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May 6 is No Pants Day

no pants dayToday is No Pants Day, a holiday invented in the late 1990s by several University of Texas at Austin students. Calling themselves the Knighthood of Buh, the group claimed to have revived the ancient “contradictory” faith of Discordianism.

According to its Wikia page, “Discordianism recognizes chaos, discord, and dissent as valid and desirable qualities, in contrast with most religions, which idealize harmony and order.” The knights reasoned that the best expression of their belief would be to wear no pants on the first Friday in May.

In 2000, adherents began to spread the word and No Pants Day quickly became popular on other campuses. It inspired group ImprovEverywhere to stage its first No Pants Subway Ride in New York City two years later. The first World Naked Bike Ride took place in 2004. (Check here for upcoming clothing-optional rides in your area.)

So is Discordianism for real? The fifth and final commandment is this: “A Discordian is Prohibited from Believing What he reads.” So, yes and no.

Happy No Pants Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

April 4 is World Rat Day

Today is World Rat Day. Back in 2002, members of the ratlist—the longest-standing mailing list about rats on the Internet—proposed the creation of a holiday to raise awareness of rats’ intelligence, affectionate natures and other qualities that make them excellent pets.world rat dayThe ratlist, which boasts over 2,300 members, has served as a meeting place and clearinghouse for pet care information since 1995. Current custodians James Kittock and Robyn Arthur took over the group on April 4th, making it the perfect choice for World Rat Day.

How should you celebrate? The World Rat Day site has a few suggestions: send greeting cards to fellow rat lovers around the globe. Hold get-togethers called Ratfests, as private parties or public events. Invite the media to attend, address the prejudice against these animals and encourage positive coverage in print and on television.

Or you could just make this a special day for you and your pets by giving them fun gifts and tasty treats. Take photos and videos. Post your favorites here or links to YouTube. Have a happy World Rat Day!

More rat-related celebrations:
January 30 is American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day

st patrick's day

St. Patrick

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the rare religious holiday that everybody celebrates. Everybody.

It’s believed he was born in Roman-ruled Britain in 385 AD. At age sixteen, he was kidnapped by marauders who took him to Ireland and sold him into slavery. Several years later, Patrick had a religious experience in which God told him to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. When he got back, he became a priest.

Later, he returned to Ireland as a missionary and carried a shamrock, which has three leaves, to help explain the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. He may have used it to appeal to pagans who worshiped nature or believed in triple deities. One thing is certain: the four-leaf clover has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day.

Patrick is said to have converted thousands. The story that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland probably refers to his efforts to rid the country of Druids, members of a religious sect who were often labeled as sorcerers. There have never been any snakes in Ireland, except for those in zoos.

Patrick died of natural causes on March 17, 461. Today, people around the world will celebrate the 1,555th anniversary of his death. The rules governing Lent–prayer, fasting, penance, etc.–are lifted today, which may help explain why St. Patrick’s Day has become associated with parades and parties and drinking to excess.

St. Patrick isn’t officially a saint. The Roman Catholic Church had no canonization process in place at the time. Still, by sheer force of numbers, he is celebrated more than any other saint. His appeal has grown far beyond that of a religious icon; he is a cultural superstar. So raise a glass, sing an Irish Rovers tune at the top of your lungs and, whatever you do, have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

March 5 is St. Piran’s Day

Today is St. Piran’s Day, which honors the death of the patron saint of Cornish tin miners. According to legend, Saint Piran was born in Ireland in the fifth century, traveled to Rome to study the scriptures and was made a bishop upon his return.

st piran's day

The miracles he performed, such as raising soldiers from the dead, caused alarm and bought him a one-way ticket off a cliff with a millstone tied around his neck.

He didn’t sink into the sea but floated upon it to Perran Beach in Cornwall, where he built a chapel among the sand dunes. People from miles around flocked to hear him preach and witness his miracles.

It’s said that he discovered tin in Cornwall when a black stone upon which he’d built a fire leaked white fluid. The Cornish flag of St. Piran pays tribute to this story with its white cross on a black background, signifying tin flowing from the stone and good conquering evil.

st piran's day

According to Reverend William Haslam’s 1844 book, Perran-Zabuloe: With an Account of the Past and Present State of the Oratory of St. Piran in the Sands:

At length…worn out with age and infirmity, St. Piran called his followers around him, and, having addressed them for the last time, desired a grave to be prepared. He then took leave of them, and, descending into it with calmness, his spirit departed on the 5th day of March, about 480.

There is also a folktale that St. Piran’s body was exhumed and chopped up into pieces that were sent to churches for their reliquaries. Other accounts say he lived over 200 years, liked to drink and died by falling down a well. We have been unable to confirm or refute any of these stories.

A highlight of the St. Piran’s Day festivities is the World Pasty Championships. A traditional Cornish pasty is solely composed of beef, potatoes, turnips, onion and seasoning covered in a pastry crust which is crimped on the end and baked. Variations will be allowed during the competition.

Eden Project, an educational charity sponsoring the contest, has devised this Google map of pasty-related noshes around the globe.

The Cornish Pasty Association reports that the pasty became popular with miners in the 1800s. Tinners had no break to come to the surface so their wives had to make something that could easily be carried, held and eaten in the depths of a mine. Some say the crimped edge acted as a handhold, thrown out to prevent fingers covered with poisons like arsenic from contaminating the food. Others argue that pasties were wrapped in muslin or paper so that every bit could be eaten.

This day will culminate in the second annual Trelawney Shout. At 9 pm in pubs across Cornwall, participants will sing the Cornish anthem, The Song of the Western Men, written in 1824 by Robert Stephen Hawker. Brush up on the lyrics and raise a glass to St. Piran and the men and women of Cronwall.

Happy St. Piran’s Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays