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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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10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
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iStock

Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

1. PANGANGALULUWA // THE PHILIPPINES

Rice cakes wrapped in leaves.
Suman

The earliest form of trick-or-treating on Halloween can be traced back to Europe in the Middle Ages. Kids would don costumes and go door-to-door offering prayers for dead relatives in exchange for snacks called "soul cakes." When the cake was eaten, tradition held that a soul was ferried from purgatory into heaven. Souling has disappeared from Ireland and the UK, but a version of it lives on halfway across the world in the Philippines. During All Saints Day on November 1, Filipino children taking part in Pangangaluluwa will visit local houses and sing hymns for alms. The songs often relate to souls in purgatory, and carolers will play the part of the souls by asking for prayers. Kids are sometimes given rice cakes called suman, a callback to the soul cakes from centuries past.

2. PÃO-POR-DEUS // PORTUGAL

Raw dough.
iStock

Instead of trick-or-treating, kids in Portugal go door-to-door saying pão-por-deus ("bread for god") in exchange for goodies on All Saints Day. Some homeowners give out money or candy, while others offer actual baked goods.

3. HALLOWEEN APPLES // WESTERN CANADA

Kids trick-or-treating.
iStock

If they're not calling out "trick-or-treat" on their neighbors’ doorsteps on Halloween night, you may hear children in western Canada saying "Halloween apples!" The phrase is left over from a time when apples were a common Halloween treat and giving out loose items on the holiday wasn't considered taboo.

4. ST. MARTIN'S DAY // THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch wait several days after Halloween to do their own take on trick-or-treating. On the night of November 11, St. Martin's Day, children in the Netherlands take to the streets with their homemade lanterns in hand. These lanterns were traditionally carved from beets or turnips, but today they’re most commonly made from paper. And the kids who partake don’t get away with shouting a few words at each home they visit—they’re expected to sing songs to receive their sugary rewards.

5. A PENNY FOR THE GUY // THE UK

Guy Fawkes Night celebration.

Peter Trimming, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Guy Fawkes Night is seen by some as the English Protestants’ answer to the Catholic holidays associated with Halloween, so it makes sense that it has its own spin on trick-or-treating. November 5 marks the day of Guy Fawkes’s failed assassination attempt on King James as part of the Gunpowder Plot. To celebrate the occasion, children will tour the neighborhood asking for "a penny for the guy." Sometimes they’ll carry pictures of the would-be-assassin which are burned in the bonfires lit later at night.

6. TRICKS FOR TREATS // ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Kids knocking on a door in costume.
iStock

If kids in the St. Louis area hope to go home with a full bag of candy on Halloween, they must be willing to tickle some funny bones. Saying "tricks-for-treats" followed by a joke replaces the classic trick-or-treat mantra in this Midwestern city. There’s no criteria for the quality or the subject of the joke, but spooky material (What’s a skeleton’s favorite instrument? The trombone!) earns brownie points.

7. ME DA PARA MI CALAVERITA // MEXICO

Sugar skulls with decoration.
iStock

While Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is completely separate from Halloween, the two holidays share a few things in common. Mexicans celebrate the day by dressing up, eating sweet treats, and in some parts of the country, going house-to-house. Children knocking on doors will say "me da para mi calaverita" or "give me money for my little skull," a reference to the decorated sugar skulls sold in markets at this time of year.

8. HALLOWEEN! // QUEBEC, CANADA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
iStock

Trick-or-treaters like to keep things simple in the Canadian province of Quebec. In place of the alliterative exclamation, they shout “Halloween!” at each home they visit. Adults local to the area might remember saying "la charité s’il-vous-plaît "(French for “charity, please”) when going door-to-door on Halloween, but this saying has largely fallen out of fashion.

9. SWEET OR SOUR // GERMANY

Little girl trick-or-treating.
iStock

Halloween is only just beginning to gain popularity in Germany. Where it is celebrated, the holiday looks a lot like it does in America, but Germans have managed to inject some local character into their version of trick-or-treat. In exchange for candy, kids sometimes sing out "süß oder saures"—or "sweet and sour" in English.

10. TRIQUI, TRIQUI HALLOWEEN // COLOMBIA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
Rubí Flórez, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kids in Colombia anticipate dressing up and prowling the streets on Halloween just as much as kids do in the States. There are a few significant variations on the annual tradition: Instead of visiting private residencies, they're more likely to ask for candy from store owners and the security guards of apartment buildings. And instead of saying trick-or-treat, they recite this Spanish rhyme:

Triqui triqui Halloween
Quiero dulces para mí
Si no hay dulces para mí
Se le crece la naríz

In short, it means that if the grownups don't give the kids the candy they're asking for, their noses will grow. Tricky, tricky indeed

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10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
Original image
iStock

Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

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