CLOSE
iStock
iStock

16 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in April

iStock
iStock

There's plenty to celebrate this month, even if you don't like jelly beans or pranks. 

1. April 1: National Fun at Work Day

This is, of course, timed to coincide with April Fools Day, but also encourages employees to not limit their idea of fun to pranks. What about ice cream cake? Ice cream cake is fun, too.

2. April 2: Pascua Florida Day

This holiday commemorates the first landing on what is now Florida by Ponce de León in 1513. It's not known exactly when he first stepped ashore, but the name he bestowed upon the land gives some indication—Pascua means "Easter" and Florida means "flowering." It's a legal holiday in the state.

3. April 7: National Beer Day

On March 22, 1933, Franklin Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act, legalizing the sale of beer (as long as it was 3.2 percent alcohol by weight or less) after many years of Prohibition. The thirsty public had to wait two long weeks before they could legally imbibe again, and on April 7, the law finally went into effect. Beer drinkers around the country rejoiced, and celebrated with a nice cold one, presumably.

4. April 9: Anniversary of Jumbo the Elephant Arriving in America

This elephant was captured in Africa in 1861, when he was just a young calf, and taken to the London Zoo and given the nickname "Jumbo," for the West African word for elephant. Jumbo was a tremendously popular attraction at the Zoo for many years, and in 1882, P. T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, purchased the elephant for $10,000. On April 9, Jumbo arrived in Manhattan and enjoyed such fame stateside that his name entered our lexicon.

5. April 10: National Siblings Day

Hannah Keyser

Dedicated, as it was last year, to Emelye, Benjamin, and Samuel Keyser.

6. April 12: National Licorice Day

Specifically to celebrate the oft-debated black licorice.

7. April 14: National Library Workers Day

Thank your local librarian today!

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

Both perfectly-timed to coincide with tax day.

10. April 16: National High Five Day

You don't have to worry about taxes for a full year. High five!

11. April 17: National Haiku Poetry Day

Celebrate with your
Own haiku that is likely
Much better than mine.

12. April 22: Earth Day

This is the 45th anniversary of the international celebration of the planet we all call home.

13. April 23: World Book Night

On Shakespeare's birthday passionate volunteers hand out books in the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Germany.

14. April 25: Anniversary of the First License Plate

On this day in 1901, New York became the first state to require license plates on automobiles.

15. April 26: National Pretzel Day

First celebrated in 1983, this is a day to partake in, and admire, the salted snack.

16. 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 iStock unless otherwise noted.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
iStock
iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
iStock
iStock

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios