Groundhog Day has come and gone, and whether you were cheering for Punxsutawney Phil or Jimmy the Groundhog (or, everyone’s favorite outlier, Balzac Billy a.k.a. Not-actually-a-groundhog-but-a-Canadian-in-a-groundhog-suit), the world has moved on more or less. Because there’s not a lot you can do to celebrate Groundhog Day besides checking Twitter or watching “Groundhog Day.”
Unlike say Christmas or Halloween, there’s no special buildup to this holiday. No one is rolling out the Groundhog Day decorations in September, in anticipation of a mad consumer rush. Nobody buys Groundhog Day candy weeks in advance or the day before when prices have been slashed down in a fit of desperation.
In fact, I’m pretty sure, besides the titular rodent, there’s nothing special about Groundhog Day for the populace as a whole. There are, of course, exceptions—my father’s birthday is on Groundhog Day, for instance, but that occasion is not a holiday yet.
But, in every sense of the word, Groundhog Day is a minor holiday. Insofar as it is not major. It’s not in the big leagues. It’s like the fourteenth credited in an ensemble movie.
This got me to thinking: what other holidays are hidden in the calendar year, as we wade unawares in the inexorable tide of time? The answer? More than you would think. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites, which I now gift onto you.
Jan. 16: Nothing Day
What does Nothing Day have to do with American rock band Nothing, who released their debut album Guilty of Everything last year? Absolutely nothing. Ostensibly invented by journalist Harold Pullman Coffin in 1973, there is nothing of note about this day, to my knowledge.
Mar. 15: Ides of March
Nothing says festive like remembering the day Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times by a horde of assassins.
May 18: No Dirty Dishes Day
On the surface, this holiday may seem rather innocuous, but in reality a rather draconian impetus powers this day. Among households who honor this holiday, dirty dishes are strictly forbidden. If a dirty dish is found, it and the miscreant who dirtied it are subjected to a trial by fire. Not even disposable dishes are safe.
Jun. 16: Bloomsday
A veritable holiday, if not specifically official per se, Bloomsday commemorates the day chosen as the timeframe of James Joyce’s opus “Ulysses.” Dublin is essentially turned into a site of pilgrimage, as participants reenact scenes from the novel and generally just dick around town. Note: you are still subject to public indecency laws if you try and reenact Chapter 13—or “Nausicaa”—around Sandymount strand. Or any public place, really.
Sept. 3: Skyscraper Day
Yes, good ol’ Skyscraper Day. A day to call in sick at the office, take a break from school, go outside and hug your nearest skyscraper. People who don’t live near skyscrapers are encouraged to drive to the nearest city and find one that suits their fancy. People who hug a skyscraper the longest win a lump sum cash prize, which will be mailed to them in three years, plus or minus six weeks.
Nov. 28: Make Your Own Head Day
This one’s a bit tricky. After their heads are stolen in the night, participants are given 24 hours to recreate their heads with any and all available materials and fasten them onto their neck stump for fabulous prizes. The losers lose their heads, a condition not entirely fatal, since there are plenty of people in the world who have lost their heads but are still figuratively kicking.
Dec. 13: Steve Buscemi Day
An event akin to the Dionysian Mysteries, Dec. 13 marks the birth of Steve Buscemi, who allegedly emerged from a grease fire fully formed with eyes already heavy-lidded. Celebrants are encouraged to wear cerements and parade through the woods, with some volunteering to assume the Guises of Buscemi (Mr. Pink, Donny Kerabatsos, Buddy Holly as a waiter, Chet, Seymour and many others). Traditionally, Steve Buscemi Day ends with a bonfire and a chorus rendition of the song “True” by Spandau Ballet.
Are there any holidays Sean missed? Send them along to email@example.com.