MLB Opening Day Could Become a National Holiday, But These 7 Public Holidays Are Weirder
Sign us up. Ozzie Smith, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, is petitioning the White House to get MLB Opening Day declared a national holiday. The former St. Louis Cardinal's shortstop has been joined in his quest by beer giant Budweiser, which intends to launch ads for the petition on MLB.com and ESPN.com. For a shot of their dream coming true, they need to get 100,000 signatures on their petition by March 31st.
Of course, we're already bombarded with calls to celebrate unofficial days all the time. For example, daysoftheyear.com says that Tuesday is "Clam Chowder Day." And if you wondered, Wednesday is "For Pete's Sake Day."
"If there's a Pete in your life, why not do something for his sake?" the website advises. We'll bear that in mind.
The MLB Opening Day isn't all that likely to succeed, but if it does, it sure wouldn't be the weirdest one out there. Here are seven of the best from around the world...
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY
Yes, we said Peeing Day. Believe it or not, this is actually in remembrance of the Revolutionary War. It’s said that after the Americans ousted the British general Charles Mawhood, they peed all over his troops.
Apparently, Princeton students like to recreate this battle on the second Saturday in March.
Monkey Buffet Festival
LOPBURI PROVINCE, THAILAND
Tourists flock to this region, just north of Bangkok, to see the macaques that hang out around the ancient temples and ruins. To give thanks to the monkeys, in the last week of November the city holds a “monkey buffet,” laying out giant buffet tables with everything these macaques find delicious, from fresh fruit and vegetables to cans of soda.
The festival also includes performances and activities to celebrate said monkeys.
On the second Sunday of August, Turkmenistan has a national day to celebrate the muskmelon. Then-President Saparmurat Niyazov, who preferred to be known as Turkmenbashi (leader of the Turkmens) established the holiday in 1994.
On this day, the Turkmens particularly honor the Turkmenbashi melon, a muskmelon crossbreed named after the leader. Turkmenistan muskmelons are put on display, and in the capital of Ashgabat, dances and music are performed.
Translated as “The Festival of the Steel Phallus,” this Shinto festival held on the first Sunday in April is a celebration of and prayer for fertility. Legend has it, in the 1600s, Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki was frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for protection from venereal disease.
Locals and tourists attend the festival in droves, where they can buy, among other things, penis hats and penis-shaped candy as they watch the procession of giant penis statues.
We’ve all seen this one on TV: La Tomatina is the world’s biggest food fight. The ammunition? Super-ripe tomatoes. Last year, the city had to introduce ticketing for the first time, because so many people were turning up to the event.
This year, 20,000 lucky people will be able to take part in the festivities, held during August, and they could end up paying up to €750 (about $1,000) for the privilege.
The Melbourne Cup
If MLB Opening Day were to exist, it wouldn’t be the first national day in honor of a sporting event. Since 1877, Melbourne residents have taken a day off to watch the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s most famous horse races. As all residents in the state of Victoria are entitled to the same number of public holidays, the rest of the state usually takes the day off too.
CASTRILLO DE MURCIA, SPAIN
Well, this is one public holiday that should probably be confined to the history books. To celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi, all of the babies that have been born in the previous year in Castrillo de Murcia are laid out on mattresses in the street, and a man representing the devil jumps over them.
This tradition, dating back to 1621, is supposed to take evil away from the babies. Apparently there are no reports of injuries from the festival, but it’s still incredibly risky.