Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

From pants to pot-plants: How to make a holiday out of anything

By Daisy Carrington, for CNN
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
Underwear brand Freshpair coined National Underwear Day (August 5) to market their brand of panties. The company celebrates by hiring models to parade in their underthings at New York's Time Square. Civilians are welcome to join the fun as well. Underwear brand Freshpair coined National Underwear Day (August 5) to market their brand of panties. The company celebrates by hiring models to parade in their underthings at New York's Time Square. Civilians are welcome to join the fun as well.
HIDE CAPTION
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
Weird and wonderful DIY holidays
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thomas Roy has created over 90 holidays, all of which he's trademarked.
  • Roy's most popular celebration is Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day.
  • Anyone can create a holiday by sending a form to Chase's Calendar of Events.
  • Hallmark recently started commemorating Star Wars Day with e-cards.

(CNN) -- It used to be that an event had to be truly momentous to warrant a new holiday -- be it the birth of a prophet or a hard-won battle for statehood. But these days all that's needed to craft a commemorative day is good dose of ingenuity and a marketing plan.

In case you missed it, last week we had Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day and next week (August 7) we can all look forward to National Underwear Day and Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day.

Indeed, one man alone is probably responsible for most of the world's more ridiculous holidays. American Thomas Roy has invented -- and copyrighted -- over 90 holidays in the last 26 years, including No Socks Day (May 8) and Married to a Scorpio Support Day (November 18).

But when he first started brainstorming silly things to celebrate, he had no idea that some of his inventions would one day make it onto calendars and diaries. He certainly didn't imagine that anyone would observe them.

For the first few weeks in July, night skies on both sides of the Atlantic are lit up by spectacular fireworks -- from America's 4th July to Bastille Day in France, with a host of international fireworks competitions in between. To honor this pyrotechnic frenzy, we asked you to send us some of your sparkiest fireworks shots from across the world.
Marcia Taylor's day job, as a British Airways' cabin crew member, takes her all over the world -- but the 27-year-old never travels anywhere without her camera. Believe it or not but this was her first time shooting fireworks. She traveled to Paris especially for the fireworks on Bastille Day last year.
"It was a disco theme, the music started and as soon as the fireworks began the crowd had a fantastic atmosphere, every single person was on their feet singing along not taking their eyes of the fireworks," she says. For the first few weeks in July, night skies on both sides of the Atlantic are lit up by spectacular fireworks -- from America's 4th July to Bastille Day in France, with a host of international fireworks competitions in between. To honor this pyrotechnic frenzy, we asked you to send us some of your sparkiest fireworks shots from across the world. Marcia Taylor's day job, as a British Airways' cabin crew member, takes her all over the world -- but the 27-year-old never travels anywhere without her camera. Believe it or not but this was her first time shooting fireworks. She traveled to Paris especially for the fireworks on Bastille Day last year. "It was a disco theme, the music started and as soon as the fireworks began the crowd had a fantastic atmosphere, every single person was on their feet singing along not taking their eyes of the fireworks," she says.
Beginner's luck
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
>
>>
The world\'s best fireworks displays The world's best fireworks displays
Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21. It's a time when bonfires are lit, traditional songs are sung and more often than not, clothes come off. Robban Kanto and his friends, who celebrated the longest day in Zinkgruvan in Sweden last year, couldn't resist a quick skinny-dip before the night was up. Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21. It's a time when bonfires are lit, traditional songs are sung and more often than not, clothes come off. Robban Kanto and his friends, who celebrated the longest day in Zinkgruvan in Sweden last year, couldn't resist a quick skinny-dip before the night was up.
Solstice celebrations around the world
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
>
>>
How do you welcome summer? How do you welcome summer?

"I just started doing it on a lark," admits Roy, who used to flip through Chase's Calendar of Events -- an annual reference guide to holidays around the world -- to get ideas for the morning radio show he hosted out of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. One year, he noticed a form in the back of the book inviting readers to submit their own holidays.

"I was like, 'oh no, don't tell me this is possible,'" he recalls. For fun, he crafted Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day -- Roy's answer to curing cabin fever. On February 20, observers are meant to hit the streets at noon and shout, "hoodie hoo". To his surprise, the holiday was printed in the next edition. It wasn't long before various media got a hold of it and started promoting the day as a fun, off-the-wall thing to do.

Shortly afterward, the letters started coming in. Roy received invitations to Hoodie-Hoo Day celebrations. Occasionally, corporations pay him to use some of his creations. A few years ago, Entenmann's Bakery used his Eat What You Want Day in one of their ad campaigns.

"It was kind of scary," he says. "This is how politicians get into office with these nonsensical ideas, and people buy into it."

Some silly ass thing that came out of my own head caused who knows now many people to have mirth for a day.
Thomas Roy, holiday inventor

In 1985, Australian Elaine Fremont wanted an excuse to have a monthly party. She invented Bonza Bottler Day, which she celebrated on any day that matched the month (i.e, January 1, February 2 ... ). Though Fremont passed away in 1995, her sister, Gail, carried on the tradition, and the holiday has achieved a cult status in Australia.

Official holidays don't always follow logic, either. Japan has a law that states that when two holidays fall with a day between them, the middle day becomes a de facto holiday. According to Kylie Clark, a spokesperson for the Japan National Tourism Organization, it's recognized that some holidays are mainly an excuse for the populace to take time off.

"Japanese people tend to be hesitant to use their annual leave," she admits.

Read more: The world's messiest festivals

In recent years, bolstering awareness has been another popular reason to craft a celebration. Though special interest groups often spearhead these initiatives, sometimes a day is granted importance just because a particularly enthusiastic individual thinks it should be.

Keith Milsom could be one of the most dedicated lefties in the world. He runs an online shop -- founded as a brick-and-mortar storefront in Central London by his left-handed father in 1967 -- called Anything Left-Handed. Though hard to prove, he strongly suspects Simpsons creator Matt Groening -- himself a leftie -- used the store as his basis for Ned Flanders' shop, The Leftorium.

Several years ago, Milsom founded The Left-Handers Club, and shortly started receiving queries about starting a holiday to support left-handed people. He launched International Left-Handers' Day on August 13, 1992. The date was picked to coincide with a slow news cycle so that it would have a better shot at garnering some media attention.

"250,000 people visited our site on the day last year. Unfortunately, that doesn't always convert into orders," says Milsom. "While there's a lot of interest in left-handed products, there's also a lot of apathy."

Read more: Why solstice stirs libidos

While there's a lot of interest in left-handed products, there's also a lot of apathy.
Keith Milsom, Left Handers' Day founder

Still, he's been contacted by dozens of people who have concocted their own Left-Handers' Day celebrations.

"It tends to be people converting their spaces in to 'lefty-only' zones. We've heard of people who own pubs and make a rule where everyone has to drink with their left hand that day. It's fairly low-key," he admits.

Ultimately, though, the true test of a holiday's validity is if it gets its own greeting card. While Hallmark denies creating holidays, the company says it employs a team of 600 to research events worth celebrating. While Hallmark isn't making Hoodie-Hoo Day cards yet, this year it started making Star Wars Day e-cards.

"We've seen the demand for that rise out of social media," says Hallmark spokesperson Kristi Ernsting, who adds that customers were creating their own "May the Fourth Be With You" e-cards through the Hallmark site. The company decided to follow suit.

"People seem to really like that phrase," she says.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
No matter the time of year, or place, a bounty of vegetables is often all it takes to get people singing, dancing, cow racing -- even parading around giant phalluses.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 1806 GMT (0206 HKT)
Fireworks boom, bulbs flash, and flames flicker as tens of millions of people across the globe celebrate the beginning of the Festival of Lights.
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
halloween costume no eyes
Still think Halloween is just for the kids? You won't -- not when you've seen CNN's gut-twisting, down-right disgusting mob of morbid maniacs.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 0942 GMT (1742 HKT)
Our list of doomed sites include a haunted school, political prisons and an abandoned hospital. No...we wouldn't go in there either!
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
Catch the best Halloween costumes from tinseltown featuring Heidi Klum, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus and all their A-list friends.
October 21, 2013 -- Updated 1718 GMT (0118 HKT)
There are still many places in the world that treat magic as serious business. Check out our guide to the world's witchiest hotspots.
October 14, 2013 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
The best photos of the eighth and annual gathering of geeks in the city that never sleeps. The sold out event allowed fans to mingle with stars.
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
When animals come together en masse, very often so do humans. Here's our guide to the animal migrations that bring people out in flocks.
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)
Surviving the all-day drinking sessions of highly potent wheat beer at the (in)famous Oktoberfest in Munich is marathon, not a sprint.
September 13, 2013 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
For one weekend in September more than 155 million people in six neighboring countries across Central America pull out all the stops to honor the birth of their nations.
August 28, 2013 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Some hobbies take genuine talent, others just don't, but the real skill is turning your weird past-time into an international event.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
For Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is one of the most festive periods in the religion's calendar. We asked you to send us your best Eid photos, here are your best shots.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
Award-winning British chef Aktar Islam shares his best Eid food memories. Find out what culinary delights are on his table.
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
Humans have a strange relationship with food. This seems to be a global truth that is perhaps best evidenced by the array of unusual food festivals the world over.
July 2, 2013 -- Updated 1042 GMT (1842 HKT)
Each year, proponents of the healing powers of mud (and those that just like to getting down in the dirt) descend on Daecheon Beach in South Korea for the annual Boryeong Mud Festival. Last year, 2.6 million people participated, many diving in to the mud marathon, mud wrestling, and several other mud-related activities on offer.
There is something innately messy about summer. That must be why some of the world's filthiest festivals bide their time until the warmer months.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0914 GMT (1714 HKT)
From Bastille Day and 4th July to Chinese New Year and Disney Land, your shots of the world's greatest fireworks.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
We asked you to send us your best solstice photos. From skinny dipping, fire jumping and dancing like a rocket -- here are your best shots.
June 17, 2013 -- Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT)
Linked to fertility -- both of the vegetal and human variety -- the solstice has spawned celebrations meant to fan the flames of love and lust.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
Why did the midsummer maypole cause offense and who celebrates midsummer by running naked through the streets?
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
For some it was an exhilarating holiday to an exotic place, finding new love or conquering their greatest fear. For others, it was witnessing an historic event.
December 17, 2012 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
The champagne is on ice, the fireworks are exploding overhead -- but isn't your New Year's Eve party a bit, well, last year?
December 14, 2012 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Edinburgh is cast aglow at its annual New Year's Eve (Hogmanay) festivities with a torchlight procession involving more than 25,000 locals
For many people, New Year's Eve can be disappointing -- there's so much hype in the lead-up to the event, it often falls short of the mark.
December 12, 2012 -- Updated 0145 GMT (0945 HKT)
If your Christmas is too often one of tacky decorations, over-cooked turkey and bitter family feuds, now may be the time to plan yourself a Yuletide getaway.
December 24, 2012 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
Jen Best from Liberty, Misouri, snapped this adorable picture of her six month old nephew, Grayson, playing with fairy lights after seeing the idea on Pintrest.
Christmas is synonymous with decorations, markets and extravagant quantities of food. But traditions differ greatly depending on where you are in the world.
December 23, 2012 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
For something intended to bring pleasure to loved ones, Christmas shopping in the Internet age can be a peculiarly joyless and atomized activity.
December 7, 2012 -- Updated 2031 GMT (0431 HKT)
For some, Hanukkah is "the potato pancake holiday" -- a holiday that takes the mundane potato and gives it a massive makeover.
How much do you know about Christmas traditions around the world? Find out with our quiz.
November 26, 2013 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
The biennale will attract artists such as Sudarshan Shetty, whose previous works have included this aluminium and wood sculpture known as
The port-city of Kochi, on India's west coast, isn't known for its arts scene but that will change as it's first arts bienale.
ADVERTISEMENT