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The World’s 8 Weirdest National Holidays

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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?

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A Hairy Situation: Meet the Winners of the 2017 World Beard and Moustache Championships
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Greg Anderson Photography

From long and thick to coiled or curly, every type of mustache, beard, and goatee under the Sun (and barber's pole) seemed to be present at the 2017 World Beard and Moustache Championships. The biannual competition—held in Austin, Texas in early September, according to Laughing Squid—brings together hairy rivals from around the globe, who come before a panel of judges to see whose facial hair is the most coiffed and creative.

Participants compete across 17 traditional categories in three main groups: mustaches, partial beards, and full beards. Awards are granted to individuals with the best Salvador Dalí–inspired mustache; the best "goatee freestyle," or short beards styled into elaborate arrangements; and the best natural full beard, among other looks.

Held in Leogang, Austria, the 2015 World Beard and Moustache Championships had just 317 competitors, Bryan Nelson—who helped organize this year's event along with the Austin Facial Hair Clubtells Mental Floss. But the 2017 Championships attracted a staggering 738 participants from 33 countries.

Nelson believes that the Austin Facial Hair Club pulled off history's largest facial hair competition (the group is awaiting validation from Guinness World Records), and also says that the tournament was the first of its kind to include craft-based categories for women.

"We had Creative Moustache and Realistic Moustache, Creative Beard and Realistic Beard," Nelson says. For the realistic categories, female participants used either real or fake tresses to create authentic-looking facial hair (which they attached to their faces), and for the creative categories, "they were all over the place and could be made from whatever," Nelson explains. "Seashells, bacon, bones … it's such a creative event."

You can check out a handful of 2017's winners—who were captured in all their hairy glory by Las Vegas-based photographer Greg Anderson—below, or view even more hilarious looks on his Instagram.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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The Funniest Word in the English Language? 'Booty,' According to New Survey
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Some words, regardless of their meaning, are simply more chuckle-worthy than others. To determine which expressions in the English language are truly the most comical, Smithsonian reports that psychologists at the University of Warwick in the UK conducted a survey in which they asked people to rate the “humor value” of a sampling of chosen words. They recently published their findings in the journal Behavior Research Methods.

The researchers selected nearly 5000 words, and then used Amazon’s online crowdsourcing tool Mechanical Turk to ask more than 800 individuals to rank the humor value of 211 randomly chosen words from the list, on a scale from 1 (humorless) to 5 (humorous). Likely not surprising to anyone with younger siblings, the funniest word ended up being “booty,” with an average ranking of 4.32. In descending order, the remaining top 12 words—which all received a score of 3.9 or higher—were “tit,” “booby,” “hooter,” “nitwit,” “twit,” “waddle,” “tinkle,” “bebop,” “egghead,” “ass,” and “twerp.”

Why these words are so funny remains fuzzy. But when they analyzed their findings according to age and gender, the researchers did find that sexually suggestive words like “orgy” and “bondage” tended to tickle the funny bones of men, as did the words “birthmark,” “brand,” “chauffeur,” “doze,” “buzzard,” “czar,” “weld,” “prod,” “corn,” and “raccoon.”

Meanwhile, women tended to laugh at the words “giggle,” “beast,” “circus,” “grand,” “juju,” “humbug,” “slicker,” “sweat,” “ennui,” “holder,” “momma,” and “sod.” As for people under the age of 32, they were amused by “goatee,” “joint,” and “gangster,” while older participants liked “squint,” “jingle,” “burlesque,” and “pong.” Across the board, all parties were least amused by words like “rape,” “torture,” and “torment.”

Although humor is complex and dependent on elements like syntax and delivery, the study's researchers say that breaking comedy down to single-word units could demystify its essence.

“The research initially came about as a result of our curiosity,” said Tomas Engelthaler, the study’s lead author, in a press release. “We were wondering if certain words are perceived as funnier, even when read on their own. It turns out that indeed is the case. Humor is an everyday aspects of our lives and we hope this publicly available dataset allows future researchers to better understand its foundations.”

[h/t Smithsonian]

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