Everyone knows the three big summer holidays in the United States. Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial beginning of summer with a variety of celebrations, including barbecues and ubiquitous three-day retail sales. Memorial Day was created to honor those who died serving their country in the armed forces.
The big midsummer holiday, of course, is Independence Day on July 4th. Fireworks are the big draw for this holiday, when you can see beautiful professional fireworks displays and hear amateur bottle rockets being set off at all hours. The holiday, of course, commemorates the United States of America’s Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.
Finally, Labor Day in September wraps up the summer season in the United States. Whereas most nations celebrate their labor day on May 1, the U.S. observes this holiday on the first Monday in September. Labor Day is a holiday to recognize and honor the working class whose labor is the backbone of the economy and the country’s well being.
However, there are lots more summer holidays that are lesser known. Whether they’re important international holidays or more modest celebrations, summer is full of days to commemorate. It seems like any given day has some sort of designation as the date to celebrate some sort of food, historical figure, or historical event.
Some are serious, and some are silly. No one would confuse National Doughnut Day with an important observation like Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery, but the point is that summer has many holidays and celebrations for all different causes.
Here’s a list of ten summer holidays you might not know about.
10 National Doughnut Day, June 6, 2014
National Doughnut Day, surely Homer Simpson’s favorite holiday, dates all the way back to World War I, when the Salvation Army stocked their military support huts with freshly baked donuts, pies, and coffee. Now celebrated on the first Friday of every June, National Doughnut Day was officially created by the Salvation Army in 1938. Bakeries often give out free doughnuts on this day, so be sure to stop into one this June 6.
9 Juneteenth, June 19, 2014
Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the words June and nineteenth, because that’s the date chosen for the occasion to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth, in fact, is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. Originally the holiday was created to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865, but it has been expanded to observe the abolition of slavery in the entire United States after the Civil War. Readings of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation are common on Juneteenth.
8 Helen Keller Day, June 27, 2014
Helen Keller was one of the most inspirational women who ever lived. Born deaf and blind, she became the first person ever with both those disabilities to earn a college degree. Though she was unable to see or hear, Keller was a well-respected author and an important campaigner for women’s rights, workers’ rights, and the eradication of poverty. U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed Keller’s birthday, June 27, to be observed as Helen Keller Day in the United States.
7 Canada Day, July 1, 2014
Independence Day for the United States is July 4, but its neighbors to the north celebrate their national holiday three days earlier, on July 1. Often called “Canada’s birthday,” Canada Day commemorates the enactment of the 1867 British North America Act, which united three separate colonies into a single Canadian nation state. Canada Day also serves as Canada’s independence day, although the Canadian state was not formally independent from Britain until the signing of the Constitution Act in 1982.
6 Bastille Day, July 14, 2014
Bastille Day is France’s national holiday, and it commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution by the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The French Revolution, of course, was one of the most influential events in Western history, forming the basis for several subsequent political movements, including the U.S. revolution. The oldest and largest military parade in the world is held every Bastille Day, with the French military marching on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris. A spectacular evening fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower caps off the festivities.
5 National Ice Cream Day, July 20, 2014
President Ronald Reagan created National Ice Cream Month by presidential proclamation in 1984. His proclamation also created the first National Ice Cream Day, which is now celebrated the third Sunday in July each year in the United States. Ice cream shops often give away free ice cream on this day, so stop in to cool off.
4 Pi Approximation Day, July 22, 2014
Maybe you knew that Pi Day is celebrated on March 14, because the first three digits of Pi are 3.14, but did you know that July 22 is also a relevant day for the beloved mathematical constant? July 22 is called Pi Approximation Day because the fraction 22/7 is a close approximation of pi, the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference. The formal eating of pie and discussions of pi are both common on Pi Approximation Day.
3 Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day, August 8, 2014
Yes, this is a real holiday, and it’s growing every year in the number of people who commemorate it. Created by a Pennsylvanian named Tom Roy, Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day seeks to share the late-summer harvest of zucchini with friends and neighbors. The official purpose of the holiday states “due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors' doorsteps."
2 International Bacon Day, August 30, 2014
International Bacon Day is a relatively new observance celebrating the deliciousness of bacon. Created in 2000 in Bedford, Massachusetts, International Bacon Day has surged in popularity in recent years thanks to the concurrent bacon-related cultural fad so prevalent on the Internet. International Bacon Day is now celebrated the Saturday before Labor Day in the United States, and celebrations center around, what else, eating bacon.
1 International Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19, 2014
Arrr, get ready to talk like a pirate four days before the end of summer this year. On September 19, it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a holiday that has exploded in popularity the past few years as Internet culture has adopted the cause of talking like pirates. Originally conceived as a parody by two Oregonians in 1985, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is now celebrated worldwide both online and in person. The U.S. States of Michigan and California have officially recognized the occasion, and some restaurants give out free food to anyone who comes in and talks like a pirate on Sept. 19.