The World’s 8 Weirdest National Holidays

Whether it means a day off or just an excuse to celebrate, Americans love holidays, even preposterous ones such as National Miniature Golf Day, but we’re not the only ones. The world is full of weird holidays and I, for one, am eager to join in the celebration. If we unify the Earth, maybe we can have a worldwide holiday every day!

Day of The Sea

Image courtesy of szeke's Flickr stream.

While it is fairly common for countries to remember an important military event through the commemoration of a national holiday, few battles are remembered in such a strange way as the Bolivian loss of the Port of Calama to Chilean forces. On March 23, the land-locked country remembers the loss of its last ocean-front property by marching in parades (as seen above) and solemnly listening to recordings of sea gulls and ship’s horns.

Korean Alphabet Day(s)

As a writer, I’m pretty fond of the alphabet, but I’m still not ready to start a holiday in its honor. If I was a Korean writer, though, I would already have a day to celebrate. On October 9, the South Koreans celebrate Hangul Day and on January 15, the South Koreans observe Chosen gul Day, but both holidays are intended to celebrate the creation of the Korean Alphabet.

Image courtesy of minwoo's Flickr stream.

National Punctuation Day

If you are upset about the lack of a national holiday to celebrate your alphabet of choice, you can always observe America’s National Punctuation Day on September 24 instead. The holiday’s website urges you to celebrate this occasion by reading a newspaper and circling all the punctuation errors, noting store signs that use incorrect punctuation and purchasing a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style. Having fun yet? Well, maybe you can try writing a letter to a friend with correct punctuation to reflect on another year of wonderful grammar.

Image courtesy of Magic Madzik's Flickr stream.

National Weatherperson’s Day

Image courtesy of solidether's Flickr stream.

Weather announcers generally have impeccable speech, so it is only fitting that these well-spoken prophets of meteorology are given their own day of celebration. February 5 marks the 1774 birth of John Jeffries, one of America’s first weather observers. So how should you celebrate National Weather Person’s Day? Start off by checking into the National Weather Service in the morning and then plan your day accordingly. At the end of the day, curse or praise the weather person for their accuracies or inaccuracies and how they affected your day.

Bermuda Day

When you live on a tropical island, weather reports may not be quite as integral in your daily routine, but you still need to plan when it is or is not acceptable to wear shorts to business meetings. Bermuda celebrates this important mark on the calendar with the May 24 holiday, “Bermuda Day,” which marks the first day residents consider it acceptable to swim in the ocean, to release their boats on the water and to wear Bermuda shorts as business attire… and you thought Casual Friday was exciting.

Image courtesy of Spamily's Flickr stream.

Blessed Rain Day

Image courtesy of jmhullot's Flickr stream.

Of course, if you live in a landlocked country that is frequently ravaged by monsoons, then the end of monsoon season is almost certainly cause for celebration. That is why the people of Bhutan celebrate Blessed Rain Day every year by taking an outdoor bath in the mythically purified natural waters around them. Astrologers in service of the country’s chief abbot determine exactly what hour these baths are considered to be most sanctifying, but those that cannot bathe during this time tend to do so in the morning before sunrise instead. Because the date is determined by the Tibetan Lunar Calendar, the date varies, but it generally occurs between September 20 and 25 of the Gregorian Calendar.

Melon Day

How do you celebrate the creation of a popular crossbreed of muskmelons? If you live in Turkmenistan, you celebrate Turkmenbashi melons and muskmelons in general with a full day of festivities honoring the national holiday, which takes place every August 12. The president of the country has even reflected how important the holiday is to his people, noting that "since ancient times Turkmenistan has been considered the homeland of the best melons in the world."

Image courtesy of narumi-lock's Flickr stream.

Picnic Day

If you’re looking for a good day to enjoy a nice thick slice of Turkmenbashi melon, why not take a slice to Northern Australia on the first Monday of August, where you can celebrate Picnic Day. The day originated as a sort of labor day, allowing workers of Darwin's railway to go to Adelaide River for a picnic, but it is now a full three-day weekend of festivities and relaxation for the area. Even today, there is still a massive picnic held beside the Adelaide River every year in a traditional celebration of the holiday.

Image courtesy of Norma Desmond's Flickr stream.

Obama Day

While America is still widely divided on their opinions of Obama, he is a national hero in Kenya; so much so that they created a national holiday to celebrate his victory at the polls. Every November 6 since 2008, Kenyans have celebrated the first-generation American through parties and other forms of celebration. If you’re looking for a more local celebration of the president, apparently Perry County, Alabama has followed suit, declaring the second Monday of every November to be Obama Day, although I somehow doubt the festivities are as major as they are in Kenya.

Image courtesy of Zoriah's Flickr stream.

What’s the weirdest holiday you’ve ever celebrated and how did you observe the date?

Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
How Accurate are Hollywood Medical Dramas? A Doctor Breaks It Down
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy get a lot of things wrong when it comes to the procedures shown on the screen, but unless you're a doctor, you'd probably never notice.

For its latest installment, WIRED's Technique Critique video series—which previously blessed us with a dialect coach's critique of actors' onscreen accents—tackled the accuracy of medical scenes in movies and TV, bringing in Annie Onishi, a general surgery resident at Columbia University, to comment on emergency room and operating scenes from Pulp Fiction, House, Scrubs, and more.

While Onishi breaks down just how inaccurate these shows and movies can be, she makes it clear that Hollywood doesn't always get it wrong. Some shows, including Showtime's historical drama The Knick, garner praise from Onishi for being true-to-life with their medical jargon and operations. And when doctors discuss what music to play during surgery on Scrubs? That's "a tale as old as time in the O.R.," according to Onishi.

Other tropes are very obviously ridiculous, like slapping a patient during CPR and telling them to fight, which we see in a scene from The Abyss. "Rule number one of CPR is: never stop effective chest compressions in order to slap or yell words of encouragement at the patient," Onishi says. "Yelling at a patient or cheering them on has never brought them back to life." And obviously, taking selfies in the operating room in the middle of a grisly operation like the doctors on Grey's Anatomy do would get you fired in real life.

There are plenty of cliché words and phrases we hear over and over on doctor shows, and some are more accurate than others. Asking about a patient's vitals is authentic, according to Onishi, who says it's something doctors are always concerned with. However, yelling "We're losing him!" is simply for added TV drama. "I have never once heard that in my real life," Onishi says.

[h/t WIRED]

#RateaSpecies? Zoos Share Amazon-Style Reviews of Animals on Twitter

The online rating system popularized by sites like Amazon and Yelp has finally reached the animal kingdom. As Earther reports, zoos, aquariums, and science museums are taking to Twitter to review fuzzy, scaly, and feathery specimens with the hashtag #rateaspecies.

The official Twitter account of the Oregon Zoo kicked off the trend on March 9 by tweeting out a picture of a river otter with a four-star review. "Overall very good first impressions," the tweet reads. "Sturdy built, totally winter-ready and waterproof. Only comes in brown but that’s actually a plus for me." Shervin Hess, who runs digital media at the zoo, told Earther he got the idea from an Amazon review he read that described hiking boots in a similar way.

He followed the tweet with reviews of other animals, each one receiving a four-star rating (Hess says he wouldn't consider giving an animal anything less). Soon other institutions on Twitter started jumping on the hashtag.

"High-quality squeak system, thrives in rocky situations," the Yosemite Conservancy wrote of the pika. It earned four stars despite being "maybe TOO cute" and a "potential pun hazard."

Check out more of the top-rated species below.

[h/t Earther]


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