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Published: Friday, 11/28/2003

Some holidays made to order

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Dot Your I s With Smileys Day.

Pick a Pathologist Pal Day.

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day.

People tired of Thanksgiving turkeys or already omnipresent Christmas decorations can choose to celebrate many other dates in the next few weeks.

Sinkie Day, a day to eat over the kitchen sink, and You re Welcomegiving Day are two of many holidays created by individuals. Both are observed the day after Thanksgiving.

Ann Arbor resident Richard Ankli created You re Welcomegiving Day about 10 years ago.

“It seemed that it s kind of a holiday, but it never had any name to it,” he said.

Mr. Ankli, a retired nurse at the University of Michigan s University Hospital, has created three other holidays. They include the warm weather celebration May Ray Day on May 19, his brother Ray s birthday, and Sourest Day on Oct. 25, a friend s birthday. It emphasizes the balance of things in nature.

“It s kind of near Sweetest Day,” Mr. Ankli said.

He said each of his holidays is “a sort of state-of-mind holiday” that makes people chuckle when they think about it.

When he lived in a house full of U of M graduate students, he threw parties on those days, but otherwise the holidays aren t really celebrated.

“There s no parade or anything,” he said.

Mr. Ankli s holidays are among the 12,000 entries in Chase s Calendar of Events, a nearly 800-page, 1.5-inch-thick tome that lists everything from historical commemorations, anniversaries of famous births and deaths, and holidays traditional and new.

The book has an entry form in the back, and the publisher, McGraw-Hill, has an online submission form on its Web site.

“They don t really ask for your credentials,” Mr. Ankli said.

They do require all celebrations to list contact information, Holly McGuire, Chase s editor-in-chief, said.

“In a way, that shows how serious you are,” she said.

Many entries are for dates that have been celebrated on a small scale. If people have gathered in a local bar for five years to celebrate, there must be some interest in the day, she said.

“People are actually celebrating these strange holidays,” Ms. McGuire said.

Chase s gets about 20 submissions a day from March through August. That number includes anniversaries, serious holidays, and events, as well as the unusual celebrations like National Whiners Day, Dec. 26.

The editors reject entries that duplicate celebrations they already have, and they won t include a few things, like celebrations of bodily functions, because of content.

“I m always amazed at what people send in and want to celebrate,” Ms. McGuire said.

Those who can t celebrate days like Bathtub Party Day, Dec. 5, with family or friends in person can send free online greeting cards. (Electronic Greetings Day is Nov. 29.)

Berkey resident Toni Talley, shopping at Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park last week, said there s an electronic greeting for any day of the year.

She s sent electronic greetings for unusual holidays, including a Nut Day, she said.

But she said she doesn t really celebrate the dates or go looking for a particular card.

“I have sent them only because I was going to contact that person anyway,” she said.

That s exactly what electronic greetings are for, Rochelle Lulow, senior editorial manager at American Greetings, said.

Electronic cards give people a chance to celebrate anywhere, anytime, she said.

The Cleveland company s Web site has a Celebrate the Date category that offers cards for National Espresso Day, Nov. 24, Cut the Cheese Day, Dec. 10, and Gravity Day, Dec. 25, among others.

“We feel as though celebration goes on all the time. There s always something to celebrate,” Ms. Lulow said.

Many online cards commemorate made-up events, though most of the Celebrate the Date cards came from some historical background or offbeat fact, Ms. Lulow said.

“It s like a trivia thing,” she said.

One bit of holiday trivia: Many people suspect Sweetest Day, the third Saturday in October, was created by greeting card companies.

“It s another Hallmark excuse to get cards,” Franklin Park shopper Amy Vigil said.

But Hallmark said it was invented by Herbert Birch Kingston, an employee at a Cleveland candy company around 1922.

He gave candy and small gifts to orphans and shut-ins to show them that they were not forgotten, Hallmark spokesman Rachel Bolton said.

Other candy companies are probably responsible for dates like National Candy Cane Day on Dec. 26, said Susan Fussell, spokesman for the National Confectioners Association and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association.

She sifted through food calendars to compile a list of candy and chocolate celebrations. Some, like National Chocolate Day on Dec. 28, Dec. 29, and Oct. 28, are listed more than once.

Because the days aren t very official, people could create a chocolate day without knowing one already existed, Ms. Fussell said.

And there s always room on the calendar for more quirky holidays. Make Up Your Own Holiday Day is March 26.



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