20 Offbeat Holidays and Anniversaries to Celebrate in February
Valentine’s Day and President’s Day might grant you overpriced flowers and a random Monday off, but February has a bounty of other festivals, holidays, and anniversaries that can offer an offbeat added value to your month.
1. February 5: National Weatherman’s Day
There’s a 60 percent chance of your local weatherman being at least 20 percent right about his job today, but there’s a 100 percent chance this holiday takes place on February 5. Whatever percent chance you’re convinced this should be a holiday, give a little thanks for the men and women who help you get dressed appropriately in the morning.
2. February 5th: National Pancake Day (as brought to you by IHOP)
Forget December: This is the most wonderful time of the year. We’re talking about none other than IHOP’s annual National Pancake Day. This year, like the years before it, you can enjoy a free short stack of buttermilks and donate to charity. It’s a win-win. (Except not for your waistline.)
3. February 6: Lame Duck Day
Though the holiday was created to celebrate the introduction of the 20th Amendment on February 6 of 1933, the amendment was actually ratified in January of that year. Lame Duck Day is a way to honor those who just left office after being rendered totally ineffective for a few months. In other words, it is appropriately lame.
4. February 7: 49th Anniversary of the Beatles' First Visit to the United States
Beatlemania invaded our shores on this day in 1964, and has arguably never left.
5. February 8: Laugh and Get Rich Day
If only it were that easy! Maybe it can be, why not? Given the healing properties of laughter, all you have to lose is your good health if you don't try.
6. February 9: National Read in the Bathtub Day
Today is the day to treat yourself to a long, warm bath and a good book. But unless you're a fan of severe pruning, this might not be the day to finally finish Infinite Jest.
7. February 10: The First Day of Chinese New Year
It’s the Year of the Snake, but fear not! Arguably the most important traditional Chinese holiday, the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year entails parades, fireworks, dumplings and familial togetherness. The serpentine year is supposed to bring steady progress, so make your first step towards positive returns by heading to your nearest Chinatown and joining in the festivities.
8. February 12: Darwin Day
Charles Darwin was born 204 years ago today (side note: Abe Lincoln was born on exactly the same day). The International Darwin Day Foundation elects February 12 as a day to commemorate the man, science in general, and humanity.
9. February 14: Library Lovers Day
Because sometimes a good book is more emotionally satisfying than a person.
10. February 15: Nirvana Day (also called Paranirvana Day)
Buddhists believe that on this day the Buddha physically died, but also achieved complete Nirvana. Few can claim similar accomplishments in the field of Enlightenment, but most of us can appreciate the pursuit. Buddhist or not, give yourself a few deep breaths. Heck, you made it through Valentine’s Day alive. You’ve earned a little Nirvana.
11. February 17: National PTA Founders Day
The specific day seems to vary from state to state, and even school district to school district—but February 17 is designated as a nationwide day to honor the founding of the National Parent Teacher Association, and the resulting legions of embarrassed kids countrywide.
12. February 17: Random Acts of Kindness Day
In some parts of the world, Random Acts of Kindness Day is actually observed on September 1. But what’s the harm in two days of niceness? So as our magnanimous act for the day, we’re happy to grant February 17 equal footing in the kindness department.
13. February 17: 80th Anniversary of Newsweek Magazine
When the presses were stopped last year, Newsweek moved exclusively into the digital world—all the more reason to honor its first issue, which dropped this day in 1933, and the many issues that followed.
14. February 21: 41st Anniversary of Nixon’s Historic Beijing Visit
In 1972, a pre-disgrace President Richard Nixon arrived in Beijing to make a huge step in normalizing diplomatic relations with China. From the visit, the United States got the beginnings of a beautiful, though sometimes tempestuous, friendship with the Eastern power, and two pandas for the National Zoo.
15. February 22: National Margarita Day
It should come as a surprise to no one that Jimmy Buffett is behind this one. If you have already given up on your Lenten promises, celebrate February 22 by appreciating as many Margaritas as you deem fit. If you happen to live near a Margaritaville drinking establishment, they will be providing specials all day.
16. February 22: Single Tasking Day
The modern day rat race places a heavy emphasis on the ability to juggle multiple tasks at once. Our greatest weakness as a workforce is caring too much, right? Well, for just a day, drop all your multi-tasking impulses and devote your full attention to each bullet on your to-do list. Successful celebration may require you to turn off your smartphone.
17. February 23: World Sword Swallower’s Day
President of Sword Swallowers International Dan Meyer proclaimed February 23, 2013, World Sword Swallower’s Day as a way to raise awareness about the art. On this day at 2:25 p.m., swallowers will “drop sword” at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! odditoriums around the world.
18. February 25: National Pistol Patent Day
It was on this day in 1836 Samuel Colt patented his famous revolver in the United States. Europe got his patent first in 1835 on a different date, which is why this specific holi-date is relegated to a mere “national” status.
19. February 27: Congress Makes an Honest District out of DC
On this day in 1801, Congress declared the District of Columbia officially under its jurisdiction with the Organic Act of 1801. However, it was not until the ratification of the 23rd Amendment in 1961 that the capital district received electoral votes.
20. February 28: National Public Sleeping Day
In most parts of the United States, the weather might be less than optimal for observing this offbeat holiday, but to the brave and/or foolish among us: wear layers.