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12 International Observances You've Probably Never Heard Of

Stephen is a history buff who enjoys researching and sharing fun facts about culture and traditions around the world.

Every day is a celebration of something around the world.

Every day is a celebration of something around the world.

More to Celebrate

Most people have heard of Mother's Day, Christmas Day, and Memorial Day, to name just a few, but how many know about Global Beatles Day or International Beer Day?

Here we will look at 12 lesser-known international celebrations and observances that you probably never heard of.

1. Robert Burns Day/Burns Night: January 25

Robert Burns Day, or Burn's Night as it is commonly known, was established to celebrate the famous Scottish poet, the bard of Scotland, Robert Burns. It is held each year on January 25, the poet's birthday. The first Burns supper was held in 1801. Though many new traditions have been added to it in the more than 200 years since, the traditional supper, featuring haggis, neeps, and tatties, still remains the centerpiece of any Burns Night celebration, as well as the consumption of scotch whiskey, toasts and speeches, and recitals of the poets work.

2. National Pizza Day: February 9

National Pizza Day is a day dedicated to the celebration and enjoyment of pizza. Though the origin of National Pizza Day is not exactly known, observances of it were first seen in the U.S. around 2000. It has since caught on in Canada and with pizza enthusiasts around the world.

A number of cities in the United States now have pizza festivals to mark the day. These include the Cleveland Pizza Fest, the Phoenix Pizza Festival, and the Chicago Pizza Fest. If you do not have a pizza festival where you are, you can always celebrate by visiting your favorite pizza restaurant or having a pizza party.


3. Pi Day: March 14

Pi day is held annually on March 14 to celebrate the mathematical constant Pi (Π). This date was chosen because the digits in the date March 14 (3/14) are the first three digits in Pi, 3.14, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Observed by millions of math lovers worldwide, Pi day can be celebrated in numerous ways, the most popular being with a Pi party. Participants wear Pi-themed clothing, put up Pi-themed decorations, and eat Pi-themed foods. Pie is always on the menu, as is pizza. Other Pi foods can be anything round or beginning with Pi.

4. International Dance Day: April 29

International Dance Day was initiated in 1982 by UNESCO's International Theatre Institute. It is held each year on April 29 to commemorate the birthday of the distinguished choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre, known for bringing about major reforms in ballet production. The focus of the day is to shed light on the importance of dance as an art form and to encourage participation and education in dance.


5. World Turtle Day: May 23

World turtle day was founded in 2001 by American Tortoise Rescue to create awareness of the importance of protecting turtles and tortoises and their rapidly vanishing habitat and to celebrate these amazing creatures. You can celebrate this day by going to and downloading the #WorldTurtleDay Party Pak.


6. Global Beatles Day: June 25

Global Beatles Day was founded in 2009 to celebrate everything Beatles. Not just their music, though this is a large part of it, but also their ideals, their promotion of peace and love, truth, tolerance, and understanding, and people's right to personal freedom and personal expression. It is a day for the world to celebrate the gifts that the Beatles have given us.

The June 25 date was chosen as it was this day in 1967, The Summer of Love, that the Beatles performed All You Need is Love on the BBC, which was broadcast to 26 countries around the world with the first-ever live global television link.

7. World Chocolate Day: July 7

World chocolate day is celebrated by, you guessed it, the consumption of chocolate. The exact origins of this day are not known, but it appears to have started in 2009. This is far from the only day that celebrates chocolate. Many other countries have their own chocolate day observances, and there is even an International Chocolate Day on September 13. It is hard to imagine what the need for all of these days is, as it is doubtful that anybody has ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate

8. International Beer Day: First Friday of August

Does it get any better than this? A day dedicated to the celebration of beer. A day when beer lovers worldwide gather at their favorite pubs, breweries, restaurants, or even their own backyards for the sole purpose of celebrating the greatness that is beer.


9. World Tourism Day: September 27

World Tourism Day was founded by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 1980 as a way to raise awareness of the importance of tourism to the international community and how tourism can have a positive impact on social, cultural, economic, and political values.

10. World Smile Day: First Friday in October

In 2001 The World Smile Foundation, whose motto is "Improving the world one smile at a time", was founded to honor the name and memory of Harvey Ball, the graphic artist who, in 1963, created the now-iconic smiley face graphic (sorry Forrest Gump fans), and in 1999 declared the first Friday in October annually to be World Smile Day. To celebrate this day, all one has to do is at least one act of kindness and help at least one person smile.

11. Day Of The Imprisoned Writer: November 15

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer was started in 1981 by Pen International to increase awareness of persecuted and imprisoned writers who have suffered greatly for resisting oppression and standing up for freedom of expression. The day is also used to bring attention to several specific persecuted and imprisoned writers around the world, as well as all those writers who have been killed in circumstances related to their professions since the previous Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

12. World Monkey Day: December 14

World Monkey Day was created in 2000 by artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin as a way to raise awareness for not just monkeys but all simians and non-human primates. It is celebrated in countries around the world, and many zoos have special monkey day events and celebrations.

Time to Celebrate!

These are just a few of the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of specially designated days that are recognized, observed, or celebrated around the world. Perhaps one of these may start a new tradition of observance or celebration for you, your family, and your friends.

© 2018 Stephen Barnes


Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 20, 2018:

I like very much the Smile Day. Great choices of holidays. Several holidays here were surprises for me like the World Turtle Day and also the Monkey Day. They are all very interesting.

Stephen Barnes (author) from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador on July 28, 2018:

Thank you Tim, I am glad you enjoyed it. When I was researching this article I was amazed at the number of special designations assigned to days throughout the year. It was all very interesting, and in some cases quite enlightening.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 26, 2018:

Wonderful article about holidays which we hear very little about. Because we live a few hours from our coast, we have visited areas where endangered turtles' habitat is protected, so I was aware of World Turtle Day. The Global Beattles' Day was a pleasant surprise, and so were many of the other holidays you wrote about in your article.

Thank you for a well written and informative article.