15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in July
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
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
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
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.