May is upon us, and with it come sunnier days and the hope of a better summer than last year offered. While you shouldn’t celebrate prematurely, there’s no reason not to welcome positive developments and observe this month’s lighthearted alternative holidays, which are devoted to everything from the paranormal to rescue dogs.
May 1: Mother Goose Day
What's your favorite fairy-tale? If it’s "Little Red Riding Hood," "Sleeping Beauty," or "Puss in Boots," the arrival of May gives you something to celebrate: Mother Goose Day, which pays tribute to the imagined author of countless children's stories. Charles Perrault published his Histoires ou contes du temps passé (Stories or Tales of the Past) in 1695, with Mother Goose serving as a kind of narrator. (Some editions list the title as Contes de ma mère l'Oye, or Mother Goose Tales.) She's been depicted as a friendly older woman ever since. Reacquaint yourself with her by reading a lesser-known story such as "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" or "Ricky of the Tuft."
May 3: Paranormal Day
You don't have to believe in the spirit realm to observe National Paranormal Day, but it helps. Whether you spend the spooky holiday ghost-hunting, reading about supposed sightings online, or watching the Paranormal Activity movies is up to you; even so, the latter options are probably more advisable. There’s no shortage of spine-tingling films exploring the subject, from The Changeling and The Others to Kwaidan and The Innocents, so a marathon may be in order — if you’re not too easily scared.
May 6: World Password Day
If your password is “password,” take today to change it to something more secure. Anyone feeling especially security-minded should consider a password manager, an increasingly essential tool that takes most of the work out of the equation and is considerably less susceptible to hacking and other digital malfeasance than handling passwords by yourself. If you’d rather not use one of these tools, setting up two-factor authorization is a good alternative. The idea for this "holiday" originally came from security researcher Mark Burnett, who first floated it in his 2005 book Perfect Passwords; eight years later, Intel Security took the concept and ran with it by declaring the first Thursday in May World Password Day.
May 11: Twilight Zone Day
One of the best New Year's traditions is Syfy's annual Twilight Zone marathon, but there's no reason to confine your appreciation of the all-time-great anthology series to one day — especially not when Twilight Zone Day exists. Originally airing from 1959 to 1964, Rod Serling's brainchild — he both created and presented the show, in addition to writing numerous episodes — has only seen its legacy grow in the decades since, especially with the likes of Black Mirror taking cues from it. If you've already seen all 156 original episodes, fret not: There have been three revivals, the most recent of which premiered in 2019, as well as 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie.
May 13: Frog-Jumping Day
What is frog-jumping, you might ask? Why, exactly what it sounds like, of course. We have Mark Twain to thank for the tradition, as the celebrated author's 1865 short story Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog — also published as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County — helped these competitions enter the popular imagination. Angels Camp, a small town in (you guessed it) Calaveras County, California, has held its frog-jumping event annually since 1928 and more recently imposed rules to ensure that all frogs who participate are safe, healthy, and calm throughout. The current world record — which combines the distance of three consecutive jumps — is held by the delightfully named Rosie the Ribeter, a bullfrog who jumped a total of 21 feet and 5¾ inches in 1986.
May 16: Barbecue Day
Summer is nearly upon us, but you don’t need to wait until it’s official to start grilling. Whether you prefer charcoal or propane, dry rub or dollops of sauce, you’re spoiled for choice on National Barbecue Day. You needn’t be a grill master to mark the occasion, of course, as there’s surely a local barbecue spot you’ve been meaning to try.
May 20: Rescue Dog Day
Dogs have long been man's best friend — and vice versa. Rescue Dog Day is the perfect occasion to finally make your way to the shelter and bring a loving pup back to its forever home, but that's not the only way to mark the occasion. Anyone who already has a dog is encouraged to give them even more treats and affection than usual, and those whose circumstances don't allow a canine in the house can always volunteer at their local shelter, where there are sure to be any number of pups who'd like to go for a walk. If you can donate or even foster, all the better.
May 23: Lucky Penny Day
If you remember a certain children's rhyme about the humble one-cent piece (“Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck”) and vehemently oppose some groups’ efforts to eliminate said unit of currency, you’re in luck — May 23 is Lucky Penny Day. While it’s true that pennies cost more to produce than they’re actually worth and fewer people than ever actually use them these days, they remain a sentimental favorite of anyone with fond memories of buying small treats with them way back when. And since they may not be around much longer, this is one holiday you should celebrate while you still can.
May 28: Road Trip Day
Now that there’s a light at the end of this year-plus-long tunnel, why not hop in the car and drive toward it? The Friday before Memorial Day is recognized as National Road Trip Day, which could just be the ideal way to safely get out of the house for the three-day weekend. There are surely places within driving distance that you’ve been meaning to visit, and there’s no time like the present.
May 30: Creativity Day
Some people have found being at home far more conducive to creativity; others, not so much. Whichever camp you fall into, use Creativity Day as an excuse to start, continue, or even finish that artistic project you’ve had in the back of your mind lately. Hal Croasmun and ScreenwritingU founded the holiday in 2018 as a celebration of creativity in all its forms, so whether it’s a drawing, short story, or piece of music, there’s no wrong way to express yourself on a day like today.