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From French Fries Day To Elevator Day: Where Do All These Crazy 'Days' Come From?

There’s French Fries Day, Shark Awareness Day, Talk In An Elevator Day, Moon Day and Tequila Day -- and they’re just the celebrations happening this month. 

It seems as though there’s a 24 window of observance for every weird holiday celebrating food (Kebab Day), furry critters (Hug Your Cat Day) and the quirks of the human condition like High Five Day, Awkward Moments Day and Let It Go Day.

Just before Christmas in 2009, Jono Alderson began to realise just how many of these wonderfully silly days had popped up as he scrambled to put together a last minute Christmas gift.

“The honest truth is I got to near Christmas, and I didn't have a present for my parents, and it was too late to go out and buy anything other than to pop to the local shop and buy a calendar,” Alderson told 10 daily.

Jono Alderson.
Jono Alderson. Photo: Facebook.

In an attempt to soften the disappointment of realising you’ve been given a calendar for Christmas, Jono decided to jazz up the blank pages.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn't it be interesting, if we just filled it up with the silly holidays, as a kind of weird joke?’” he said.

The gift was a success but it also made Jono -- who has a background in web development and search engine optimisation -- realise that there wasn’t really any one spot on the net that curated all the modern days of the year.

Which begs the question, who even has authority over deciding how something like Blueberry Muffin Day is given an official stamp of approval?

Blueberry muffin
Who can declare a national Blueberry Muffin Day? Photo: Getty.

“So there's no easy answer to that question, which I think is part of how we got to where we are and so the short answer is there is no defined single process, either officially or legally or otherwise,” he explained to 10 daily.

There are a few different avenues people have taken to create their own special days. Jono notes that, in the US, if you create an e-petition that has at least 100,000 signatures within a 30 day period, the day can be presented before local authorities. But that’s just if you want your day to be somehow connected to, and recognised by, your town, city or country.

“Beyond that, it's essentially a free for all,” Jono said.

“So if enough people decide that this Sunday is World Picnic Day, and there's enough grassroots support, there are enough people doing it, it just becomes a thing.

“And there's no point at which it is or isn't official, and some of them are more popular than others, obviously. But essentially, it's just, ‘Is there enough agreement between the people who are doing this and celebrating it that it's legitimate?’”

It feels like every day on the calendar has another 'day'. Photo: Getty.

While there are some websites that allow you to register your own day for wads of cash, the ambiguous, intangible nature of creating and celebrating a holiday makes dropping thousands of dollars in exchange for a certificate seem a little pointless.

“You can buy your way, which, I don't want to say bad things about the competition. But that feels like it's a bit disingenuous and it's a very different route,” Jono said.

DAYS OF THE YEAR

Jono and his wife Sam created Days Of The Year -- a site that’s become one of the unofficial authorities (along with Wellcat.com and print publication Chase’s Calendar of Events) on sifting through the established and more recent international holidays and putting them in one giant calendar.

“We have people coming to us saying, ‘Can we create this day? Can we help promote this? I'm the founder of this day, I want to change the date, is that okay?’” Jono told 10 daily.

“Suddenly, we moved into this kind of authority, which is a bit weird,” he added, saying they try and remain “diplomatically neutral”.

“And just try and walk on the right side of only creating and listing the ones that are as real as they can be considered to be and trying to manage that,” he said.

Jono Alderson is a respected leader in search engine optimisation. Photo: Facebook.

Walking that line involves steering away from days that reek of commercial interest (they once turned away a request from Netflix) and supporting the days that are rooted in community and harness the unusual joy that people get from participating in something like Talk Like A Pirate Day.

For that reason, Jono and his team put their full support behind Umbrella Cover Day, a day created by US woman Nancy Hoffman who holds the Guinness World Record for owning the largest collection of umbrella sleeves.

“Her whole outlook was these items, taken individually, are completely mundane. And they're tedious and uninteresting. But they all have a story and you only ever buy an umbrella when you're caught in the rain or you're planning for something important. So they all have this kind of inherent storytelling around them… and it resonated so nicely with what we're trying to achieve,” said Jono.

umbrella
Every umbrella has a story, says the creator of Umbrella Cover Day. Photo: Getty.

While there are plenty of days celebrating pizza, burgers and milkshakes, Jono said there are increasingly more days that “feel like art where it's touching people's perceptions” and challenging social norms -- like Talk In An Elevator Day.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN DAY

If you want to make your own special day of the year, Jono’s advice is simple: just do it.

“Make it happen, so organise an event, rally grassroots support, put up a little website or organise something on Facebook,” he advised 10 daily.

“Create it and get people involved before you try and then go to press and sites like us. So many people come to us and say ‘I'd like to start this day’ but just do it. There's no process, all you need to do is convince other people that it's worthwhile or fun or indulgent.

“And yeah, just get on with it. And then all this lot can happen afterwards."

Featured image: Getty.