Observance Days: A Guide


Observance Days are days that are days when the day is “observed” because it’s… um, the sort of day that you… when you do stuff.

Let’s try that again. An Observance Day is the official title for days that we celebrate something. Not like your birthday, a different type of day. It’s not like a long weekend. Well, it can be, but it’s not the fact that it’s a long weekend but more like the reason you have one, I suppose.

DAMMIT. Okay, look.  Australia Day, right? Well, it’s an Observance Day.  As is Christmas Day, Boxing Day, etc. Basically any day when there is a reason to acknowledge the date with a cultural or religious ritual. Or commemorating a past event. Or raising awareness for a particular issue.

Got it? Good. The reason we are on this topic is that today is Australia Day and it got me to thinking as to what other observance days there are. So I moseyed on over to Wikipedia and had a look and discovered that there are some pretty interesting days that I think we should all know about. So I made a list.

Babinden is a Bulgarian celebration held on the 8th of January each year- or the 21st of January according to the Gregorian calendar, which I’m pretty sure is a calendar that sings the date to you in a deep, somber voice. The day is an acknowledgement of the important role the grandmother plays in midwifery.

On Babinden “the men and women guests take the baba (midwife) outside and seat her in a carriage or a sleigh… The men, dressed as oxen with hides, masks and horns, pull the carriage or sleigh around the village. If they meet a man on the way, the women ask for ransom.”

I think the implication is that the midwife is a valuable commodity. Another implication is that those Bulgarians must really like a drink or two. Or thirty. Or however many it takes to make you think that dressing like an ox and pulling a sleigh is a great idea. The article didn’t say how many people wake up the next morning with penises drawn on their faces but I’d say a fair few.

The Feast Of The Ass is a celebration on the 14th of January commemorating Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s escape into Egypt. Because they rode a donkey, I hope.

On this day a “girl with child on a donkey would be led through town to the church, where the donkey would stand beside the altar during the sermon, and the congregation would “hee-haw” their responses to the priest.”

As if that isn’t weird enough, a hymn is then sung that contains the following lyrics: “From the Eastern lands the Ass is come, beautiful and very brave, well fitted to bear burdens. Up! Sir Ass, and sing. Open your pretty mouth.” I am going to go out on a limb here and propose that the creation of this particular event is also the exact date that the term “church giggles” was invented.

Edible Book Day, reportedly “a global event”. On this day people the world over submit books they have made that you can also eat. Why? I have no idea.

National Sanctimony Of Human Life Day, started by the anti-abortion movement in the USA. I prefer to call this the National Sanctimonious Prick day and choose to say no more about it.

Next we have National Poison Prevention Week. Shouldn’t poisons be avoided the whole year round? The organizers have a list of advice, one of which is that you should “never call poison candy”. Remember that time you called poison candy? You shouldn’t have done that.

National Stuttering Awareness Week, which doesn’t sit on a specific set of days but is always held during the month of M-m-ay. (Yeah, cheap shot).

International Fetish Day is fairly self-explanatory. Part of the commemoration is “Perverts Wear Purple”, where people who somewhat enjoy fetishism but also enjoy regular “vanilla” sex wear purple to signify their position. As put by the organisers, wearing purple signifies that you are saying that “’It’s okay to enjoy what I enjoy’ without damaging your ‘vanilla’ identity or integrity”.

A UK member of parliament accidentally gave his support for International Fetish Day and went so far as to say that he would be wearing purple on that day (apparently not wanting to sacrifice his vanilla integrity), before claiming that he did not understand what the word fetish meant and retracting the statement.

International Men’s Day. Otherwise known as EVERY DAY. Don’t get me started.

The National Masturbation Day organisers hold a masturbate-athon to raise money for, umm, “awareness”. In case there is any misconception about this fact, I would just like to let everyone know- I’M AWARE.

Finally, we have National Coming Out Day. This is a day for recognizing public people who have come out. Reading about this made me recall a time when I was at the pub and a homosexual asked me about how I came out. One of the most annoying things about fellow homosexuals is that they ask this question when they have nothing else to say, when no-one really gives a shit. It’s sort of a gay “nice day today, isn’t it?”.

Sensing this was my prime opportunity to point out how uninterested I was in this topic, the following is the conversation that occurred:


Him: So when did you come out?

Me: Ooh, a long time ago.

Him: What happened?

Me: Well, I came out, but then I realized what I’d done and so I had to go back in.

Him: Huh?

Me: Well, I came out, but then I went back in.

Him: *blank stare*

Me: It was at a Starbucks. I’d left my wallet there. So I came out, but then I had to go back in and get it.

Him: *blank stare*

Me: It’s a fucking joke.


He still didn’t get it. He then ignored what I said and proceeded to tell me his coming out story until I asked him if it was at a Starbucks too and suggested that we should start a public awareness campaign about watching your belongings, at which point he got up and left.

The moral of the story? Me: 1. Him: 0.



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