If you invented a holiday


Depending on which websites you consult, there are hundreds of designated observances of various kinds attached to a given day in a calendar year. I made note last week of International Women’s Day, for example. Some of these are noteworthy; many are notable mostly for being vaguely ridiculous, or for making you wonder who might care enough about the topic to have advocated for it in front of some organizing body.

This was my first thought on hearing about World Plumbing Day, March 11th.* Some have quite a following–when I can remember the date for Talk Like a Pirate Day, I’m going to get on board (ship). But in general, I’m unlikely to add these sorts of days to my personal calendar.

Earlier this year The Atlantic put out a call for readers’ suggestions of new holidays they thought ought to be celebrated, and among their top picks there was a lot to like. The twelve finalists can be found here. Though I liked them all, I include below descriptions of the ones I would want to start with.


This Is Just to Say Day

Like Thanksgiving, but even more personal: This is a day to say thank you to the people you’re most grateful for (and the people you might sometimes forget to share your appreciation with).


Step Away Day

This is a day to take stock, take a breath, and put down the screen(s). A “tech sabbath,” celebrated collectively.

cellphones put away in a basket


Get Back in Touch Day

Is there someone in your life you’ve lost touch with? Do you regret not keeping up with someone who is only a phone call or email or text away? Today’s the day to do something about it.


Tell Their Stories Day

This is a day to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones lost—especially through the telling of their stories.

My father’s mother

Oops! Day

This is a day to recognize your failures and mistakes—the missteps that have helped make you who you are. (The ceremonial consumption of burnt cake may or may not be involved with the celebrations of this one.)

Bravery Day

This is a day to put aside the fear: about telling that person how you feel, about taking on that big new project, about whatever might be holding you back. It’s a time dedicated to taking a leap, literally or otherwise.

Deadline Day

The chore that’s been hanging over you for [amount of time redacted]? The thing you’ve been putting off, and then stressing about putting off, and then putting off some more because the whole thing has gotten so stressful? Today’s the day to stop procrastinating and get it done.


Just Kidding Day

A day of Halloween-style mayhem, in the spring: adults acting (within reason, please) like children. Tag in the park, feasting on favorite snacks from childhood, revisiting the books you loved growing up—whatever brings you back to your youth.


I first thought of a nice swing, and then I remembered this extreme version.


I don’t know when they’ll announce an official winner, or what will be the likely result, but perhaps I’ll just sprinkle some of these new Days throughout my schedule, and see whether I can come up with interesting ways to celebrate a little more.

Are there some on this list that particularly appeal to you? If you had the task of inventing a new holiday, what kinds of things would you explore?



*El Guapo is definitely not a fan of having to do plumbing repairs, but can still acknowledge that the existence of  plumbing in buildings we use is definitely a boon for human health and convenience. It’s likely that World Plumbing Day was the brainchild of someone trying to advocate for infrastructure that will help address public health concerns, so I won’t be making fun of their efforts.


[Images: El Guapo, thebalance.com, joyhartman.com, theodysseyonline.com, Sheryl Costley, idealistcareers.org, npr.org, mybbd.com, pintant.cat]

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