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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.

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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holidays
10 Things You Might Not Know About Chinese New Year
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Some celebrants call it the Spring Festival, a stretch of time that signals the progression of the lunisolar Chinese calendar; others know it as the Chinese New Year. For a 15-day period beginning February 16, China will welcome the Year of the Dog, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac table.

Sound unfamiliar? No need to worry: Check out 10 facts about how one-sixth of the world's total population rings in the new year.

1. THE HOLIDAY WAS ORIGINALLY MEANT TO SCARE OFF A MONSTER.

Nian at Chinese New Year
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As legend would have it, many of the trademarks of the Chinese New Year are rooted in an ancient fear of Nian, a ferocious monster who would wait until the first day of the year to terrorize villagers. Acting on the advice of a wise old sage, the townspeople used loud noises from drums, fireworks, and the color red to scare him off—all remain components of the celebration today.

2. A LOT OF FAMILIES USE IT AS MOTIVATION TO CLEAN THE HOUSE.

woman ready to clean a home
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While the methods of honoring the Chinese New Year have varied over the years, it originally began as an opportunity for households to cleanse their quarters of "huiqi," or the breaths of those that lingered in the area. Families performed meticulous cleaning rituals to honor deities that they believed would pay them visits. The holiday is still used as a time to get cleaning supplies out, although the work is supposed to be done before it officially begins.

3. IT WILL PROMPT BILLIONS OF TRIPS.

Man waiting for a train.
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Because the Chinese New Year places emphasis on family ties, hundreds of millions of people will use the Lunar period to make the trip home. Accounting for cars, trains, planes, and other methods of transport, the holiday is estimated to prompt nearly three billion trips over the 15-day timeframe.

4. IT INVOLVES A LOT OF SUPERSTITIONS.

Colorful pills and medications
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While not all revelers subscribe to embedded beliefs about what not to do during the Chinese New Year, others try their best to observe some very particular prohibitions. Visiting a hospital or taking medicine is believed to invite ill health; lending or borrowing money will promote debt; crying children can bring about bad luck.

5. SOME PEOPLE RENT BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS TO SOOTHE PARENTS.

Young Asian couple smiling
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In China, it's sometimes frowned upon to remain single as you enter your thirties. When singles return home to visit their parents, some will opt to hire a person to pose as their significant other in order to make it appear like they're in a relationship and avoid parental scolding. Rent-a-boyfriends or girlfriends can get an average of $145 a day.

6. RED ENVELOPES ARE EVERYWHERE.

a person accepting a red envelope
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An often-observed tradition during Spring Festival is to give gifts of red envelopes containing money. (The color red symbolizes energy and fortune.) New bills are expected; old, wrinkled cash is a sign of laziness. People sometimes walk around with cash-stuffed envelopes in case they run into someone they need to give a gift to. If someone offers you an envelope, it's best to accept it with both hands and open it in private.

7. IT CAN CREATE RECORD LEVELS OF SMOG.

fireworks over Beijing's Forbidden City
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Fireworks are a staple of Spring Festival in China, but there's more danger associated with the tradition than explosive mishaps. Cities like Beijing can experience a 15-fold increase in particulate pollution. In 2016, Shanghai banned the lighting of fireworks within the metropolitan area.

8. BLACK CLOTHES ARE A BAD OMEN.

toddler dressed up for Chinese New Year
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So are white clothes. In China, both black and white apparel is traditionally associated with mourning and are to be avoided during the Lunar month. The red, colorful clothes favored for the holiday symbolize good fortune.

9. IT LEADS TO PLANES BEING STUFFED FULL OF CHERRIES.

Bowl of cherries
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Cherries are such a popular food during the Festival that suppliers need to go to extremes in order to meet demand—last year Singapore Airlines flew four chartered jets to Southeast and North Asian areas. More than 300 tons were being delivered in time for the festivities.

10. PANDA EXPRESS IS HOPING IT'LL CATCH ON IN THE STATES.

Box of takeout Chinese food from Panda Express
domandtrey, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Although their Chinese food menu runs more along the lines of Americanized fare, the franchise Panda Express is still hoping the U.S. will get more involved in the festival. The chain is promoting the holiday in its locations by running ad spots and giving away a red envelope containing a gift: a coupon for free food. Aside from a boost in business, Panda Express hopes to raise awareness about the popular holiday in North America.

A version of this story originally ran in 2017.

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