Ever notice how many “officially designated” special days there are in on the U.S. calendar? Seriously! If you wanted to, you could celebrate something every day of the year. Though you might be celebrating some very strange things like “Cephalopod Awareness Day” (Octopus Day!) or “World Wetlands Day.”
It’s as if there is some odd contest to see which month can pile up the most (weirdest) special holidays and observances, apparently each month vying for “The Best Month of the Year Award” (BMYA). But no matter how many strange observances those other months compile, there is no contest.
Is December the best month of the year, boasting as it does of Advent and shopping and Christmas? Celebrating the birth of Jesus is a pretty big deal, except Jesus may not have actually been born in December. But one would think that that one holiday would make December pre-eminent. Apparently not because someone saw the need to add, uh hm, “Take It In The Ear Day” (December 8).
January weighs in with its attempt at winning “The Best Month of the Year” with New Year’s Day. Wow! The month that gives us all a fresh start a second chance. Pretty impressive. Except many people spend the day sleeping and hung-over. Maybe that’s why January also sports “National Humiliation Day” (I wish humiliation happened to me only once a year).
February doesn’t come close to best month of the year (despite that my son and grand-daughter were born in February) because it limps onto the stage boasting of Valentines Day (often very similar to Humiliation Day, for guys at least) and Ground Hogs Day. Have you actually seen a ground-hog? They are not much to look at.
March is a good month (both of my daughters were born then). Spring, though muddy and blustery, begins somewhere near this month. But officially March commemorates St Patrick’s Day (which is a dubious holiday because, though St Patrick did some really selfless and amazing things, chasing snakes out of Ireland and drinking green beer were not among them). So someone thought they also needed to dub March “National Noodle Month.” Even many Irish don’t really care.
April claims to be “National Frog Month.” Ten year-old boys must love April. But what self-respecting month begins with a special Day for Fools (no, not my birthday). Enough said.
May marks May Day and is called National Moving Month. Sorry but running around a pole naked and packing and hauling boxes aren’t my idea of a good party.
Everybody loves June and the beginning of summer; but June also brags of being “Potty Training Awareness Month” (which may be why my grandson was born in June). Close but no cigar.
July observes Independence Day (in the U.S.) and—lucky, or not, for all those July 4 picnickers—is also “National Baked Beans Month.” What no beer?
August is just hot. Why is this even on the list?
September settles in very close to the top of the BMYA list because my wife’s birthday is September—yes, the whole month. September also celebrates “National Cable TV Month.” If only . . .
November also nestles near number one for Best Month of the Year celebrating Thanksgiving and “International Drum Month” (is this somehow connected with all those leftover Thanksgiving drum sticks?). Tryptophan!
But the obvious winner of the Best Month of the Year Award is . . . “November, drum roll please” . . . OCTOBER!
You laugh? Consider the following: October celebrates “Free Thought Month” (which gives me permission to freely think October is preeminent), “National Liver Awareness,” “Hispanic Heritage,” “Fire Prevention,” “Disability Awareness,” “National Popcorn Popping,” and “Church Library Month” (that’s a biggy).
October also features some of the best contradictory observances: “Go Hog Wild—Eat Country Ham Month” alongside “Hunger Awareness,” “Month of the Dinosaurs” beside “Clergy Appreciation” (maybe that’s not a contradiction), and “National”—get that—NATIONAL!—”Sarcastic Month” combined with “Positive Attitude Month.” And then there’s “Halloween” (which some might consider a blight on a nearly perfect month).
I’m sorry but all other months of the year pale in comparison to October. Fall is in full bloom, Pro and College football compete with baseball’s World Series. And all the best hunting seasons touch October. Plus there are some pretty amazing people who were born in the month of October. I won’t mention any names; just let it be known that October is also “Self-Promotion Month.”
Yes, October wins hands down.
So, what’s all this got to do with life, faith, and all that important, serious stuff? I’m not really sure.
Maybe . . .
- Humans are incredibly creative and at the same time extremely silly.
- There are way too many things to prevent, be aware of, and celebrate than is humanly possible.
- I am just so ebullient about October I had to write something about it.
- Or looking at the calendar we can all notice, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.”
For those lucky ones born in October–The Best Month of the Year–rejoicing and being glad may be easier than for others. Enjoy.
Eugene C. Scott is co-pastor of The Neighborhood Church and has nothing against a really good birthday party.