16 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in March
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
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.