Category: April 17



    National Crawfish Day on April 17th celebrates one of the South’s most iconic foods. Each year the mudbug brings out not only a desire for newspaper-covered picnic tables but a language all its own.


    A smaller, fresh-water cousin to the lobster, crawfish provide a unique flavor to many homegrown Southern dishes. Baked or boiled, crawfish is usually seasoned with a distinctive brand of southern heat. One particularly popular way to serve crawfish is a boil, paper towels required.

    If you’ve never been to a crawfish boil, you don’t understand the meaning of digging into your food. An unbridled desire overcomes you as the aroma hits you to devour a massive pile of corn, potatoes, and sausage. And let’s not forget a variety of shellfish that go by names such as ditchbug, crayfish, crawdad, crawpappy, among other amusements.


    time or the thousandth, celebrate with family and friends.

    • Whether you experience crawfish for the first
    • Enjoy a delicious crawfish boil or crawfish tails.
    • As you celebrate, share your family favorite recipes, too!
    • Listen to the interview on Celebration Voices.
    • Use #NationalCrawfishDay to post on social media.


    Shell ShackShell Shack Logo founded National Crawfish Day on April 17, 2020, to celebrate one of Southern culture’s most beloved native foods. They encourage everyone to get out during the peak season to indulge in a crawfish boil surrounded by friends and family.

    The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Crawfish Day to be observed on April 17th, annually.



    April 17th kicks off National Cheeseball Day and recognizes a party food that can sometimes be the centerpiece of a spread.  You can choose from two ways to celebrate, too! Or plan your party and serve both!


    • A cheese spread comes in the shape of a ball served with crackers, most often around Christmas in the U.S. This cheeseball is commonly made with softened cream cheese and other ingredients.
    • Cheese puffs are a puffed corn snack coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders. Cheese puffs are manufactured by extruding heated corn dough through a die that forms the particular shape, most likely a ball shape.

    No matter which one you celebrate, both make for terrific snacking. 


    • Pick your favorite type of cheese ball and get snacking.
    • Share your favorite with someone.
    • Make up your favorite cheeseball recipe or snack on the cheese puff variety. The choice is yours!
    • If you’re looking for a recipe, we’ve found one for you to try, too.
    • Be sure to share your favorite recipes. There’re so many to choose from.
    • Celebrate the day by making a cheeseball for friends and family. They even make for fantastic leftovers. 
    • Remember to share a picture of your cheeseball on Social Media using #NationalCheeseballDay.


    National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this splendid food holiday.

    Cheeseball FAQ

    Q. How do I prevent crackers from breaking when scooping from the cheeseball?
    A. A cheese knife should be used to carve a bit of the cheeseball away and spread it on the cracker. Also, allow the cheeseball to come to room temperature before serving.

    Q. Can I freeze any leftover cheeseballs?
    A. Yes. To avoid causing the cheese to dry out, first wrap it well with freezer wrap. Then chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Store in an air-tight freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to a month.




    Observed annually on April 17, National Haiku Poetry Day encourages all to try their hand in creativity. Haiku poetry is a form of Japanese poetry that is non-rhyming and usually consists of 3 lines with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5. Usually, an element of nature, a season, a moment of beauty, or an individual experience inspires haiku poems. Sensory language is used to capture a feeling, image, or moment.


    From Haiku: This Other World
    Richard Wright (1908-1960)

    Whitecaps on the bay:
    A broken signboard banging
    In the April wind.

    As one of the world’s oldest and regularly used poetry, some recognizable poets wrote many haiku. While the most well-known is Matsuo Basho, others we may recognize are William Blake, T.S. Eliot, or Maya Angelou. And as small as the poem may be, it can be quite challenging to write. Try capturing an entire moment or emotion in 17 syllables and getting it right. 

    However, English haiku does not always follow the strict syllable count found in Japanese haiku. The typical length of haiku in English language journals is 10-14 syllables versus the 5-7-5 syllables used in the Japanese language.


    • Create a haiku poem of your own!
    • Share your inspiration with others.
    • Take a walk and draw from the world around you.
    • Encourage friends to join you and share your haiku.
    • Be sure to include one or two senses in your poems, such as touch or sound.
    • Spend time reading haiku poetry too.
    • Post your Haiku poem on social media using #NationalHaikuPoetryDay.
    • Educators, visit the National Day Calendar® Classroom for a project to help you Celebrate Every Day


    Sari Granstaff registered National Haiku Poetry Day in 2007, and The Haiku Foundation implemented the day as a project in 2012.

    Haiku FAQ

    Q. Does haiku have to rhyme?
    A. No. While haiku poems usually don’t rhyme, they do incorporate elements of poetry such as rhythm, emotion, and occasionally rhyme.

    Q. Is a haiku always about nature?
    A. No, but usually there is some element of nature included in the poem. Haiku is usually inspired by nature. However, some poets draw from the haiku style for more industrial types of poems.




    Each year on April 17th, National Ellis Island Family History Day encourages families to explore their ancestry and discover family who immigrated through Ellis Island.


    From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island served as the busiest inspection station for millions of immigrants to the United States. On this day in 1907, officials recorded 11,747 names passing through Ellis Island. It was the busiest day of immigration in the station’s history. During all of 1907, officials processed over one million immigrants through Ellis Island. 

    During its operation, approximately 12 million immigrants passed through the halls of Ellis Island. It operated from 1892 to 1954. Before Ellis Island, immigrants entered the United States in New York City at Castle Garden. Just months before Ellis Island’s opening, the old depot was demolished and ushered in a new era of immigration. The Statue of Liberty overlooks Ellis Island and was one of the first sights the nearly 2,000 immigrants a day would see as they disembarked. 

    The new facilities offered an improvement over the Castle Garden. The large, open, and airy facility presented an overwhelming obstacle to some, though. Thousands of people from many cultures and speaking different languages gathered in one place. After such a long journey, the arrival at Ellis Island must have been stressful and confusing. What an overwhelming and exciting experience for them all! For some, they entered Ellis Island as a step toward their future. Officials turned others away for a variety of reasons. 


    Do you have a family member who immigrated through Ellis Island? Explore your ancestry and follow your ancestors’ footsteps. Discover the history behind your family’s name or learn about their experiences as they traveled to a new land. Many documents reveal glimpses into their lives and their reasons for immigrating. 

    Through its website,, you explore the histories of famous immigrants. You can also search passenger lists and follow the clues to your family’s past. While you research, take a virtual tour or learn genealogy basics. Learn about these 7 Notable Ellis Island Immigrants and as you celebrate your day, be sure to share your experience, too. 

    Use #EllisIslandFamilyHistoryDay to post on social media.


    On April 17, 2001, National Ellis Island Family History Day commemorated the busiest inspection station in the United States by launching digital access to its records. This project placed Ellis Island documents at the descendents’ fingertips for the first time. Millions of families could finally retrace their ancestors’ footsteps in a way they had never been able to do before. Governors across the United States officially declared the observance to be celebrated on April 17th, annually. 

    Ellis Island FAQ

    Q. When did Ellis Island open?
    A. Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892, and began processing the first immigrants through its doors.

    Q. Who was the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island?
    A. According to the National Park Service, Annie Moore, a County Cork, Ireland immigrant was the first person processed at Ellis Island. She was seventeen years old and accompanied her two younger brothers to America. Their immigration reunited the children with their parents and two older siblings.

    Q. When did Ellis Island close?
    A. Ellis Island’s last day of operation was November 12, 1954.




    Each year on April 17th, International Bat Appreciation Day reminds us of the roles bats play in our daily lives.  April is also the best time of the year to observe bats, as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation. The observance is an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature. Since bats are considered “insectivorous” creatures, they rid our world of many annoying insects. In one hour, a bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes.


    Fun Bat Facts:
    • Some species of bats live up to 40 years.
    • Bats can see in the dark and use their extreme sense of hearing.
    • They also use echolocation to find food.
    • A bat’s ability to fly makes them unique. In the mammal world, only bats are naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
    • There are over 1,200 known species of bats.
    • An estimated 48 species of bats make their home in the United States.
    • Nearly 70% of bats are insectivores.
    • As pollinators, bats, along with bees and butterflies, provide a vital link to our food supply. 
    • Bats grow in a variety of sizes. One of the largest bats is the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox bat weighing up to 4 lbs with a wingspan of up to 5 feet, 7 inches.
    • Bats are also clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
    • North America’s largest urban bat colony is found on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas.  An estimated 1,500,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats live there. This colony of bats eats approximately 10,000 to 30,000 lbs of insects each night. An estimated 100,000 tourists visit the bridge annually to watch the bats leave the roost at twilight.
    • One 150 Big Brown bats colony protects farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
    • Almost 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, with some already listed as endangered or threatened.
    • Three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma named the Mexican Free-Tailed bat their state bat, and Virginia dubbed the Virginia Big-Eared bat their state bat.


    • Learn more about bats.
    • Read about them or watch a bat documentary.
    • Share your experiences with bats, too!
    • Use #BatAppreciationDay to post on social media.
    • Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for more resources to help you #CelebrateEveryDay!
    • Also, download and print the coloring sheet for this day.


    Bat Conservation International (BCI) started and supports International Bat Appreciation Day. The BCI mission is to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet.

    Bat FAQ

    Q. Do bats live on every continent?
    A. No. Bats do not live in Antarctica.

    Q. What is the world’s largest bat?
    A. The flying fox is the world’s largest bat and lives in the tropical forests and swamps of Madagascar, Australia, Asia, and Indonesia. The species is threatened by hunting, with some populations considered endangered.

    Q. What is the world’s smallest bat?
    A. Kitti’s hog-nosed bat is the world’s smallest species of bat. It is also known as the bumblebee bat. They live in limestone caves in Thailand and Myanmar.

    April 17th Celebrated History


    A record 11,747 immigrants passed through Ellis Island on its busiest day ever. Isaac Asimov, Bob Hope, and Claudette Colbert are just a few of the notable people who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island.


    Ford unveils the Mustang at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The American car manufacturer initially offered the muscle car in a hardtop and convertible.


    Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz Mock was the first woman to fly solo around the world, which she did in 1964. She flew a single-engine Cessna 180 christened the “Spirit of Columbus” and nicknamed “Charlie.” The trip began March 19, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio, and ended April 17, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio


    The ill-fated flight of Apollo 13 ends with the safe splashdown of the command module. Inside crew members James A. Lovell, Jr., Fred W. Haise, Jr., and John L. Swigert, Jr. survive the mission but miss the opportunity to be the third crew to land on the moon due to the No.2 oxygen tank.


    Game of Thrones debuts on HBO. The series ran for eight seasons and is based on author George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire.

    April 17th Celebrated Birthdays

    Thornton Wilder – 1897

    The best-selling novelist, Thornton Wilder, received the Pulitzer Prize three times, once for fiction and twice for drama. In 1927, his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey became an American classic. In 1938, Wilder became the only person to win a Pulitzer Prize in both fiction and drama when his play Our Town earned him his second prize. Then in 1942, with the chronologically fractured The Skin of Our Teeth where actors play multiple roles depicting life unchanging, Wilder received his third Pulitzer Prize.

    Catherine Coyne – 1907

    During World War II, Coyne reported for The Boston Herald from Europe. She traveled with the 1st Army and witnessed the first meeting of the Red Army and the US Army in Torgau.

    Sidney Garfield – 1906

    In 1945, the American physician co-founded the healthcare system known as Kaiser Permanente.

    Georges J F Kohler – 1946

    In 1984, Georges J. F. Kohler won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies.”