August National Days
The summer’s here, the kids are off school & hopefully the sun will provide plenty of opportunities to get outside. Celebrate Caribbean Day or an Australian themed Picnic Day. Have a clear out & hold a Garage Sale or celebrate the fruits of your labours during National Allotments Week.
National Road Victim Month
1 Lammas Day
A festival celebrating the wheat harvest. A loaf made from the new crop would be taken to church & blessed. The name is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon word Hlafmaesse meaning loaf mass. Hold your own Lammas Day by baking your own bread & rolls – freeze some of the baked rolls & they’ll taste nice & fresh for Australian Picnic Day on the 3rd.
1 Caribbean Day
A celebration of Emancipation Day 1838 & the end of enslavement. Turn the garden into a Caribbean carnival. Decorate with bunting, streamers & flags of the Caribbean countries. Make masks & headdresses & hold your own parade. Have a limbo dancing competition & maybe see you if you can hire some steel pan drums. Serve dishes such as jerk chicken, fried plantain, goat curry, sweet potato & black bean curry & hot glazed pineapple. Wash it down with delicious fruit smoothies.
Held annually on the 1st Wednesday in August to celebrate children’s right to play & the importance of play in children’s lives. Organizations all around the UK will be holding events. This year’s Play More campaign is calling on everyone to help make sure that children and young people across the UK have the time, freedom and space to play more. As well promoting children’s right to play, the campaign is highlighting that playing more is crucial for children’s health, well-being and happiness.
6 Friendship Day
Celebrated on the 1st Sunday in August to honour friends & friendships & the importance of them in our lives. It was declared a holiday in 1935 by US Congress & has gradually been adopted by other countries across the globe. Gather a group of friends or just one special one & have a laugh & a natter. If you’ve been meaning to contact a friend but haven’t got round to it, use this day to give them a call or sit down & write them a letter. Had a falling out? Make the first move & have a chat to clear the air or let bygones be bygones.
7 Picnic Day (Australia)
An annual event on the 1st Monday in August. There are several versions as to the origins of this day. According to some, the day was declared a public holiday in the Northern Territory of Australia to commemorate the freeing of the Chinese indentured labourers who built the Darwin to Larrimah North Australia railway. The Chinese workers were given the right to stay in Australia as free settlers & provided with sufficient money for a steamer fare to Hong Kong. Instead they chose to go to Adelaide River for a picnic.
Another version says that it was declared a public holiday so that all railway employees could go to Adelaide River to enjoy a picnic & a third concept is that the organizers of the popular Harts Range annual races put in an application to the Northern Territory Administrator for a central Australian holiday to coincide with the Harts Range Amateur Racing Club’s future meetings. Either way, Australians in the Northern Territory are glad to have the holiday & we can all use it as an excuse to have a picnic – not that we really need one. Find a safe place to light a campfire & make some damper bread; or bake in the oven at home, wrap in a tea towel & bring it with you. Serve with lots of butter & jam or use to mop up a campfire stew.
8 International Cat Day
Founded in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to celebrate the most popular pet in the world. If you’ve been thinking of getting a cat as a pet, visit a local animal shelter organization near you & find out about adopting one. If you already have a cat, make today a pamper & play day.
8-12 CAMRA Great British Beer Festival
Run by the Campaign for Real Ale & first held in 1975. The main event takes place at Olympia in London & offers visitors the chance to explore over 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers to discover their perfect pint. 350 British breweries are represented across 27 different bars as well as entertainment, food & traditional pub games. Look out for events run by local pubs & breweries or hold your own mini version.
10 S’mores Day (USA)
Dedicated to a campfire sweet treat popular in the USA consisting of roasted marshmallow sandwiched between chocolate & Graham crackers (digestive biscuits to us Brits). Some people like to add embellishments such as peanut butter or Mars Bars. The first recipe for s’mores appeared in the 1927 publication Tramping & Trailing with the Girl Scouts & although they have been around for longer than that, this helped secure their popularity. The name is simply an abbreviation of gimme (or give me) some more! If you’re out camping this summer, give it a go.
12 International Youth Day
Bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. The date was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999 & is used, through discussions & information campaigns, to understand the needs of young people, to implement policies to help them overcome the challenges they face, and to encourage young people into the decision-making process.
12 Garage Sale Day (USA)
Held annually on the 2nd Saturday in August. Here in the UK, we’ve gone from jumble sales to car boot sales. Instead of an early start, pitch fee & having to load everything into your car with no room for helpers, why not advertise & hold a garage sale? Ask a couple of neighbours to do the same & you’re more likely to entice customers along. Have a good clear out a couple of days beforehand.
Get the kids involved too as they generally like to help if there’s an event at the end of the tidying. Perhaps let them have their own table or decide on something the family can buy/do with the proceeds. Set up a table or two at the end of the drive (not on the pavement), tie some balloons to the table to help advertise & don’t forget a float. Keep prices low as it’s usually better to get rid of as much as possible.
13 Left-Handers Day
The 23rd annual celebration of left-handed people & a chance to raise awareness of the inconveniences faced by them in a world designed for right-handed people. Around 10% of the population are left-handed & although items such as vegetable peelers & tin openers are available these days, they’re not always found on the high street. Thankfully, the days of forcing left-handers to write with their right are long gone – but as we write form left to right, it does cause a bit of smudging!
13 National Skinny Dipping Day (USA)
A day to liberate your body & swim without clothes. Find an organised event (your local pool might not be happy if you’re the only one) or find a quite spot & do some wild swimming.
14-20 National Allotments Week
An annual event organized by The National Allotment Society. The theme for this year is A Plot for All Ages & is designed to emphasise the benefits that allotments bring to everyone regardless of age and to highlight the fact that we need to value our remaining plots and preserve them for future generations to enjoy. Look out for garden-gate stalls with people selling surplus produce. They’ll taste much better than imported!
14-20 Caribbean Food Week
Launched in 2012 by Grace Foods to raise awareness of the diversity & flavours of Caribbean dishes (& OK, maybe give themselves some free publicity!). Use our Caribbean Day ideas & serve dishes such as jerk chicken, fried plantain, goat curry, sweet potato & black bean curry & hot glazed pineapple or visit the Grace Foods website for ideas & recipes.
15 Assumption Day
A Christian feast day to commemorate the death of the Virgin Mary & her bodily assumption into Heaven. In some countries it is a public holiday & is celebrated with processions, musicians & a feast.
16 Tell A Joke Day
They come in all forms, double-entendres, knock-knock, irony, sarcasm, one liners or shaggy dog tales but they all have one thing in common & that is to make us laugh. Sometimes we get so caught up with a stressful job or nagging the kids that we think we don’t have time to laugh so step away from it all & find your favourite joke. Tell it to someone& make them laugh too – it really is the best medicine.
17 Black Cat Appreciation Day
Started by Wayne Morris via his Facebook page in 2011 to raise awareness of the plight of black cats. Unfortunately, due to superstition, black cats are associated with bad luck & are generally the last to be adopted from animal shelters. The day aims to show people that black cats are just like any other cat & make wonderful pets.
19 International Orang-utan Day
An annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of protecting orang-utans and their rainforest home. Orang-utans are one of the most iconic victims of the palm oil industry. Their rainforest habitat is being chopped down to make way for oil palm plantations. From 1992-2000, the population of the Sumatran orang-utan is considered to have declined by more than 50%. Its relative, the Bornean orang-utan population fell nearly 43% in the past decade, from 35,000 in 1996 to 20,000 in 2006. Since these studies were done, deforestation rates have continued to climb which means the actual populations could be well below these.
Palm oil is used in a variety of products from cooking oil to beauty products. It’s cheap, provides many jobs & requires less land than other oils to be produced. If it could be grown sustainably then everyone could win. Look for products that don’t use palm oil or only sustainable palm oil & help protect orang-utans.
19 International Homeless Animals Day (USA)
Held annually on the 3rd Saturday in August & organised by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) since 1992. Each year, animal shelters are inundated with abandoned pets. Sometimes the owners are unable to look after them through illness or moving to a smaller house but this is a very small percentage. As the shelters are charities & rely on donations, if homes are not found for these animals they are put down.
Animal protection organisations from around the world come together on this day to raise awareness about the pet overpopulation epidemic, to offer spay/neuter clinics, microchip clinics & give talks from local veterinarians, humane officers and shelter personnel. The day aims to educate people about pet abandonment & the benefits of neutering domestic animals.
19 National Honey Bee Day (USA)
Started in 2009 by a group of beekeepers to educate the public about beekeeping & to raise awareness of honey bees & the importance of their role in the food chain.
23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade & its Abolition
A day designated by UNESCO to memorialise the transatlantic slave trade. Each year, UNESCO Member States organise events around the history & consequences of the slave trade in an effort to educate the public & help abolish todays slavery. The day was first celebrated in Haiti in 1998 & the date chosen in recognition of the slave rebellion in 1791 on this island (formerly Santo Domingo) which set the wheels in motion for the abolition of slavery.
24 Waffle Day
Made using a batter of flour, eggs & milk (much like pancake batter) & cooked between two hot plates. It is then served plain or with any topping you like, either sweet or savoury. The Greeks got there first by making flat cakes & cooking them between two metal pans held over a fire. This then developed (possibly in Holland) to two hinged iron plates, connected by long wooden handles. The waffle iron was first patented by an American, Cornelius Swartwout on this day in 1869. It made life a little easier as it could sit on top of a wood or gas stove. Nowadays you can even find electric ones that sit on table top for guests to make their own. You can celebrate International Waffle Day on March 25th, Waffle Iron Day on June 29th or National Waffle Day on August 24 – it’s a lot of waffle!
26 National Dog Day (USA)
Founded by Colleen Paige & held annually. The day aims to raise public awareness as to the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year & also acknowledges family dogs & dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe & bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.
26-27 International Bat Night
Awareness campaign to highlight the need for bat conservation & of their habitats. Look out for events such as bat walks, workshops & seminars happening near you or take a look at the Bat Conservation Trust website.
27 National Burger Day
Started in 2013 by Mr Hyde the men’s daily information email company. If burgers are your thing, get tickets for the big street party celebration in central London with burger vendors, DJ’s, beer & whisky. If you can’t make it, participating burger restaurants around the country are offering a 20% discount voucher for that day.
27 Banana Lovers Day
A celebration of one of the most popular fruits in the world. It’s one of the first fruits we eat as we’re growing up, it comes in its own neat package ready for peeling & its a good source of potassium & fibre – what’s not to love. Try some banana loaf or mashed banana with cinnamon & cream.
28 National Bow Tie Day (USA)
A celebration of this mode of neck wear. Bow ties started out in Croatia where some men used strips of cloth to tie the collar of their shirt together. This idea was brought back to France by returning soldiers & the cravat was born. Over time, this became the dickie bow we know today. Most men save a bow tie for formal wear & those that want to stand out a bit (or not dip their long tie in their tea) wear one every day.