Happy 2015! Now it’s time to party.
Or if partying seems a bit much after last night, how about just celebrating quietly? And if celebrating is what you like to do, the coming new year will offer plenty of opportunities to do it.
Just about every day of the coming year will mark some kind of observance, and it’s Sheila Cicchi’s avocation to track the unusual, the offbeat and the just plain weird holidays that someone somewhere makes it a point to celebrate each year.
On her Web page (www.brownielocks.com), Cicchi vets and compiles a year’s worth of month-by-month celebrations and observances.
By email, Cicchi writes that her unusual pastime was prompted by noticing in a library one day that “they’d say it’s ‘XX Month’ and then feature books on the topic. So I wondered just where they got this information from.”
Cicchi also noticed that so many websites proclaim individual days for this or that, “and I had no idea where they got it,” and that so many sites devoted to so-called holidays seemed to make no particular effort to determine whether the holidays were real.
On her site, Cicchi tracks down the provenance of each day or observance, using such sources as Chase’s Calendar of Events — an accepted reference for such things — proclamations by governors or presidents, and holidays’ foundation in religious observances.
The weirdest days she’s come across include World Bike Naked Day in June (“Thinking about it just seems to hurt”), International Sword Swallowers Day in January (“Doesn’t it make you cough, thinking about that?”) and Mike, the Headless Chicken Day in May (“Go look it up. It was before my time, but I guess he existed.”)
Why are Americans such suckers for holidays?
“America is young, compared to other countries. And it’s a melting pot of many cultures,” Cicchi says. “I think that we celebrate everyone’s diversity through many of these holidays and observances.”
Also, Cicchi says, it’s a way to be noticed and special, if only for a moment.
“For example, if it’s Grandparents’ Day, for that one day the whole world knows about grandparents, and for that day, if you are one, you can feel special even if you don’t get cards or anything,” she says.
“No man is an island. But if he was, he’d probably have ‘Island Day.’ ”
Here’s a list of possible holidays and observances. Your job: Choose the real (or at least as real as Cicchi can determine) ones from the bogus ones. The real ones are taken from Cicchi’s website (although we won’t promise that the ones we make up aren’t real somewhere, too).
See your answers at the end, but don’t peek until you’re finished.
Contact reporter John Przybys at email@example.com or 702-383-0280.