Did you know there’s a ‘National Popcorn Day’ (January 19th)? There’s also a ‘National Go Barefoot Day’ (luckily on June 1st), ‘National School Librarian Day’ (April 4th, Shhhhh) and even a ‘National Make your Bed day’ on September 11th.
Where do all these weird and wonderful National Days come from? Well the fact is that anyone can make one up, use social media to promote it and hey presto, you have your own day! There are a couple of calendars on the web which list them, and where you can register your own day (beware though, as many are submitted, few accepted!)
Some, like ‘National Talk like a Pirate Day’ (September 9th) are the brainchild of a couple of friends and just celebrated in private until it was picked up by the media and the whole world joined in the fun. Others, like ‘National Equal Pay Day’ (second Tuesday in April) have a serious message and were set up by national organisations.
Some seemingly trivial days have interesting stories behind them: National ampersand day is on September 8th each year – did you know that:
- The ampersand was the 27th letter of the English alphabet until the early 1800s?
- The ampersand is a joining together of ‘e’ and ‘t’, spelling ‘et’ in Latin (meaning ‘and’)?
- The word “ampersand” is a slurring of the words ‘and per se and’ (‘and, by itself, and’)?
- The plus sign may have derived from the ampersand?
There are a multitude of food-based national days – National Doughnut Day (first Friday of June) dates back to the First World War, and the Salvation Army’s practice of cooking doughnuts for the front line soldiers. You could also celebrate National Strawberry Sundae Day (on July 7th) which has unknown origins, or for a more savoury treat try British Pie Week (this year from 5th-11th March).
Most national days have been created since the advent of the internet, as the sharing of social media posts is usually instrumental to the success of the day. One notable exception which pre-dates the internet is the ‘National Heimlich Manoeuvre Day’ on June 1st, although not even Dr Henry Heimlich really knew how the day came about.
So if you’re looking for something to celebrate, why not check out the National Days – they’re mostly just a bit of fun but with hashtags on social media, they get people talking.