We’re having a heat wave ... of outstanding, offbeat July holidays! The big firework show may come at the beginning of the month, but there are plenty more celebrations to keep you feeling Yankee Doodle Dandy all the way to August.
1. July 1: National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day
In 1984, Ronald Reagan deemed July “National Ice Cream Month,” and the third Sunday of this month “National Ice Cream Day.” As great as the treat itself is, we’re big fans of those unusual flavor combinations that make you question the limitations of culinary science and marvel at their possibilities! Ben and Jerry might have the offbeat flavor market cornered for now, but to be safe you should probably head for your local ice creamery to “test” their strongest contenders.
2. July 2: World UFO Day
Keep your eyes on the sky at night on this day, because they are out there. According to the World UFO Day website, the celebration of all things unidentified, object, and airborne started officially in 2001. That said, most UFOlogoists believe the existence of intelligent beings from outer space dates much further back. If you’re feeling extra conspiratorial, holiday organizers implore you to use this day to “encourage governments to declassify their knowledge about sightings throughout the history.”
3. July 4: Sidewalk Egg Frying Day
We’ve all heard the phrase “so hot outside you could fry an egg,” but today is the day we put that expression to the test. Though the origins of this climate-specific holiday are unknown, we imagine heat-inclined states were the earliest adopters. Oatman, Arizona has upped the ante with an annual solar-frying contest. Since you need daylight for this activity, it doesn't need to be mutually exclusive with Fourth of July fireworks! Everyone wins.
4. July 6: International Kissing Day
Pucker up for some summer love! Formerly known as National Kissing Day in the United Kingdom, this holiday was invented to remind us all of the simple pleasure a sweet kiss can bring. It is also cited as a direct cause for National Mono Day.
5. July 8: International Town Criers Day
Hear ye, hear ye! Before there was Twitter, CNN, or even a newspaper, every respectable town had a town crier who kept the good public abreast of all relevant comings and goings. Today, you have full permission to shout your appreciation from the rooftops—it’s how they wanted it.
6. July 10: Teddy Bear Picnic Day
In the early 20th century, John Walter Bratton composed an instrumental song entitled “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” In the late 1980s, collectible items dealer Royal Selangor decided to turn that into a national holiday. He also had the idea to conveniently release toy boxes and collectible items in conjunction with said event. Regardless of capitalist motives, the day became a national holiday and remains popular throughout Europe, as far away as Australia, and among many reputable stuffed bear circles.
7. July 11: Slurpee Day
This year the ubiquitous (at least along interstates) convenience store will celebrate its 87th birthday. In observance of the the eponymous date 7/11, the store will dole out free Slurpees. Freeloaders mark your calendars now, and be sure to set aside an extra 20 minutes of recovery time from the subsequent brain freeze.
8. July 11: World Population Day
In honor of the holiday this year, the United Nations Population Fund continues advocating its Universal Access to Reproductive Health initiative. After you’ve recovered from your aforementioned brain freeze, take one more moment to reflect on being a part of such a big whole.
9. July 13: National French Fries Day
Or National Freedom Fries Day, depending on your politics. We can’t make any promises, but last year some McDonald’s restaurants gave away their signature deep-fried potato sticks in honor of this special day. Free or not, on this day treat yourself to a full basket of guilt-free, Frenched, and fried goodness!
10. July 14: National Nude Day
The day the Tobias Fünkes of the world fear most. Originating in New Zealand, this non-public holiday encourages everyone to publicly celebrate their all-natural form. Note: please be sure to familiarize yourself with current local legislation concerning public nudity, lest you find yourself observing “international delinquent day.”
11. July 14: Bastille Day
Storm your local Bastille in honor of France’s 1789 victory. More than 50 U.S. cities host celebrations, so you have no excuse to not indulge in delicious French foods and more fireworks. If your city happens to have loose public nudity laws, you can celebrate the birth of French democracy in your birthday suit!
12. July 17: Yellow Pig Day
The figment of two mathematicians’ imaginations in the 1960s, the 17-eyelashed yellow pig was born from an intense study of the fascinating properties of the number 17. Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics has kept the yellow flame alive every year, with Yellow Pig Math Days and even a special conference held in 2006 (the 34th, or 17x2, summer of the program).
13. July 19: National Flitch Day
A 15th century relic, a “flitch” referred to an amount of bacon offered to married couples by local monks who could prove a year’s worth of matrimonial bliss to a jury of their single peers. Thought to have originated in Dunmore, England, the modern-day flitch ceremony now takes place once every four years, but is still very much all about the bacon.
14. July 22: Doonerism Spay
The birthday of Reverend William Archibald Spooner in 1844 London also marks the celebration of the famous slip of the tongue named after him. A spoonerism was originally the accidental switch of consonants or vowels, but has also since become a popular wordplay game.
15. July 26: National Talk in an Elevator Day
We all do it. We look at our phone, at our feet, or at the fresh coffee stain on our shirts. Anything to avoid even making eye contact with our fellow elevator riders. Not today. Not on the last Friday in July. Throw out the social compact, and strike up a conversation with the nearest stranger while in a small space for a short period of time.
16. July 27: Bagpipe Appreciation Day
Though bagpipes are perhaps most commonly linked to the Scottish, the largest producer in the world of this aerophone instrument is Pakistan. Just one of many fun facts you can toss out on Bagpipe Appreciation Day. You're welcome.
17. July 29: National Lasagna Day
Catch up on some Garfield comics, head to an Italian restaurant, or grab some ricotta, pasta and Bolognese and whip one up yourself—there are many ways to honor National Lasagna Day. The only wrong way is to not honor it at all.