15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in April

We wanted to wait till after April 1 to post this list so you didn't think we were joking about "National Deep Dish Pizza Day," but we assure you: we never kid about pizza. Without further delay, let's get to the holidays.

1. April 2: International Children's Book Day

Celebrated since 1967, this holiday takes place on Hans Christian Andersen's birthday. Each year, a different national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (which sponsors the holiday) chooses a theme as well as an author to write a message and an illustrator to design a poster. This year's theme is "Imagine Nations through Story."

2. April 5: National Deep Dish Pizza Day

See, we promised. This day marks the anniversary of the first Uno restaurant—which is credited with inventing deep dish pizza—to open outside the city of Chicago. The holiday is designed to celebrate the spread of Chicago's signature dish, so no matter how far you are from the Windy City, go ahead and get some deep dish pizza.

3. April 7: National Beer Day

Each year, April 7th marks the anniversary of the signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act, which went into effect in 1933 and allowed people to buy, sell and drink beer again—as long as it was less than 3.2% alcohol by weight. Cheers to no more Prohibition!

4. April 8: National Be Kind to Lawyers Day

Even if, unlike me, both your parents aren't lawyers.

5. April 10: National Siblings Day

Hannah Keyser

Shout out to Emelye, Benjamin and Samuel Keyser!

6. April 11: International "Louie Louie" Day

Wikimedia Commons

On the birthday of "Louie Louie" composer Richard Berry, we celebrate the song that has been recorded more times than any other rock song in history. We'll do our best to sing along.

7. April 14: Pathologists' Assistant Day

A day to honor the "physician extender [in your life] whose expertise lies in gross examination of surgical specimens as well as performing forensic and medicolegal autopsies." (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

8. and 9. April 15: National Take a Wild Guess Day & National That Sucks Day

Both perfectly-timed to coincide with tax day.

10. April 17: Nothing Like A Dame Day

Getty Images

Celebrate the stateliest ladies you know and cultivate your inner dame with a rousing rendition of the Oscar Hammerstein show tune.

11. April 19: National Hanging Out Day

Sadly, this is not a day to kick back and relax with some friends. Rather, it's a holiday encouraging people to hang out their laundry—and cut down on energy consumption by doing so.

12. April 21: National Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day

How could you not love that face?

13. April 22: National Jelly Bean Day

Perfectly timed to take advantage of post-Easter sales on this colorful candy.

14. April 26: National Go Birding Day

Build bird feeders, bring your binoculars for a walk in the woods or, if you live in the city, take a little extra time to notice all the pigeons.

15. April 30: International Jazz Day

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is responsible for this holiday, which celebrates its fourth edition this year. Schools, communities, and even government organizations around the world will host programs to highlight the diplomatic role of jazz in bringing people together.

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.

Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists

We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

How Mammoth Poop Gave Us Pumpkin Pie

When it’s time to express gratitude for the many privileges bestowed upon your family this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to be grateful for mammoth poop. The excrement of this long-extinct species is a big reason why holiday desserts taste so good.

Why? Because, as Smithsonian Insider reports, tens of thousands of years ago, mammoths, elephants, and mastodons had an affinity for wild gourds, the ancestors of squashes and pumpkin. In a 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Smithsonian researcher and colleagues found that wild gourds—which were much smaller than our modern-day butternuts—carried a bitter-tasting toxin in their flesh that acted as a deterrent to some animals. While small rodents would avoid eating the gourds, the huge mammals would not. Their taste buds wouldn't pick up the bitter flavor and the toxin had no effect on them. Mammoths would eat the gourds and pass the indigestible seeds out in their feces. The seeds would then be plopped into whatever habitat range the mammoth was roaming in, complete with fertilizer.

When the mammoths went extinct as recently as 4000 years ago, the gourds faced the same fate—until humans began to domesticate the plants, allowing for the rise of pumpkins. But had it not been for the dispersal of the seeds via mammoth crap, the gourd might not have survived long enough to arrive at our dinner tables.

So as you dig into your pumpkin pie this year, be sure to think of the heaping piles of dung that made the delicious treat possible.

[h/t Smithsonian Insider]


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