Calendar offers cause for celebration
By Darice Williams
Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2005
News alert: This is the last week to celebrate Soft Pretzel Month.
Don't fret if you haven't had a chance to revel, there are other important dates to celebrate -- National Karaoke Week, National Scoop the Poop Week and Sky Awareness Week.
While most major holidays -- including Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas -- have serious social, religious or historical meanings, some observances are celebrated for fun or to attract attention to a cause.
There are wacky events such as Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day (Jan. 31), Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day (July 27) and Shallow Persons Awareness Week (Nov. 14 through 20).
Many of these offbeat events have found a home in Chase's Calendar of Events, the nation's annual bible of special occasions. The 752-page reference book is packed with information on everything from the National Hobo Convention to celebrity birthdays to movies placed on the National Film Registry.
Holly McGuire, editor-in-chief of Chase's, says some people can get confused when it comes to getting their special event recognized.
"There is no one entity that OKs all holidays," she says. "(Chase's) is not necessarily OK-ing a holiday either, we are just saying people are celebrating this on this day."
Chase's usually receives nearly 100 submissions a year for special days. They accept about 20 to 30 of them.
In 1995, Congress stopped making special proclamations except for extraordinary events. For example, in 2002, Congress proclaimed Patriot's Day on Sept. 11 after the 2001 terror attacks.
Anyone can create their own special day, week or month. Companies may do it as part of a public relations campaign. Special-interest groups may do it to promote their ideas. And then there are those who do it because they want a celebration that can be recognized worldwide.
Holiday-makers Thomas and Ruth Roy, of Mount Gretna, Lebanon County, are doing just that.
The husband-and-wife team have nearly 80 special days published in Chase's. Some of their quirky creations include Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night (Aug. 8), Have a Bad Day Day (Nov. 19) and Eat What You Want Day (May 11).
"We just want holidays to be part of every day life," says Thomas Roy, an associate producer for the annual Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, where he also acts and directs.
Roy started creating holidays in 1986 when he was a radio talk show host. He invited his listeners to celebrate Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day by running at high noon and yelling "hoodie-hoo" to chase the winter away. And guess what• They did it and Thomas submitted his new holiday to Chase's.
"I think that's who we are as Americans. We do not need the government to tell us what we need to celebrate," Roy says. "It is not rude, we are just smart alecks. In fact I'll write that down as a possible holiday -- Smart Aleck Day."
Some people choose to celebrate things that are not that celebratory.
Bruce Novotny, 50, is the creator of That Sucks Day (April 15), a day to celebrate life's misfortunes and hopefully have a better tomorrow. It is no mistake that the veterinarian from Shawnee, Kansas, chose the same day as Tax Day and the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic as the not-so-jolly holiday.
"If a National Sucks Day is successful, I'd hope it would be a day to forget about the trauma in life and let's all drink up," he says.
Sometimes offbeat holidays are a way to let it all hang out.
National Underwear Day (Aug. 13) began two years ago by Freshpair, an online retailer of intimate apparel based in New York City.
"We encourage people to show a little of their underwear -- such as a bra strap or underwear band -- on that day," says Michael Kleinmann, chief operating officer for Freshpair. "We thought underwear deserved more recognition because it is something people spend a lot of money on because they buy it all the time. We wanted to do something fun and light-hearted."
Unlike some of the stress-filled big holidays, wacky celebrations can teach us to relax, says Louie Volpe, president of Holidays on the Net (www.holidays.net).
"A lot of teachers and people in nursing homes and rehabilitation places are always looking for something to cheer up the day and incorporate these days into lessons and activities," he says. "For many people, day to day life can be boring, and they are looking for anything to celebrate or chuckle at."
Mark your calendar for Saturday. Not only is it Arbor Day, it's also National Hairball Awareness Day. How you celebrate is up to you.
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