It’s tough to get excited about the traditional holidays these day. There’s a war on Christmas, Columbus Day is for racists, Valentine’s Day has always been a sham, and Thanksgiving has been marred by rabid consumerism. That’s why, in 2014, we at the Phoenix will be celebrating some alt-holidays, special days that haven’t yet been adopted — and thereby ruined — by the masses. Follow along through the year, as we honor everything from grapefruits to high fives to healthy gums.
January 7: National Tempura Day | Instead of cake, we want this dish from Sakura (231 Wickenden St, Providence): Seafood Tempura, with “feather light” fried shrimp, fish, scallops, and vegetables. Yum. Let’s celebrate this holiday once a month.
January 28: Data Privacy Day | The rule of thumb on Internet use was once “Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t put on a postcard.” The idea was that everything was all out there to be read by someone. Of course, now that many of us live nearly our entire lives online, that’s getting to be less acceptable. But what’s making it even more difficult is the US government, which is vacuuming up data on all of us — phone calls, emails, banking transactions, physical movements (remember that GPS feature on your phone?). The fact is, it’s our data. And we need its privacy to be respected by our government — our elected officials and the unelected people we pay with our hard-earned tax dollars. Look for major protests against the National Security Agency around the country and across the globe today, as well as policy initiatives aimed at giving people control of data about them, rather than leaving it in the hands of governments and companies.
National Grapefruit Month | There are benefits to having an interconnected, globalized world, and the grapefruit is one of them. It was first bred in Barbados by crossing Jamaican oranges (which are originally from South Asia) with Indonesian pomelos. Take today and celebrate the human betterment of our existence: bringing two different plants across oceans to meld sweetness and sourness in just the right way.
February 1: Ice Cream for Breakfast Day | Self-explanatory; though many ice-cream shops are closed for the season in February (and those that are open typically don’t cater to a breakfast crowd), we encourage ice-cream fanatics to buy a pint at the supermarket, top it with granola and fruit, and call it breakfast. Substitute coffee ice cream for your regular cup of java, and you’ll really be in the holiday spirit.
February 14-21: National Condom Week | The female condom is poised for a comeback, according to a recent BBC News report. Already widely used overseas, a more intuitive, less crinkly version “known as the Origami is about a year away from market launch in the US.” The Origami is designed by Danny Resnic, a gay man who contracted HIV due to a broken condom; he is also currently testing the world’s first condom specifically for anal sex.
March 2-8: Telecommuter Appreciation Week | Declared every year since 1993 by the American Telecommuting Association (could someone work from home to spruce up their website?), this “holiday” raises awareness about the individual, family, professional, and societal benefits of telework. Marissa Mayer might not like it, but telecommuting at least occasionally is a win for workers, employers, and the environment. (This item brought to you by a legit pajama-wearing telecommuter.)
March 5: National Absinthe Day | May we recommend the Sazerac at Eddy (95 Eddy St, Providence), made with Old Overholt rye, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar, lemon peel, and Ridge absinthe.
March 25: Waffle Day | To celebrate Waffle Day (wholly different from Waffle Week, which takes place in September!), you can’t do much better than the authentic Belgian offerings at Van Ghent Café (14 High St, Westerly). And you don’t need a passport!