Celebrate Something Bizarre


Holidays these days seem to fall into two basic categories. There are those that are over-commercialized, and there are those that are basically ignored. Christmas is an example of the former, and Groundhog Day is an example of the latter. Many of these "special days" have either lost their meaning, or had it eclipsed by commercial hype. But holidays are supposed to be festive, enjoyable times, so it seems like a shame to just abandon the idea. In the hopes of carrying on the spirit of celebration, I therefore observe a wide range of bizarre little days. Some have their own odd little origins, but most are derived from an old Nature Company calendar. It features a plant or animal on each page, and some of them are certainly nifty enough to deserve a special day of celebration. Usually, these days do not coincide with standard American holidays, but there are conflicts, such as Horned Lizard Day on February 14th.
This page is devoted to keeping citizens of the web aware of the many interesting and little known holidays that take place throughout the year. I leave it up to each of you to decide which days you'd like to celebrate. Enjoy!

January - Carnivorous Plant Appreciation Month: January contains both Pitcher Plant Day (January 8th) and Sundew Plant Day (January 28th), so it seems only appropriate to give them the whole month. Especially on the 8th and 28th, try to cower fearfully whenever you get near a large plant. If others ask about your strange behavior, tell them that you fear the geraniums may be hungry. This will almost certainly increase your popularity.

February 2nd - Duck-Billed Platypus Day: Not only do they look incredibly odd, they're also one of the world's very few venomous mammal. What could be better? So, stick a duck-bill on your face, attach some poisonous spines to your ankles, and go nuts. Of course, if you did the first two, number three is probably already covered.

February 14th - Horned Lizard Day: For those of us who find Valentine's Day an appallingly saccharine and pointless holiday based entirely on superficial expressions of fraudulent love, Horned Lizard Day provides an opportunity to disorient our friends and loved ones with cheerful comments about interesting reptiles. Are you tired of Valentine's Day's hopelessly tooth-rotting sentimentality? Sick of supporting the flower and candy industries with hollow gestures of false affection? Does the color pink send you into fits of psychotic rage? Then celebrate something worth celebrating - celebrate Horned Lizard Day! I send Horned Lizard Day cards to my friends on this important occasion, both to spread happiness and to let them know what interesting animals horned lizards are. I feel that there is no better way to celebrate the 14th of February than with an animal that squirts blood from a sinus behind its eyes when threatened. See the dramatic struggle.

February 20th - Honey Creeper Memorial Day: Honey Creepers were these nifty little birds with long, curved beaks that lived among the Hawaiin Islands. Alas, Honey Creepers are now extinct. I encourage everyone to donate some time or money to the preservation of the dwindling population of our world's endangered species - and not just today, either.

February 22nd - Parsley Day: Acknowledge the world's greatest garnish by handing it out to total strangers in the street! Wander into fast food restaurants, walk up to the patrons, and offer to spice up the appearance of their boring meals with a sprig of festive green. Visit your friends and bestow upon them the gift of garnish. If no one will accept your offerings, you can always adorn your table with an elegant vase of nice fresh parsley, brightening the room and letting eveyone know what a keen grasp of culinery decor you have.

March 23rd - Tulip Shell Snail Day: Okay, so most of you probably couldn't care less about a snail, but I think snails are nifty. Besides, all of the calendar's other listings for March are pretty boring - stuff like Ospreys, Molerats, Avocados, Corn, Long Horn Beetles, and so on. If you really need another March holiday and you don't like this one, I encourage you to make up your own.

April 11th - Red Wolf Day: I really like wolves. I have several wolf calendars, a few plush wolves, and the Folkmanis Big Bad Wolf puppet. Obviously then, I think that Red Wolf Day is worth celebrating. If you're more inclined to celebrate days that will confuse your friends, just wait until Ladel Day.

April 12th - Hermit Crab Day: Okay, so it's only a day away from Red Wolf Day - is this supposed to be my fault? I didn't make up the calendar and I didn't decide what order to put the pages in. Anyway, hermit crabs are really cool. Whenever I visit the New England Aquarium I go to visit the little tanks of poor, tormented animals that children can handle...I pity the poor things. Anyway, I stop to say "hi" to the hermit crabs, and I'm much gentler and friendlier than the children are. I haven't been for ages...I wonder if they miss me.

May 9th - International Sloth Day: Though November 19th is the official day for the sloth according to my calendar, I've been told by a reader of this page that they previously established May 9th to be International Sloth Day. I've got nothing against celebrating the sloth twice a year, or you can choose whichever one you desire. Just don't celebrate too actively, or you'll defeat the whole purpose of Sloth Day in the first place.

May 23rd - The Defenestration of Prague: This is an actual date in history, which warrants note whether you care about the actual event or not. On May 23, 1618, in Prague, a few royal officials were thrown out a window of Hradcany Castle by some noblemen, but survived the fall by landing in a cart full of manure.
More importantly, defenstration is easily one of the most totally underused words in the English language. For those who are unaware, it means "the act of throwing something or someone out of a window." The date for this event also falls on an extremely Illuminated day of the year, 5/23, which incorporates both the Discordian number 5 and our old friend 23. Fnord.

May 25th - Towel Day: Towel Day celebrates the life and work of Douglas Adams, who championed the many uses of the towel in his book series/movie/radio series/movie/tv movie/breakfast cereal, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Carry your towel proudly. For more information, search Google or stop by this handy Towel Day site or even the Wikipedia entry.

June 23rd - Ladel Day: Okay, I'm not to blame for this one. I believe its exact origins are probably lost to the mists of time and history, but that's okay.
On this auspicious occasion, one should have a ladel on one's person at all times. Celebrants should refrain from eating with any normal utensils, and instead use a ladel. This can make eating a real challenge in the case of many foods. If you spot someone carrying a ladel, you are encouraged to jump up and down and wave yours in the air. This will probably alarm those around you, but that's a pretty common part of any of these holidays, so I wouldn't worry about it.

June 25th - Zoog Day: This one may seem out of place, as it was originally intended to create a balance in the world of commercially endorsed holidays. However, its following is small enough that it still qualifies as an alternative holiday.
Many years ago, it was determined that there are several holidays distributed throughout the year that revolve around candy and greetings cards, but that all of the popular gift-giving holidays were concentrated in Winter. To create a balance, Zoog Day takes place 6 months away from the popular Christmas holiday. Decorations are slanted towards purple and orange, and celebrants are encouraged to procure and decorate a Zoog Tree. Zoog trees are spiny, purple, and perfectly cylindrical. Zoog the All-Nifty is said to fly around that night on the back of his magical griffin, teleporting presents into people's kitchens.
Though it is only a coincidence that Zoog's name is shared by a race of beings from the Dreamlands, Lovecraft enthusiasts are nevertheless encouraged to celebrate this day by releasing swarms of zoogs into the waking world, and watching with delight as people discover that these cute, fuzzy creatures are carnivorous, and perfectly willing to eat people.

July 10th - Hatchetfish Day: In addition to being a truly interesting shape, hatchetfish also produce a dim glow directed downwards, eliminating the silhouette predators would otherwise see from below. Celebrants may choose to walk around with a flashlight pointed at the ground. If questioned about it, tell people that it's to keep you safe from the bigger fish.

August 13th - Spectral Tarsier Day: These are odd little primate-like things with huge eyes. To me it sounds like some kind of phantasmal apparition. The name conjures up a much more sinister image than that of a furry animal the size of a rat. Anyway, I think it's a neat name. To celebrate, feel free to either climb trees and stare at people or wander around as a glowing spectre. September 10th - Ghost Crab Day: Continuing in the trend of the last holiday, here's another animal that sounds like some kind of haunting undead force. Besides, crabs are nifty. On this day, you are encouraged to dress in a white sheet and walk sideways. If anyone asks what you're doing, wave your eyestalks at them and - what? You don't have eyestalks? Oh. Well, never mind. Just wave your claws, then.

October 18th - Armadillo Day: Armadillos are keen.

October 30th - Sarcastic Fringehead Day: I shouldn't have to explain why this one is listed here. It's actually some kind of fish that lives along the Pacific coast. They're about 9 inches long, and very strangely shaped. For years I've suggested that people put some sort of fringe on their heads and act very sarcastic on this day. You'll do that, right? Yeah, sure you will.

November 19th - Sloth Day: This day celebrates the animal, not the deadly sin. I suggest that, on this day, everyone hang upside-down from trees and move very, very slowly. This makes for a wonderful excuse if you're late for an appointment. "Sorry I'm three hours late for this meeting, but I'm celebrating Sloth Day." Make sure you speak very slowly and sleepily when you say it, though.

November 22nd - Wormwood Day: Although this is another day drawn from the calendar, you're welcome to celebrate this day according to its apocalyptic significance. Perhaps we could all simply act grateful that the world hasn't ended yet? We could all come together in the spirit of mutual cooperation and strive to make the world a better place! Then again, maybe not.

December 8th - Pangolin Day: Certainly one of the most important days of the year, Pangolin Day celebrates everyone's favorite walking pinecone. For those of you unfamiliar with pangolins, they are ant-eating mammals covered with overlapping armor scales. They have long prehensile tails, and they curl into an armored ball when threatened by predators. Though there are a lot of really nifty animals out there, pangolins are my personal favorite. Sing with me now! O Pangolin (to the tune of "O Christmas Tree")

O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
How are thy form so armored!
O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
How are thy form so armored!

Thou roam across Southeast Asia,
And also parts of Africa.
O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
How are thy form so armored!

O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
Curl when danger does threaten!
O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
Curl when danger does threaten!

Thy sticky tongue snags lots of ants,
Arboreal kin climb high in plants.
O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
Curl when danger does threaten!

O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
Thy razor scales keep thee safe!
O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
Thy razor scales keep thee safe!

By day thou rest upon the ground,
An armored ball, curled up so round.
O Pangolin, O Pangolin!
Thy razor scales keep thee safe!

December 23rd - Loggerhead Shrike Day: Demonstrating some of the most bizarre animal behavior I've ever heard of, this bird apparently impales uneaten prey on thorns or barbed wire. To celebrate this, I recommend sticking any leftovers from your meals onto nearby sharp objects. Pens, pencils, coat racks, and other such items should be ideal for this purpose.

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