Shropshire Star

All in a day’s awareness

There’s a day to acknowledge every occasion from birthdays and Christmas to stress and walking to work. Louise Rouvray calls it a day. . .

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Happy days – celebrate all sorts of occasions

Have a Google and you can bet your life today will be a holiday. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean you can skip off work and celebrate, no we’re talking about the bottomless pit of ‘made-up’ dates – from National Underwear Day to Hairstyle Appreciation Day, the calendar is jam-packed with weird, wacky special dates.

Turns out Mother’s Day and Pancake Day are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a day for everything now. National Macaroon Day, No Dirty Dishes Day, National Kissing Day – you name it, it exists.

It’s like Christmas for companies and brands looking to push their products. No doubt bosses are rubbing their hands with glee as National Beer Day/Coffee Day/Chocolate Day/Eat What You Want Day etc comes creeping up, with pubs, chains, restaurants and businesses jumping on the bandwagon, flooding Twitter and Facebook with hashtags and promotions.

Between Easter, Halloween and the plethora of National (fill-in-the-blank) Days, you may want to scream as the umpteenth marketing email pings into your inbox, but some of these holidays have surprising back stories.

National Doughnut Day (held on the first Friday of June) was founded in 1938 by the Salvation Army in Chicago to honour the ‘Doughnut Girls’ who gave homesick soldiers the sugary treats in France during the First World War. While Lammas Day, which falls at the halfway point between the summer Solstice and Autumn September Equinox, marks the first harvest festival of the year and originated in Anglo-Saxon England.

So while we may feel the need to take a holiday from all these holidays, they aren’t all meaningless after all, and some have very positive messages behind them.

April is apparently Stress Awareness month, so for those getting twitchy eyes and failing miserably at keeping calm and carrying on, this holiday focuses on the modern day stress epidemic and how to stop you cracking under the pressure.

Instead of waiting for your inner Hulk to burst out, use this month to talk about what’s stressing you out – don’t consider yourself a burden, your friends, family and colleagues will be pleased you’re letting it all out rather than buckling under the weight.

Held every April since 1992, this month is a chance to be open, nice to others who are also feeling anxious and most importantly to look after yourself – have a bubble bath, enjoy that hot chocolate on the sofa, write that list – find your coping mechanism and use it.

Turns out Walk to Work Day also falls in April. Held on the first Friday of the month, the movement aims to raise awareness about how being sedentary affects our health. Whether you walk to your workplace, or simply take a stroll at lunch – this is a chance to appreciate the things we usually miss out on, like the feel of wind on our skin or simply the sounds of the city around us.

Then, of course, you have the other end of the spectrum – for those who have spent months sweating off the winter weight gain, International No Diet Day couldn’t come quicker. Held on May 6, the day is an annual celebration of body acceptance and raises awareness of the potential dangers of dieting.

First started in the UK in 1992, the movement even has its own symbol – a light blue ribbon.

Similar days sponsored by worldwide organisations have since sprung up – International Size Acceptance Day on April 24 encourages people to embrace their bodies and supports the idea of one size does not fit all.

Often these holidays were created by individuals passionate about a particular subject (National Marzipan Day anyone?). They range from the absurd (Talk Like a Pirate Day) and playful (National Puppy Day) to the obscure (National Towel Day) and ridiculous (Lost Sock Memorial Day).

But they can also draw attention to important issues and help raise funds for vital causes – World Aids Awareness Day, World Cancer Day, Red Nose Day, to name a few.

Whether they’re designed to raise awareness or simply make us smile, the world is a very serious place right now, so why not keep celebrating?