strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in January

January 26 is Lotus 1-2-3 Day

Today is Lotus 1-2-3 Day, when we celebrate the original “killer app.” On January 26, 1983, Lotus Development Corporation released the application for the IBM PC,  named for its three-pronged functionality: as a spreadsheet, graphics package and database manager.

Co-founder Mitch Kapor named the company after a yoga position. A child of the Sixties, he studied Eastern religions, taught transcendental meditation and spent time as a disc jockey and a standup comic before “finding himself” as a software developer.

lotus 1-2-3 day

The rest, as they say, is history. Sales of Lotus 1-2-3 quickly surpassed those of VisiCalc, its chief competitor and Kapor’s former employer. Lotus was well-known for its philanthropy and progressive corporate culture.

In July 1995, IBM executed a hostile takeover and gradually absorbed Lotus. In March 2013, IBM officially retired the brand name but not before Lotus earned a permanent place in computer history.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

National Opposite Day

national opposite dayToday is National Opposite Day. Then again, maybe not. Many sources quote many other sources that claim it occurs on January 25th each year. We would never repeat such a vague assertion.

On August 27, 1927, U.S. president Calvin Coolidge, at his vacation residence in the Black Hills of South Dakota, handed his secretary, Everett Sanders, a slip of paper that read, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.”

To avoid crashing the East Coast stock market, Coolidge delayed his daily press conference until midday. According to historian David Greenberg’s biography of the 30th president, at 11:30 am, Coolidge cut out strips of paper with his statement on it and handed one to each reporter.

Without providing any further information, Coolidge remarked, “There will be nothing more from this office today.” (We read that book ourselves and didn’t grab the reference from the bibliography of a Wikipedia page.)

Oddly, the journalists in the Black Hills press pool found the president’s choice of words and delivery confusing. In the following months, the media fueled speculation that Coolidge meant the opposite and intended to run.

He didn’t, which some say makes Coolidge the father of National Opposite Day. We don’t believe it. He did the opposite of the opposite. Isn’t that the same?

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 23 is National Handwriting Day

national handwriting day

Today is National Handwriting Day, created in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association to remind us of the increasingly lost art of cursive writing and, we presume, to sell a few pens.

This unofficial holiday takes place on the birthday of John Hancock. Hancock (January 23, 1737 – October 8, 1793) served as president of the Second Continental Congress, a convention of delegates from the thirteen British colonies that began to meet in 1775 and declared the American Revolutionary War.

national handwriting day

He is remembered for his large, stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that his name has become a generic term, like Band-Aids, Scotch tape, Q-tips, or Frisbees. (“Put your John Hancock on this.”)

Put pen to paper today and rediscover the flow of writing longhand. Even if it’s just a grocery list, make it the most beautiful you’ve ever seen. Better yet, write a poem, love letter, story, script or that book you’ve had in your head for years.

Happy Handwriting Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 21 is National Hugging Day

Today is National Hugging Day. The holiday was created in 1986 by Reverend Kevin Zaborney, whose National Whiner’s Day is a favorite here at Worldwide Weird Holidays.

Hugs make us happy, help relieve stress, and communicate affection without saying a word. National Hugging Day’s official website recommends asking for permission first.

National Hugging Day has gained worldwide popularity and is celebrated in countries including Canada, England, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Bulgaria and Guam. In light of this, many suggest changing the holiday’s name to International Hugging Day.

Each year, Reverend Zaborney singles out a champion hugger for praise. His award for the Most Huggable Person of 2016 went to Tim Harris.

national hugging day

Tim Harris is a Special Olympian with Down Syndrome. (He happened to turn 30 years old on January 21, 2016.) Until recently, he owned Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, NM where, he said, “The most sought after item is one that never gets cold, is sweet but not too sweet, guilt-free, calorie-free, and guaranteed to brighten your day…a free hug from Tim himself. Our concept is breakfast, lunch and hugs seven days a week!”

Tim hosted his first Hug-A-Thon in 2014. He hugged more than 1,000 people and raised $6,000 for non-profit Firefighters Random Acts. (He also hugged a certain world leader that year.)

national hugging day

In 2015, he hugged more than 2,000 people and raised $13,000 in donations. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and get hugging!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays