Monday, August 19, 2019

What’s Today’s Celebration?

by Paula Gail Benson

Did you know that today, August 19, is National Soft Ice Cream Day? Shari Randall, you should take note of this commemoration!

According to the National Day Calendar website, while no one has been clearly identified as organizing the special designation, soft serve ice cream began around Memorial Day in 1934 when an enterprising salesman with a flat tire pulled into a parking lot and knew he had to get rid of a load of melting ice cream quickly. Later, he patented a machine and developed a secret formula. The product’s popularity caused a decrease in business for hard ice cream and the Minnesota legislature briefly required that it had to be pre-packaged instead of sold from a machine. The site suggests that people observe the holiday by getting a dipped cone or sundae.

The site boasts of over 1,500 national days. It also lists some international ones. For instance, today also is International Bow Day, a tradition started by Claire’s.

August 20, tomorrow, is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. Not to be confused with National Pecan Pie Day (observed July 12) or National Pecan Torte Day (August 22) or National Pecan Month (April).

You can check out the recognitions that share your birthday. For example, my birthday, on September 13, is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day (based on a 2005 unanimous resolution passed by the United States Senate) and Uncle Sam Day (because New York meat packer Sam Wilson, born on September 13, 1766, supplied meat to soldiers during the War of 1812 in containers stamped “U.S.” and they called it Uncle Sam’s grub).

The website allows you to register a national day, shop for merchandise, search for recipes, and play National Day trivia.

What does this site have to do with writing? (Please note that World Calligraphy Day is celebrated August 14.)

Occasionally, writers are asked to submit a holiday story for a collection. You can imagine that well-known holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentines Day will have numerous stories, but going with something like Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), as Cathy Wiley did with her “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” published in Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press), an anthology organized by the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, could be unique. Barb Goffman currently is editing a collection of time travel stories to be released on December 8, Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day.

So consider taking a look at the National Day Calendar website, for a story idea or just to celebrate a slice of life. Happy holidays!

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