Holidays used to be linked to a religion or tradition for the most part in history. As societies became highly consumerist, businesses started creating fake holidays to boost their sales. Unlike real holidays, a fake one is not recognized by the government. Instead, it just represents an annual shopping day for a particular brand or cause.
One of the most popular fake holidays celebrated in the U.S. is Cyber Monday. Founded in 2005 by the National Retail Federation, it is celebrated on the Monday that follows the Thanksgiving holiday. “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work on Monday and buying what they liked,” according to The New York Times. While Cyber Monday sales for 2006 were around $608 million, the sales figures jumped to a mammoth US$3.45 billion in 2016.
International Coffee Day
This is a much more recent holiday that began to be observed from October 1, 2015. Coffee shops usually offer big discounts on the day. Some businesses even offer free coffee to its customers. The event was started by the International Coffee Organization as part of its Expo 2015. Thirty-five countries signed on for celebrating the day on an annual basis. But unlike the international version, the National Coffee Day in the U.S. is celebrated on September 29.
National Pancake Day
In countries like Ireland and the UK, people celebrate a Pancake Day. It is observed on Shrove Tuesday, one day before the Lenten season begins. In 2006, the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) jumped on the opportunity to brand the day and started celebrating it in the U.S. by giving away free pancakes and collecting money for charities. Just as with the UK, IHOP usually celebrates the day on Shrove Tuesday. However, it might move up or down the calendar by a week or so. Observing the holiday is pretty easy — cook some yummy pancakes and share it with your loved ones.
National Underwear Day
Yes, there is a holiday for underwear. It was started by underwear retailer Freshpair on August 5, 2003. As to how to “observe” it, you simply need to wear a fresh pair of underwear or flaunt it if you want. “Embrace your body image. Use #NationalUnderwearDay to post on social media and encourage others to join in. If you are the bashful type, just wear your underwear around the house when no one is home,” according to the National Calendar Year.
Record Store Day
When vinyl sales were lingering at just about 1 million copies per year in 2007, the concerned businesses came up with the idea of observing a Record Store Day on one Saturday every April. Each record store has a party for the day and celebrates it in accordance with the personality of the store. In 2017, vinyl sales hit 14 million per year.
Small Business Saturday
Started on November 27, 2010, the Small Business Saturday is observed on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. And unlike Cyber Monday that focuses on online sales, this holiday encourages customers to visit the local store to buy their products. The name is trademarked by American Express. The success of Small Business Saturday also led to its observance in the UK since 2013.