National fill-in-the-blank days
Middle names, toothaches, white T-shirts, hugging your cat and plum pudding. This list of things may seem completely random, but they have one thing in common. They are all celebrated as national holidays, which unintentionally lessens the importance of actual holidays.
Having national “fill-in-the-blank” days may seem like a creative way to make the year more exciting. They give several occasions for people to look forward to, and celebrating these days sheds an important light on certain things. Many people often forget to be grateful of smaller things, and unofficial holidays serve as a reminder in allowing people to appreciate them.
However, how many people know the specific dates of these holidays? Personally, I only hear about these “fill-in-the-blank” days because of social media. Almost every other day, a new hashtag like #NationalPancakeDay is trending on Twitter and thousands of photos of dogs celebrating National Dog Day are posted on Instagram. As a generation known for its spontaneity, holidays like these provide opportunities for people to make comedic posts about celebrations, emphasizing how unnecessary they are.
Nevertheless, this hyperconnectivity allows people from all around the world to bond over one common idea. These daily interactions are beneficial, for they encourage people that come from different backgrounds and cultures to spread ideas and learn from one another. However, it also paves the way for companies and brands to exploit these trends as marketing ploys. For example, cosmetic brands including MAC, L’Oreal and CoverGirl launch marketing campaigns with discounts on National Lipstick Day every year to attract more consumers. Holidays are meant to commemorate important events or national heroes, but instead are taken advantage of by companies to make a quick buck. By advertising certain products on correlating unofficial holidays, companies lessen the genuinity of official holidays.
In addition, the legitimacy of unofficial national holidays comes into question. The National Day Calendar, a website devoted to observing national days, allows its users to submit suggestions for new holidays. In addition, the National Day Calendar charges up to $4,000 if the user wants the company to promote the holiday. As a result, several companies have made holidays based on their products; a crouton maker paid for National Crouton Day on May 13 and a seafood restaurant paid for National Fried Clam Day on July 3.
The silliness of these unofficial holidays overshadows many serious issues acknowledged by official holidays. Most Americans know July 4 to be Independence Day. However, that holiday celebrating the adoption of our Declaration of Independence, a pivotal moment in American history, is overshadowed by Barbequed Spareribs Day and Caesar Salad Day which are celebrated on the same day.
Holidays are established for a reason. Rather than trivialize the essence of holidays by creating countless new ones, we should give the issues official holidays address and the historical moments the recognition that they deserve.
By Sarah Aie, Sports editor
Editorial cartoon by Joy Wang