Several years ago, Jack Vance called for a movement-wide calendar. No doubt many have since answered that call, but I’m going to go ahead and weigh in anyhow with my own incredibly subjective sense of which particular irreligious days we atheists and skeptics should consider celebrating. (Please note that annually shifting dates are set to their 2015 values.)
January 1st – Epic Hangover and Annual Resolution Day, aka New Year’s
A time to buckle down on all that self-improvement we’ve been putting off since giving up on our resolutions last March. Gym memberships are ½ off!
January 16th – National Religious Freedom Day
Probably the most underappreciated of all the commemorative days proclaimed by the President of the United States, this is a day for my fellow citizens to celebrate the first legal steps towards founding a designedly secular republic. “American exceptionalism” is usually just an applause light, but in this case the phrase is perfectly apt.
@FirstFreedomCtr set to open 1/16 on National Religious Freedom Day with tours and dedication. pic.twitter.com/1GBcF7o20c
— Richmond Grid (@RichmondGrid) January 8, 2015
February 12th – Darwin Day
A day to celebrate the discovery that all of life on Earth is interrelated and the advance of scientific knowledge in general.
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1st edition, 1859.
— Reddit Pics (@redditpicsbot) February 20, 2015
While you’re attending the Phylum Feast, be sure to try the Primordial Soup.
March 14th – Pi Day
A day to celebrate the irrationality at the heart of the universe. If you know any mathematicians, try giving them a hug after carefully explaining the value of human contact.
— Top Ten Blogger (@Worlds_Top_10) March 14, 2015
March 20th – Vernal Equinox
One of the few days on most any calendar set by the nature of the solar system rather than the course of human events, the vernal equinox occurs every spring when the plane of the equator intersects the center of the Sun.
— Shi Hakel (@ShiCooks) March 20, 2015
Traditionally, this is a time to celebrate fertility. Try to get (someone) pregnant if you have a willing partner. Failing that, there is always chocolate.
April 1st – April Fool’s Day
It is written in the Jewish Scriptures that the fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
— Slaves4Christ (@Slaves4Christ) April 1, 2015
Left unsaid here is that it would have been far more foolish to say it aloud back in the day when apostasy was still a capital offense.
It’s not just a day for atheists, though. This is truly my favorite day of the year because almost everyone has their skeptical radar up and running—for one day a year people of ordinary credulity are on the lookout for bogus claims even from usually trustworthy sources. Put another way, these people get to experience what feels like to be a skeptic every other day of the year.
As a bonus, we get to tell creative lies without facing the usual disapprobation.
April 16th – Ask an Atheist Day
This is a day to come out to friends and family as a secular person and then field the inevitable awkward questions which will arise as a result. Notably, this day was invented by the ISSI under the leadership of Skeptic Ink’s own Edward Clint.
April 23rd – Openly Secular Day
Held exactly one week after “Ask an Atheist Day” for completely unfathomable reasons, this is yet another day to come out to friends and family as a secular person and then field the inevitable awkward questions which will arise as a result.
May 7th (First Thursday) – National Day of Reason
A day to push back against the commingling of church and state in the form of the National Day of Prayer. For those more inclined towards doing charitable work instead of symbolic protest, try holding a “Rational Day of Care” instead.
May 20th – Draw Mohammed Day
A day to push back against those who believe their religious prohibitions should apply to people outside of their faith. As Notung has aptly said, “The best response to demands that a particular form of expression should be stifled is to actively defy those demands.”
— Joe Unseen (@JoeUnseen) May 20, 2012
May 25th – Towel Day
A day to celebrate the life and wisdom of Douglas Adams. If you really want to do this in style, carry your towel with you all day and hitchhike instead of driving.
June 21st – Summer Solstice, Atheist Solidarity Day
Another astronomical holiday, marked by the moment at which the Earth attains maximal axial tilt towards the Sun, here in the Northern Hemisphere. Word has it they call this the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, for some reason.
As to the burgeoning concept of atheist solidarity, well, there have been more than a few bumps in that road.
@The_Block_Bot I can promise more "we are one movement" tweets. Will I just be banned again?
— David Silverman (@MrAtheistPants) September 19, 2013
July 31st – National Talk in an Elevator Day
A day to overcome certain acculturated social barriers and learn to open up to other people whom we barely know. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but no sex invites.
September 5th – International Bacon Day
Celebrated by members of the United Church of Bacon, for obvious reasons.
— HuffPost Religion (@HuffPostRelig) April 24, 2015
September 19th – International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Considered a high holiday by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for obvious reasons.
— Al Lewis (@ItsLewis84) September 19, 2013
September 22nd – Autumnal Equinox
What I said before about the spring equinox, but in Australia and other such places south of the equator. Traditionally marked by a mid-harvest feast in pre-Christian Europe.
October 31st – Halloween
Technically this is a religious holiday, so I didn’t want it on the list, but it ranked pretty high in the informal voting which I conducted when you weren’t looking. For whatever reason, atheists love playing dress-up and eating candy.
November 5th – Guy Fawkes Day
A day to celebrate foiling religious terrorism, modern day graphic novels, and something about mass-produced plastic masks.
— Jali (@jalijalilagi) November 5, 2013
December 21st – Winter Solstice
Don’t feel bad about appropriating the trappings of Xmas, you guys, most of them were stolen from the pagans. It is of some note that my local atheist group has been celebrating this event continuously since 2001. It may well be our oldest known tradition.
Members of the AOK are still recovering from last night's solstice party, but we are not alone in our godless… http://t.co/36S8QYTs
— Oklahoma Atheists (@AtheistOK) December 23, 2011
December 23rd – Festivus
For the rest of us.
— Kezar Söze (@KezarSoze) February 23, 2015
I probably left some worthy secular celebration days off the list, so please feel free to add yours in the comments.