Where the World Gathers to Celebrate Every Day




Each year on January 16th, people across the nation recognize National Nothing Day.

The observance was created as a day to provide Americans with one National Day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything. (National Day Calendar only reports the Days, sometimes they may contradict themselves.)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on the third Monday of January which means that one-in-seven January 16th’s will fall on the same day as Nothing Day, effectively usurping the nature of Nothing Day.

While it may be a good day to celebrate nothing at all, we suppose putting nothing in a glass and setting it on a table might suffice for celebration. You might leave your diary page blank on every January 16th. Don’t mark anything on the calendar on the 16th, either. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you sent a blank email dated January 16th. How many replies would you get saying, “There’s nothing here.”

For people whose birthday lands on January 16th, wrap an empty box. That should elicit a nothing response appropriate for the celebration.

When asked, “What are your plans, today?” your response should definitely be, “Nothing.” What else would your answer be on a day like today? Now that we think about it, “Nothing” works well as an answer when recognizing the day.

Q: What’s for supper?

A: Nothing

Q: What are you reading?

A. Nothing. (Even though you’re clearly reading something.)

Q. What’s your homework assignment?

A. Nothing. (As you’re working on your homework.)

Q. What are you drinking?

A. Nothing. (As you sip on the best non-fat latte ever.)

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalNothingDay



In 1972, columnist Harold Pullman Coffin proposed National Nothing Day. The day has been observed in all its nothingness since 1973. The observance is sponsored by Coffin’s National Nothing Foundation, registered in Capitola, California.



National Fig Newton Day on January 16th annually recognizes a tasty pastry enjoyed across the country. 

A Nabisco’s trademarked version of the fig roll, Newtons are a pastry filled with fig paste. Fig Newtons have an unusual and characteristic shape that has been adopted by many competitors, including generic fig bars.

Up until the 19th century, many physicians believed most illnesses were related to digestion problems. As a remedy, they recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. Fig rolls served as an ideal solution to their advice, which remained a locally produced and handmade product. 

In 1891, Philadelphia baker and fig-lover, Charles Roser, invented and patented the machine, which inserted fig paste into a thick pastry dough. The Cambridgeport, MA-based Kennedy Biscuit Company then purchased Roser’s recipe. They began mass production after purchasing the recipe. In 1891, the first Fig Newtons were baked at the F.A. Kennedy Steam Bakery. The company named the pastries after the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

After recently becoming associated, the Kennedy Biscuit Company and the New York Biscuit company merged to form Nabisco. The new company trademarked the fig rolls as Fig Newtons.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalFigNewtonDay

Enjoy a Fig Newton, fig roll, or make your own. People of all ages enjoy this tasty bar. It comes in a variety of flavors, but fig seems to be the most popular. Enjoy it with coffee, tea, or juice. 

We even found a delicious recipe for you to try and share.

Fresh Fig Newtons

Use #NationalFigNewtonDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar continues to seek the origins of this figurative food holiday. While we may not figure it out, we do sometimes get into a jam. Oh well, we’ll follow the crumbs.

National Use Your Gift Cards Day - Third Saturday in January


National Use Your Gift Card Day reminds Americans to use the $1 billion in gift cards left unused each year. On the third Saturday in January, take stock of the gift cards you received over the holidays. Make the most of each one of them before they’re forgotten for good!

We all do it. Stash away gift cards thinking we will have more time later to use them. They collect dust and disappear into an abyss somewhere. We discover them as we clean and often don’t remember how much was on the card or if we used a portion of it. Those partial balances add up, too!  The first step is to collect the cards together and see what you have. You know where to look.

  • Every pocket of every purse and wallet you have
  • The infamous junk drawer
  • Glove compartment of the car
  • Bottom of the toy box (it may have been used to scrape goo off a toy)
  • The other junk drawer
  • A gift bag with the tissue paper still in it
  • The toolbox (we know what happens when a flathead screwdriver can’t be found)

Once you have your gift cards, get organized. Where do the gift cards work? Restaurants, retail, and services all offer gift cards. Some gift cards are designed to be used just about anywhere.

Maximizing Your Gift
  • Check for deals to maximize your gift cards. In most cases, gift cards work just like cash and can be used with coupons. There are exceptions, however, so it’s always good to check first.
  • Is the card to a place you don’t shop? You have a few options:
    • See if the card is good at a companion location
    • Check to see if the gift card can be cashed out
    • Have a gift card swap party or sell your gift card for cash
    • Donate your gift card to a charity fundraiser like a silent auction
  • Plan to overspend the amount of the gift card to avoid having small balances lying around. Even if you add a small useful item (lip balm is always handy) to go a penny over the amount, you’ll be able to hand the card over to the retailer to recycle the card.

HOW TO OBSERVE #UseYourGiftCardDay

Collect your gift cards. It’s time to use them. Don’t let them sit for a year and risk losing your gift altogether. Maximize your gift cards with deals and get the most out of your gift cards, too. Have a shopping spree or a spa day with your gift cards. Don’t let those gifts and savings pass you by! Use #UseYourGiftCardDay to share on social media.


Tilson PR founded National Use Your Gift Card Day in 2020 to make sure everyone gets the most out of their gift cards. Leave no gift card unturned and find tips, ideas, and deals by visiting useyourgiftcard.com, too.

The Registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed National Use Your Gift Card Day to be observed on the third Saturday in January, annually.NATIONAL WITHOUT A SCALPEL DAY – January 16 (1)



Each year on National Without a Scalpel Day January 16th recognizes the opportunities to treat disease without a scalpel. On this day in 1964, pioneering physician Charles Dotter performed the first angioplasty. The ground-breaking procedure to open a blocked blood vessel took place in Portland, Oregon. Not only did the angioplasty allow the patient to avoid leg amputation surgery, but she left the hospital days later with only a Band-Aid.

No surgery, no stitches, no scars…

In doing so, Dr. Dotter created a cutting-edge medical specialty called Interventional Radiology, where doctors treat disease through a tiny pinhole instead of open surgery. These doctors use x-rays and other medical imaging to see inside the body while they treat disease. These advances changed all of medicine.

Today, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures (MIIP) can treat a broad range of diseases throughout the body, in adults and children:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • aneurysms
  • life-threatening bleeding
  • infertility
  • fibroids
  • kidney stones
  • back pain
  • infections
  • blocked blood vessels
  • many other conditions

Even though trained specialists perform MIIP throughout the world, many people do not know about MIIP or if they could benefit from these life-changing treatments. The Interventional Initiative was established to raise awareness and educate the public about MIIP.

The Interventional Initiative just completed the pilot episode of the documentary series Without a Scalpel, to be aired on a national network in 2016. Without a Scalpel features real patient stories and their doctors who treat them with life-changing MIIP.

HOW TO OBSERVE #WithoutAScalpelDay

Take some time to learn more about MIIP and share this valuable, life-saving information with someone you love. Post on social media using #WithoutAScalpelDay.


The Interventional Initiative submitted National Without a Scalpel Day in 2015. If you or someone you know could benefit from MIIP, visit www.theii.org or follow on Twitter @interventional2.



Each year, National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the day the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was signed on January 16, 1786. Each year, by Presidential Proclamation, January 16th is declared Religious Freedom Day. 

Thomas Jefferson’s landmark statute became the basis for Congressman Fisher Ames’ establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Consitution.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia, commemorates this day by holding an annual First Freedom Award banquet.

The statute guarantees the fundamental freedom to openly practice one’s faith without fear of being harassed, jailed, or killed. Additionally, under the statute, each person may freely change their religion without retribution. In the United States, people of different faiths have equal rights to practice their religion.

Around the world, religious restrictions continue to rise. According to Pew research, legislation, attitudes, and policies are rising globally in the last decade. Even those countries usually considered restrictive are increasing their limitations. When looking at countries with the most equality, they too show a change in policies and attitudes toward religious freedom. Religious freedom is a global concern, not only a national one. 

HOW TO OBSERVE #ReligiousFreedomDay

While recognizing the U.S. commemoration, take a broader look. Learn more about religious freedom in the United States and around the world. 

  • Watch First Freedom on PBS.
  • Learn about other faiths.
  • Practice your own faith.
  • Participate in an interfaith event such as the one mentioned on Share America.
  • Read about other faiths and their experiences in the United States.

Use #ReligiousFreedomDay to post on social media.


Every year since 1993, the President of the United States proclaims January 16th National Religious Freedom Day

On Deck for January 17, 2021

National Days

International Days


January 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


President Chester Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, creating the U.S. civil service system. The act established a merit basis for federal jobs and promotions and made it illegal to fire or demote government employees for political reasons.


The states ratify the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. A year later, the amendment goes into effect on January 17th. It prohibited “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…” In between the amendment’s ratification and effective date, Congress passed the Volstead Act providing the means to enforce the 18th Amendment. The “noble experiment” ended on December 5, 1933, when the states ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition.


On October 15, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Department of Transportation. A few months later, on January 16, 1968, Johnson appointed the first Secretary of Transportation, Alan Boyd.


The Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 completed the first docking mission while in orbit above the Earth. Each spacecraft were crewed by two cosmonauts, and while docked, they performed a spacewalk and switched spacecraft for the return flight home.

Recipe of the Day

Ms. Carolyn’s Mint Julep Recipe
Prep: 5 minutes
Total Prep: 5 minutes








5-7 fresh mint leaves
4 ounces of Bourbon (your preference)
Crushed ice
Lime slices for garnish


Photo and recipe courtesy of Ambassador team Erratic Divas.


  • Muddle some fresh mint in the bottom of your glass.Add 4 oz of bourbon (more or less depending on your mood).
  • Add a ton of crushed ice.
  • Stir…then add more ice.
  • Garnish with some fresh mint that you have clapped between your hands (this releases some of the mint oils and adds more flavor).
  • For additional garnish, slice lime and place on the rim of glass.

Sip slowly, put on a fancy hat, and watch Secretariat on Disney Plus for the perfect National Mint Julep Day celebration.

January 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman – 1843

During the American Civil War, Sarah Wakeman disguised herself as a man to earn more money. Using either the name Lyons or Edwin Wakeman to find work, she eventually enlisted in the Union Army under the name Lyons. She served until 1864 when she died of dysentery. Only Wakeman’s letters home revealed her true identity.

André Michelin – 1853

The French industrialist and his brother Édouard Michelin transformed their grandfather’s business in 1888, renaming it Michelin and Company. A year later, their detachable-pneumatic tires would revolutionize transportation.

Ethel Merman – 1909

The comedic actress and singer rose to stardom on the Broadway stage in shows like Hello, Dolly, Girl Crazy, and Gypsy. Her talent translated to the silver screen, earning her a Golden Globe for 1954’s Call Me Madam.

Dian Fossey – 1932

It only took one experience with mountain gorillas to convince the American zoologist to return and establish the Karisoke Research Centre. From then on, Fossey dedicated and gave her life to studying gorillas and developing conservation efforts. Her efforts drew unwanted attention from smugglers and poachers in Rwanda. On December 26, 1985, Fossey was murdered in her bed, and the crime has never been solved.

Ronnie Milsap – 1944

One of country music’s most popular performers rose to the top of the charts during the 1970s. Some of the Grammy-winning singer and pianist’s best-known songs include “Stranger in My House,” “Any Day Now,” and “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning.”

Debbie Allen – 1950

The talented performer’s long career of successful television shows includes Fame, Cosby Show, and Grey’s Anatomy.

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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