Today is June 1st and do you know what that means? It’s Dinosaur Day! And Don’t Give up the Ship Day, commemorating the last words said by Captain James Lawrence as his ship was being taken over by the British in 1813.
It’s also Drawing Day, Flip a Coin Day (a day when all decisions can be made at the flip of a coin because that doesn’t sound reckless and irresponsible at all), Global Day of the Parents AND International Children’s Day, which just seems like bad scheduling, to be honest.
It’s National Go Barefoot Day, National Pen Pal Day (should I try and locate Kirsten, my German pen pal from circa 1993? I wonder if she’s on Facebook), National Pineapple Day (they’re delicious on pizza and I’m willing to die on that hill) and national Say Something Nice day. (Send all fan mail c/o the Examiner, please.)
I’ve left out multiple others from this list but suffice it to say, there truly is an allocated Day for any random shite that you can think of. I did a little digging and I found a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal by Jillian Berman which delved into this phenomenon and traced it back to a group called National Day Calendar, run by a man named Marlo Anderson.
Their motto is ‘celebrate every day!’ and they take that very seriously, currently listing 1,200 holidays on the calendar, including National I Love my Feet Day on August 17th and National Drinking Straw Day on January 3rd. Mark these dates in your diary immediately, obvs.
The marketing opportunities created by these Days are endless, with companies using social media campaigns to amplify the ‘holidays’ and raise awareness about their brands or products as a result.
According to Berman’s piece in the WSJ, the idea of using a self-designated holiday as a promotional device isn’t new.
She writes that, “the Salvation Army’s National Donut Day, for example, was started by the charity in 1938 as a way to raise money for social services during the Great Depression and to celebrate the group’s volunteers, who handed out doughnuts during World War I”, and despite the costs involved (if a Day is approved, the company must pay between $2,300 - $4,500), the demand for a spot on the National Day Calendar shows no signs of abating.
Anderson told the WSJ that he and his four-person committee received about 18,000 applications each year but they choose only thirty — I am naturally extremely relieved they chose to include Dog Farting Awareness Day, that would have been a devastating loss to the global community if they had not.
Snarkiness aside, I can understand that such Days must be a godsend to social media managers — and, ahem, people with weekly columns in national newspapers — as a way of creating much needed content.
And while I think some of the more well-known holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are a devious ploy by greeting card companies to divest us of our hard-earned cash, it is still nice to have an occasion to express appreciation for the people you love the most.
I’m also a fan of Give A Compliment Day on January 24th, Random Act of Kindness Day on February 17th, and World Kindness Day on November 17th because the world could do with a little more kindness at the moment. And yes, I know we shouldn’t need a specific date on the calendar to do so, but it doesn’t hurt.
So, after trawling through all of the many holidays that fall on June 1st — the things I do for you, dear reader — I’ve decided that today I will honour only one, and that is National Dare Day, a day dedicated to daring people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
I’m not talking about the sort of dares that you might undertake on a particularly raucous hen party like, ‘Take a photo with a guard, wearing his hat’ or ‘fake an orgasm in a public place’, (Meg Ryan, you have a lot to answer for).
For National Dare Day, I’m daring myself to take risks and push myself out of my comfort zone. I want to book a proper holiday and not feel guilty about the time away from my desk.
I want to make less effort and not feel constantly driven by my perfectionism and a need to get everything ‘right’.
I want to give myself some permission to make mistakes and not feel like a failure because of them.
I’m daring myself to audition for an amateur play, to take a surfing lesson, and to learn how to salsa dance.
I’m daring myself to say yes to the things that scare me the most. I want to follow the wisdom of Pablo Picasso when he said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
Happy National Dare Day, readers. I dare you to be more daring in your own lives.
I am naturally extremely relieved they chose to include Dog Farting Awareness Day, that would have been a devastating loss.