Everyone loves a good holiday — especially the silly kind. Recent years have seen an increase in the observance of National [Fill-in-the-Blank] Days that, while usually unofficial, give us an excuse to spoil our pets, eat a favorite dessert, or learn about something entirely new. As we look ahead to September, here are 10 not-quite holidays to mark on the calendar.
September 5: International Day of Charity
It’s better to give than receive on this important day recognized by the United Nations. Unlike other, less serious holidays you might find labeled on the calendar, the International Day of Charity takes place when it does for a very specific reason: September 5 marks the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death as well as her Feast Day, since she was canonized in 2016. Whether it’s a small act of kindness or a donation to your favorite charity, there are countless good ways to mark the occasion.
September 9: Wiener Schnitzel Day
No, not the fast-food chain specializing in hot dogs — the Austrian dish with a name that literally means “Vienna cutlet.” Made of thin, breaded, pan-fried veal and long recognized as one of Austria’s national dishes, its popularity extends far beyond Central Europe. This is partly because pork can be substituted for veal and makes for a considerably less expensive variant, but also because it pairs well with everything from a side salad to french fries. Get thee to your local beer hall (or, if you’re still in lockdown, get creative and make your living room a beer hall) and make an evening of it.
September 12: Video Game Day
If you haven’t played a video game since Tetris or are obsessively following every new detail about the upcoming PlayStation 5, there’s a decent chance you’re more of a gamer than you realize. The likes of Candy Crush, Fortnite, and Pokémon GO have exploded in popularity in recent years, taking the experience beyond the console and into everyday life. If you’ve been neglecting your island on Animal Crossing for the last few weeks, there’s no time like Video Game Day to check in and clear some weeds.
September 16: Play-Doh Day
But wait, we hear you saying in protest, I haven’t made anything out of Play-Doh since I was in first grade. Well, it’s been a strange year and we could all use a break. First introduced in its current form in the 1950s, the non-toxic modeling clay has delighted generation upon generation of creative kiddos looking to build something.
September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
Avast! What better way to celebrate seafarin' ne'er-do-wells o' yore than to spend an entire day natterin' on like ‘em? National Talk Like a Pirate Day gives yer inner Blackbeard a chance to speak — even better if ye 'ave a parrot on hand t' echo yer every word. Share a bottle o' rum with ye hearties, rewatch a certain movie based on a Disney ride, and work “arrr!” and “booty” into as many tête-à-têtes as ye can.
September 21: International Day of World Peace
Other than fictional supervillains, pretty much everyone wishes for world peace. On this day established by the United National General Assembly in 1981, the U.N. “invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities” and calls on everyday citizens to commemorate the occasion through education and awareness. You don’t need to release a dove, but there’s never a bad time to reflect on what peace means to you — and how fortunate most of us are to live in it.
September 22: Hobbit Day
If you love second breakfast, Longbottom Leaf, and have a strong opinion on the Bracegirdles of Hardbottle, there’s simply no excuse not to observe National Hobbit Day. Held on September 22 in honor of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, whose birthdays both fall on that date in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings sagas, it’s the perfect excuse to feast, drink, and be merry. Should you follow the actual Merry’s example and set off some dragon-shaped fireworks around your Shire, make sure to do so as safely as possible.
September 23: Dogs-in-Politics Day
Many furry best friends have stood, wagged, and nuzzled the leaders of the free world, from Madame Moose (Washington) and Bo (Obama) to Fido (Lincoln) and Checkers (Nixon) — and these pups’ political achievements have gone unheralded for far too long. National Dogs-in-Politics Day is also known as National Checkers Day in celebration of Nixon’s pooch, as a speech the then-vice presidential candidate gave in 1952 mentioning the pup by name has been viewed as a watershed moment in American politics — it’s when the importance of television first became indisputable in delivering a candidate’s message.
September 25: One-Hit-Wonder Day
What do “Macarena,” “99 Luftballons,” “Come On Eileen,” and “Video Killed the Radio Star?” have in common? They're all massively popular songs whose performers you'd struggle to identify by name. Such is the plight of a one-hit wonder, those flash-in-the-pan artists who burst into the spotlight overnight and vanish just as quickly. How you celebrate One-Hit-Wonder Day is up to you — there are plenty of playlists to enjoy, of course — but if you feel like a movie rather than a song, That Thing You Do! is a classic.
September 26: Ghost-Hunting Day
You don’t have to believe in ghosts to celebrate National Ghost-Hunting Day, but it helps. Falling on the final Saturday of September as part of the World's Largest Ghost Hunt, the holiday marks the beginning of Halloween season. Whether your participation comes in the form of busting out your own EMF meter and Ouija board or simply watching a Ghost Hunters marathon, we leave to you. But ignoring this most spooky of holidays runs the risk of angering the spirits who may or may not be haunting your surroundings. You wouldn’t want that, would you?