25 Weird Holidays You Can Celebrate in January

iStock.com/patrickheagney
iStock.com/patrickheagney

Though the official end-of-year "holiday season" may be over, January is chock-full of very fun, very specific, and sometimes very weird holidays to help you ease your way into 2019.

1. January 1: National Hangover Day

Two young women passed out after partying too hard
iStock.com/Yuri_Arcurs

If you find yourself nursing a serious hangover on New Year’s Day you can at least rest easy in the fact that someone has made an official day dedicated to your misery.

2. January 1: Z Day

This holiday is intended to give recognition to all persons, places, and things that begin with the letter Z, and thus are often listed or thought of last. Go ahead—drink a Zima!

3. January 1: First Foot Day

A Scottish New Year tradition, the first person to step into someone’s home is called the first-footer and is thought to represent good fortune entering the household by bringing a handful of goodies including coal, whiskey, cash, cheese, and/or bread. Sorry ladies and blonde men: In order to be considered “lucky,” the first-footer should always be a dark-haired man—and flat feet are a no-no.

4. January 2: Happy Mew Year For Cats Day

This punny day is basically just another occasion to honor and fawn all over our feline friends. What more do we need to say?

5. January 3: Fruitcake Toss Day

A sliced fruitcake covered in candied fruits sits on a stone cutting board.
iStock.com/wideonet

Although it may sound like a culinary Olympic event, Fruitcake Toss Day just marks the time when it is finally socially acceptable to trash all of the holiday fruitcakes you received. Though, technically, a few of those boozy loaves have been known to last for a century or more. So getting rid of them right away really isn’t necessary.

6. January 3: Memento Mori Day

Memento mori is Latin for “remember you will die.” And what better way to get a fresh start on a new year than to consider this inevitability. The event’s founders swear it wasn't meant to be morbid; it’s more of a “seize the day” thing.

7. January 4: National Trivia Day

Obviously, we are all for—and about—National Trivia Day. So feel free to steal any of these essential bits of trivia and share them with a friend.

8. January 7: National Old Rock Day

Have you thanked a veteran rock today? Though no official creator has stepped forward, we’re guessing that it was either a geologist and paleontologist who came up with this holiday that honors fossils and rock formations that are as old as time.

9. January 7: National Thank God It’s Monday! Day

'Hello Monday' text on a display lightbox on blue and pink bright background
iStock.com/Katjabakurova

Apparently there are people who like Mondays? This offbeat holiday is all about the possibility that comes with a fresh start … we guess we can get behind that.

10. January 8: National Argyle Day

A pattern for every season—isn't it time you celebrated argyle?

11. January 9: National Static Electricity Day

Grab your balloons and sweaters! It’s time to build up your static charge and conduct some electrons. This is the perfect holiday to occur in the dead of winter, when the air is extra dry—the optimal conditions for storing up those negative charges that shock you at the most unexpected times.

12. January 14: National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Though some studies have concluded that a messy desk could be a sign that you’re a genius, National Clean Off Your Desk Day—which occurs on the second Monday in January—is a time to embrace the new year with a new attitude toward clutter. (If only for this one day.)

13. January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Dog in a sequin fedora and sunglasses
iStock.com/walik

Your pet may not love the fact that there’s an entire day dedicated to making them look extra fancy, but your Instagram followers will thank you for it.

14. January 16: National Nothing Day

Clear your calendars! We have San Francisco Examiner columnist Harold Pullman Coffin to thank for this "un-event," which Americans have been celebrating since 1973 by, well, doing nothing.

15. January 18: National Thesaurus Day

British lexicographer Peter Mark Roget—who is most famous for publishing The Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (aka “Roget’s Thesaurus”) in 1852—was born on January 18, 1779. As such, this is a day to honor, celebrate, extol, laud, praise, revere, salute, etc. his contributions.

16. January 20: Penguin Awareness Day

Not to be confused with World Penguin Day (which happens on April 25), Penguin Awareness Day encourages you to cultivate even more knowledge of the Spheniscidae family. (Here are 20 fascinating facts to get you started.)

17. January 21: National Hugging Day

Two girlfriends embrace each other
iStock.com/FG Trade

In 1986, Reverend Kevin Zaborney—a pastor from Clio, Michigan—founded Hugging Day as a small event in his hometown. Today, it’s celebrated around the world. “People do need positive human interaction," Zaborney told The Christian Post of the impetus for creating the holiday. "Hugging is a safe way to do so." (Though he likes to make it clear that you should always ask first!)

18. January 22: Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day

If your feline isn't forthcoming with his or her inquiries, take the opportunity to ponder the following: “What would a cat have questions about?”

19. January 23: National Handwriting Day

Get out the old pen and paper and weep at how bad your penmanship has become … or you know, write someone a nice letter. (Cursive is making a comeback, after all.)

20. January 24: Global Belly Laugh Day

This holiday is more of a challenge than a commemoration.

21. January 24: National Compliment Day

Person holding a rock that says 'You are amazing!'
iStock.com/sdominick

National Compliment Day? You’ve got this. You’re fabulous. And you look amazing. Keep up the great work!

22. January 24: National Beer Can Appreciation Day

January 24, 1935 was a momentous day for suds lovers: It’s the day the first canned beer was sold in America. Since then the beer can has become a barbecue staple, a collector’s item, and a maligned receptacle for some beer snobs (though craft beer connoisseurs have brought cans back in a major way). So today, pause before chugging, shotgunning, or crushing and take a moment to reflect on what your beer can means to you.

23. January 25: National Opposite Day

January 25 is definitely not National Opposite Day. (See what we did there?)

24. January 27: Thomas Crapper Day

Plumber repairing a toilet
iStock.com/abbesses

Often incorrectly credited with inventing the toilet, Thomas Crapper was a plumber and businessman who did, in fact, champion the modern wash closet and also invented the ballcock—that floating ball in the body of your toilet. His apropos surname was just a coincidence: The word crap already existed in the English language at the time of his birth.

25. January 28: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Celebrated on the last Monday of January, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is a day to give thanks for the many hours of joy this beloved packing product has brought us all. And to share all that you know about it with others (like how it was originally meant to be wallpaper, and could potentially offer real-life health benefits). And if you don’t know much, here are 25 facts for you.

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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12 Things You Might Not Know About Juneteenth

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

There's more than one Independence Day in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and announced enslaved people were now free. Since then, June 19 has been celebrated as Juneteenth across the nation. Here's what you should know about the historic event and celebration.

1. Enslaved people had already been emancipated—they just didn’t know it.

The June 19 announcement came more than two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. So technically, from the Union's perspective, the 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were already free—but none of them were aware of it, and no one was in a rush to inform them.

2. There are many theories as to why the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t enforced in Texas.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendering to Union General Ulysses S Grant at the close of the American Civil War, at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendering to Union General Ulysses S Grant at the close of the American Civil War, at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

News traveled slowly back in those days—it took Confederate soldiers in western Texas more than two months to hear that Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. Still, some have struggled to explain the 30-month gap between Lincoln’s proclamation and the enslaved people’s freedom, leading to speculation that some Texans suppressed the announcement. Other theories include that the original messenger was murdered to prevent the information from being relayed or that the federal government purposely delayed the announcement to Texas to get one more cotton harvest out of the enslaved workers. But the real reason is probably that Lincoln's proclamation simply wasn't enforceable in the rebel states before the end of the war.

3. The announcement actually urged freedmen and freedwomen to stay with their former owners.

General Order No. 3, as read by General Granger, said:

"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

4. What followed was known as “the scatter.”


Internet Archive Book Images, Flickr // No known copyright restrictions

Most freedpeople weren't terribly interested in staying with the people who had enslaved them, even if pay was involved. In fact, some were leaving before Granger had finished making the announcement. What followed became known as "the scatter,," when droves of former enslaved people left the state to find family members or more welcoming accommodations in northern regions.

5. Not all enslaved people were freed instantly.

Texas is a large state, and General Granger's order (and the troops needed to enforce it) were slow to spread. According to historian James Smallwood, many enslavers deliberately suppressed the information until after the harvest, and some beyond that. In July 1867 there were two separate reports of enslaved people being freed, and one report of a Texas horse thief named Alex Simpson whose enslaved people were only freed after his hanging in 1868.

6. Freedom created other problems.

Despite the announcement, Texas slave owners weren't too eager to part with what they felt was their property. When freedpeople tried to leave, many of them were beaten, lynched, or murdered. "They would catch [freed slaves] swimming across [the] Sabine River and shoot them," a former enslaved person named Susan Merritt recalled.

7. There were limited options for celebrating.

A monument in Houston's Emancipation Park.
A monument in Houston's Emancipation Park.
2C2KPhotography, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When freedpeople tried to celebrate the first anniversary of the announcement a year later, they were faced with a problem: Segregation laws were expanding rapidly, and there were no public places or parks they were permitted to use. So, in the 1870s, former enslaved people pooled together $800 and purchased 10 acres of land, which they deemed "Emancipation Park." It was the only public park and swimming pool in the Houston area that was open to African Americans until the 1950s.

8. Juneteenth celebrations waned for several decades.

It wasn't because people no longer wanted to celebrate freedom—but, as Slate so eloquently put it, "it's difficult to celebrate freedom when your life is defined by oppression on all sides." Juneteenth celebrations waned during the era of Jim Crow laws until the civil rights movement of the 1960s, when the Poor People's March planned by Martin Luther King Jr. was purposely scheduled to coincide with the date. The march brought Juneteenth back to the forefront, and when march participants took the celebrations back to their home states, the holiday was reborn.

9. Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a state holiday.

Texas deemed the holiday worthy of statewide recognition in 1980, becoming the first state to do so.

10. Juneteeth is still not a federal holiday.

Though most states now officially recognize Juneteenth, it's still not a national holiday. As a senator, Barack Obama co-sponsored legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday, though it didn't pass then or while he was president. One supporter of the idea is 93-year-old Opal Lee—in 2016, when she was 90, Lee began walking from state to state to draw attention to the cause.

11. The Juneteenth flag is full of symbolism.

a mock-up of the Juneteenth flag
iStock

Juneteenth flag designer L.J. Graf packed lots of meaning into her design. The colors red, white, and blue echo the American flag to symbolize that the enslaved people and their descendants were Americans. The star in the middle pays homage to Texas, while the bursting "new star" on the "horizon" of the red and blue fields represents a new freedom and a new people.

12. Juneteenth traditions vary across the U.S.

As the tradition of Juneteenth spread across the U.S., different localities put different spins on celebrations. In southern states, the holiday is traditionally celebrated with oral histories and readings, "red soda water" or strawberry soda, and barbecues. Some states serve up Marcus Garvey salad with red, green, and black beans, in honor of the black nationalist. Rodeos have become part of the tradition in the southwest, while contests, concerts, and parades are a common theme across the country.