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Celebrate Backward Day Jan 31st

Updated on January 24, 2013

Celebrate Backward Day on Jan 31

January 31st has a wacky holiday called Backward Day. This is your chance to do everything backwards. Say goodbye to your friends when you meet them and say hello when you part ways. Have your breakfast in the evening and your dinner in the morning. Wear your clothes inside-out, talk and walk backwards.

As silly as all of these may seem, there are many things in life where reversal is the norm. This lens celebrates these unconventional backward behavior on Backward Day.

Hummingbirds can fly backwards

Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards aside from flying up and down, left and right and even upside-down. By slanting the angle of its wings and using its powerful chest muscles, a hummingbird can tip up and fly backwards. All other birds use the down stroke to power their flight.

Leonardo da Vinci chose to write backwards

Inventor, scientist, sculptor, architect, engineer, naturalist

It was believed that Leonardo Da Vinci wrote backwards or used mirror writing to avoid theft of his ideas. Writing backwards was also his way of hiding his controversial scientific beliefs which were frowned upon by the teachings of the powerful Catholic Church. He was also dyslexic and left-handed. But he wrote backwards by choice and not because of his dyslexia.

Heyoka, the Lakota backward sacred clown

The word Heyókha (alternative spellings "Haokah", "Heyoka", "Heyokha") refers to the Lakota concept of a contrarian, jester, satirist or sacred clown. (Source Wikipedia)

In the Lakota Sioux Native American culture, the Heyoka is a sacred clown, a teacher and a trickster who does everything backwards. Heyoka were contraries, speaking, riding and walking backwards, dressed in bizarre clothing and exhibiting inversion and reversal as elements of satire.

By doing everything backwards, the Heyoka is showing people how their own expectations limit their behavior.

The Art of Clowning

Heyokah Humor/Opposites

Trickster Teacher Heyokah

Excellent video of the Heyokah, Lakota sacred clown

Famous folk philosopher has been riding his donkey backwards since the 13th century

Why did he ride the donkey backwards?

Nasreddin Hodja was a Seljuq philosopher and wise man who lived during the 13th century and remembered for his humorous stories and anecdotes. His folk wisdom are well-known throughout the MIddle East and other cultures of the world, and has been told and retold in teahouses, homes, and on the radio.

Nareddin Hodja is most remembered for this story about why did he rode the donkey backwards.

One day when Hodja was going to the mosque with his mullahs, he decided to ride his donkey backwards.

The mullahs asked, "Why are you riding your donkey backwards? You must be very uncomfortable?"

He answered, "If I sat facing forward, you would be behind me. If you went in front of me, I would be behind you. Either way I would not be facing you. So, this is the most logical way!"

Aging backwards and getting younger - A man who is unable to stop time.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

This is a wonderful movie to watch on Backward Day. Travel through time with Benjamin Button, a frail 80-something man who was born old, ages into middle age, blossoms into a strapping young lad and then into an infant. Set in New Orleans at the end of WWI in 1918 into the 21st century, “Benjamin Button,” is a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.

The technical and visual effects wizardry and make-up artistry will intrigue and dazzle the audience from beginning to end.


An engaging and fun picture story book for the little ones

This is a fascinating picture story book for the little ones-- with a simple story line that is charming and timeless. A young boy wakes up and declares that day to be backwards day. Everything he will do will be backwards. So he wore his socks over his shoes, his underwear over his pants, went downstairs backwards, sat in the breakfast table with his back turned. He greeted his mom and dad with goodnight at the breakfast able. His parents went along with the quirky idea fun until it was time to break the spell at the end of the day.

The Backward Day
The Backward Day

The timeless elegance of Marc Simont's 1940's drawings of the family is charming and will keep young and old peeled to the pages. It is a read-aloud book with large pictures and fonts which will only take 10 minutes to complete from beginning till end. Children will be amused, delighted and want to read this story over and over again.


Fun books to read on Backward Day

Take this quick poll

Have you ever done anything backwards?

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There are words that read the same forward and backward.

The word palindrome is derived from the Greek palíndromos, meaning running back again (palín = AGAIN + drom-, drameîn = RUN). A palindrome is a word or phrase which reads the same in both directions. Some simple examples are:




Weird Al Yankovic's song "Bob" - It's an ultimate Palindrome song

Every line in the lyrics is a palindrome. It can be read forward and backwards. What a great song for Backward Day.

Too Hot to Hoot:

Funny Palindrome Riddles

(Clarion books)

Go Hang a Salami! I'm a Lasagna Hog!:

and Other Palindromes


(Sunburst Books)

Get hooked talking backwards

A game for Backward Day

This is a fast-paced game that will leave the players in stitches. Players take turn pronouncing these funny-sounding backward words and shouting out the correct forward pronunciation. The first player to pronounce the forward word correctly moves forward---or backwards.

BACKWORDS SDROWKCAB A Giant Step Backwards in Board Games

It takes skill to play the piano backwards - Watch and be awed

AMBULANCE backward Humor Dark T-Shirt by CafePress

Backwards kids/adults Kids White T-Shirt by CafePress

PAUL IS DEAD Backwards Logo Women's tee Shirt in 6 Colors Small thru XXL

Write backwards in a jiffy

Convert what you write backwards in a flash HERE!

Thank you Squidoo

On Jan.31, 2012, this lens was bestowed a Purple Star Award. I wholeheartedly thank the lensmaster who nominated this lens to be worthy of this honor.

.sdrawkcab nettirw stnemmoc ruoy em evaeL - Can you read backwards?

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    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      What a unique type holiday! It sure was fun celebrating that day yesterday ... I will tell you, thinking and writing backwards was indeed challenging. And fun too!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      !yaD sdrawkcaB yppaH And congrats on your Purple Star award! I also just received a Purple Star for my Backwards Day was a great day! :) May I have permission to link to your lens from mine?

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      !!sdrawkcab etirw ot tseuq a fo trap si sihT !ratS elpruP uoy no snoitalutargnoC !snel eciN

      To celebrate backwards day!!

    • profile image

      VTsquared 5 years ago

      !gnitanicsaf si icnivaD tuoba tib tahT

    • pacrapacma lm profile image

      pacrapacma lm 5 years ago

      !rats elprup ruoy no stargnoC

      I think I did this right. There's a quest to write a backwards comment.

      Congrats on your purple star!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      @Sabre1000: Thanks for the cool idea about adding Weird AL Yankovic' "BOB" song.

    • Sabre1000 profile image

      Sabre1000 5 years ago

      Really cool idea here.

      You might wanna add Weird Al Yankovic's "Bob" to the palindrome section.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      What a fun lens about backwards day!

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      Didn't even know this existed, I really enjoyed the backwards Piano palyers!

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 5 years ago

      Very interesting...I had no idea a 'Day' such as this existed.