A Brief History
On April 21, 1952 the first Secretaries’ Day was celebrated. The presidents of the National Secretaries Association and of Dictaphone Corporation came up with the unofficial holiday in conjunction with an ad agency. Now called Administrative Professionals Day, it is now celebrated on the Wednesday during the last week of April (in the US and Canada). The International Association of Administrative Professionals (the renamed National Secretaries Association) holds the copyright to the name, Administrative Professionals Day. The day is celebrated in several other countries on various dates and by various names.
10. Sweetest Day.
Along with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day among others considered a “Hallmark Holiday” created commercially to sell candy and greeting cards, it was invented in Cleveland in 1921 by the newspaper, The Plain Dealer. MEN: DO NOT FORGET THIS HOLIDAY!
9. St. Valentine’s Day
Celebrated on February 14 in most of western Christendom and in July by Eastern Orthodox Christians, there is no single St. Valentine, but a hodge-podge of various martyrs rolled into one! Even then, the stories may well be fictional. This day is another holiday that is dangerous for men to forget!
8. Independence Day.
July 4th is not the day the US gained independence which did not come until Britain had lost the war, it is just the date some of the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Try not to hurt yourself with fireworks.
7. Columbus Day.
This day celebrates the “discovery” of the Americas on October 12, when millions of Native Americans had already discovered it! It was made the 2nd Monday in October in 1970, although 4 states refuse to celebrate it and many no longer treat it as a state holiday. Native Americans do not celebrate this holiday!
6. New Year’s Day.
An arbitrary date to start a new year, historically it has come on dates other than January 1, and still is different in some places, like the orient. It could well be called National Hangover Day or perhaps I Already Broke My Resolution Day.
5. Memorial Day.
Originally celebrated as Decoration Day at no uniform date honoring soldiers killed in the Civil War, became Memorial Day by an act of Congress in 1967 and made the last Monday in May in 1968. For some reason this holiday is associated with an unusually high number of fatal car wrecks.
4. Presidents’ Day.
There is no Presidents’ Day! The holiday enacted by congress in 1789 is Washington’s Birthday February 22, changed in 1971 to the 3rd Monday in February; however, if you would like, you can celebrate any president you want, especially the president of the local candy company!
Historically any day locals felt like having it, President Lincoln set a single date for the country as the last Thursday in November in 1863, changed to the 4th Thursday in November by FDR in 1941. In large metropolitan areas, this day is known as Watch Football Day.
This holiday was created in 1966 by African-American Professor M. Karenga. Some people object to this holiday as a racially oriented holiday, but we at History and Headlines believe it should be an official holiday with the time off work and school!
Assigned various dates throughout history, with no known real date, early Christians did not even celebrate Christmas and we still have not settled on an exact date. Still, big meals, getting the day off, watching football and getting presents, how can you beat that? Oh yeah, by having an office party!
For more information, please see…
Aveni, Anthony F. The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Holidays. Oxford University Press, 2004.