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18 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in January

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Resolve to spend some more time celebrating offbeat holidays this year. January has some great ones to kick things off.

1. JANUARY 1: Z DAY

This holiday is intended to give recognition to all persons and places whose names begin with the letter Z, and thus are often listed or thought of last. 

2. JANUARY 2: HAPPY MEW YEAR FOR CATS DAY

Here at mental_floss we honor all cat-related holidays. Consult the above photo if you need a reason why. 

3. JANUARY 3: MEMENTO MORI DAY

Memento mori is Latin for “remember you will die” and what better way to get a fresh start on a new year than to consider this inevitability. 

4. JANUARY 4: NATIONAL TRIVIA DAY

Yep, we are all about this one.

5. JANUARY 8: ARGYLE DAY

A pattern for every season—isn't it time you celebrated argyle?

6. JANUARY 16: APPRECIATE A DRAGON DAY

This holiday falls during Bald Eagle Appreciation Days (the 16th and 17th), so choose your side—or appreciate all flying beasts, real or imagined. We'll leave your celebration up to you. 

7. JANUARY 16: NATIONAL NOTHING DAY

This holiday was created by newspaperman Harold Pullman Coffin “to provide Americans with one national day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything." Fair enough. In tribute to him and the day, we left the image spot blank for this one. 

8. JANUARY 20: RID THE WORLD OF FAD DIETS AND GIMMICKS DAY

So uh, how's that diet going?

9. JANUARY 21: NATIONAL HUGGING DAY

A good day to stay inside for those who like their personal space. 

10. JANUARY 22: ANSWER YOUR CAT’S QUESTIONS DAY

If your feline isn't forthcoming with their inquiries, this is a good opportunity to go through the thought experiment: "What would a cat have questions about?"  

11. JANUARY 23: NATIONAL HANDWRITING DAY

Get off the computer! And get out the old pen and paper and weep at how bad your penmanship has become … or you know, write someone a nice letter. 

12. JANUARY 23:  NATIONAL PIE DAY

You thought March 14 (3/14) was Pie Day, but that's Pi Day, and actually, you can celebrate both any darn day you want. More pie for everyone.

13. JANUARY 24:  SNOWPLOW MAILBOX HOCKEY DAY

Pour one out to all the mailboxes who'll bite the dust at the hand of snowplows this winter. 

14. JANUARY 24: BELLY LAUGH DAY

More of a challenge than a commemoration.

15. JANUARY 24: NATIONAL COMPLIMENT DAY

High fives all around. You're all great. Keep it up. 

16. JANUARY 25: BUBBLE WRAP®‎ APPRECIATION DAY

This is also "A Room of One's Own Day" (Virginia Woolf's birthday) which seems appropriate for all those who don't want to take part in the Bubble Wrap®‎ popping ("appreciating").

17. JANUARY 29: CURMUDGEONS DAY

Another well-paired couple of offbeat holidays, this day is also "Fun at Work Day," so separate the fun-lovers from the curmudgeons and everyone enjoy. 

18. JANUARY 30: NATIONAL SEED SWAP DAY

Last month you swapped cookies, this month you swap seeds.

Holidays found in Chase's Calendar of Events 2016. All photos courtesy of iStock unless otherwise noted.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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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.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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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.

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