There’s a hierarchy of holidays when it comes to what is on the calendar. There’s so-called official holidays, which are usually proclaimed by government decree and include the shutdown of organizations such as banks and government offices. Think New Year’s Day.
Then there’s the holidays that have government-sanctioned celebrations, but aren’t technically official – at least not anymore. This may be holidays like Mother’s Day, or National Ice Cream Day — which was technically declared to be July 9, 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, who signed Proclamation 5119 declaring the day. Many people just choose to keep celebrating that particular day.
Then, there’s the random holidays you probably see on Twitter, or hear being talked about on your morning radio show — perhaps days like International Podcast Day, September 30.
These holidays usually aren’t declared by Presidential decree, but they certainly are still popular. Some say it’s because of the nature of social media and content creation – if someone says that a particular day is a national day, there’s plenty of social media managers and TV morning show producers willing to jump on the bandwagon, because the content monster that is the internet requires ever-growing numbers of things to talk about.
But – this isn’t something that came about with the internet and social media. Quoting from an article in the Tampa Bay Times:
Chase’s Calendar of Events, published in print annually since 1958, was created as a resource for newspapers to keep track of regular holidays with movable dates. In 1959, the U.S. Department of Commerce asked Chase’s to absorb a publication called “Special Days, Weeks and Months.”
Many of these, said Chase’s editor Holly McGuire, “are the seed for some of the special days you see trending on Twitter.” The first edition included June Dairy Month, National Honey Month, National Hot Tea Month and Sweetest Day, founded in 1921 by an Ohio candymaker who gave out small gifts and treats to “newsboys, orphans, old folks and the poor.”
However the days end up on the calendar, they sometimes rise up to official (or somewhat official status), because culture isn’t static. After all, the President of the United States tweeted a few years ago “arrr you in” on September 19, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. And, more seriously, in 2017 the Ukrainian Government voted to add December 25 to its government holidays, along with the Orthodox Christmas holiday, currently celebrated on January 7. So…