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Behind National “Awareness” Days…including National Pig Day

Updated on November 23, 2016
There are thousands of National Awareness Days
There are thousands of National Awareness Days | Source

The Truth

What’s so special about today? We hear announcements and see posters declaring “National This or That Day”, but are they real? How did they get started and who started them? Can I declare a special day?

The truth may surprise you. In fact, you may find that certain days you thought were official awareness days, are not. .

So, first let's start with some truths about National Awareness Days...and then, lets take a look at how you can create one too.

By the way..., Mother's Day may not happen next year!

Truth One: How Many National Awareness Days Are There?

Answering the question of “how many National Awareness Days are there?”, is like trying to pin down the number of how many websites there are. The truth is, as of this writing, there are literally thousands that I have identified so far, and the number is growing daily. To test it for yourself, go to your favorite search engine and simply type in three keywords: “national, (fill in the blank), and day”. Its kind of a fun exercise and actually enlightening if you dig deeper into the origins of each day. I've searched out a lot and found that some of the days I thought were just jokes, turned out to be widely celebrated. Did you know there is a National Pig Day, a National Toilet Day, National “talk like a pirate” Day, and my personal favorite, National Joe Day (March 27th)?

Truth Two: How Many “Legal” National Awareness Days are there?

There are “0” legal holidays and “0” legal National Awareness Days. The term "legal" is often confused with the term Federal. There are currently eleven federal holidays that occur each year even though certain states do not recognize them. Texas for example, chooses not to recognize Columbus Day.

List of (11) current federal awareness days:

  1. New Years Day: January 1st
  2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Third Monday of January
  3. Inauguration Day: January 20th (every 4th year) (or the 21st if the 20th is a Sunday)
  4. Washington's Birthday: Third Monday of February
  5. Memorial Day: Last Monday of May
  6. Independence Day: July 4th
  7. Labor Day: First Monday of September
  8. Columbus Day: Second Monday of October
  9. Veterans Day: November 11th
  10. Thanksgiving Day: Fourth Thursday of November
  11. Christmas Day: December 25th

Truth Three: Only Congress Can Propose an Official Federal National Awareness Day

It literally takes an "Act of Congress" to propose a new "official" National Awareness Day and can only be authorized with the Presidents signature. There is a long and tedious processes required that requires that involves a lot political maneuvering, formatting proposals, seeking local representation, and effectively connecting with a congress person to present the 'special day'. If it survives all of that, (this can take years), the current president must approve it to make it "official". It is a difficult process, but over the decades, many grass root driven awareness days have been enacted. Even then, these special days must be reviewed and proclaimed by the president each year.

47 days the President reviews every year:

Besides the eleven "official" federal awareness days, there are also also forty seven days currently that are presented to president by Congress. Of course, he can be proactive and do this without Congress poking him and he can also create new ones by Executive Order. Many times the President will, for example, proclaim a day to "mourn or pray for" the death of important people like U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the United States, or after tragic events or disasters like "911".

What is surprising to me, is that days like Mother's Day, and Father' Day are not "automatic..."

The "forty-seven" list:

  1. Religious Freedom Day: January 16
  2. National Sanctity of Human Life Day: 3rd Sunday in January
  3. Education and Sharing Day: March/April
  4. Susan B. Anthony Day: February 15
  5. Greek Independence Day: March 25
  6. Cesar Chavez Day: March 31
  7. National D.A.R.E. Day: 2nd Thursday in April
  8. National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day: April 9
  9. Pan American Day: April 14
  10. Loyalty Day: May 1
  11. Law Day: May 1:
  12. National Day of Prayer: 1st Thursday in May
  13. Military Spouses Day: 2nd Friday in May
  14. Mother's Day: 2nd Sunday in May
  15. National Defense Transportation Day: 3rd Friday in May
  16. National Maritime Day: May 22
  17. National Missing Children's Day: May 25
  18. National Child's Day: 1st Monday in June
  19. Flag Day: June 14
  20. Father's Day: 3rd Sunday in June
  21. National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day: July 27
  22. Parent's Day: last Sunday in July
  23. National Airborne Day: August 16
  24. Women's Equality Day: August 26
  25. National Day of Prayer and Remembrance: weekend before September 11
  26. Patriot Day: September 11
  27. National POW/MIA Recognition Day: 3rd Friday in September
  28. Citizenship Day: September 17
  29. American Business Women's Day: September 22
  30. Family Day: 4th Monday in September
  31. Gold Star Mother's Day: Last Sunday in September
  32. Child Health Day: 1st Monday in October
  33. German-American Day: October 6
  34. Columbus Day: 2nd Monday in October
  35. Leif Erikson Day: October 9
  36. General Pulaski Memorial Day: October 11
  37. White Cane Safety Day: October 15
  38. United Nations Day: October 24
  39. World Freedom Day: November 9
  40. America Recycles Day: November 15
  41. Native American Heritage Day: Friday after Thanksgiving
  42. World AIDS Day: December 1
  43. International Day of Persons with Disabilities: December 3
  44. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: December 7
  45. Human Rights Day: December 10
  46. Bill of Rights Day: December 15
  47. Wright Brothers Day: December 17

Days that were not proclaimed:

The President may also elect not to proclaim a day. For example, If the president decided not to proclaim the national day of prayer, it would not be considered an endorsed day.

The most recent awareness days not proclaimed were: Afghannistan Day, Baltic Freedom Day, National Catfish Day, and National Coaches Day.

Presidential Proclamation

President Wilson's Mother's Day Proclamation
President Wilson's Mother's Day Proclamation | Source

No Mother's Day This Year?

What's surprising to me is that Mother's Day and Father's Day are not "automatic" Days each year...these have to be approved by the president...

Days that didn't "make the cut" ...yet...

Currently, there are some proposed days to become either automatic or "yearly upon approval" days, but still have not made the "cut". Some are presently being re-introduced through the political process; most will simply fade away and others will continue to be talking points for years to come. Many times, politicians will capitalize on these "days" to bring a "sense" of patriotism to their campaigns and use them for political marketing purposes--especially in election years. There are many on the "books" is a sampling:

Susan B. Anthony Day : Third Monday of February

Cesar Chavez Day: Last Monday of March

Malcolm X Day: Third Monday of May

Flag Day: June 14

Native Americans' Day: Third Monday of September

Election Day: First Tuesday of November

Great Definition of Memorial Day Awareness

Truth Four: Anybody can create a national awareness day

Now here's the fun part...Anybody can create a national awareness day!

Some days that are created or started have very serious long term intentions and actually get supported to the point of making it to the President's desk. Others are created to educate the masses to very serious illnesses, moral dilemmas, or life challenges. The most common are created by businesses to promote products like greeting cards. Some people refer these as "Hallmark" days. And then there are, of course, days that are created just for fun!

An example of an awareness day for educating the masses of illnesses would be National Breast Cancer Awareness Day(month).

An example of a "Hallmark" day would be "National Hot Dog Day", July 23rd

An example of a National Just For Fun Day would be "National Talk Like a Pirate Day", September 19th

How To Get Your "Day" Started

Minimally, it takes two...One to come up with the concept or idea...another to agree. Many times organizations will establish certain days based on historic events or causes that need solutions and base the specific date very meaningfully.

Marketing plays a huge part regardless of the motivation. Nowadays, one of the easiest ways to begin is by using social media. Businesses will develop whole marketing approaches to promote their agenda which may include social media, print advertisements, radio, and even television campaigns.

Kids are especially crafty when it comes to starting their own awareness days and its funny how quickly it spreads.

The next time you shop for new calendars, take a look at how they use awareness days to bring significance to their content or support their theme.

National Kiss a Writer Day November 25th
National Kiss a Writer Day November 25th | Source

I Officially Declare...

I officially declare that today, November 25th, is "National Kiss a Writer Day". Can I get a "second" on that?

Have You Ever Started an Awareness Day?

See results

Start Your "Own" Day Greeting Card Kit


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