Marmot Day And Other Surprisingly Real Holidays
National Kazoo Day? National Creamsicle Day? If you're not firing up the barbecue for these, it's probably because somebody just made them up. There's little historical basis for them -- no resolution from Congress required. Just announce and celebrate. But for this list we've focused on unusual holidays and observances that have a traceable, historical origin and that were officially recognized by a credible organization or the government.
So don't feel bad if you're not enjoying Waffle Iron Day, it's a little suspect. But Marmot Day --that's totally real. Let's take a look at some lesser-known -- but real -- celebrations.
National Boss Day was first recognized by -- surprise -- the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is celebrated in the United States along with Canada, Lithuania, Australia, India and South Africa.
An employee of the State Farm Insurance Company, Patricia Bays Haroski, created the holiday on Oct. 16, because it was the birthday of her father -- who was coincidentally her boss. The holiday was made official in the state of Illinois, in 1962, as a way for employees to high-five their supervisors.
DNA Day, officially recognized by the U.S. Congress, is meant to commemorate the discovery of Deoxyribonucleic acid by scientists James Watson and Francis Crick. The day also recognizes the completion of the Human Genome Project, which was wrapped up in April 2003.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation calling for a week each year to promote the dairy goat. The president noted the nutritiousness of the animal's meat and milk as well as the goat's role in accompanying "American pioneer families in the days of westward expansion." A year later, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution setting National Dairy Goat Awareness Week to begin on the second Saturday of June.
President Reagan also issued a proclamation to establish National Catfish Day, following a joint resolution by congress to highlight the benefits of the farm-raised fish.
The proclamation goes to some effort to distinguish farm-raised catfish from regular old bottom feeders: Raised in ponds the catfish are “surface-fed (my emphasis) soybean meal, corn, fish meal, vitamins, and minerals."
Leif Erikson Day gets the nod on Oct. 9, honoring the 11th century Norse explorer who many believe was the first European to set foot in the Americas. Erikson is thought to have arrived in North America 500 years before Columbus. According to the BBC, archaeologists in 1963 found a Viking settlement northern Newfoundland that match Erikson's description of a place he called "Vinland."
Marmot Day is observed on Feb. 2 in Alaska, instead of celebrating Groundhog Day. The holiday celebrates these large squirrels, as well as Alaskan culture, and was established by the Alaska state legislature in 2009. Then-Gov. Sarah Palin signed the bill into law.
"By recognizing the marmot," said Sen. Linda Menard, R-Wasilla, "our state (created) a tradition and legacy to be built on for future generations."