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16 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in March

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Before we dive into a calendar of daily celebrations, let's consider some of March's month-long events. It is Optimism Month and National Umbrella Month, which seem slightly at odds; National Peanut Month and National Frozen Food Month, for the low-brow foodies out there; and International Mirth Month and Humorists Are Artists Month, so you should be laughing appreciatively for the next 31 days. Here's what else you can celebrate, courtesy of Chase's Calendar of Events:

1. March 1: National Pig Day

"Pigs aren't really fat. They're Rubenesque," Mary Lynne Rave told the Virgin Island Daily News in 1980. Concerned about the poor pig's reputation, Rave and her sister Ellen Stanley had founded National Pig Day back in 1972. She told the paper that the purpose of Pig Day is "to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man's most intellectual and domesticated animals."

Modern celebrations include porcine parades, promotions by the Minor League Baseball team, the IronPigs, and feats of pork, which is presumably not the pigs' favorite part.

2. March 2: Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's Birthday

The birthday of one of the most prolific and profound children's book authors has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, which encourages—what else?—reading books both Seussical and otherwise.

3. March 3: What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day

Hannah Keyser

We would have to lock their food up more securely.

4. March 4: International Pancake Day

Tradition has it that in an effort to use up all the cooking fat before the fasting of Lent began, a woman in Olney, England was frantically cooking up pancakes when she heard the church bells begin to ring. Eager to be on time, she took off running towards the church—with skillet and pancake still in hand.

This inspired a town-wide tradition and starting in 1445, the women of Olney, England would race to the church on the day before Lent began while carrying a pancake in a skillet. In 1950, a magazine photo tipped the residents of Liberal, Kansas off to the strange custom, and they decided to challenge the originators to a trans-Atlantic race. Every year since, the two towns have held races and compared times in an ongoing rivarly. These days, the event has grown to include various pancake cooking and eating contests and has spread beyond these two towns into a truly international celebration of the sweet, carby breakfast favorite.

5. March 7: Middle Name Pride Day

Stop feeling ashamed of your middle name, people who feel ashamed of their middle names!

6. March 8: National Proofreading Day

Copy editors, rejoice! A whole day to promote error-free writing—or at least, the finding of one's own errors.

7. March 10: Mario Day

Written in abbreviated form, this date reads Mar. 10. Or, as it appeared to a Mr. Mario Fascitelli: MARIO. Fascitelli decided this quirk of the calendar was deserving of a holiday for people to celebrate the Marios in their lives.

8. March 13: National Open An Umbrella Indoors Day

The thinking here is that we all break this taboo on the same day and then track the bad luck that follows. Apparently, even in dealing with cosmic evil there is strength in numbers.

9. March 14: Pi Day

A day to celebrate the mathematical constant that starts 3.14, which represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Or, since that's no fun at all, a day to eat pie. If you're looking for other ways to celebrate, we have an irrationally high number of Pi items in the mental_floss store.

10. March 15: Ides of March

Prior to 44 BC, the Ides of March just meant March 15, according to the Roman method of measuring months by counting down from three points, with the ides as the middle marker. But then Julius Caesar had to go get stabbed on the floor of the senate by a group of conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius, having not heeded a soothsayer's warning that the day would bring him harm. Shakespeare immortalized this unheralded message to "beware the Ides of March" in his play, Julius Caesar.

11. March 18: Awkward Moment Day

You can start by wishing complete strangers a "happy awkward moment day."

12. March 20: Proposal Day

This biannual event is timed according to the vernal and autumnal equinox. The holiday offers "an opportunity to raise the subject of marriage proposals in a light-hearted and non-threatening manner." The official website goes on to say "the holiday helps the single who is seeking marriage in the relationship avoid unknowingly spending years more searching for a ring within a relationship that does not present that opportunity now and is not ever likely to present it in the future." Because everyone knows that open and honest communication about the future of a romantic relationship can only take place under the auspices of a nationally-recognized holiday.

13. March 21: National Puppy Day

Founded in 2006, Puppy Day encourages people to not only ogle adorable puppies—although certainly that too—but also to consider adopting a puppy from the pound and avoid puppy mills or pet stores.

14. March 22: National Goof-Off Day

Because nothing says good-natured silliness like confining it to a specific day.

15. March 29: Earth Hour

A worldwide grass-roots movement to promote conservation and bring attention to climate change, Earth Hour encourages participants to turn off all non-essential lights for one hour. The event, which is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia but has since spread to over 4000 cities around the world. This year, the switch off will occur from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time.

16. March 31: National "She's Funny That Way" Day

A whole day dedicated to admitting the humorous nature of women? That's not marginalizing at all!

For an even more exhaustive list of holidays, historical anniversaries and notable birthdays, check out Chase's Calendar of Events.

All images courtesy of ThinkStock unless otherwise noted.


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10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
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Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

1. PANGANGALULUWA // THE PHILIPPINES

Rice cakes wrapped in leaves.
Suman

The earliest form of trick-or-treating on Halloween can be traced back to Europe in the Middle Ages. Kids would don costumes and go door-to-door offering prayers for dead relatives in exchange for snacks called "soul cakes." When the cake was eaten, tradition held that a soul was ferried from purgatory into heaven. Souling has disappeared from Ireland and the UK, but a version of it lives on halfway across the world in the Philippines. During All Saints Day on November 1, Filipino children taking part in Pangangaluluwa will visit local houses and sing hymns for alms. The songs often relate to souls in purgatory, and carolers will play the part of the souls by asking for prayers. Kids are sometimes given rice cakes called suman, a callback to the soul cakes from centuries past.

2. PÃO-POR-DEUS // PORTUGAL

Raw dough.
iStock

Instead of trick-or-treating, kids in Portugal go door-to-door saying pão-por-deus ("bread for god") in exchange for goodies on All Saints Day. Some homeowners give out money or candy, while others offer actual baked goods.

3. HALLOWEEN APPLES // WESTERN CANADA

Kids trick-or-treating.
iStock

If they're not calling out "trick-or-treat" on their neighbors’ doorsteps on Halloween night, you may hear children in western Canada saying "Halloween apples!" The phrase is left over from a time when apples were a common Halloween treat and giving out loose items on the holiday wasn't considered taboo.

4. ST. MARTIN'S DAY // THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch wait several days after Halloween to do their own take on trick-or-treating. On the night of November 11, St. Martin's Day, children in the Netherlands take to the streets with their homemade lanterns in hand. These lanterns were traditionally carved from beets or turnips, but today they’re most commonly made from paper. And the kids who partake don’t get away with shouting a few words at each home they visit—they’re expected to sing songs to receive their sugary rewards.

5. A PENNY FOR THE GUY // THE UK

Guy Fawkes Night celebration.

Peter Trimming, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Guy Fawkes Night is seen by some as the English Protestants’ answer to the Catholic holidays associated with Halloween, so it makes sense that it has its own spin on trick-or-treating. November 5 marks the day of Guy Fawkes’s failed assassination attempt on King James as part of the Gunpowder Plot. To celebrate the occasion, children will tour the neighborhood asking for "a penny for the guy." Sometimes they’ll carry pictures of the would-be-assassin which are burned in the bonfires lit later at night.

6. TRICKS FOR TREATS // ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Kids knocking on a door in costume.
iStock

If kids in the St. Louis area hope to go home with a full bag of candy on Halloween, they must be willing to tickle some funny bones. Saying "tricks-for-treats" followed by a joke replaces the classic trick-or-treat mantra in this Midwestern city. There’s no criteria for the quality or the subject of the joke, but spooky material (What’s a skeleton’s favorite instrument? The trombone!) earns brownie points.

7. ME DA PARA MI CALAVERITA // MEXICO

Sugar skulls with decoration.
iStock

While Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is completely separate from Halloween, the two holidays share a few things in common. Mexicans celebrate the day by dressing up, eating sweet treats, and in some parts of the country, going house-to-house. Children knocking on doors will say "me da para mi calaverita" or "give me money for my little skull," a reference to the decorated sugar skulls sold in markets at this time of year.

8. HALLOWEEN! // QUEBEC, CANADA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
iStock

Trick-or-treaters like to keep things simple in the Canadian province of Quebec. In place of the alliterative exclamation, they shout “Halloween!” at each home they visit. Adults local to the area might remember saying "la charité s’il-vous-plaît "(French for “charity, please”) when going door-to-door on Halloween, but this saying has largely fallen out of fashion.

9. SWEET OR SOUR // GERMANY

Little girl trick-or-treating.
iStock

Halloween is only just beginning to gain popularity in Germany. Where it is celebrated, the holiday looks a lot like it does in America, but Germans have managed to inject some local character into their version of trick-or-treat. In exchange for candy, kids sometimes sing out "süß oder saures"—or "sweet and sour" in English.

10. TRIQUI, TRIQUI HALLOWEEN // COLOMBIA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
Rubí Flórez, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kids in Colombia anticipate dressing up and prowling the streets on Halloween just as much as kids do in the States. There are a few significant variations on the annual tradition: Instead of visiting private residencies, they're more likely to ask for candy from store owners and the security guards of apartment buildings. And instead of saying trick-or-treat, they recite this Spanish rhyme:

Triqui triqui Halloween
Quiero dulces para mí
Si no hay dulces para mí
Se le crece la naríz

In short, it means that if the grownups don't give the kids the candy they're asking for, their noses will grow. Tricky, tricky indeed

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arrow
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10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
Original image
iStock

Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

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