For many of us—including those of us who prefer our blood sugar to remain relatively stable—doughnuts are a once-in-a-while treat. Are they nutritionally bankrupt? Sure. But fried dough laced with every kind of flavor, from chocolate to bacon, is also delicious. You might even choose to indulge only in honor of National Doughnut Day, which is observed each year on the first Friday of June.
Curiously, a second National Doughnut Day pops up just five months later, on November 5. We don't have two Thanksgivings, two Halloweens, or even two National Hot Dog Days. So why do doughnuts get to claim two dates?
It helps to know how the June date originated: During World War I, volunteers who wanted to support troops were charged with preparing food to deliver to soldiers on the front lines in France. The Salvation Army dispatched more than 250 women there, who found that battle-tested helmets were perfect for frying up to seven doughnuts at a time.
In 1938, the Salvation Army decided to honor these proclaimed "doughnut lassies" by recognizing an annual pastry holiday that could also raise awareness (and money) for their charitable efforts. National Doughnut Day was born.
Its calendar doppelgänger is harder to trace. According to food holiday historian John Bryan Hopkins, who cataloged several fringe holidays for his site Foodimentary beginning in 2006, mentions of the November Doughnut Day could be found as early as the 1930s in copies of Ladies' Home Journal. Hopkins speculated that the November 5 date is close enough to Veterans Day on November 11 that a retail outlet likely introduced the date to acknowledge their service.
While not all doughnut chains (or connoisseurs) celebrate both dates, brands like Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme have been known to give doughnuts away on both dates. But considering June's date has a proven—and noble—lineage, many people consider it the more official of the two holidays.
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