Spoiler alert, these aren't official holidays!
As the years go by, different occasions seem to be popping up on a regular basis. It seems like there's a designated day for everything now!
You may have heard of some of them, others… not so much. But it doesn't mean they aren't worth celebrating!
Sure, Valentine’s Day gets most of the attention. It's the most advertised, gets the most restaurant bookings, has the largest number of gift selections... you get the idea.
The point is, there are heaps of other fantastic celebrations worth acknowledging. Some come from other cultures and some were created by individuals then made popular!
As human beings, we've developed our own unique ways of honouring special occasions. Lucky for you, you're invited to celebrate them!
Single’s Day (11th November)
As the name suggests, Single's Day began as a day for all single people. Why the 11th of November? It's because of how it resembles four solitary bare sticks numerically (1 1 1 1 aka 4 singles).
If you're an avid shopper, you would know that Single's Day is also one of the most "marked-on-calendar" kind of date for every shopper ever since it was adopted by e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Little did we know how big its impact would be. Although it was a Chinese holiday, it's become a worldwide shopping holiday. Taylor Swift even performed at Alibaba's 11.11 Countdown Gala!
In China, most locals associate this day not as a celebration of being solo. Instead, it's a matchmaking and shopping frenzy during which young singles try their luck in finding partners, or they alleviate pressures of having a partner by buying "gifts" for themselves regardless of their romantic status.
But in recent years, this holiday emerged in the United States as a day to celebrate self-love and self-care — and, of course, as a justification to spend.
Galentine's Day (13th February)
A day of love for you and your closest gal pals. It all started with an episode called "Galentine's Day" on the second season of Parks and Recreation (an American TV sitcom) where one of the characters in the show gathers a group of her closest girlfriends, leaving their husbands and boyfriends behind for a day of female fun.
This day is all about sisterhood, acknowledging the strength in all female friendships, supporting and loving the women in your life.
So if you're looking for an excuse to celebrate with your girl friends, set your calendars for the 13th of February! Plan a day with sleepovers, exchange Galentine’s Day Gifts, take a trip, volunteer or just go for a good old brunch with your besties.
White Day (14th March)
In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and other countries that celebrate White Day, Valentine's Day isn't a day for men to pamper the women in their lives.
Instead, it's a day when women express their love to the men in their lives by presenting flowers, offering confectionery and going out on dates.
Women would present hand-made chocolates as a sign that the male receiving the gift is the "chosen one".
So how is this related to White Day?
Well, White Day is a day when men take the lead a month after Valentine’s Day to show appreciation for the gifts they have received on Valentine’s Day.
In other words, it’s also known as "answer day". Not returning or returning a gift of equal value means you're ending the relationship (even if it hasn't started yet). 😢
Friendship Day (Every 1st Sunday of August)
Similar to Galentine’s Day, this special day originated from a greeting card, believe or not.
In the year 1919, Hallmark had the idea for a day during which people celebrate their friendship by sending each other cards. This day was officially recognised by the UN and is celebrated every first Sunday of August.
If you really think about it, what would life be without friends?
I personally feel so blessed to have celebrated anniversaries with friends, and I'm talking 10-year-anniversary-kind-of-friendships. They are the ones we call when we need someone to talk to, they are your future bridesmaids/groomsmen, and they've always got your back when you need a hand.
So I say, there's no better time to surprise your friends by sending them a message, or surprising them with a gift (a bouquet of flowers maybe?) or just planning a day to spend quality time together to let them know they are appreciated and you’re forever grateful to have them in your life.
International Quirkyalone Day (14th February)
Bet you didn't know that such a day existed. As you can see, the date falls on the very same day we celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Full disclosure, IQD is not an Anti-Valentine's Day nor is it a pity party for single people. It’s the opposite of feeling sorry for yourself.
It celebrates the possibilities available to single people (and couples), being quirky alone or together, no one is left out. IQD is a movement, celebrating all sorts of love, and yes, that includes self-love.
Many times, society is caught up in the idea of finding a partner to love, resulting in us feeling so pressured to find love that we forget to take care of ourselves first.
As a talented wise woman once said, "Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all."
Any guesses who that woman is? Here’s a tip. She sang the world hit-wonder I Will Always Love You.
That said, it's completely up to you how you would like to celebrate the occasion. IQD is a reminder to value yourself and to develop your individuality even if you have a partner.
Perhaps you may be wondering, "Why do I need to know about any of these occasions? What's the point?"
If I may so kindly include my thoughts here:
The fact that we get to wake up every day to life itself should be something worth celebrating.
I’m not sure about you, but it seems that as a species we are instinctively driven to honour the significant moments in our lives. There are deep underlying needs that drive us to engage in celebrations.
Because of that, humans have found so many wonderful ways to meet these needs and create more meaning in our lives.
This article is in no way asserting how one should celebrate these occasions; it is completely up to you and you alone how these celebrations should be interpreted, what significance they would or would not have in your life, and what kind of memories you would like to cultivate.
Could this be one of those opportunities where we get a chance to connect with ourselves or the ones we love on a deeper and more profound level?
So I guess my final answer to the question above would be: