There are holidays, and then there are holidays. We all know and love (or love to hate) the big ones: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. And we have St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Labour Day. Spring Break. Victoria Day.
But there are more than those that immediately come to mind when we think about holidays. Virtually every day has something...some excuse to break out the punch bowl. To celebrate lima beans (April 20 is Lima Bean Respect Day...I’m not kidding), or practically anything else.
And November is no different. There are the famous ones - American Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, and Veterans’ Day - but there are also many lesser-known cousins. If you need a reason to lay down the boogie and play that funky music (thank you, Wild Cherry), then look no further. These are the nine offbeat and wacky holidays to observe in month number eleven.
1. November 2 - Plan Your Epitaph Day
Sounds a bit dark, right? Something the goth kids in high school would find entertaining on a Saturday night (or any night of the week, really). But Plan Your Own Epitaph Day should be exhilarating and a time to reflect on your life, and how you want to be remembered. Make it fun!
Leave your epitaph (the inscription on your tombstone or memorial) to someone else, and you may not love what you get. How bad could it be? Consider:
- Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me for not rising.
- Here lies Lester Moore. Four slugs from a .44, no Les, no more.
You don’t want that. Consider your epitaph carefully. Update it each year as necessary. It’s your calling card for immortality.
2. November 4 - King Tut Day
We don’t know the precise day that the Boy King, Tutankhamun, was born. But this holiday isn’t to celebrate his birth, anyway. November 4 marks the anniversary of the day King Tut’s nearly intact tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. It set off a worldwide epidemic of Egyptomania and remains one of the most incredible archaeological finds in modern history. Tut died circa 1324 BCE - over 3000 years ago - but the discovery has made him one of, if not the, most famous ruler from our ancient past.
On November 4, celebrate all things Egyptian. Eat Egyptian takeout, watch some classic (albeit not historically accurate) films like Cleopatra, The Mummy, or The Mummy Returns. Sing Steve Martin’s King Tut in the shower. And learn a little about Egypt’s most famous pharaoh.
3. November 5 - Men Make Dinner Day
This holiday falls on November 5 this year, but it’s actually celebrated on the first Thursday in November each year. Perhaps a bit antiquated (don’t most men cook at least sometimes these days?), the idea is to give your wife or girlfriend a break from the chore of making dinner. Turn it into a day of pampering for them, complete with flowers, a film that they want to see, and a meal that they like. No cheating, either. You can’t get takeout. You can’t just throw some burgers on the barbeque. You have to cook. You have to cook a full, 3-course meal. The holiday even has its own website.
And you have to do the cleaning up afterwards, too. I know, I know.
4. November 15 - Clean Your Refrigerator Day
File this one under “self-explanatory”. On Clean Your Refrigerator Day, you clean your refrigerator. Empty it out. Check expiration dates. Try and identify the contents of that Tupperware container that’s been in the back since last May. Wipe down the shelves and door. Get rid of stuff that’s been in there since your freshman year of college, no matter how sure you are that you may one day eat it (don’t).
Want to be a Clean Your Refrigerator Day hero? Tackle the fridge at your workplace. These are the ignored and forgotten fridges. Neglected to the point of abuse, the stuff in there could probably cure and cause a few diseases. If you have a Hazmat suit, wear it. If you don’t have one (you don’t?!), rent one. You’ll thank me.
5. November 18 - Occult Day
Spooky, isn’t it? The occult can include the mysterious, the creepy, secret clubs and organizations, and the supernatural, mystical, and magical. November 18 is the day to revel in all of that.
It includes astrology, fortune-telling, alchemy (if anyone finally figures out how to turn lead into gold, please leave the recipe in the comments below), séances, Ouija boards, and things that go bump in the night.
The party practically plans itself for this one. You just need to show up.
6. November 20 - Absurdity Day
Sometimes, you need a holiday to just be silly and have fun. Absurdity Day is that holiday. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and that’s the point. There is an absurd little person inside each of us, and they’re desperate to get out. Give the poor little thing this one day each year, okay? Okay.
If it’s wildly unreasonable, illogical, foolish, inappropriate, or ridiculous, do it. If that’s not a recipe for the best day ever, I don’t know what is. Don’t forget to share your absurd antics on social media.
7. November 23 - Eat a Cranberry Day
Hmm. This one seems pretty straightforward. Cranberries are native to North America, but outside of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, and maybe Ocean Spray cranberry juice, we don’t give them much thought. Sad, really, as the cranberry is a delicious and nutritious little snack. Raw and unprocessed cranberries are even listed as a “superfruit” packed with antioxidants.
My mother’s hometown of Bala, Ontario is the Cranberry Capital of Ontario and has an annual Cranberry Festival each October. The cranberry holds a special place in my Muskokan heart.
So on November 23, eat a cranberry. Tastes great, and it’s good for you. Winning.
8. November 27 - Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day - another under the “obvious” category - is the day after American Thanksgiving. It falls on November 27 this year. It’s meant as a pause to the rampant commercialism and consumerism that befalls us in the weeks leading up to Christmas. There will be plenty of shopping next month. Put a 24-hour hold on all purchases and just relax. Breath. It’s good for the soul, and the wallet.
9. November 30 - Stay at Home Because You’re Well Day
My favourite on the list this month. Don’t call in sick. Don’t stay home from school because you’re feeling under the weather. Instead, take this day to call in “well”. Take a “me” day rather than a sick day. Of course, this may not work for everyone (and the entire world economy would come to a screeching halt if we all did it at once), so use your good judgment, folks.
Started by the people behind Wellcat.com, the holiday reminds you to take time for yourself. We tend to only slow down when we have no choice - such as when we’re too sick to get out of bed - and that’s a mistake. Be well. Feel well. Stay well.
Still looking for a few more? Sandwich Day (in honour of John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich and the man usually credited with the invention of the sandwich) on November 3, Guy Fawkes Day (the dude who tried to blow up British Parliament in 1605) on November 5, International Tongue Twister Day on November 7, Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day (Joseph McCarthy’s birthday) on November 14, and Red Planet Day on November 28. Take your pick, get a costume and a few appropriate accessories, and party for all you’re worth. You only get so many National Unfriend Days (November 17), so make each one count! You don’t want to regret the holidays you didn’t observe and celebrate while on your deathbed.
Many of these are obviously tongue-in-cheek, but who cares?! A holiday is a holiday…
Did we omit anything party-worthy in November? Leave your additions in the comments below...