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15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in July

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Get ready to celebrate a month full of quirky holidays—not just Independence Day—in classic summer style.

1. July 1: Canada Day

In 1867, Upper and Lower Canada, as well as some of the Maritime Provinces, were combined into the official Dominion of Canada—and each year, we celebrate our neighbor to the north on the anniversary of the confederation.

2. July 2: Halfway Point of 2015

It's hard to believe, but at noon on July 2, we will be halfway to 2016.

3. July 3: The Start of the Dog Days of Summer

"Dog days" originally referred to the period of the summer when Sirius, the Dog Star—hence the name—rose each day around the same time as the sun. Even though the two events don't line up around this time as perfectly anymore, it's still the name given to the really, really hot stretch of summer from July 3 to August 11.

4. July 5: Earth At Aphelion Day

Not quite a holiday, but an annual astronomical event. At approximately 4 p.m., Earth will be at the furthest point from the sun in its orbit—the aphelion—at a distance of about 94,510,000 miles.

5. July 11: Bowdler's Day

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This day honors the prudish man who gave us the word bowdlerize. English doctor Thomas Bowdler quit his job to focus on expunging from Shakespeare all lewd and indecent references. His (presumably much shorter) version of the Bard's tales, Family Shakespeare, came out in 1818, after which he turned his attention to Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and sections of the Old Testament.

6. July 12: Night of Nights

On July 12, 1999, the U.S. closed commercial Morse operations—but every year since, on that anniversary, the Maritime Radio Historical Society commemorates maritime radio by bringing stations KPH, KSM, and KFS back on the air for one night. Other existing radio stations participate with related content.

7. July 13: International Town Criers Day

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This holiday, which occurs annually on the second Monday in July, is a chance to honor the lost art of speaking loudly and starting proclamations with "Hear ye, hear ye!" in celebration of the ancient practice of town crying.

8. July 15: Saint Swithin's Day

Little is know about Swithin, the Bishop of Winchester in the 800s. But what is known is that many years after his death, his relics were transferred to the Winchester Cathedral on July 15, 971, a day which featured heavy rains. Since then, the belief has been that if it rains on this day, it will continue to rain for 40 more days.

9. July 18: National Woodie Wagon Day

Celebrate this symbol of 1940s and '50s Americana with a drive down Route 66.

10. July 19: National Ice Cream Day

Sundae Sunday—annually the third Sunday in July—is my new favorite holiday.

11. July 21: No Pet Store Puppies Day

Many puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, which, according to the Humane Society, are "inhumane, commercial dog-breeding [facilities] in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits." The ASPCA's "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign aims to reduce demand for these puppy mill puppies by calling for a full boycott of stores that sell them.

12. July 22: Spooner's Day

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Reverend William Archibald Spooner was a learned man, the warden of New College at Oxford—but he also had a habit of transposing the first letter of certain words. It is from his frequent, funny slips of the tongue that we get the word "spoonerism."

13. July 24: National Tell an Old Joke Day

Dust off your best chicken-crossing-the-road zinger.

14. July 26: Parents' Day

Did you think you were off the hook for appreciating the people who gave you life just because you made it through Mother's Day and Father's Day? Think again.

15. July 30: National Chili Dog Day

The last Thursday in July is your annual chance to proclaim your affection for this truly American delicacy. Bring a pal—it's also the United Nations' International Day of Friendship.

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.

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7 Surprising Uses for Tequila
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Happy National Margarita Day! While you could celebrate by having a few drinks, you could also skip the hangover by unlocking one of tequila's amazing abilities outside of the glass. Many spirits are useful for activities beyond sipping (vodka, for example, is a great stain and odor remover), but tequila holds some particularly magical powers. Here are just a few of them.

1. SYNTHETIC BAUBLE

In 2008, a team of scientists in Mexico discovered that when the heated vapor from an 80-proof tequila blanco was combined with a silicon or stainless steel substrate, it resulted in the formation of diamond films. These films can be used in commercial applications, such as electrical insulators, or to create one big fake diamond. Who knew that spending $50 on a bottle of Don Julio was such a wise investment?

2. ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE

Keeping with the science theme: In 2011, researchers at England’s University of Oxford suggested that we may one day be gassing up our cars with tequila. They identified agave, the plant from which tequila is produced, as a potential biofuel source—and a particularly attractive one, as the plant itself is not consumed by humans and can thrive in desert climates.

3. WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT

Scientists have long promoted the potential benefits of the agave plant for its ability to help dissolve fats and lower cholesterol. The bad news? These properties get a bit diluted when the plant is distilled into alcohol. Even more so when it's whipped into a sugary margarita.

4. SLEEP AID

Take three or more shots of tequila and you’re bound to pass out. A single shot can have the same effect—just not in that drunken stupor kind of way. Relaxation is one of the positive side effects of tequila drinking; a small amount (1 to 1.5 ounces) before bedtime can reportedly help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

5. COLON CLEANSER

Too much of a good thing may not bring a welcome turn of events for your liver … but your colon will thank you! Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara have identified the blue agave as a potentially helpful source for delivering drugs to the colon in order to treat colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease and even cancer.

6. DIABETES PREVENTATIVE

If Ernest Hemingway had known about the healing properties of tequila, his signature drink might have been a margarita instead of a daiquiri. In 2010, experiments conducted at Mexico’s Polytechnic Institute of Guanajuato revealed that the agave plant (which is high in fructans, a fructose polymer) could stimulate the GLP-1 hormone, aiding in increased insulin production.

7. COLD REMEDY

“Plenty of liquids” is a well-known remedy for getting oneself out from under the weather. But expanding that definition to include a kicked-up shot of tequila makes a day laid out on the couch sound much more appealing. In the 1930s, doctors in Mexico recommended the following concoction to fight off a cold.

.5 ounce of tequila blanco
.5 ounce of agave nectar (to eliminate bacteria and soothe sore throats)
.5 ounce of fresh lime juice (for Vitamin C)

Though some people (including tequila companies) swear by its healing powers, others say it's hogwash.

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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.


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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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