Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
With Fourth of July around the corner, I began to think about something a bit more miniscule. Every so often, I would look up the entirety of the upcoming holidays for the current month, but not only would I find well-known days such as the Fourth of July, but I would also find that today (July 3rd) is in fact Compliment Your Mirror Day, Disobedience Day, Eat Beans Day, and Stay out of the Sun Day. Perhaps I have been living under a rock, but I surely had not heard of any of those (even though Stay out of the Sun Day and Disobedience Day do sound like fun, and I’m certainly into celebrating Embrace Your Geekness Day on July 13th (though I think I celebrate it every day)). It got me to wonder: What makes a holiday?
Firstly, the most popular and widely revered holidays (that also tend to come with days off) are mostly in the form of federal holidays. These days have been brought to officiation by congress through a bill, and federal employees are to take the day off. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, the first time Congress mandated these days off was all the way back in 1870, where they officiated New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. As of now, there are 11 officiated federal holidays, including George Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is important to note that these legal holidays are only binding to federal employees in all 50 states and Washington DC. States and private employers are allowed to assign holidays at their own discretion (hence why some stores still run on Independence Day and open in preparation for Black Friday on Thanksgiving). While that does explain the widely accepted holidays, what of the stranger fixtures in holiday calendars?
Days that aren’t officiated come about in more odd ways. In an article by CNN, Thomas Roy has been lauded for making most of these eccentric holidays, copyrighting 90 different holidays throughout the year (he is actually responsible for the aforementioned Stay Out of the Sun Day). The secret to these holidays doing well comes to down to momentum. Thomas Roy submitted his holidays to Chase’s Calendar of Events, and to his surprise, the calendar accepted him, and the holidays began to gain traction. Roy even receives royalties from corporations that wish to use his holidays. For instance, Entenmann’s Bakery paid Roy so that they could use his Eat What You Want Day. Sometimes, people want to just enjoy a holiday just so that they have an excuse to have a good time. Elaine Fremont invented Bonza Bottler Day; it falls on each day that matches the number of the month (January 1st, February 2nd, March 3rd and so on). According to Fremont, it was purely an excuse so that she could have a party every month. Since then, it has gained a cult status in Australia.
The notion of holidays is wonderful. They are days set aside to honor, revere, and celebrate all sorts of fixtures in our lives that are important enough to set aside an entire day to appreciate. While there are age-old holidays that we have revered for over a century, there are also eccentric holidays that appeared to gain enough momentum to stick. I think it’s great that we have made so many holidays with their varying degrees of remembrance. It will always remind me that there’s always something to celebrate each day. With that, Happy Eat Beans Day, and, tomorrow, Happy Independence Day.