Happy International Clash Day (honoring the great punk rock band The Clash)! It’s also National Weatherperson’s day and National Shower with a Friend Day (seriously). Tomorrow we can look forward to National Chopsticks day and Lame Duck Day (celebrating the passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in 1933).
How do all these invented holidays arise? It turns out that holidays come in a few flavors:
1. First, there are Federal Holidays. There are 10 of them:
- New Year’s Day (January 1).
- Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January).
- Washington’s Birthday (Third Monday in February).
- Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
- Independence Day (July 4).
- Labor Day (First Monday in September).
- Columbus Day (Second Monday in October).
- Veterans Day (November 11).
- Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).
- Christmas Day (December 25).
Federal Holidays are created by act of Congress.
2. Next are patriotic observances which are also declared by Congress. There are 44 of these including: These include days for
-individuals (e.g., Wright Brothers, Leif Erikson, and Stephen Foster);
-groups (e.g., Mother’s Day, and Peace Officers);
-events (e.g., Patriot Day [9/11], and signing the Constitution); and
-other recognitions (e.g., Flag Day, Poison Prevention, and Heart Month)
3. Congress can create other honorary holidays (officially called commemorative periods). They were very busy doing just this during the . 99th Congress when 1 out of every 3 laws passed was a new honorary holiday such as National Air Traffic Control Day. In 1995 the House of Representatives realized it had gotten a bit out of control with all the commemorative periods so they placed restrictions on creating honorary holidays. But, here is a fact that is CRAZY. In the 113th Congress (2013-2014) 204 commemorative periods were proposed in the house and 233 in the Senate. Due to the 1995 House of Representatives rule none of the 204 in the house were approved but 83% of the Senate proposed days were approved. BUT it takes both houses of Congress to pass a law. Thus, no new commemorative days were created by the 113th Congress but they introduced 437 pieces of legislation they KNEW WERE NOT GOING TO BE PASSED!
4. Commemorative days can occur by Presidential Proclamation. There are 59 current Presidential Proclamation days and also a number of weeks and months with special shout out. Examples: Cesar Chavez Day, National Tartan Day and Loyalty Day.
5. States, cities and other bodies politic can declare their own holidays. International Clash Day is recognized by Seattle, Vancouver, Washington D.C., Kent Ohio, Austin Texas and the State of Washington.
6. The book “Chase’s Calendar of Events” keeps track of special days and will add days honoring various people, organizations and the like. Chase’s has added 1,900 holidays to the list. There are websites which track all these invented holidays. Check out: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/
There may be other ways these invented holidays/commemorative days occur but those are the ones I could find.