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Unofficial holidays fill the calendar

Posted May 14

Do you know what day it is today? Or what day it is every day, for that matter?

No, not Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. Do you know what observances are held on any given day of the year?

And not the national holidays. We all know about Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (aka National Day of Service) and Presidents Day.

And, of course, the commonly celebrated Hallmark holidays of each year — Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day.

And no, sports fans, I didn’t forget — Super Bowl Sunday.

Oh, and April Fools' Day. (If you forget that one, your friends may, um, remind you.)

Did you know, for example, that next Saturday, the 21st, is International Heritage Breeds Day? Ha! I thought not. Yes, it’s a day for livestock and poultry conservancy.

Actually, I only know that because I looked it up. (Thank you, Google.)

You may be surprised to learn (as I was) that there are actually so many unofficial holidays that few days of the year are left for anything new that might come along. In fact, some days already have more than one holiday attached.

This came to mind on Star Wars Day last week, which received an inordinate amount of publicity this year, including a stormtroopers dance party at the White House, Daisy Ridley sharing behind-the-scenes photos of “The Force Awakens” with fans online, and news stories galore that employed every possible pun associated with the Star Wars films.

Time magazine used this headline: “Celebrate or celebrate not, there is no try.”

Fast-food chain Quiznos tweeted a photo of its toasted sandwich bread with this caption: “We prefer our toast a little on the Dark Side.”

And every newspaper in the galaxy (if they still use paper) offered the Star Wars Day slogan as a headline: “May the Fourth be with you.”

But over the past couple of weeks, my email accounts have also filled up with alerts about three special “days” held on May 1 — May Day, Law Day and World Laughter Day — along with three others: World Press Freedom Day (May 3), International No Diet Day (May 6) and National Paper Airplane Day (May 26).

No kidding. And each has a story.

May Day is devoted to spring festivals.

Law Day is to remember how the law influenced the foundation of America.

World Laughter Day is inspired by the notion that a person’s facial expressions can affect his or her emotions.

World Press Freedom Day is to raise awareness about freedom of the press.

International No Diet Day is a celebration of body acceptance.

And National Paper Airplane Day is … well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. (At least to my generation. Do young people still make paper airplanes?)

The Internet is full of different lists of these unofficial holidays.

Some others I found that are equally self-explanatory include a few you may have missed this year: Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (Feb. 18), Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17) and Middle Name Pride Day (March 11).

Oh, and Honesty Day (April 30). (Shouldn’t that be every day?)

Upcoming are National Donut Day (June 3), Go Skateboarding Day (June 21), International Bacon Day (Sept. 3), International Chocolate Day (Sept. 13, the birthday of Milton Hershey), Ask a Stupid Question Day (Sept. 28), Love Your Lawyer Day (Nov. 4) and Monkey Day (Dec. 14).

And there are, as you might suspect, quite a few more.

But they aren’t all frivolous. There’s Earth Day on April 22, for example, and Autistic Pride Day on June 18.

And I found three days devoted to giving and receiving hugs: National Hugging Day (Jan. 21), Hug a Friend Day (April 26) and International Free Hugs Day (July 2).

Mostly they are just Feel Good About Yourself Days. And these days, we can all use the encouragement.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at hicks@deseretnews.com.

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