The Strangest National Holidays You May Want To Celebrate

We love our holidays. From Independence Day to Thanksgiving Day, our national holidays give us time to break from routine, celebrate with friends or family, and pause to appreciate a moment of tradition.

But beyond the traditional, there are a whole host of random "National Holidays" that have yet to rise to the occasion of a true day off. These celebrate everything from types of food to hobbies, from everyday items (Pockets, Collars, Sleeves and Zippers Day, anyone?) to just about anything else.

These aren't official, no, but they're certainly no less exciting! Sometimes they're just an opportunity for companies to market their products (National Raisin Day), or for people to celebrate something very specific they enjoy, like National Talk Like a Pirate Day (arrrrg). But you might find a few worth celebrating in this list of some of our favorite wacky national holidays.

National Splurge Day

Envisioned as a kind of National Treat Yourself Day (or "Treat Yo Self" for those Parks and Rec fans out there), National Splurge Day falls on June 18 every year. A splurge is an indulgent or luxury purchase that makes you feel good.

The motto of the holiday is "Have fun!" Anything from a massage to a new pair of shoes to a brand-new phone qualifies as a splurge. The holiday dates to the 1990s, when it was invented by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, a self-proclaimed "eventologist" who has actually created more than 1,900 "holidates."

Koopersmith chose the date of the holiday based on when most people receive their tax returns and have some extra money to spend on little luxuries. This is her most famous creation, she told the New York Times in 2018. "I could not bear to go through another year of the typical, traditional, religious, corny and patriotic holidays,” she said, so her many events (including Uncomplicate Your Life Day, Yearbook Day, and Pockets, Collars, Sleeves and Zippers Day) are meant to fill the void.

National Paranormal Day

National Paranormal Day, which occurs on May 3, is a novelty, unofficial holiday meant to celebrate and encourage paranormal phenomenon.

Fittingly enough, the origins of National Paranormal Day are still—what else?—a mystery. So is why it is marked on May 3, as no significant paranormal event occurred on that day. Some theorize, however, this date may have been chosen because Charles Fort, an influential author and researcher of the paranormal, died on that day in 1932.

Casual observers of National Paranormal Day may mark the day online with the hashtag "#NationalParanormalDay." Activities on the day may include watching favorite scary movies or discussing various paranormal content, such as ghosts. We know you paranormal fans are out there: one recent survey shows almost half of Americans believe in ghosts!

National Bacon Day

National Bacon Day celebrates all things bacon, from bacon-wrapped shrimp to bacon-topped burgers to plain ol’ bacon.

The actual date of this holiday is disputed, as there have been quite a few days devoted to bacon over the years. Friends Danya Goodman and Meff Leonard claim they invented the holiday in 1997 as a non-denominational, gift-giving holiday meant to be celebrated December 30. In 2004, graduate students at the University of Colorado–Boulder declared their Bacon Day a new winter tradition. (They've celebrated in January and February.) The unofficial International Bacon Day is held the first Monday in September.

No matter which you choose, National Bacon Day is an occasion to fry up some bacon, enjoy its greasy, salty goodness, and drop some “#NationalBaconDay” hashtags and bacon emoji 🥓 on social media.

National Mimosa Day

National Mimosa Day is an unofficial holiday observed May 16. It celebrates brunch's favorite adult beverage: the mimosa, a drink typically made from orange juice and champagne.

Mimosa is a kind of plant that can have lovely yellow flowers, such as the silver wattle. The color of a mimosa drink, usually made with equal parts orange juice and champagne (or other sparkling wines), is said to resemble the plant’s color, hence the name.

National Mimosa Day was created in 2014, though many clever imbibers crafted their own one-off references to National Mimosa Day before then.

Dictionary Day and Thesaurus Day

We can't lie—we are particularly partial to Dictionary Day. Dictionary Day is celebrated on October 16, the birthday of Noah Webster. If that name rings a bell, that's because Noah Webster, Jr. was one of the first American lexicographers.

In 1806, Webster published his magnum opus, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. While the book was not exactly a smashing success (it only sold 2,500 copies), it was still an important milestone. Webster's Dictionary was particularly important because it codified the so-called American spelling of words, like color instead of colour.

As if that isn't cool enough, there's also a Thesaurus Day. Thesaurus Day is celebrated on January 18. That day is the birthday of another famous lexicographer—Peter Mark Roget, author of Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition, or Roget's Thesaurus, created in 1805. His is considered the first modern thesaurus. With thousands of entries, that's certainly something to celebrate.

National Nothing Day

As we have seen, the American holiday calendar is packed choc-a-block with celebrations from the charming (Dictionary Day) to the bizarre (National Paranormal Day). One national humor writer, Harold Coffin, was fed up with these holidays-in-press-release-only. So, in 1972 he declared a National Nothing Day on January 16 in order "to provide Americans with one National day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything."

Coffin also established the Nothing Foundation to support National Nothing Day, releasing a press release that said, "The only regret of the negative thinkers in the Nothing Foundation is that in order to combat the proliferation of special days they were forced to create an additional special day."

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

As if the Christmas season didn't already get enough attention in the United States, it has all kinds of hanger-on holidays, too, including Black Friday and National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. You read that right. Since 2011, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day has been celebrated on the third Friday of each December.

Associated with the 1980s, the ugly Christmas sweater is a heavy knit sweater featuring loud Christmas designs and colors, as if you put all of your Christmas into one piece of wearable wool. It’s like a Cosby sweater meets Santa meets your first-grade teacher.

While unfashionable, ugly Christmas sweaters have a lot of ironic charm. So much so that holiday parties specifically for guests to wear their ugly sweaters have been thrown since the early 2000s. Stores even sell these ugly sweaters in case guests don’t have relics from their past collecting mothballs in their closets.

National Cheese Lover's Day

Mmmm. Cheese. Stinky, squishy, lovely fermented milk. We can't get enough of it. And neither can other cheese lovers—so much so that there's a National Cheese Lover's Day.

Celebrated on January 20, National Cheese Lover's Day is a good time to honor one of America's favorite foods. (According to a 2017 study, Americans eat about 35 pounds of cheese a year on average). From Havarti to Brie to good ol' government cheese, National Cheese Lover's Day is a chance to really enjoy this staple that is anything but basic. (Hint: you might score some deals on cheese this day!)

It's important to note that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is also on January 20. We weren't able to establish if MLK was a cheese lover, himself, though.

National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day

January 11 marks the unofficial holiday of National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends DayOn this day, friends jump in puddles and get each other wet—all in the name of friendship and good, (not-so) clean fun.

National Step in the Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day is designed for kids but can be appreciated by people of all ages. It was included in the 2012 Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac, and children’s charities and mommy blogs promote this day as a fun, let’s-get-messy outdoor activity.

SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.