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18 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in May

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May is more than just the birthday month of yours truly—check out all the quirky holidays you can celebrate.

1. May 1: Lei Day

You've heard of May Day, but this is the Hawaiian equivalent. Celebrate the islands' culture with lei-making contests, Hawaiian food and music, and even the crowning of the Lei Queen.

2. May 3: Free Comic Book Day

Ever since 2002, the first Saturday of May has seen participating independent comic book stores across the country hand out their wares for free. Over 3 million comic books are given away each year!

3. May 4: Star Wars Day

"May the fourth be with you." Get it?

4. & 5. May 6: No Diet Day and No Homework Day

Although they weren't created in conjunction, these seem appropriately paired for both children and adults to let loose a little and just indulge.

6. May 8: No Socks Day

The pitch for this holiday cites the lighter load of laundry foregoing socks will create. This seems specious at best—how big are your socks?— but let's all hope it will be sandal weather by this point, in which case you should definitely do without socks.

7. May 9: Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks a Voice!

Not to be confused with Shark Week, this is a day sponsored by WhaleTimes Inc. and the Shark Research Institute to promote awareness of the plight of sharks and update their image.

8. May 10: National Train Day

This is the seventh annual National Train Day, which celebrates the day on which the "golden spike" was driven into the final tie that connected the Central Pacific and Union Continental railroads, creating a country unified by train travel.

9. May 11: Mother's Day

But not just Mother's Day—the 100th anniversary of the creation of Mother's Day by Congressional legislation in 1914 as a response to Anna Jarvis' letter-writing campaign.

10. May 12: Limerick Day

Observed annually on the birthday of English author Edward Lear, whose 1846 A Book of Nonsense helped bring the lyrical form to popularity.

11. May 16: National Pizza Party Day

Last month we had a day dedicated to Chicago's deep dish, but this is a little different. Designed to mark the school year winding down, celebrate with the one thing sure to make even the surliest student happy: a pizza party.

12. May 18: International Museum Day

This will be the 37th annual celebration of the many cultural institutions around the world.

13. May 19-26: National Backyard Games Week

Break out the bocce, horseshoes, and croquet mallets! The weather will (hopefully) be warm enough to spend your free time outdoors by the end of May, so this is the week to try out as many silly lawn games as you can.

14. May 22: World Goth Day

I don't know if Hot Topic is still in business, but this would be the day to find out.

15. May 23: International World Turtle Day

You can be sure mental_floss will have the fun facts.

16. May 24: International Tiara Day

Embrace your inner princess.

17. May 25: Towel Day

Carry a towel with you wherever you go on this day to honor the life and work of Douglas Adams because, as any good interstellar hitchhiker knows, a towel "is about the most massively useful thing".

18. May 30: Hug Your Cat Day

Go on, even if they seem like they don't like it.

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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Live Smarter
Why the Best Time to Book Your Thanksgiving Travel Is Right Now
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You're never going to get a true steal on holiday plane tickets, but if you want to avoid spending your whole salary flying to visit your relatives over Thanksgiving, the time is nigh to start picking seats. That's according to the experts at Condé Nast Traveler, who cite data from Expedia and Skyscanner.

The latter found that it was cheapest to secure Thanksgiving tickets 11 weeks before the holiday. That means that you should have bought your ticket around September 4, but it's not too late; you can still save if you book now. Expedia's data shows that the cheapest time to buy is 61 to 90 days before you leave, so you still have until September 23 to snag a seat on a major airline without paying an obscene premium. (Relatively speaking, of course.)

When major travel holidays aren't involved, data shows that the best time to book a plane ticket is on a Sunday, at least 21 days ahead of your travel. But given that millions of other Americans also want to fly on the exact same days during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the calculus of booking is a bit more high stakes. If you sleep on tickets this month, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings. In the recent study cited by Condé Nast Traveler, Expedia found that people booking during the 61- to 90-day window saved up to 10 percent off the average ticket price, while last-minute bookers who bought tickets six days or less from their travel day paid up to 20 percent more.

Once you secure those Turkey Day tickets, you've got a new project: Your Christmas flights. By Hopper's estimates, those flights rise in price by $1.50 every day between the end of October and December 15 (after which they get even more expensive). However, playing the waiting game can be beneficial, too. Expedia found that the cheapest time to book Christmas flights was just 14 to 20 days out.

Before you buy, we also recommend checking CheapAir.com, which tracks 11,000 different airfares for flights around the holidays to analyze price trends. Because as miserable as holiday travel can be, you don't want to pay any more than you have to.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Big Questions
Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?
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Wearing white in the summer makes sense. Desert peoples have known for thousands of years that white clothing seems to keep you a little bit cooler than other colors. But wearing white only during the summer? While no one is completely sure exactly when or why this fashion rule came into effect, our best guess is that it had to do with snobbery in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between respectable old money families and those who only had vulgar new money. By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.

Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

Not everyone followed this rule. Even some socialites continued to buck the trend, most famously Coco Chanel, who wore white year-round. But even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred women, over the decades it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, women’s magazines made it clear to middle class America: White clothing came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day.

These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors to wear and when, but every year you will still hear people say that white after Labor Day is unacceptable, all thanks to some snobby millionaires who decided that was a fashion no-no more than 100 years ago.

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