strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in January

January 13 is National Rubber Ducky Day

national rubber ducky dayToday is National Rubber Ducky Day, also known as Rubber Duckie Day. It is always celebrated on January 13th. While we could find no official birth certificate, we discovered some cool facts about the classic bath toy.

In the late 19th century, the burgeoning rubber industry introduced rubber tires, bouncy balls and all manner of molded items. The first rubber duck–a decoy, not a toy–was patented by George Nye on October 26, 1886.

The first patent for a rubber duck toy was issued on May 8, 1928, to L.L. Smart. It was weighted so when it was tipped, it would return to its upright position.

During World Wars I and II, rubber became a valuable commodity, subject to rationing.  Manufacturers began to make rubber duckies of cheap, readily-available vinyl plastic, but never changed the name. (“Vinyl plastic ducky” doesn’t have the same ring.)

The rubber duck as we know it was designed by Russian-American sculptor Peter Ganine, who patented the “uncapsizeable duck” on April 26, 1949, and reproduced it as a plastic floating toy.

national rubber duck day

Ganine was also known for his elaborate chess piece designs including the three-dimensional chess set featured on the Star Trek television series.

On February 25, 1970, a Muppet named Ernie on Sesame Street sang an ode to his favorite toy. “Rubber Duckie” reached 16 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

“Rubber Duckie, you’re the one. You make bathtime lots of fun. Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you.”

A shipment of 28,000 rubber ducks and other toys bound from China to Washington State went overboard in a storm on January 10, 1992.

Some floated north and became trapped in the Arctic ice pack, which slowly moves east. The trapped ducks traveled up to seven years in the ice before thawing in the North Atlantic and floating on to the eastern U.S., England, and the world. They’ve been washing ashore ever since.

Thousands are still floating today. The next time you go to the beach, you may find one waiting for you. It will have faded to white but will otherwise be ready to trade the open seas for your bathtub.

Happy National Rubber Ducky Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 13 is International Skeptics Day (or is it?)

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, still exists.
Philip K. Dick

I’m not sure how he’d feel about International Skeptics Day since there’s no evidence that it’s an official holiday anywhere. If you consider the number of skeptical organizations worldwide, almost 100 according to one source, maybe it should be.

international skeptics day

The sticklers among us might point out that Skeptics Day is also listed in some quarters as occurring on October 13.

Others might say the dearth of critical thinking calls for as many reminders of the need for skeptical inquiry as possible.

Perhaps the weirdest thing about this holiday is that we seem to need it at all.


To learn more:

  • Watch the Youtube channel of the James Randi Foundation. Many tried and failed to win Randi’s years-long Million Dollar Challenge, which promised the prize to anyone who could show proof of the paranormal. The challenge ended recently, the money unclaimed.
  • Plumb the resources of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
  • Find like-minded skeptics in your neighborhood at
  • Consult, the Web’s Google search for hoaxes and misinformation, before you forward that chain email about how the government is poisoning us all with cheese.
  • Watch an old episode of Mythbusters, a show that made testing urban legends entertaining. (After the series wrapped, it became clear that the biggest myth was that the two hosts got along.)
  • Read A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking, which is sure to help you resist that midnight infomercial, win an argument, and separate fact from fiction in almost any situation.

No matter how or when you choose to celebrate International Skeptics Day, have fun!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

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January 12 is Kiss a Ginger Day

international kiss a ginger day

Today is Kiss A Ginger Day, celebrated by kissing a redhead. (We advise you to ask permission first, especially if it’s Prince Harry; his security detail might misinterpret your enthusiasm.)

Derek Forgie created Kiss A Ginger Day on Facebook in 2009 as a “karmic counter-event” to the Kick a Ginger Facebook campaign originated in November 2008. The latter resulted in numerous assaults on redheaded kids at school.

Derek responded by declaring January 12th a holiday dedicated to showing affection  to redheads. Visit his Facebook group, pucker up (after receiving proper consent) and have a happy Kiss a Ginger Day!

If you happen to be in London, head over to the White Bear pub to celebrate with an evening of music, games, goodies and free food. The event’s only dress code requirement is “Not naked.” Drinks are discounted for all redheads including, we assume, bewigged revelers who go ginger for the evening. We’ll never tell!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 10 is Peculiar People Day

peculiar people dayToday is Peculiar People Day. The day itself is peculiar and raises several questions. We’ll try to help you answer them with our handy-dandy Peculiar People Day Quiz.

How should you celebrate?


1. Do you consider yourself peculiar? Yes [ ] No [ ]

(If you answered No, proceed directly to Question # 2.)

a. If you answered Yes, are you proud of that fact? Yes [ ] No [ ]

If Yes, just be yourself and have fun.

If No, just be yourself–you really can’t help it–but don’t make a fuss about it.

2. Do you know someone else who is peculiar? Yes [ ] No [ ]

(If you answered No, go back and answer Yes to Question #1.)

a. If you answered Yes, are you sure the person is aware of being peculiar? Yes [ ] No [ ]

(If No, you might’ve been the kid who liked to tell other kids there’s no Santa Claus.)

b. If Yes, are you certain the person won’t mind being called peculiar by an allegedly non-peculiar person? Yes [ ] No [ ]

If Yes, say nothing.

If No, say nothing.

Perhaps the most peculiar facet of this day is that it will probably not be any fun for those it “celebrates.” So this is one holiday we feel should be ignored or observed in secrecy by being kind to those who are different from ourselves. Shouldn’t that be something we do every day?

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays