave Barry covered it in 2002, leading to widespread recognition and celebration of pirate lingo on September 19th each year.
Are there any unusual holidays in the U.S. that support charitable causes?
Yes, some unusual U.S. holidays have a charitable aspect. For example, National Donut Day, celebrated on the first Friday in June, has roots in The Salvation Army's Donut Day event created in 1938 to honor those who served donuts to soldiers during World War I. It now often includes fundraising for The Salvation Army.
Can businesses benefit from participating in unusual U.S. holidays?
Businesses can indeed benefit from engaging in unusual U.S. holidays. These holidays often drive promotional events, special sales, and social media campaigns. For instance, National Ice Cream Day can boost sales for ice cream parlors and create opportunities for customer engagement through contests and giveaways.
Is there a resource where I can find a comprehensive list of unusual U.S. holidays?
For those interested in discovering more unusual U.S. holidays, websites like National Day Calendar (nationaldaycalendar.com) offer a comprehensive list and background information on these special dates, helping you stay informed about the myriad of quirky celebrations throughout the year.