Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Most unusual holidays

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Besides, we need more holidays for the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Most unusual holidays
Sure, taking time out to honor the birthdays of presidents is well-established in the US, but a day to punch your neighbor, or celebrate melons?
Tinku "Punch Your Neighbor" Festival
Each May, high in this Andean Mountain region, people trek to the small city of Macha to participate in a holiday ritual going back at least 600 years called Tinku (what does that mean?).
Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
Many people like sweet things for breakfast – waffles, pancakes and sugary cereal. But ice cream? The celebration that began in the United States has gone international. This holiday (sadly, just passed) has three rules:

Antzar Eguna (Goose Day)
At the same time you may be celebrating a day off for workers in the US, people in this region of Spain may be celebrating Day of the Geese, which dates back 350 years. It’s not a great day for geese. Find out how they're killed.
Korean Alphabet Day
Talk about minding your P’s and Q’s. Celebrating an event that dates back centuries (how long?), making it older than America. This holiday commemorates the invention and proclamation of Korea’s native alphabet. North Korea celebrates on a different day than their neighbors to the south. (Find South Korea on a map.)
National Punctuation Day
Warming the hearts of grammar snobs everywhere, it’s a day celebrating punctuation! It’s a good day to find out what this "%&$#!" might mean. Be careful how you use your colon.
National Weatherperson’s Day
This day was created to honor the first weatherman on record (who was he?), who probably had mixed prognostication results. But he gets credit for one great communication innovation.
Melon Day
If you grow something “reminiscent of the fruit of paradise,” it’s got to be worth a day off work. But then, this country has 24 such annual days, including some even weirder ones.
Obama Day
Never heard of this holiday honoring our current president? Probably because it’s celebrated here. It’s a new holiday that has not yet developed its rituals, but you do get the day off from work, and that’s a good start.
Respect for the Aged Day
A relatively recent holiday in this country, where going out of your way to talk with elders, visiting a deceased family member’s gravesite or making an elder breakfast are a few of the ways of celebrating this day.
Bean Throwing Day
This began as a ritual of the new year in this country, upon spring’s arrival. Its intent was to ward off these and is similar to a wedding tradition. Which one?
Boxing Day
Forget Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, this day goes back to 1871 in these countries and has more to do with an unexpected tradition than a professional sport.
Lammas Day
This holiday was once sanctified by this pope at least 1,400 years ago and is a neo-pagan holiday (what is that again?) that celebrates something we all need.
Magpie Festival
Kind of like Valentine’s Day in the US, it’s sometimes known as the night of sevens and is a day on which young girls from this country traditionally demonstrate their domestic arts, and make wishes for a good husband.
Straw Bear Day
An old English festival which comes right after Plough Monday, farmers often save their best straw for the straw bear costume. This ancient custom was revived in 1980.
You have to like a holiday where the main way to celebrate is with fire - and an echo of certain Viking festivals.
Bonza Bottler Day
Created by this woman, the day is celebrated once a month when the number of the month coincides with the number of the day (Jan. 1, Feb. 2, March 3, etc.). When the number of the year also coincides with the number of the day and month (November 11, 2011), there is an even bigger celebration, including a mascot.

Day of the Sea
A landlocked country celebrating a day for the sea, this holiday has its origins in battle, during which some famous last words were spoken.
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