Unique National Food Holidays You Might Not Be Aware Of

Nearly every day seems to be a different holiday, whether you realize it or not. The Chase's Calendar of Events, for example, is considered by some to be the comprehensive guidebook to worldwide events and special dates and it includes 12,500 holidays per year. Beyond this physical guidebook to worldwide holidays, there are multitudes of websites where you can find listings of holidays and days of recognition, some legit and some not so much. A Marketplace interview notes that anyone can submit a request to one of these online or physical publications to have their special day included and, in a single year, they might receive more than 10,000 requests for those inclusions, from individuals and corporate entities alike.

A lot of these special "national day of" holidays are focused on food — and why not? Everyone has their favorite food and it's easy to celebrate food-based holidays. All you have to do is eat. Here are 12 unique national food holidays you might not know currently, but that you'll want to start celebrating ASAP.

National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

Why create a plain ol' ice cream day when you can get more specific? Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day makes things more fun by dictating when specifically you should eat that ice cream, and it might just be the most taboo time of day: breakfast. However, this national holiday wasn't created by some kids with a sweet tooth. Instead, its inception can be blamed on the weather and one mom's fun-loving attitude.

According to Fox Weather and the Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! website, the holiday can be traced back to a historic blizzard in Rochester, New York, in the 1960s. There, Florence J. Rappaport was snowed in with her children and looking for ways to keep them happy and entertained. She decided to serve ice cream for breakfast and the fun occurrence became a tradition. This tradition spread to the family's friends, community, and beyond; the holiday is still celebrated today, with staunch supporters eating ice cream on the first Saturday of February each year.

National Pie Day

You've probably heard of Pi Day. It's a U.S. House or Representatives-recognized holiday that recognizes the number Pi, falls on Albert Einstein's birthday, and is celebrated by schools all around the country with — what else? — pie (via CNN). But there's another pie day that leaves out the math and focuses just on the tasty stuff.

National Pie Day has been officially sponsored by the American Pie Council since the 1980s, but the Council notes the holiday has been celebrated since the 1970s. Now, every January 23, the Council invites pie-lovers to bake, share, and eat their favorite pies

If the holiday sounds familiar, but you know you're not confusing it with Pi Day in March, it could be due to the marketing scheme the Council cooked up in 2014. As Variety reported, the Council teamed with the movie "Labor Day" (from Paramount Pictures and starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet) to promote Pie Day in correlation with the movie's steamy pie scene.

National Corndog Day

Who doesn't love a hot dog on a stick that's been covered in batter and deep-fried? National Corndog Day doesn't just celebrate corndogs as the name implies; it's also a celebration of March Madness, tater tots, and beer, per The Oregonian. The holiday's origins can be traced back to Corvallis, Oregon, in 1992, when high school students Brady Sahnow and Henry Otely were watching March Madness and became hungry. They found some corndogs in the freezer, cooked and ate them, and the snack became part of their basketball-watching tradition for years to come. 

The tradition spread when the buddies went off to college, and the first Saturday of the NCAA men's basketball tournament became known as National Corndog Day. Eventually, the holiday grew to include beers and tater tots, too. Eventually, a Triple Double challenge emerged; to win, celebrants must eat 10 corn dogs and 100 tater tots and drink 10 beers.

In 2012, the State of Oregon signed an official proclamation that cemented National Corndog Day as a holiday, recognizing the ties Oregon has with many of the ingredients that go into making this feast. The proclamation noted that the holiday contributed "to a global surge in Oregon's sales of golden-brown corndogs, tasty tater tots, and cold beverages produced in Oregon during the month of March."

National Beer Day

National Beer Day holds special significance for Americans. From 1920 to 1933, Prohibition prevented the legal sale of alcoholic beverages throughout the country. However, when it ended — to many Americans' relief — it's not as if Prohibition was repealed completely and bars opened with all their in-demand spirits on offer. Instead, the end of Prohibition came slowly, with the Cullen-Harrison Act signed in April 1933. According to Brewer World, this act permitted the brewing and selling of beer, so long as it had no more than 3.2% ABV. This opened the door for greater changes, until Prohibition was fully repealed in late December 1933. As a way of recognizing that first change, April 7 became National Beer Day.

According to the National Beer Day Twitter account, while the holiday boasts historic roots, it's not actually that old. The two creators established National Beer Day in 2009 and formalized it with a dedicated Facebook group.

National Doughnut Day

The first Friday of June is National Doughnut Day, a holiday formalized by the Salvation Army in 1938, per SFGate. So what does the Salvation Army have in common with doughnuts that would make the organization form a holiday around the favorite food? 

During World War I, Salvation Army volunteers on the frontlines would pass out these baked goods to the soldiers. Doughnuts weren't very popular in the United States at that time, so the plain cake variety was a real treat for the soldiers. The baked goods were beloved by both the doughboys and the doughnut-wielding volunteers, who were amiably named "doughgirls." Just as they did with pasta and oregano from Italy (via NPR), after the war was over and the soldiers returned home to America, they brought their newfound love for doughnuts with them. This popularized the treats further and, now, doughnuts are considered inarguably American.

National Catfish Day

Catfish might be more of a regional favorite food than a national tradition. However, this regional favorite received national acclaim with its own presidentially recognized holiday in the 1980s.

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan designated June 25 as National Catfish Day. The designation was intended to recognize the contributions of American, farm-raised catfish to the agricultural industry, as well as the food's value to consumers. As the official government proclamation states, by the mid-1980s, catfish was the third most-consumed finned fish in the United States by volume, with nearly all of it being farm-raised. In the decade preceding the proclamation, catfish production had increased by 1,200%. The growth of the catfish farming industry also resulted in the creation of thousands of permanent jobs. The proclamation additionally stated that farm-raised catfish provided Americans with "a nutritious, low-calorie source of protein that is also low in cholesterol."

National Fried Chicken Day

Fried chicken is such an indelible part of American culture that it's no wonder there's a National Fried Chicken Day. However, where the holiday got its start is pretty up in the air. In an NPR article on July 6, 2012, the question was asked, "Someone please tell us, because we've searched and can't find the answer: Who decided this is National Fried Chicken Day? It apparently is, judging from all the stories, web posts, and tweets we're seeing."

But despite the holiday's unclear origins, that hasn't stopped it from being recognized every July with lots of fried chicken fun and deals at chains — and beyond. In 2022, Thrillist rounded up some of the fried chicken deals that were being promoted for the holiday and found offerings from 7-Eleven, Hardee's, IHOP, Popeyes, Cracker Barrel, and more. Deals ranged from discounted food to free delivery to free food with an additional purchase.

National Egg McMuffin Day

Who's to say that a corporation can't make up its own holidays, especially one as almighty as McDonald's? That's exactly what the chain did in February 2020, when it proclaimed March 2 as National Egg McMuffin Day.

In 1971, inventor Herb Peterson attempted to make an eggs benedict but instead wound up with an Egg McMuffin. Fun fact: Peterson also created the Teflon rings that give the sandwich its characteristic, perfectly round shape. To celebrate the iconic breakfast sandwich's 50th birthday, McDonald's announced a new holiday in a press release, National Egg McMuffin Day, on which they offered customers free Egg McMuffins when they downloaded the app.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that McDonald's continues to offer this deal every year; the chain does, however, occasionally offer free or steeply discounted Egg McMuffins for other reasons, such as on appreciation days for teachers and first responders (via USA Today).

National Food Faces Day

National Food Faces Day is a national food holiday that might be a little niche and somewhat unfamiliar unless you have a child at home. A food face is, of course, part art and part food; it's a fruit- or veggie-based creation that's edible, but intended to look like a face. It's an easy tool for convincing your child to eat their fruits and veggies and it just looks cool, too, no matter your age.

National Food Faces Day was created by Holland America Line in 2021, according to the company's website. The holiday recognizes the cruise line's master chef Rudi Sodamin's food face creations, which have become popular with cruisers over the years and have even earned their own coffee table book. The holiday falls on Sodamin's birthday, April 6, and encourages home cooks to get creative with their food and create their own works of art using edible ingredients. Holland America Line introduced a hashtag for the holiday, #NationalFoodFacesDay, which has gotten a little play on Twitter since the holiday's inception.

National Make Lunch Count Day

Launched in 2016, National Make Lunch Count Day is another corporate-created holiday. TGI Fridays created the April 13 holiday as a way to encourage workers to leave their desks and actually use their lunch breaks. The company also, no doubt, hoped the workers would choose to dine at its restaurant as well.

When it announced the holiday in a 2016 release, the company noted that studies indicated the existence of what it called "FOLO" or "Fear of Lunching Out." The survey reported that at least twice per week, nearly three-fourths of American workers eat lunch at their desks. If you think that's bad, consider that 33% of those survey respondents said they ate lunch at their desks not just twice per week, but every single workday. The result? Decreased productivity and creativity. The survey further quoted cost and convenience as factors that prevent more employees from eating lunch out during the workday.

National Summersgiving Day

If you find yourself craving Thanksgiving goodness multiple times per year, you might have something in common with Robert Solomon, the creator of Summersgiving (via North Jersey). The holiday takes place on the weekend following the longest day of the year (which typically falls in June) and, according to Solomon, it offers all the stuff you love about Thanksgiving with none of the stuff you don't. You get to enjoy all your favorite foods on a day dedicated to chowing down, but there's no family (unless you want them there), no obligations, and no stressors. It is, as Solomon said, "about celebrating with your best friends, and eating your favorite food." The one requirement that Solomon does impart for his own Summersgiving celebration? It must be held outside.

Summersgiving has popped up on an array of online, national holiday calendars since its founding. In 2019, Solomon said he was noticing more and more families celebrating his holiday with celebrations all around the country. Additionally, he hosts a formal celebration in New Jersey each year with as many as 75 attendees.

National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day

While most food-based national holidays are all about eating the celebrated food, this holiday, which takes place on August 8, is about giving food away. As reported in Better Homes & Gardens, National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day started in the early 2010s as a way for home gardeners to get rid of their bountiful, late-summer zucchini harvests without being wasteful. Thomas Roy created the holiday, but not because he has a deep affinity for zucchini or his neighbors; instead, Roy is a serial holiday founder, having created more than 90 in the last three decades, beginning with Hoodie-Hoo Day when he was a morning radio show host in Pennsylvania (via CNN).

To celebrate National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day, The Old Farmer's Almanac specifies that you have to drop the zucchini onto your neighbors' porches in "the dead of night." Of course, you can also donate the zucchini to your local food pantry.