100 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate In 2020

MentalArt/iStock via Getty Images
MentalArt/iStock via Getty Images

While everybody else is celebrating New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, and the various other national holidays throughout 2020, you can stand out by celebrating National Hangover Day (or celebrate not celebrating National Hangover Day) and these 99 other offbeat holidays throughout the year.

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 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.

3. 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.

4. January 18: National Thesaurus Day

British lexicographer Peter Mark Roget—who is most famous for publishing The Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (a.k.a. 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.

5. January 20: Penguin Awareness Day

A curious penguin looks at the camera
Mlenny/iStock via Getty Images

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.)

6. 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!

7. 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.

8. January 27: 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 mental health benefits). And if you don’t know much about it, here are 50 facts for you.

9. February 2: National Tater Tot Day

A pile of golden brown tater tots
iStock.com/zkruger

Take National Tater Tot Day to reconsider what might be the finest form of fried potatoes.

10. February 2: Hedgehog Day

Hedgehog laying in the grass.
praisaeng/iStock via Getty Images

It might technically be Groundhog Day, but just look at this cuddly creature. He also needs celebrating.

11. February 9: National Pizza Day

A slice of cheese pizza being lifted out of the whole pie
smpics/iStock via Getty Images

You already crave it every day, so take February 9 to treat yourself to your favorite slice (and learn some pizza history, too).

12. February 13: Get A Different Name Day

If you're called Phil, but you always wanted to be named something a little more flowery (say Barnaby), or unusual (how about Pilot Inspektor?), or hip (hello, Noah), today's the day to take the plunge and give yourself a new moniker.

13. February 20: Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day

Friends having fun in the snow
Sam Edwards/iStock via Getty Images

On this day, residents of the Northern Hemisphere take to the streets at noon, toss their hands in the air, and exclaim, "Hoodie-Hoo!" It's meant to chase away winter, and while it might sound ineffectual, we challenge you to come up with a better idea.

14. February 23: Curling Is Cool Day

A photo of curling
iStock

As if anyone needed convincing.

15. February 27: National Chili Day

bowl of chili on a blue table
istetiana/iStock via Getty Images

With about a month to go until spring, be sure to enjoy some piping hot bowls while it's still prime chili season.

16. February 28: National Tooth Fairy Day

Young boy who has lost a tooth gets ready to put it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy
EvgeniiAnd/iStock via Getty Images

Smile wide and celebrate everyone's favorite tooth collector.

17. March 1: National Pig Day

Adorable baby piglet looks right at the camera
iStock.com/HadelProductions

Sure, they like to roll around in mud, but that's just a pig's clever way of keeping cool on a hot day. Pigs are fascinating creatures—and one of the most intelligent members of the animal kingdom. Spend the first day of March paying tribute to oinkers around the world.

18. March 1: National Peanut Butter Lover's Day

Tools for making a peanut butter sandwich spread out on a table.
iStock

If you love peanut butter, this is the day to proudly polish off your PB-based sandwich of choice. Reflect on all of the amazing qualities of peanut butter, from its delicious taste to its amazingly effective gum-removing capabilities. If that’s not enough, there’s even a year-round website for lovers of the legume-based spread.

19. March 4: National Grammar Day

The people who care most about this holiday will also want to know that National Proofreading Day is just a few days later, on March 8.

20. March 7: National Cereal Day

A bowl and spoon full of cereal are pictured
tomasworks/iStock via Getty Images

Cereal first, then milk. Learn your history.

21. March 8: National Proofreading Day

Sure, it may seem scary—but the red pen is your friend. As is giving that missive you’re about to send a second (and very careful) reading. A typo might not seem like a big deal … until it costs you $80 million (or some serious embarrassment).

22. March 10: International Bagpipe Day

Traditional scottish bagpiper at Dunnottar Castle
Lukassek/iStock via Getty Images

There are more than 130 different kinds of bagpipes played worldwide, and this is an international holiday to celebrate every single one of them. Be prepared!

23. March 12: National Alfred Hitchcock Day

Nobody’s particularly sure why March 12th is Alfred Hitchcock Day: it’s neither the Master of Suspense’s birthday (that’s August 13), nor does it commemorate the date of his death (that happened on April 29, 1980). Still, it’s as good a time as any to regale your movie-loving friends and family members with your encyclopedic knowledge of Hitchcock trivia.

24. March 14: Pi Day

Professor writes out the full number Pi on a chalkboard
iStock.com/domin_domin

Don’t let the sound of the name fool you: 3/14 does not commemorate the sweet, baked circuitous treat (but feel free to grab a slice). It is the official day of the Greek letter symbolizing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, pi, also known as 3.14159265359 …

25. March 14: International Fanny Pack Day

Retro styled man putting a gigantic cell phone into his fanny pack
iStock.com/RyanJLane

From grandparents to Normcore hipsters, this holiday spans generations. And, for better or worse (but definitely worse), the fanny pack doesn’t seem in danger of going anywhere.

26. March 20: Won't You Be My Neighbor Day

Fred Rogers in a still from 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' (2018)
Focus Features

Everyone's favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, was born on March 20, 1928 and this holiday now serves as an occasion to remember the beloved TV star, and honor him by being kind, generous, and, well, downright neighborly.

27. March 21: Play the Recorder Day

A student plays the recorder
Getty Images

Limber up those fingers and celebrate this ubiquitous childhood instrument with a rousing rendition of "Hot Cross Buns."

28. March 23: National Puppy Day

Golden retriever puppy playing with a toy
iStock.com/alexsokolov

Most of us don't really need an excuse to spend all day watching adorable young pups playing. But on March 23, it’s your nationally mandated duty. If merely observing puppies is not enough for you, consider donating to your local animal shelter—or just take the plunge and adopt one already (and send us pictures, please)!

29. March 25: International Waffle Day

A tradition that originated in Sweden, International Waffle Day basically encourages the consumption of all things bready and waffled. It’s hard to disagree with that.

30. March 31: Eiffel Tower Day

The Eiffel Tower as seen as part of the Paris cityscape
narvikk/iStock via Getty Images

One of the world’s most famous “towers” was dedicated to the city of Paris on March 31, 1889. Named for its designer, Gustav Eiffel, the structure was intended to commemorate the French Revolution. This Parisian landmark isn’t the only famous structure with Eiffel’s paw prints all over it; he also helped design the framework of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

31. April 2: National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a plate atop a blue and white checked tablecloth
iStock.com/joebelanger

Who doesn't love this classic childhood snack? Eat one today, and then get the answer to something you've wondered since childhood: What's the difference between jelly and jam?

32. April 2: National Ferret Day

A ferret goes for a walk on a leash
JuergenBosse/iStock via Getty Images

We'll definitely be celebrating these furry little guys.

33. April 5: National Deep Dish Pizza Day

Deep fish pizza with candles in it
iStock.com/liveslow

A day to appreciate sky-high pies, or argue over the best pizza in all the land.

34. April 6: International Pillow Fight Day

Young boy and his dad having a pillow fight
jacoblund/iStock via Getty Images

Have a pillow fight!

35. April 7: National Beer Day

A group of friends celebrating with beer
iStock.com/skynesher

On March 22, 1933, Franklin Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act, legalizing the sale of beer (as long as it was 3.2 percent alcohol by weight or less) after many years of Prohibition. The thirsty public had to wait two long weeks before they could legally imbibe again, and on April 7, the law finally went into effect. Beer drinkers around the country rejoiced, and celebrated with a nice cold one, presumably.

36. April 10: National Siblings Day

Celebrate the brothers and sisters who drive you mad and keep you sane—often all at the same time.

37. April 12: National Licorice Day

A pile of black and red licorice
iStock.com/icelandr

This offbeat holiday—designed to celebrate black licorice specifically—will surely be a contentious commemoration. For those of you who cringed, please enjoy your Twizzlers.

38. April 13: National Scrabble Day

A Scrabble board
AnthonyRosenberg/iStock via Getty Images

Created by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938, Scrabble did not become a national phenomenon until the 1950s. It has since inspired less mobility-impaired games like Bananagrams and Words With Friends. But to honor the holiday, use a classic board and show off your robust vocabulary.

39. April 19: National Garlic Day


istock

We all know it's supposed to keep a vampire away, but did you know these 11 facts about garlic?

40. April 21: National Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day

A pair of bulldogs pose for a portrait
iStock.com/Luka Lajst

If you didn't already know this, you can see yourself out.

41. April 22: National Jelly Bean Day

A pile of multi-colored jelly beans
PictureLake/iStock via Getty Images

When you grab a handful to celebrate this year, just make sure you don't get "BeanBoozled."

42. April 23: Talk Like Shakespeare Day

William Shakespeare, circa 1600.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

We have of late, but wherefore we know not, lost all our mirth. What a perfect day to get it back! In honor of the Bard’s birthday, drop some thous and thees, master iambic pentameter, and cast people away by exclaiming “get thee to a nunnery!” Talk Like Shakespeare Day is the one time of year you can express yourself in rhyming couplets; wethinks thou oughtest useth the opportunity.

43. April 25: World Penguin Day

Antarctica gentoo penguins fighting
iStock.com/Grafissimo

Seriously, all the animal holidays are fine with us.

44. April 27: Morse Code Day

Wartime Morse Code Communications
iStock.com/cjp

Break out your best dots and dashes, it’s the birthday of Samuel Morse—co-inventor of the eponymous Morse Code. These days any Joe Schmoe can try his hand at transmitting lights, clicks, and tones to send a secret message. But this system of communication used to be a highly specialized field that required a license and a proclivity for spying on communists.

45. May 1: Mother Goose Day

Founded in 1987 by Gloria T. Delamar in conjunction with the publication of her book, Mother Goose: From Nursery to Literature, this is a day to "re-appreciate" the old nursery rhymes.

46. May 4: Star Wars Day

 Darth Vader and two stormtroopers from the film 'Star Wars' stand menacingly over some road works in London's Oxford Street in 1980.
Central Press/Getty Images

May the fourth be with you!

47. May 11: National Eat What You Want Day

Woman picks out a dessert in a bakery
iStock.com/tomazl

Though it's definitely not healthy, this is a food holiday that we want to celebrate more than once a year.

48. May 15: National Pizza Party Day

A table full of freshly made pizzas
iStock.com/AlexeyBorodin

Party is a relative term, by the way. You and a pizza is definitely a party.

49. May 18: International Museum Day

On this day, the entire planet celebrates museums and all the amazing things they have to offer. We recommend checking for events and activities in your area: Hundreds of thousands of museums join the party every year.

50. May 23: World Turtle Day

A green turtle approaching the surface of the water
iStock.com/Searsie

Celebrate by reading 20 things you didn't know about sea turtles right here.

51. May 25: Towel Day

To honor author Douglas Adams, fans carry around a towel all day. The tradition is a nod to a passage in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy about the importance of towels: "A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." Good enough for us.

52. May 25: National Wine Day

Rose wine being poured into a wine glass
MarkSwallow/iStock via Getty Images

As you're enjoying a glass of cab sav or chardonnay with friends this National Wine Day, drop a few of these wine-related facts.

53. June 4: National Cheese Day

There are so many different types of cheese to celebrate. Here's a quick refresher on how some of the most popular cheeses got their names.

54. June 5: National Doughnut Day

A woman eating a pink frosted donut
iStock.com/kokouu

One of two National Doughnut Days celebrated every year. Why are there two, you ask? We've got you covered.

55. June 6: National Yo-Yo Day

A blue yo-yo against a red and black background
iStock/RapidEye

Donald F. Duncan had more to celebrate about his life than an amazing name; he helped popularize the yo-yo. Though technically invented by a man named Pedro Flores in the late 1920’s, the yo-yo didn’t hit the mainstream until the entrepreneurial Duncan purchased Flores’s Yo-Yo Toy Company, mass-produced this circular piece of plastic and string, and introduced it to the world. June 6th is believed to be Duncan’s birthday.

56. June 8: World Oceans Day

A look at calm, blue ocean waters
shakzu/iStock via Getty Images

In 2008, the United Nations officially designated June 8 as a day to honor the part of the planet covered in water. Which is to say, most of it. Even before that it was celebrated by the Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network. These days, it's a growing global event with a focus on education and preservation.

57. June 12: National Jerky Day

A bowl of beef jerky
iStock/alisafarov

No explanation required: chew and be merry.

58. June 18: International Sushi Day

A plate of fresh sushi
iStock/muratkoc

Any food worth its salt, or umami, has its own holiday. But if you're looking for an excuse to eat sushi, June 18th seems as good a day as any other.

59. June 19: World Sauntering Day

A man named W.T. "Bill" Rabe, a publicist allegedly rampant self-promoter, is said to have conceived this holiday in the 1970s on Mackinac Island, Michigan. According to Merriam-Webster, to saunter one must merely “walk about in an idle or leisurely manner.” So for all of you who balked at a running holiday, thank Rabe for providing a much more casual holiday for getting around.

60. June 26: Take Your Dog To Work Day

A Weimaraner at the office
iStock/Image Source Ltd

Created in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, this is a day intended to encourage people to adopt pets from animal shelters—presumably by making all your dog-less coworkers incredibly jealous.

61. July 3: Compliment Your Mirror Day

If you haven't quite gathered it yet, this holiday isn't about the mirror (wink).

62. July 6: National Fried Chicken Day

A plate of fried chicken atop a wooden table
rebeccafondren/iStock via Getty Images

Not all fried chicken is created equal. Before finding the best in your state, learn about how it used to be made.

63. July 14: National Mac and Cheese Day

Man eating a bowl of macaroni and cheese
iStock.com/KoriKobayashi

You can thank none other than Thomas Jefferson for popularizing this delightful dish.

64. July 19: National Ice Cream Day

Our third president also had a hand in making ice cream a thing—in fact, according to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, "he can be credited with the first known recipe [for ice cream] recorded by an American," and it probably stems from his time in France.

65. July 27: Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day

It doesn't matter if your neighbors think you're crazy. Set those plants free!

66. August 1: National Mustard Day

We'll use any excuse to eat a hot dog—or three.

67. August 7: National Lighthouse Day

The one day a year in which we shine a light on these beautiful beacons.

68. August 10: National S’mores Day

No need to wait until the middle of August to get this party started. The holiday just means you should have extra.

69. August 12: Middle Children’s Day

We have just the thing to send those oft-overlooked kids who could use some encouragement.

70. August 15: National Relaxation Day

Preferably celebrated in a hammock, on a beach, or with a pooped pup.

71. August 24: National Waffle Day

Would it be a surprise if we told you that Jefferson loved these delicious discs so much he brought back four waffle irons from France? He liked to serve them with (duh) ice cream.

72. August 26: National Dog Day

This was what we looked like when we found out about this holiday.

73. September 5: Be Late For Something Day

While a lot of people don't need an excuse to be late, all of you punctual people out there should try to cut loose on this day and be tardy for something for once.

74. September 13: National Hug Your Hound Day

Woman hugging her dog
Iuliia Zavalishina/iStock via Getty Images

If you don't have a hound of your own to hug, may we suggest looking at photos of people hugging their hounds?

75. September 16: World Play-Doh Day

Today's the perfect day to do something with your favorite childhood clay! It's OK with us if you mostly just smell it.

76. September 22: Hobbit Day

September 22 is the birthday of cousins Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings world. Go barefoot, have a Hobbit party, journey somewhere, and most of all, be brave.

77. September 24: National Punctuation Day

Because how would you be expressive without it???!!!!

78. September 25: National One-Hit Wonder Day

Get your playlist started now. (We have some suggestions for you.)

79. September 29: International Coffee Day

We won't talk to you before you've celebrated this one.

80. October 4: National Ships-In-Bottles Day

ship in a bottle
Max2611/iStock via Getty Images

Someone spent a lot of time making this art happen, so let's take a little time to appreciate it.

81. October 8: National Pierogi Day

A plate of pierogis
barol16/iStock via Getty Images

On this day in 1952, pierogies were first delivered to a grocery store in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and we’ve been devouring them ever since.

82. October 15: National Grouch Day

Grumpy old man frowns at the camera
geniebird/iStock via Getty Images

For those who love one, and those who are one.

83. October 16: Dictionary Day

An open dictionary isolated on a white background
perkmeup/iStock via Getty Images

October 16th is Noah Webster’s birthday, so take a break from your lackadaisical use of the English language, k?

84. October 17: National Pasta Day

Young boy eats a plate of spaghetti
iStock.com/pinstock

There are myriad ways to celebrate National Pasta Day, so why not consider some of these unique pasta shapes?

85. October 17: Sweetest Day

Traditionally celebrated in the Midwest and Northeastern United States, Sweetest Day is a lot like Valentine's Day, which—depending on your outlook—is either a very good thing or a very bad thing.

86. October 29: National Cat Day

Cute cat smiling at the camera
Simon Henke/iStock via Getty Images

We know you don’t need a date in the calendar for this, but it makes your Instagrams all that much more justified.

87. October 30: National Candy Corn Day

A bowl full of candy corn
bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Feel free to debate the merits of a holiday for this highly controversial, tricolored confection.

88. October 31: National Magic Day

Magician Hand Holding Fanned Deck Of Cards From Hat
AndreyPopov/iStock via Getty Images

Halloween, shmalloween. This holiday is fittingly held on the anniversary of the death of Harry Houdini.

89. November 3: Cliché Day

All's fair in love and war and holidays, and what goes around comes around so have the time of your life this November 3 by celebrating this fit as a fiddle celebration. You'll be like a kid in a candy store.

90. November 3: Sandwich Day

The birthday of John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, is as good a day as any to do what you normally do: eat a sandwich.

91. November 19: “Have A Bad Day” Day

This isn't a celebration of the inevitable bad day, but rather an occasion for those working in customer service to break their usual (and tired) refrain of "have a nice day" and wish customers a bad one instead.

92. November 21: National Stuffing Day

If you're worried about celebrating the right food, make sure you know the difference between stuffing and dressing.

93. November 27: National Flossing Day

PSA: This is not a suggestion to floss just once a year.

94. November 30: Stay Home Because You’re Well Day

You probably just spent the last several days gorging with in-laws—you deserve this.

95. December 4: National Cookie Day

Cookie dough on a tray.
ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock via Getty Images

December isn’t exactly lacking in opportunities to indulge in sweet treats, but today it’s your offbeat-holiday-given right to mix, bake, and/or eat as many cookies as you can handle.

96. December 6: National Pawnbrokers Day

A neon pawnshop sign
solitude72/iStock via Getty Images

If you thought good ol' St. Nicholas was the patron saint of reindeer and stockings, think again: The actual Nikolaos of Myra was the patron of things like the falsely accused and pawnbrokers, and on this day we acknowledge the latter.

97. December 12: Poinsettia Day

Potted poinsettia plant
alicjane/iStock via Getty Images

This day doesn't just celebrate the festive flower—it also marks the death of its namesake, Joel Roberts Poinsett. The botanist (and first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico) brought clippings of Euphorbia pulcherrima back to the States from southern Mexico, and grew the plant at his South Carolina home.

98. December 14: Monkey Day

A group of rhesus macaques
Michael Warren/iStock via Getty Images

Officially, Monkey Day is an “annual celebration of all things simian, a festival of primates, a chance to scream like a monkey and throw feces at whomever you choose.” The origins of the holiday are unknown, though it has been observed since at least 2003.

99. December 17: Wright Brothers Day

A photograph of the Wright Brothers at home
Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Made an official holiday in 1963 by Presidential Proclamation, this holiday marks the day in 1903 when Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first ever successful (documented) controlled airplane flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

100. December 21: Humbug Day

Black bah humbug holiday hat
Michael Burrell/iStock via Getty Images

Get out all your bahs and scowls and growls now: no one will tolerate them come Christmas.

8 Things That Happened on Leap Day

On Leap Day in 1692, the first warrants were issued in the Salem Witch Trials.
On Leap Day in 1692, the first warrants were issued in the Salem Witch Trials.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Since Leap Day comes just once every four years, events that happen on February 29 are somewhat rare. Check out these eight events that are extra memorable thanks to their timing.

1. On Leap Day in 1940, Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award.

Actress Hattie McDaniel took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 1940 Academy Awards for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. The win made her the first African American to receive the award.

2. Buddy Holly’s lost glasses were found on Leap Day in 1959.

Buddy Holly in his signature glasses
Buddy Holly in his signature glasses.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The singer's famous glasses disappeared for more than two decades after he died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959. Holly’s trademark frames, along with the Big Bopper’s watch, were thrown clear of the plane wreckage. The items remained buried in the snow until the spring thaw, when they were turned over to the County Sheriff’s office and filed away in a sealed manila envelope, where they were forgotten. The envelope was rediscovered in 1980 by County Sheriff Jerry Allen, who came across it while looking for old court records. The discovery was announced on February 29, 1980. The glasses were returned to Holly’s widow, Maria Elena.

3. The Henriksen siblings—all of them—were born on Leap Day.

On February 29, 1960, Heidi Henriksen was born. Her brother, Olav, joined the family exactly four years later. And in 1968, to the day, Leif-Martin Henriksen entered the world. The Norwegian siblings held the Guinness record for most babies born on a Leap Day until 2012, when the Estes family from Utah tied them: Xavier Estes was born on February 29, 2004; Remington Estes in 2008; and Jade Estes in 2012.

4. Davy Jones died on Leap Day in 2012.

In 2012, the Monkee passed away after suffering a heart attack. He was just 66, leaving many fans in shock at his unexpected death.

5. Hank Aaron became the highest-paid Major League Baseball Player on Leap Day.

A $200,000-a-year contract might seem like peanuts for a MLB player today, but by 1972 standards, it was a big deal. So big, in fact, that the three-year contract Aaron inked to play for the Atlanta Braves made him the highest paid baseball player in the league.

6. The future Pope John Paul II was nearly killed on Leap Day.

Pope John Paul II riding in the Popemobile
Pope John Paul II riding in the Popemobile in 2004.

Back when he was just 24-year-old Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II was walking home when a German army truck hit him and left him on the road for dead. The driver of a lumber truck picked him up and took him to the hospital, where Wojtyla remained unconscious for nine hours. It’s said that the incident inspired him to switch to a spiritual career path.

7. Family Circus debuted on Leap Day in 1960.

On February 29, 1960, Bil Keane’s long-running comic strip debuted as The Family Circle. Inspired by Keane’s own wife and children, Family Circus is now drawn by Keane’s youngest son, Jeff—the inspiration for “Jeffy” in the comic strip.

8. The first warrants were issued in the Salem Witch Trials on Leap Day.

Salem residents Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba were accused of witchcraft on February 29, 1692. After refusing to confess, Good was hanged and Osborne died in prison; Tituba, a slave, admitted to her supposed crimes and was released from jail a year later.

10 Delicious Facts About McDonald's Shamrock Shake

McDonald's
McDonald's

Many people overdo it with the drinking on St. Patrick's Day, but it's not always Guinness or Jameson that gets them into trouble. Sometimes it's the Shamrock Shake, McDonald's uniquely green and often elusive seasonal treat. Here’s the skinny on the 660-calorie indulgence.

1. The Shamrock Shake wasn't originally known as The Shamrock Shake.

The original name of the cult classic milkshake was slightly less alliterative. It was called the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake. Catchy, no?

2. The Shamrock Shake is a charitable endeavor.

What does the Shamrock Shake have to do with the Ronald McDonald House and the Philadelphia Eagles? Everything, according to the fast food giant. When Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s daughter was being treated for leukemia in 1974, Fred and his wife spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and noticed many other emotionally depleted families doing the same. He thought it would be healthier for families if they had a place to call home while their children were being treated, so he used his football connections to get in touch with a local advertising agency that did work for Mickey D’s. They agreed to give profits from the Shamrock Shake toward a home near the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, which ended up becoming the first-ever Ronald McDonald House.

3. Uncle O'Grimacey used to be the Shamrock Shake's ambassador.

Back in the early ‘80s, a fairly offensive character named Uncle O’Grimacey was used to promote the seasonal shake.

4. No McDonald's restaurant is required to offer the Shamrock Shake.

In 2012, it was announced that, for the first time, the Shamrock Shake would be available in all McDonald's nationwide—but not all restaurants have to carry them. Regional managers decide whether their stores will carry the shakes each year.

5. Jimmy Fallon once depleted a New York City restaurant's entire Shamrock Shake supply.

If you’re a New Yorker and you didn’t get a much-craved Shamrock Shake in 2011, it’s probably Jimmy Fallon’s fault. When he caught wind that a Union Square Mickey D's had the elusive dessert, he totally cleaned them out—purchasing more than 100 shakes for his audience. New Yorkers were not pleased with Fallon.

6. The Shamrock Shake got an ice cream offshoot (that didn't fare so well).

Despite the smashing success of the shake, the Shamrock Sundae was a dismal failure. Introduced in 1980, it was discontinued after just a year. Apparently people prefer their unnaturally green desserts in shake form as opposed to scoop form. Though this year, they're trying again: in honor of the Shamrock Shake's 50th anniversary, McDonald's is also introducing an Oreo Shamrock McFlurry.

7. There have been many super-sized versions of the Shamrock Shake.

For a few years, a giant shake was poured into the Chicago River to help contribute to the green hue it’s dyed every year. A donation was also made to the Ronald McDonald House.

8. The McDonald's app will help you track down a Shamrock Shake.

Are you one of those unfortunate souls who has to hunt the shake down every year? McDonald's official app can help. In 2020, for the first time in three years, the Shamrock Shake will be offered at all McDonald's locations. If you're not sure of the nearest one near you, the McDonald's app has a full directory to help.

9. You can make your own Shamrock Shake at home.

If you still can’t find a shake, you have one other option: make your own.

10. In 2017, McDonald's engineered a special Shamrock Shake straw.

In 2017, McDonald's unveiled an amazing innovation for Shamrock Shake lovers: the STRAW. Short for Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal, the STRAW was designed by real engineers at the aerospace and robotics engineering firms JACE and NK Labs—specifically with the Shamrock Shake in mind. What sets the device apart from conventional straws is the sharp bend in its shape and the three, eye-shaped holes in addition to the opening at the bottom end. The extra holes are positioned in a way that allows drinkers to take a sip of a new layered version of the frosty treat that’s equal parts top mint layer and bottom chocolate layer.

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