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30 Fun & Obscure Holidays You Should Celebrate This Year in Ann Arbor

During 2020, we saw people all over the Ann Arbor community come together to celebrate the little things. We’re talking Christmas lights in July, massive Halloween decorations, and a plethora of fun virtual events every month that kept our spirits up during one of the most difficult years we have ever seen.

We don’t know what 2021 will hold, but we do know that we plan to make a big deal out of every holiday—even the smallest, strangest days on the calendar. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our most anticipated, obscure holidays coming up in 2021, from National Bubble Bath Day to National Take Your Plant on a Walk Day! We’ve even included a few local ways you can celebrate. Because even in the midst of a hard and unorthodox year, we can still find joy in small celebrations.

Add our list of fun holidays to your calendar and get notified each time one is coming up soon!

January 8th — National Bubble Bath Day

On a cold winter day, there’s nothing better than taking a hot bath. Luckily, there’s a whole day dedicated to doing just that! We aren’t exactly sure who created this special day—maybe they are still taking a bubble bath?—but we do know that the USA has been celebrating it for more than 20 years.

How you should celebrate: Take a bubble bath, of course! You can pick up some locally made bubble bath products at FOUND in Kerrytown.


January 18th — National Michigan Day


As proud Michiganders, we couldn’t not celebrate National Michigan Day! For years, Michigan residents have been using National Michigan Day as an opportunity to learn more about our storied history.

How you should celebrate: Many of our local museums have online resources for you to share with your family. The Yankee Air Museum has coloring sheets dedicated to Rosie the Riveter and our aviation history. And the Washtenaw County Historical Society has online exhibits that will teach your family the history of the area’s famous buildings, people and events.


January 31st — Backward Day

This “backward” holiday was created by Sarah Nicole Miller and Megan Emily Scott in 1961. They were thinking about making arts and crafts when the idea struck them. The idea got out amongst the community and on January 31st, 1962, the first Backwards Day occurred, with people all across the city doing activities backward.

How you should celebrate: Encourage your family to do things backward for a day. Try writing or reading backward; wear your shirt with the back in the front; start every meal by eating dessert; and even try walking backward!


February 7th — Send a Card to a Friend Day

National Send a Card to a Friend Day on February 7th always reminds us to send friendly cheer through the mail—and what better time than a global pandemic?

How you should celebrate: Pick up a few cards at one of our favorite gift shops in the Ann Arbor area like Rock, Paper, Scissors, Caravan Gift Shop or 16 Hands and send them to all of your friends via snail mail. Make it a family activity by letting your kiddos pick out the cards and stamps and writing a little message themselves!


February 9th — National Pizza Day

Thin crust, Chicago-style, Detroit-style, deep dish, cauliflower-crusted, gluten-free or New York-style—pizza is an all-time American favorite. In fact, did you know that over three billion pizzas are sold in the USA each year and more than 17% of all U.S. restaurants are pizzerias?

How you should celebrate: Order pizza from a local pizzeria! NeoPapalis, Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza, The Original Cottage Inn and New York Pizza Depot are just a few of our go-to spots.


March 10th — International Day of Awesomeness

The International Day of Awesomeness gives us the opportunity to celebrate every person, place, thing or idea in the world that is awesome! The idea of this holiday came from Twitter when a man named Kevin Lawver declared the need for an International Day of Awesomeness in 2007. March 10th, which is also Chuck Norris’ birthday, was chosen — and the rest is history!

How you should celebrate: Take some time today to identify things in your life that are awesome. Your family, your friends, your pets, etc. Afterward, do something you consider to be awesome: go rock climbing, kayaking or hiking, or try that new restaurant in your neighborhood that you’ve been meaning to visit! How you decide to make your day awesome is entirely up to you.


March 12th — Plant a Flower Day

Spring is almost here! Plant a Flower Day is a day dedicated to the planting of flowers and looking forward to the spring season.

How you should celebrate: Pick out a few flower plants to plant in your garden from one of Ann Arbor’s incredible plant nurseries! We just happen to have a full list of our favorites.


March 20th — Extraterrestrial Abductions Day

Michigan has quite an interesting history when it comes to UFO sightings and extraterrestrials. Some of the most famous reported UFO sightings and alleged abductions in the United States have happened right here, in Dexter, Holland, Ludington and Kalamazoo.

How you should celebrate: Pay tribute to Michigan’s E.T. history by watching science fiction stories about UFOs and abductions! You can even look into alleged sightings in Washtenaw County by exploring the online archives at the Ann Arbor District Library.


April 17th — National Record Store Day


Photo courtesy of Waxbar

Founded in 2007 by a gathering of independent record store owners, the first-ever National Record Store Day included Metallica meeting fans at Rasputin Music in San Francisco. Since then, the celebration spread globally, encompassing all genres of music and fandom.

How you should celebrate: Ann Arbor is home to several incredible record stores you can (and should!) support on National Record Store Day! Encore Records, Wazoo Records, Underground Sounds, a2vintage, and Waxbar in Ypsilanti are just some of our favorites.


April 30th — Arbor Day

Since we live in beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan, it’s not surprising that we would be huge fans of Arbor Day, a holiday that was invented in 1872 by a farmer in Nebraska City to celebrate the planting of trees. Today, Ann Arbor is known to many as “Tree Town” due to our Ann Arbor Champion Trees program which has caused over 1.45 million trees to be planted in the area since 1995.

How you should celebrate: There are so many ways to celebrate trees on Arbor Day in Ann Arbor! Plant your own tree, explore one of A2’s many parks, or simply read a book about trees with your kids to explain their importance.


May 9th — Lost Sock Memorial Day

Lost Sock Memorial Day is a time to say “goodbye” to all of the socks that have gone missing over the past year. While many of us hold on to single socks, hoping that one day their mates will come home, this holiday encourages us to let them go and move on.

How you should celebrate: Take today to clean out all your left behind socks! While you could always donate them or throw them away it would be much more fun to make sock puppets, turn them into dust rags, make them into chew toys for pets, use them for cornhole, or other fun crafts and activities.


May 26th — World Otter Day


World Otter Day was created in 2014 by the International Otter Survival Fund in the United Kingdom to help spread awareness about otters and their waning population throughout the world.

How you should celebrate: Did you know that there are actually some river otters living in the Huron River? Head to Gallup Park or the Barton Nature Area and settle in to observe the river. You may see everything from deer and great blue heron to minks and river otters! Afterward, spend some time learning about habitat degradation, oil spills and the impact of fishing nets and their negative impact on the otter population.


May 28th — National Road Trip Day

In 2019, Pilot Flying J, the largest travel center operator in North America, founded National Road Trip Day, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, to officially kick off the unofficial first day of the summer travel season.

How you should celebrate: Hop in the car and go on an adventure! Here’s a list of our favorite scenic drives around Ann Arbor for inspiration.


June 3rd — World Bicycle Day

In April of 2018, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 3rd as International World Bicycle Day, encouraging citizens across the globe to ride their bicycles instead of using their cars for a day.

How you should celebrate: Ride your bike, of course! If you don’t have a bike yet, visit one of Ann Arbor’s many bike shops like Motor City Bicycle, Sic Transit Cycles, Wheels in Motion, D&D Bicycles and the Campus Student Bike Shop on the Michigan University campus.


June 24th — International Fairy Day

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Fantasy, imagination and a little bit of pixie dust come together on June 24th every year in honor of International Fairy Day. These tiny supernatural creatures have captivated myth and legend for generations.

How you should celebrate: Ann Arbor just happens to have a few fairies living among us, downtown! Fairy doors have been popping up all over Ann Arbor in various locations for as long as we can remember. You can find these charming, artistic, miniature doors at The Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor District Library, The Ark, Nicola’s Books and at least four other documented locations in town. Check out the map here and see if you can find them all today!


July 1st — International Joke Day

While April Fools Day on April 1st is about pulling a prank on friends and family—International Joke Day is about getting them to crack a smile with a joke!

How you should celebrate: There are a lot of ways to celebrate International Joke Day. The first is to support local live comedy by attending a show at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase (depending on COVID-19, of course). You could also take an online improv class at Pointless Brewery & Theatre! For little ones, celebrating this funny holiday is as simple as learning a new joke from a joke book, spending the day talking in puns, or watching a funny TV show.


July 13th — National French Fries Day

French fries, also known as chips, fries, finger chips, or French-fried potatoes, are delicious slivers of deep-fried potatoes. No matter what we call them, they’re common fixtures at fast-food restaurants and are beloved by all ages!

How you should celebrate: Ann Arbor has some amazing restaurants serving up some of the best French fries you’ll ever eat. The crispy potatoes at Frita Batidos, Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger and Fleetwood Diner and the truffle fries at Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery are just some of our favorites in the area!


July 27th — Take Your Plants for a Walk Day

For many, houseplants have become part of the family. But while pet owners are able to spend quality time with their pets on walks throughout the day, plant owners have to limit their special time with their plant buddies to just watering and feeding once or twice a week. Luckily, Take Your Plants for a Walk Day occurs every year on July 27th! This gives plant owners a chance to enjoy that time-honored tradition so many dog owners perform every day.

How you should celebrate: Load your favorite houseplants on to a dolly or cart and take it on a walk through Ann Arbor! While you may get some weird looks, nothing will compare to the joy of finally being able to be out and about with your potted greenery.


August 8th — International Cat Day


International Cat Day is an entire day dedicated to our feline pals to help raise awareness about the many homeless and abandoned cats throughout the world.

How you should celebrate: The best way to celebrate International Cat Day would be to adopt your own kitty! But if that isn’t in the cards right now, you can still help out local felines by volunteering at the Humane Society of Huron Valley or visiting Ann Arbor’s own cat cafe: Tiny Lion’s Cat Cafe. You can also take this as an opportunity to spoil your own kitty cat by buying them a new toy, some new treats or just spending some extra time with them today!


August 26th — National Dog Day

If you’re more of a dog person, don’t miss National Dog Day later in August! This holiday was founded in 2004 by several dog organizations and animal rescue advocates. The goal of National Dog Day is to help people recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year.

How you should celebrate: Just like with International Cat Day, the best way to celebrate National Dog Day is by adopting a dog! You can visit the Humane Society of Huron Valley’s website to see what pups are currently available. If you already have too many furry friends in your home, spend the day giving them a little extra love with longer walks, more treats and tons of scratches.


September 6th — Read a Book Day

While National Read a Book Day is believed to have originated in the U.S., other details of the day’s history are unclear. What is clear, though, is Americans’ love for books! And because many of us don’t spend as much time reading as we would like, today is the perfect opportunity to set aside a little time to catch up on our “to-read” list.

How you should celebrate: Pick up a good book from one of our many amazing book stores in Ann Arbor and spend the whole day reading! Here’s a list of our favorite books by Michigan authors if you’re looking for some reading inspiration.


September 19th — Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate Day was created in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers of Albany, Oregon who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.

How you should celebrate: Spend the entire day talking as much like a pirate as possible! Greet friends not with “Hello!” but with “Ahoy, maties.” Here’s an entire list of pirate phrases you can try to incorporate into your vocabulary during this special — and strange — holiday.


October 5th — Do Something Nice Day


Of course, it would be ideal if everyone lived their lives doing kind things for others on a daily basis, but busy lives and schedules often get in the way. Do Something Nice Day is a great opportunity to spend the day being kind to neighbors, friends and strangers as you go about your day!

How you should celebrate: Do something nice! That something can be anything from buying a cup of coffee for someone in line at the coffee shop to giving a compliment to your tired grocery store clerk. Kids can participate by brainstorming ways to be kind to friends and neighbors! Write a kind note for someone, leave a batch of cookies on your neighbor’s doorstep, or go on a long walk, picking up trash throughout your neighborhood.


October 17th — National Pasta Day

If there was ever a national day we could get behind, its National Pasta Day! While we find noodles all over the world, pasta is a type of noodle of traditional Italian cuisine. The first reference dates to 1154 in Sicily and was first attested to in English in 1874. Typically, it is made from an unleavened dough of durum wheat flour. The flour is mixed with water or eggs and formed into sheets or various shapes. It can then be served fresh or dried to be stored for later use.

How you should celebrate: Explore the world of pasta—locally, of course! Palio, Paesano Restaurant & Wine Bar, Mani Osteria and Bar, Gratzi and The Original Cottage Inn all have unbelievably good pasta that will definitely hit the spot.


October 25th — International Artist’s Day

International Artist’s Day on October 25th honors artists and all the contributions they make. The day also celebrates one of the most famous artists, Pablo Picasso, who was born on October 25th, 1881.

How you should celebrate: Spend the day exploring Ann Arbor’s thriving art scene! Visit one of our many local art galleries. Or, if you’d rather make some of your own art, head to the Ann Arbor Art Center for one of their many classes in a variety of art subjects, like pottery, painting, jewelry making and more!


November 3rd — National Sandwich Day

Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Deli

The sandwich is believed to be the namesake of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, following the claim that he was the inventor of the sandwich. No matter who invented it, we celebrate every kind of sandwich on National Sandwich Day!

How you should celebrate: Ann Arbor is pretty famous for its sandwiches, particularly all the selections from the iconic Zingerman’s Deli. If you’ve never tried a Zingerman’s ‘wich, today is your chance! Stop in, order from their vast list of handcrafted sandwiches and get your grub on.


November 17th — Take a Hike Day

Grab your boots, trail mix, and some water, because on November 17, it’s National Take a Hike Day! This holiday encourages us to get outside and take advantage of the stunning natural beauty right in our own backyards.

How you should celebrate: Get lost! No, really—take the day to explore some of Ann Arbor’s many hiking trails. Here’s a list of the 17 Best Places to Go Hiking Near Ann Arbor, if you’re looking for recommendations.


November 21st — World Hello Day

World Hello Day, on November 21st, recognizes the role communication plays for preserving peace. The day also encourages world leaders to use communication rather than force to settle conflicts.

How you should celebrate: Challenge your family to say “Hello” to at least 10 people today. Don’t just reserve this word for co-workers, friends and family members! You can also say it to strangers. Who knows? Maybe saying hello will even help you make a new friend.


December 7 — National Cotton Candy Day

Did you know that cotton candy, or fairy floss, dates back to the 1400s? Originally called spun sugar, cotton candy is still a staple at carnivals, fairs and the circus.

How you should celebrate: There are plenty of spots to get “fairy floss” in Ann Arbor! Floating Cotton Candy, a local cotton candy catering company spins cotton candy into massive balls settled on sticks in a variety of flavors. You can also pick some up at Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory. And if the sticky, fluffy sweet treat isn’t for you, you can also try the cotton candy-flavored ice cream at Washtenaw Dairy!


December 20th — Go Caroling Day

While Go Caroling Day was much more popular a few decades ago, Christmas caroling remains popular in many areas among scouts, church groups, youth groups and even at family parties.

How you should celebrate: Put together your very own caroling group this year and go door to door singing your favorite holiday tunes. It may take a little planning but we promise the joy you’ll see on faces when they hear your group singing, will make it well worth it!


Have a great year!

Which of these odd holidays are you planning on celebrating this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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