25 Weird Holidays You Can Celebrate in January

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iStock.com/patrickheagney

Though the official end-of-year "holiday season" may be over, January is chock-full of very fun, very specific, and sometimes very weird holidays to help you ease your way into 2019.

1. January 1: National Hangover Day

Two young women passed out after partying too hard
iStock.com/Yuri_Arcurs

If you find yourself nursing a serious hangover on New Year’s Day you can at least rest easy in the fact that someone has made an official day dedicated to your misery.

2. January 1: Z Day

This holiday is intended to give recognition to all persons, places, and things that begin with the letter Z, and thus are often listed or thought of last. Go ahead—drink a Zima!

3. January 1: First Foot Day

A Scottish New Year tradition, the first person to step into someone’s home is called the first-footer and is thought to represent good fortune entering the household by bringing a handful of goodies including coal, whiskey, cash, cheese, and/or bread. Sorry ladies and blonde men: In order to be considered “lucky,” the first-footer should always be a dark-haired man—and flat feet are a no-no.

4. January 2: Happy Mew Year For Cats Day

This punny day is basically just another occasion to honor and fawn all over our feline friends. What more do we need to say?

5. January 3: Fruitcake Toss Day

A sliced fruitcake covered in candied fruits sits on a stone cutting board.
iStock.com/wideonet

Although it may sound like a culinary Olympic event, Fruitcake Toss Day just marks the time when it is finally socially acceptable to trash all of the holiday fruitcakes you received. Though, technically, a few of those boozy loaves have been known to last for a century or more. So getting rid of them right away really isn’t necessary.

6. 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. The event’s founders swear it wasn't meant to be morbid; it’s more of a “seize the day” thing.

7. January 4: National Trivia Day

Obviously, we are all for—and about—National Trivia Day. So feel free to steal any of these essential bits of trivia and share them with a friend.

8. January 7: National Old Rock Day

Have you thanked a veteran rock today? Though no official creator has stepped forward, we’re guessing that it was either a geologist and paleontologist who came up with this holiday that honors fossils and rock formations that are as old as time.

9. January 7: National Thank God It’s Monday! Day

'Hello Monday' text on a display lightbox on blue and pink bright background
iStock.com/Katjabakurova

Apparently there are people who like Mondays? This offbeat holiday is all about the possibility that comes with a fresh start … we guess we can get behind that.

10. January 8: National Argyle Day

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

11. January 9: National Static Electricity Day

Grab your balloons and sweaters! It’s time to build up your static charge and conduct some electrons. This is the perfect holiday to occur in the dead of winter, when the air is extra dry—the optimal conditions for storing up those negative charges that shock you at the most unexpected times.

12. January 14: National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Though some studies have concluded that a messy desk could be a sign that you’re a genius, National Clean Off Your Desk Day—which occurs on the second Monday in January—is a time to embrace the new year with a new attitude toward clutter. (If only for this one day.)

13. January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Dog in a sequin fedora and sunglasses
iStock.com/walik

Your pet may not love the fact that there’s an entire day dedicated to making them look extra fancy, but your Instagram followers will thank you for it.

14. January 16: National Nothing Day

Clear your calendars! We have San Francisco Examiner columnist Harold Pullman Coffin to thank for this "un-event," which Americans have been celebrating since 1973 by, well, doing nothing.

15. January 18: National Thesaurus Day

British lexicographer Peter Mark Roget—who is most famous for publishing The Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (aka “Roget’s Thesaurus”) in 1852—was born on January 18, 1779. As such, this is a day to honor, celebrate, extol, laud, praise, revere, salute, etc. his contributions.

16. January 20: Penguin Awareness Day

Not to be confused with World Penguin Day (which happens on April 25), Penguin Awareness Day encourages you to cultivate even more knowledge of the Spheniscidae family. (Here are 20 fascinating facts to get you started.)

17. January 21: National Hugging Day

Two girlfriends embrace each other
iStock.com/FG Trade

In 1986, Reverend Kevin Zaborney—a pastor from Clio, Michigan—founded Hugging Day as a small event in his hometown. Today, it’s celebrated around the world. “People do need positive human interaction," Zaborney told The Christian Post of the impetus for creating the holiday. "Hugging is a safe way to do so." (Though he likes to make it clear that you should always ask first!)

18. January 22: Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day

If your feline isn't forthcoming with his or her inquiries, take the opportunity to ponder the following: “What would a cat have questions about?”

19. January 23: National Handwriting Day

Get out the old pen and paper and weep at how bad your penmanship has become … or you know, write someone a nice letter. (Cursive is making a comeback, after all.)

20. January 24: Global Belly Laugh Day

This holiday is more of a challenge than a commemoration.

21. January 24: National Compliment Day

Person holding a rock that says 'You are amazing!'
iStock.com/sdominick

National Compliment Day? You’ve got this. You’re fabulous. And you look amazing. Keep up the great work!

22. January 24: National Beer Can Appreciation Day

January 24, 1935 was a momentous day for suds lovers: It’s the day the first canned beer was sold in America. Since then the beer can has become a barbecue staple, a collector’s item, and a maligned receptacle for some beer snobs (though craft beer connoisseurs have brought cans back in a major way). So today, pause before chugging, shotgunning, or crushing and take a moment to reflect on what your beer can means to you.

23. January 25: National Opposite Day

January 25 is definitely not National Opposite Day. (See what we did there?)

24. January 27: Thomas Crapper Day

Plumber repairing a toilet
iStock.com/abbesses

Often incorrectly credited with inventing the toilet, Thomas Crapper was a plumber and businessman who did, in fact, champion the modern wash closet and also invented the ballcock—that floating ball in the body of your toilet. His apropos surname was just a coincidence: The word crap already existed in the English language at the time of his birth.

25. January 28: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Celebrated on the last Monday of January, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is a day to give thanks for the many hours of joy this beloved packing product has brought us all. And to share all that you know about it with others (like how it was originally meant to be wallpaper, and could potentially offer real-life health benefits). And if you don’t know much, here are 25 facts for you.

Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

iStock
iStock

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

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