If you’re in Hollywood Studios, and in the right place at the right time, you might come across a group of enthusiastic people dressed like they just stepped off of a movie set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. They are the Citizens of Hollywood, and they provide improvisational comedy everywhere from the entrance of the park on Hollywood Boulevard to the courtyard surrounding the Tower of Terror.
Though their shticks vary widely, from movie rehearsals to radio game shows, one of my favorite bits of theirs is the “National Day Parade.” In this sketch, some of the Citizens park their truck on Sunset Boulevard, set up some folding chairs, and declare that they are there to report on the “National ________ Day Parade” – and the blank is always filled with whatever “national day” it is. One time I saw them, it was apparently “national dumpling day” – September 26, as a matter of fact. (The shtick involved the Citizens commenting on everyone who walked past them as if they were a group marching in the parade. I laughed a lot!)
This got me thinking – is every day a national holiday of some kind? Apparently the answer is yes, or at least most of them are, according to a website appropriately called NationalDayCalendar.com. Some days are even the national day of more than one thing at a time! For example, January 2nd is “National Buffet Day,” “National Cream Puff Day” (yum), “National Science Fiction Day,” and “National Personal Trainer Awareness Day.” January 9th is “National Apricot Day” and “National Static Electricity Day.” And January 16th, hilariously, is “National Nothing Day.”
Apparently National Nothing Day was proposed by a columnist named Harold Pullman Coffin in 1972. Its purpose? “To provide Americans with one National day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything.”
I would call it “National Irony Day,” but apparently that’s not until October 12th.
When I stumbled across this holiday fun fact, I felt inclined to say that we don’t need a special day to avoid celebrating, observing, or honoring anything. All we have to do is just not celebrate all of the thousands of “national days” crammed into our mere 365-day-long calendar, right?
But as soon as I thought it, I realized that I might be wrong. Even if we don’t observe all of the myriad holidays that this website promotes and on which the Citizens of Hollywood host a parade, it is nigh impossible to have a day in which we don’t celebrate, observe, or honor anything.
I’ve spoken before about the importance of celebrating ourselves and the people around us, simply as a necessary part of enjoying life. And every day, we observe moments, routines, and people that are important to us, and we honor our values and principles by acting in ways that adhere to them. Even just sitting on a couch and watching a TV show you like is an act of observance – both in the literal sense of observing a show and in the more poetic sense of observing your need to relax and have a good time!
I don’t think we “need” National Nothing Day, because we don’t need to avoid celebrating, observing, and honoring the world. But perhaps this odd little holiday could serve as a reminder that we do in fact celebrate, observe, and honor people, actions, and things every single day.