originally published June 9, 2013
We are almost a third of the way through the month of June, and it occurred to me that I have neglected to provide us with our monthly observances, our reasons to celebrate something… anything. Two days ago I wrote a piece on National Doughnut Day, but that won’t be enough to get me through June. This is one of those cruel months without a calendar holiday (in North America, anyway) to grant us respite from work. So we’ve got to raise our glasses to something.
Luckily, June does not disappoint. If any of these commemorations are near and dear to your heart, call in sick and stick it to the she-bitch of June. Let yourself have a day of rest, a day to enjoy your life. And if I missed your favorite because I’m nine days late and was more focused on writing about a super-spy on June 1, then you have my apologies. The following group of semi-holidays are all still on the horizon.
Take at least one of them as a holiday. I won’t tell.
Here’s one you won’t want to miss. Go skateboarding on Go Skateboarding Day, June 21st. This day was organized in 2004 by the International Association of Skateboard Companies. The IASC is a trade organization that wants to remind you that those kids your mother is afraid of walking near in the grocery store parking lot are not indicative of the entire world of skateboarding. Millions of skaters around the world participate in organized events, showing off their skills and rubbing it in the faces of those lame-ass inline skaters who have yet to secure a Congressionally-approved national holiday.
A Hot Springs, Arkansas celebration in 2007 turned ugly when police officers arrested a group of skateboarding friends in a rather forceful manner. Someone snapped a video and posted it to Youtube, creating an online furor over whether the cop in question was responding appropriately or throwing around more muscle than necessary. I won’t reopen the debate here, but I will encourage all of you with decks gathering dust in your closets to pull them out on the 21st and go for a ride.
If you prefer your mode of transportation to be a bit more airborne and a lot less capable of allowing for human passengers, you can instead choose to celebrate National Paper Airplane Day, also on June 21st. While I have no idea how you’d go about tracking down your local paper airplane club – though chances are, if you’re in a major North American city, you’ll find one – but this would be the day to do it. People gather together on June 21 every year, slap some looseleaf into an aeronautical masterpiece, and fling it to the wind.
If you’re looking to show off your soar-igami skills (sorry about that), you’ll want to note that Takuo Toda’s record for longest time in the air is 27.9 seconds, presumably in windless conditions and not off the roof of a tall skyscraper (which would be an easy way to cheat). If you want to go for distance, you’ll need to beat out Joe Ayoob and John Collins’ 226 feet, 10 inches. If you just want to build something pretty, or toss something into someone’s perfectly-sculpted afro, hey, that’s cool too.
June 21st seems to be the day to celebrate everything. If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere coastal and warm, this would be the day you’ll celebrate International Surfing Day. Organized in 2004, the same year skateboarders were setting up their own festivities, International Surfing Day takes on a somewhat more generous nature. In addition to the contests, barbecues and repeated screenings of Point Break, surfers also make use of the day to organize beach clean-ups and habitat restoration. With surfers, it’s less about overcoming a negative urban stereotype and more about celebrating the freedom of their sport, and focusing awareness on maintaining the purity and cleanliness of the environment where the land meets the sea.
Also, this is a truly international event, with celebrations taking place in North America, Europe, Africa, South America and Australia. In Hawaii, surfers take the day to plant Naupaka plants. Those of us who are tragically land-locked will have to settle for cranking up “Pipeline”, “Wipeout” and whatever albums by Dick Dale & The Deltones we might own. Not quite the same.
If sports and paper airplanes aren’t your thing, and if you’re more into dressing up in colorful robes and playing the flute while dancing in the street, then you’ll want to suit up for Ratcatcher’s Day on the 26th. In the same way Secretary’s Day reminds us of the value of certain prized office workers, Ratcatcher’s Day pays tribute to the lost art of vermin control. The date was chosen because June 26, 1284 was the date the Pied Piper led the children out of Hamelin, according to the Grimm Brothers.
So I suppose you could either use this day to celebrate ratcatchers or to celebrate mass kidnappings. It’s up to you.
In Germany, they use their June celebration for a practical purpose. Seven Sleepers Day (or Siebenschläfertag) is held on June 27. The weather that day allegedly predicts the average temperature for the next seven weeks. Of course, this is old farmer lore, and any empirical attempt to study the phenomenon has revealed it to be complete crap. But still, it’s a day with an interesting origin.
The Seven Sleepers legend refers to a septet of Christians who were either hiding from persecution or imprisoned in an act of persecution inside a cave just outside of Ephesus. They fell asleep and awoke 180 years later, emerging and chatting with locals before they died. I don’t know how that ties in with the weather in Germany, but I only said it was an interesting story, not a logical one.
Beginning in 1996 in the UK and in 1999 in America, Take Your Dog To Work Day has been a great way to spend the 24th of June, particularly this year when the 24th lands on a Monday. By 2004, around 10,000 international companies were honoring this day, allowing workers to bring in their puppies, both to promote pet adoption and to show off to cat people, who have no such day. Dog-owning skateboarders get all the special favors.
While I’m fairly confident my workplace will not be among those allowing cubicle canines this month (and I’m sure my four bulldogs would make for questionable visitors to any workplace), I fully support this one. If you aren’t getting an extra day off for anything this month, you may as well make one of your workdays a little more memorable and fun.
That’s a good batch of festivities to commemorate a hopefully-warm June. Apologies for having missed the first of the month – maybe June 9th should be deemed Holy Crap It’s Not Still May Day.