Here's Why America Has So Many National Food Holidays

click to enlarge Here's Why America Has So Many National Food Holidays
Facebook / The Guenther House
Days celebrating popular foods and beverages like National Fried Chicken Day (July 6) and National Rum Day (August 16) take place on the same day every year, and are found on any quirky list you look at. Others like National Ice Cream Pie Day (August 18) and National Coffee Milkshake Day (July 26) seem random. Then there are the days that unnecessarily command you to do something like National Eat All Your Veggies Day (June 17) and National Eat What You Want Day (May 11). We’ve even gotten to the point where one day can celebrate multiple foods – but where did all of these “holidays” come from?

Various sites list holidays for each month, but two popular sites that stand out from the rest are National Today and Foodimentary. National Today provides listings of different types of national days, including 314 food celebrations. Google uses Foodimentary’s calendar for food holiday searches, and the site lists approximately 500 days, along with trivia and general food history that corresponds with the date.

There is a lack of consensus about when these “holidays” take place because most are not official. The government did not designate October 25 as National Greasy Foods Day. National food days are mainly popularized by word of mouth on social media. Theoretically, anyone could start one as long as they told enough people and captured the attention of companies that could promote it using special deals. Even John-Bryan Hopkins, the blogger behind Foodimentary, admits he has made up over 100 holidays and replaces less interesting ones on the calendar with newer ones from time to time. As a result of the lack of standardization, the same food could be celebrated on seven different days in seven different cities.

Alternatively, someone can pay to recognize a dish or beverage but success isn’t guaranteed. National Day Calendar charges between $2,300 and $4,000 to create a day but submissions still have to be approved unanimously by the committee. Some corporations start their own, like Jack in the Box did with National Drive Thru Day, while others reap the benefits of existing days by hosting sales.

While this phenomenon is largely the result of social media, food holidays existed long before Instagram and Twitter and some were catalogued in Chase’s Calendar of Events. National Donut Day (first Friday of June) was created to remember the donuts Salvation Army volunteers served to soldiers during World War I. Former president Ronald Reagan signed National Ice Cream Day into law in 1984 followed by National Catfish Day in 1987. Although, presidential proclamations only apply one time, we still honor these holidays today.

These holidays may be arbitrary, but we still care enough to celebrate some of them and line up for one-day-only deals. If you’re looking to start your own food holiday, pick a day and mobilize enough people – it might just land on a calendar somewhere on the Internet.

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