How Do Random Food Holidays Become A Thing?

Have you ever noticed that there are an awful lot of food-related holidays? Aside from Thanksgiving and Christmas, that is. The month of October alone has 25 of its 31 days set aside for these seemingly random days of celebration. National Today lists some examples: 2 October is National Fried Scallops Day; 19 October is National Seafood Bisque Day; 30 October is National Candy Corn Day; 31 October is National Caramel Apple Day. These are a mix of examples that are relatively normal to downright obscure. There's even a National Roast Pheasant Day on 15 October. Apparently, enough people eat this game meat in the U.S. for a day to be set aside for its celebration.

If these days seem random, strange, unnecessary, yet oddly fascinating to you, you're not alone. The NPR podcast "Planet Money" calls it "the holiday industrial complex" — a clever play on words. The podcast explains that there are very real business incentives behind holidays most people don't even know exist. Public relations firms will use these special days to provide clients with television and advertising time. Yet, the question of how exactly these holidays come into being remains. The answer involves three parties: the U.S. government and two small, independent organizations.

Chase's Calendar of Events and National Day Calendar

Two organizations are responsible for the tracking and manufacturing of random food holidays today. In the 1980s, however, the federal government was responsible for the creation of food holidays, mostly as a way to placate interest groups and promote local products, according to "Planet Money." This practice ended in 1995. Chase's Calendar of Events and National Day Calendar exist to pick up where the government left off.

In order to be considered for holiday status by these two companies, no applicant can request a day for a person, public figure, or birthday. Those take acts of Congress. Chase's uses a vetting system that excludes the aforementioned parameters, while also ensuring that it is actually a holiday that is celebrated by a significant group of people. National Day Calendar does something similar. They require applicants to file within 6 weeks of their deadline, which is 31 December. They also require as much detail as possible, along with sources to help authenticate the claim. Both Chase's and National are published in book form yearly, which are available for purchase on the companies' respective websites.