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12 Lesser-Known National Holidays You Should Mark On Your Calendar!

Written by Kate Anne Trott. Published: September 08 2023


Everyone loves holidays. Whether it is an excuse to get off work or school, or just relax and spend time with family or friends, holidays bring everyone closer together and give a reason to celebrate.


Although everyone knows about the major holidays like Christmas, Halloween, or Thanksgiving, not many know about other national holidays that are sprinkled throughout all the months in the year. Whether they are funny, inspiring or cute, here are the best national holidays you might not know about!



January’s major Holiday is New Year’s Day on the first of the month (obviously). However, one of the most unusual national holidays in this month is Opposite Day, which is celebrated on the 25th. While the true origin of this day unknown, it traces back to the 1800s in literature but has commonly been referenced since before the 2000s. Regardless of when or who created the day, it’s loads of fun. This day is exactly what its name implies: doing the exact opposite of everything. Spend this holiday playing practical jokes on friends or switching up your normal routine. You can even eat breakfast for dinner or eat your dessert first.



While February’s star holiday is Valentine’s Day, there’s another that has made its way on most calendars. Groundhog Day is probably one you have heard of before but might not know its meaning or where it originated from. Taking place on the second of February, the original Groundhog Day took place in 1887 where a group of groundhog hunting club citizens from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, made it a tradition to trust "Punxsutawney Phil" the groundhog to decide how long winter would last every year. If the groundhog wakes up from his burrow to see his shadow, then he predicts that there will be 6 more weeks of Winter. If not, then Spring will start early that year. The tradition continues to this day, and everyone holds their breath to find out his prediction.



While St. Patrick’s Day is everyone’s favorite holiday in March, you might find that another holiday gives you the appreciation you deserve. National Employee Appreciation Day is dedicated as a day that your boss should be thanking you for all your dedication and hard work. To celebrate the publication of his book 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees in 1995, Dr. Bob Nelson created the holiday which is now nationally recognized as a way to encourage employers to recognize their loyal employees. If you’re an employer, take the time on this day to go out of your way and connect with your employees. Give them a gift, bonus, a thank you letter, or anything that says “I appreciate you” in order to strengthen the bond and gain respect. If you’re an employee, appreciate the co-workers around you and reach out to thank them for something they have done for you or with you.



Forget April Fool’s Day, Easter, or even Earth Day (please don’t actually disregard Earth Day) -- National Beer Day is the way to celebrate April. We definitely don’t have enough drinking holidays already, so if you're 21 or older, crack open your beers and enjoy the Spring air. Every year on April 7th, Americans gather to celebrate National Beer Day as a way to say goodbye to Prohibition. On April 7th, 1933, the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect to legalize the sale of certain types of beer. So, celebrate the 21st Amendment and the right to buy and sell beer by drinking your favorite cold one.



Don’t forget to celebrate Mother’s Day during this month so you don’t get in trouble, but also don’t forget to nerd out with National Star Wars Day. You might have heard a ton of people walking around on the 4th of this month saying, “May the 4th be with you,” but if you’re not a super fan, you might not know much about this interesting holiday. Due to the play on words, "May the 4th" sounded too much like "May the Force" for some people to resist, so they had to create a holiday for it. The earliest use of the phrase was in 1979 in a London newspaper, but it took off from there and became a worldwide holiday. Celebrate this day by having a Star Wars marathon. With 12 movies to watch and 9 television series, I’m sure you’ll have enough to keep you busy for the day. Or, if you’re a Star Wars mega fan, having a themed party dressing up as your favorite characters while having a movie marathon might be the way to go.



June’s World Ocean Day is a promising holiday that might just give Earth a second chance. Once again, don’t forget to get your dad a gift for Father’s Day, because this doesn’t give you an excuse to forget it, but World Ocean Day is important to celebrate as well. Made an official holiday by the United Nations in 2008, World Ocean Day takes place on the 8th of June to remind us all how important our oceans are and how it is even more important that we take care of them. Many amazing organizations celebrate this day and have great volunteer groups to keep our ocean and beaches clean. Protecting ocean wildlife, keeping waste and plastic out of our oceans, and imposing eco laws to keep oceans healthy are all the main objectives for this day. Celebrating by going to the ocean and picking up trash, helping marine life, or donating to these causes are all a great start.



By all means, no one is stopping you from taking a couple fingers off with fireworks on the 4th to celebrate Independence Day, but that’s not the only holiday this month. World UFO Day on the 2nd of July is a hilarious holiday to celebrate. In 1947 on this day, a rancher from Roswell, New Mexico, discovered the wreckage of a metallic object on his ranch which the military authorities came to investigate. Originally reporting the piece was from an unidentified flying object, this claim was later rescinded, causing alien believers to assume it was a cover-up. The conspiracists claim that the government has knowledge of UFOs and are keeping the remains of aliens and their spacecraft in Area 51 on a secret base in Nevada. If you want to celebrate the second and the fourth of July at the same time, watch Independence Day to really blow your mind.



Since my birthday unfortunately is not a national holiday (yet), I guess you’ll just have to celebrate National Senior Citizens Day instead, an adorable day meant to celebrate our older population and care for our wisest members of society. Don’t worry about concealing your age on this holiday. It takes place on the 21st of August and was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. Originally, this day was meant to bring awareness to the various diseases and illnesses that afflict the older generation. It has since turned into a celebration for our mature members of society and their achievements. Spend the day by taking time from your schedule to do an activity with a friend or relative who is a senior citizen. Have them tell you a story, play their favorite game, or watch their favorite movie or show with them. Educate yourself on potential health risk factors as well taking the time to talk to a senior about their mental or physical health.



September is a month that holds a lot of historical significance for our nation. Whether it’s 9/11 Remembrance Day, Labor Day, or Constitution Day, there are plenty of historic days to celebrate. International Chocolate Day also holds some sweet importance. Taking place on September 13th, this holiday commemorates Milton S. Hershey’s birthday, the founder of the Hershey Chocolate company. It was declared a holiday and celebrated by the National Confectioners Association. Use this day as an excuse to eat all the chocolate your heart desires. From candy to ice cream, anything chocolate will do. Watch chocolate sculptors make insane edible sculptures on YouTube or the baking channel to really celebrate the day right.



Everyone loves the spooky atmosphere of the month of Halloween. Dressing up as your favorite characters and trick-or-treating is one of the best childhood memories. But Halloween isn’t the only spooky holiday during this month. Mischief Night, the holiday that takes place the day before Halloween on the 30th, is a holiday that can be traced back to the 1700s in England. The idea of Mischief Night is to do exactly what it sounds like: create mischief. While mostly young teens participate, it’s a great holiday to play pranks on your friends and family too. Harmless acts of “vandalism” such as egging, toilet papering trees, or placing forks in someone’s yard are all a part of Mischief Night.



November is a month of getting together with family and stuffing your faces full of home cooked meals. With Thanksgiving being the staple of November, it begs the question: why do we leave our furry friends out of the equation? Not anymore, according to all the pet owners who got together and recently created National Cook for Your Pets Day. Celebrated on the first of November, this day is meant for pet owners to spoil their furry friends with home-cooked meals. To celebrate, make sure you pay attention to your pets’ needs and only cook food that is safe for them to consume. Based on what type of pet you have, there is plenty of advice on the internet and recipes to make sure you’re spoiling your pet in a safe and yummy way.



Gifts, gifts, and more gifts. This month is full of giving and receiving. With Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa being full of gift-giving, the spirit of giving should be passed on to those who give us the greatest gift of all: animals. International Animal Rights Day on the 10th of this month is a day to give back, speak up for, and care about all animals big or small. In 1948, the UN passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but what about animals? Well, advocates of animal rights determined that this is a good time to push for animal rights as well, and in 1998, the holiday was created. Use this day to advocate for animals that cannot speak for themselves. Volunteer at your local human shelter, use your platforms to speak about the mistreatment of animals, or give your furry friend a big hug and spend the day with them. There are hundreds of chances to get involved, so work towards the fair treatment of all species.


Happy Holidays!