National Food Days: An American Tradition


12 August, 2017

If you look on the Internet, you will see that almost every day of the year celebrates some kind of food.

These "holidays" have become very popular across the United States. They often are trending stories on Twitter, and described in the U.S. media. They give people a chance to enjoy something they might not eat normally, like National Onion Ring Day, for example.

Food holidays also give restaurants and other businesses a chance to promote their products.

National Oreo Cookie Day is March 6.
National Oreo Cookie Day is March 6.

But where did these distinctly American "holidays" come from?

Many are the invention of an Alabama man, John-Bryan Hopkins. He writes about food for his Foodimentary.com website.

Hopkins told Time magazine that when he began his site in 2006, there were only 175 "holidays." "I filled in the rest," he said.

Some of his favorites are National Oreo Cookie Day on March 6 and National Tater Tot Day on February 2.

The National Day Calendar has a list of all the different food and non-food related "holidays." In the past, the website used to let anyone create their own day -- for a price. But now, the site only accepts requests from businesses and other organizations.

While some food "holidays" are indeed made-up, many have historical roots.

For example, National Beer Day on April 7 marks the end of a U.S. ban on the production, transport, import and sale of alcoholic drinks. The ban lasted from 1920 until 1933.

The Salvation Army, a Christian group, launched U.S. National Doughnut Day on June 1, 1938. It was meant to honor women who served soldiers doughnuts during World War I.

But not everyone likes food holidays.

Bethany Jean Clement is a food writer for the Seattle Times newspaper. She wrote, "I get that some people might be excited by, say, National Doughnut Day. But you really can have a doughnut any day you want!"

Tavi Juarez, also of Foodimentary.com, thinks national food holidays are here to stay. She told the Seattle Times, "In my humble opinion, I believe that food holidays will continue to grow in popularity online because there's a lot of negativity out there. Why not choose to celebrate food instead?"

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Matt Hilburn wrote this story for VOANews. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in this Story

distinctly adv. different in a way that you can see, hear, smell or feel; noticeably different

made–up - adj. created from the imagination; not true or real

promote v. to make people recognize something, such as a new product through advertising; to make something more popular or well-known

online – adj. of or relating to a computer or computer systems

negatively – adj. in a way that is not desirable