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National Absurdity Day

National Absurdity Day

Occurring at the cusp of winter, National Absurdity Day, November 20, is a fantastic way to liven up a dreary day. What started as a philosophical movement called absurdism has bloomed into this marked calendar event, during which anyone can follow their most preposterous whims. It’s a time to exchange social customs and dull norms for playful and untethered behaviours, expressions, and ideas. Dye your eyebrows pink, juggle eggs in the city park or lead a meeting while standing on your hands. There’s no limit to the wackiness of this holiday!

History of National Absurdity Day

The real philosophy of absurdism began in the 19th century in the mind of a Danish philosopher called Kierkegaard. Its premise is that humans search for meaning in a meaningless universe. As the years passed, this philosophy gained popularity and became the touchstone for a movement in theatre and literature in Europe and North America.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the peak of such artistic movements as the Theater of the Absurd and Surrealism gave rise to an entire genre of literature based on nonsequitur behaviours and otherworldly plots. One of the works from this time, “Waiting for Godot”, is based entirely around a pair of characters waiting at a tree for their friend, Godot — whom we never meet — to arrive.
The origins of National Absurdity Day are apropos to the subject at hand. They’re entirely unknown. We like to think of this Day as an opportunity to embrace a new and freeing philosophy in all our words and deeds, to see what it’s like to unsubscribe from the order and organization of normal human life for a few hours.
Absurdism can be difficult to define since it is, by its very nature, anti-establishment and anti-order. Embracing absurdity requires us to move directly past all the implicit rules that we tend to accommodate each Day, from how we dress to how we speak to how we sit in a public place.
Today, the primary location for National Absurdity Day celebrations is an elementary school. This is one of the only places where people can truly embrace the meaning of the Day without paying significant consequences—it’s not so easy for adults in the working world.

National Absurdity Day Timeline

The 2000s
Into the Mainstream
Primary and secondary schools begin to celebrate National Absurdity Day as a chance to let their young students get the wiggles out and enjoy the playfulness of the movement.

1952
Art Imitates Life
Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Gadot,” brings absurdity into the theatre.

1942
A Boulder Up a Hill
Albert Camus publishes his take on absurdism in “The Myth of Sisyphus.”

1844
Inciting a Movement
Kierkegaard publishes his work “Philosophical Fragments.”

National Absurdity Day Faqs

Is it safe to practice absurd behaviours?
A good rule of thumb on National Absurdity Day is to limit your celebrations to your own life, home, and physical person. Unless someone else has agreed to celebrate with you (like, let’s say, in a food fight), make sure that your absurdity doesn’t affect anyone else’s Day, and you’ll be perfectly in the clear.
What is blase’ Day?
Blase’ Day is observed annually on November 25. This unique observance permits us to be blase’ toward just about anything. Of French origin, meaning to be indifferent or bored with life, unimpressed, as or as if from an excess of worldly pleasures.
Where can I learn more about the philosophy behind absurdism?
If you’re interested in learning where these ideas originated, visit your local library’s philosophy department. While Kierkegaard can be pretty dense, you can always read summaries or thumb through Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. It’s all very interesting stuff!

How To Celebrate National Absurdity Day

Sacrifice one of your five senses for the Day.
One way to change your perspective about the usual struggle of your routines is to choose one of your five senses and do without it for a day. Whether you plug your nose, close your eyes, or wear good noise-cancelling headphones, you’ll be sure to enjoy the hilarity of the accidental antics.
Have a food fight.
The rule that food shall not be played with was established for most of us long ago in childhood. To celebrate nonsense, plan a food fight with your friends and family. Get all the good stuff, from Jell-O to ketchup. Enjoy getting messy and guiltlessly playing with your food.
Let your pet or toddler call the shots.
Instead of insisting that adult logic and plans rule the Day, hand over the decision-making responsibilities to your pet or toddler. For the entire Day, follow their lead. Does your dog want to dig a hole in the yard? Dig with him! Does your toddler want to unroll all the toilet paper in the house? Make snow angels in the loose tissue!

Why We Love National Absurdity Day

It helps us peek into an alternate universe.
While we understand the importance of civilized behaviour and enforced social norms, National Absurdity Day offers us an opportunity to live in an alternate reality for a day. In this reality, cats can get pedicures, spaghetti can function as wall decor, and bathing in chocolate pudding might be a real possibility.
Silliness helps bring people together.
This holiday should fall on the week before Thanksgiving because we can all get so stressed around the holidays. By participating in silly and absurd behaviour, we can all abandon those sombre expectations and meal-planning obligations and embrace the carefree attitudes of childhood once again. Laughing in good company is always the best medicine.
Independent thinking is encouraged.
National Absurdity Day frees us from following any routine or keeping ourselves on autopilot. We can begin to question why we do things that aren’t funny, entertaining, or true to our authentic desires. Maybe we can carry some lessons from this holiday into the days after.

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