December 23rd is reserved for National Pfeffernusse Day, a German spice cookie.  Very popular around the holidays, pfeffernusse are fluffy cookies made with ground nuts and spices and covered in powdered sugar.

The exact origin of the cookie is unknown. However, the Dutch believe that pfeffernusse (or pepernoten) are linked to the feast of Sinterklaas, which is celebrated on December 5 in the Netherlands and December 6 in Germany and Belgium. This holiday is when children receive gifts from St. Nicholas, who is partially the inspiration for the Santa Claus tradition. 

Over time, many bakers have created their own pfeffernusse recipes. Traditional methods included various nuts such as almonds and walnuts. Some modern recipes exclude nuts altogether along with the black pepper, retaining only cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom as flavorings. Bakers also use molasses and honey to sweeten the cookie

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPfeffernusseDay

Try one of the following pfeffernusse recipes:

Use #NationalPfeffernusseDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this spicy cookie. While we do, we also encourage you to keep sampling and snacking on the recipes as you explore the fascinating holidays throughout the year. 

FESTIVUS – December 23


Each year on December 23rd, Festivus commemorates a holiday episode of the television comedy, Seinfeld. In 1997, the popular television comedy brought Festivus to the masses when Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) explains he invented the holiday in response to the commercialism of Christmas. Its slogan is “A Festivus for the rest of us.”

Combining holidays and family discord is a common practice for sitcoms. However, one only has to look to our own families to find a little humor. This holiday reminds us how easily we take things too seriously at times. Politics, traditions, grudges and more lead us down unintended paths. Sometimes those paths turn out to be quite the hilarious turn of events. Well, hopefully, they’re more hilarious than not. At least while watching through the magnifying glass of the Seinfeld episode safely from our homes, we see a bit of our selves and those we hold dear. 


Festivus traditions derived from the television episode and the original creator have been combined over the years.

  • Adorn an aluminum Festivus pole to be displayed in the home. In the O’Keefe household, there was no pole. Instead, a clock was placed in a bag and nailed to the wall.
  • Serve a traditional dinner in the evening. 
  • During dinner, allow the Airing of Grievances. Each person takes turns describing how the others have disappointed him or her over the past year.
  • Feats of Strength follows dinner and involves wrestling the head of the household. Note: The holiday is not complete unless the head of the household is pinned. Failure to pin the head of the household could result in perpetual Festivus.
  • Festivus Miracle – a frequent if unimpressive miracle. You may count carrying all the groceries into the house for dinner without tripping or dropping one of the bags as a Festivus Miracle.

Festivus Song by Danny Lutz

Festivus Song by Brett Houston

While watching the Seinfeld episode, count the number of miracles. Pick up an aluminum pole. Decorate it. Let the Airing of Grievances begin and celebrate. Use #Festivus to post on social media.


Daniel O’Keefe, Reader’s Digest editor and author, created the holiday in response to family tension. One of its central practices is the “airing of grievances.”  He first celebrated the day in February of 1966. But later, the day was recognized as it is now, on December 23 in honor of O’Keefe’s first date with his future wife. O’Keefe’s son wrote the Seinfeld episode featuring the celebration.



National Roots Day on December 23rd encourages families to delve into their family history, heritage, and ancestry.

Each year during the holidays is an ideal time to collect family information. While families gather around the table telling stories and sharing memories, someone is sure to be the family historian. It is entirely possible a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle has already started a family tree and will share with other family members.

Gather photos – and get them labeled before memories fade. Names, places, and dates become fuzzy after a decade or two. Strive to involve every generation. Share struggles and accomplishments. Document stories from one generation to another. Each generation is made up of the previous generation’s efforts, travels, failures, and successes. They help us to be who we are today but they

It is often interesting to learn about the lives of our ancestors; where they came from, their struggles, their accomplishments.  It is a combination of everyone on the family tree that helps to make the person we are today.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalRootsDay

Look into your own family’s roots. Share family stories with your children. Organize those photos. Use #NationalRootsDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar continues digging for the roots of this holiday. 

FOREFATHERS’ DAY – December 22 (Unless on Sunday, Then Following Monday)


Each year, Forefathers’ Day commemorates the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1620. The Old Colony Club of Plymouth, Massachusetts, introduced the observance in 1769. The town observes the holiday on December 22nd (unless on Sunday, then on the following Monday).

Carrying on the traditions established in 1769, the Old Colony Club recognizes the forefathers with several events. The celebration begins at 6:00 AM with a march by members to the top of Cole’s Hill next to Massasoit’s statue. Next, they read a proclamation honoring the forefathers, followed by a ritual firing of the club’s cannon.

The Old Colony Club and the Mayflower Society both include a succotash dinner as part of their celebration. Sauquetash was recorded as a part of the first celebration. Unlike later versions of succotash, in Plymouth, succotash is served as a broth containing large pieces of fowl and meat that are sliced at the table. And the Old Colony Club did not call the Forefathers “pilgrims” either. The name didn’t come along until much later. 

Well into the 1800s from New England to Los Angeles, churches and other organizations celebrated the day with meals they called “New England” dinners. Speeches reflected on the lessons the years since the Plymouth settlers arrived. Others recounted their history. 

HOW TO OBSERVE #ForefathersDay

Learn more about your forefathers. Find out about the pilgrims in your history and the history of the country. Discover the story behind the Mayflower and more. Use #ForefathersDay to post on social media.


Descendants of the Mayflower formed the Old Colony Club and established Forefathers’ Day on December 22, 1769, “to honor the forefathers.” When adjusting the date to the Gregorian calendar, the anniversary of the landing was mistakenly calculated to be December 22nd instead of December 21st. 

Two noted celebrations occurred 100 years apart. The first in 1820 when the Pilgrim Society held its first celebration at First Parish Church. Daniel Webster spoke movingly about the pilgrims. It was Webster’s moving speech that put Plymouth Rock into the patriotic spotlight. On Forefathers’ Day that year, he made it a landmark like had never been before.

The largest Forefathers’ Day celebration took place in 1920 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day as Pilgrims’ Day on December 21st, reflecting the more accepted conversion to the Gregorian calendar.

CHANUKAH – changes annually


Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah or Chanuka), is observed for eight nights and days. It starts on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

Did you know these facts?

  • Hanukkah is not considered a significant religious holiday when compared to other Jewish holidays.
  • The menorah holds nine candles. In the center stands the shamus or servant. The shamus lights the 8 other Hanukkah candles.
  • The Hanukkah candles are strictly for pleasure. They are not to be utilized for any useful or productive purpose. The shamus is available, so the Hanukkah candles aren’t accidentally used to light a fire in the fireplace or another useful purpose.
  • Gift giving is not traditionally a part of the Hanukkah holiday.
  • Playing dreidel is a gambling game popular during the Hanukkah holiday.
  • Fried foods are traditional during the holiday, representing the oil used to light the lamps


Learn more about Chanukah. Share your Chanukah traditions with others. See Use #Chanukah to post on social media.


During the time of Alexander the Great, Jewish culture began to blend with the Greek culture. Jews who accepted Greek culture at the expense of their religion became known as Hellenists. Alexander and the Jews had a mostly peaceful relationship; the Jews were loyal to his rule, and Alexander didn’t destroy and abuse them.

Around 190 BCE, when Alexander left Israel, and Antiochus IV took over, most Jews had assimilated to Greek culture but continued to practice their faith. However, Antiochus expected more from the Jews.

Antiochus forced Greek culture on the devout Jewish people by placing Hellenistic priests in the Temple. He also desecrated the Temple by sacrificing pigs at the altar, prohibiting Jews from practicing their faith, killing their faithful, and levying heavy taxes upon them.

A rebel force of Jews formed around the year 166 BCE. They revolted against Antiochus’ government and took back the Temple. So that they could rededicate the Temple, oil was needed for the menorah. But there was only enough undefiled oil to last one night. Miraculously, it lasted eight days. Hanukkah is the eight-day Festival of Lights commemorating this miracle of the oil.

On Deck for December 24, 2019

National Days

International Days


Recipe of the Day


Eggnog Bread Pudding







4 large eggs
4 cups prepared eggnog
10 slices stale cinnamon raisin bread
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar (optional)

Heat oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8 x 8-inch oven-safe baking dish by coating with butter or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add eggnog and whisk well.

Place one layer of bread in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour half of the prepared eggnog over the cubes. Arrange the additional slices on top and pour the remaining eggnog over the bread.

Bake 55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar. Serve warm with caramel sauce poured over the top.

Servings: 8


About National Day Calendar

National Day Calendar® is the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique National Days! Since our humble beginnings on National Popcorn Day in 2013, we now track nearly 1,500 National Days, National Weeks and National Months. In addition, our research team continues to uncover the origins of existing National Days as well as discover new, exciting days for everyone to celebrate.

There’s a celebration for everyone. While National Road Trip Day satisfies the itch to wander, many pet days let us share our love of animals. National 3-D Day and National Astronaut Day honor the advancement of technology, too. Every food day you can imagine (National Avocado Day, for example), will keep you celebrating, also!

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