NATIONAL MOON DAY
National Moon Day on July 20th commemorates the day man first walked on the moon in 1969. NASA reported the moon landing as being “…the single greatest technological achievement of all time.”
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. Six hours after landing on the moon, American Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. He spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Buzz Aldrin soon followed, stepping onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two men collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would make the journey back to Earth to be analyzed.
In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.
Caught up in the thrill of the adventure, millions of Americans watched the mission from Earth. Televisions around the world tuned in to the live broadcasts. The astronauts had a worldwide audience. As a result, all witnessed as Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface and described the event as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
When is Global Sleep Under the Stars Night?
Unquestionably, putting men on the moon became a tangible achievement in the space race. It placed the United States in a role to go forth and explore into the deeper reaches of the universe, too. In the months and decades that followed, NASA and the Soviets stepped up their missions.
The day doesn’t just celebrate the landmark mission. It also celebrates future missions. Private expeditions are taking humans further into space. Armstrong’s “one small step for man” inspired imaginations and sparked innovation, too, for generations to come. Even future moon missions are planned including manned landings.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalMoonDay
National Moon Day opens up a lot of opportunities to explore and reminisce! Did you watch the first moon landing in 1969? How about the ones that followed? Share your memories of the moon landing. Set up your telescope and explore the moon’s surface. You can even explore the surface with a telephoto lens. As you rediscover the moon, start a discussion about space exploration. How does it impact our world today? Study the plans for future moon landings, too. What are your thoughts on more moon exploration?
While you’re celebrating, discover the people behind the moon landing. Share their stories and celebrate their achievements, too. You can also celebrate the day by reading books or watching documentaries about the Apollo 11 mission or those leading up to it:
- In the Shadow of the Moon (2007) directed by David Sington
- First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 (2018) directed by Paul J. Hildebrant
- One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman
- A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin
- Hidden Figures by Margo Lee Shetterly
Share your discoveries and stories using #NationalMoonDay on social media.
Educators and Families, visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for more ways to celebrate!
NATIONAL MOON DAY HISTORY
In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day on July 20th to honor the anniversary of man’s first moon landing. However, no continuing resolution followed.
Enter Richard Christmas. He took up the baton by launching a “Chrismas Card” writing campaign. The Michigan native wrote to governors and members of Congress in all 50 states urging them to create National Moon Day. He achieved some success, too. By July of 1975, 12 states sponsored bills observing Moon Day.
Another modern-day supporter of National Moon Day is Astronomer James J. Mullaney. He knows a few things about the moon, too. As a former Curator of Exhibits and Astronomy at Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium, Mullaney is on a mission. He says, “If there’s a Columbus Day on the calendar, there certainly should be a Moon Day!” His goal is a federally recognized holiday.
In 2019, President Donald Trump proclaimed July 20th as the 50th Anniversary Observance of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. However, no National Moon Day has been declared.
Explore other out of this world celebrations:
- Aviation Day
- Radio Day
- Ride the Wind Day
- TV Dinner Day
NATIONAL LOLLIPOP DAY
July 20th recognizes National Lollipop Day as a way to celebrate this enduring and ever-popular treat. Pick up your favorite flavor to savor!
Ever delightful and sweet, lollipops have satisfied generations of sweet tooths. And it’s possible they’ve been doing that for centuries. However, no one is sure how old the lollipop is. During prehistoric times, a form of lollipop may have preserved nuts and berries in honey. As sugar became plentiful, lollipops appeared much later in 16th century Europe.
In the United States, confectionaries and medicine shops as early as the 1860s sold lollipops in various forms. However, George Smith gave this sweet treat an official 20th-century story in 1908. Smith earns credit for inventing the modern style lollipop. In 1931, Smith trademarked the name which he claims came from his favorite racing horse, Lolly Pops.
Lollipops range in size. For variety, the smaller candies can be purchased by the bagful. Banks, barbershops, and vendors at parades give the sweet treat away to customers, too! Specialty candy shops make giant lollipops in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes. While they are attractive, these lollipops can be cumbersome and often are more than we can handle!
Lollipops in Pop Culture
This candy made its mark in pop culture. Movies, TV, and commercials feature the lollipop in various ways.
- 1934 – In the movie Bright Eyes, Shirley Temple sang the song “On the Good Ship Lollipop.”
- 1939 – The Wizard of Oz brought us a world of characters, including the Lollipop Guild. Armed with a giant spiral sucker, The Lollipop Guild welcomed Dorothy to the Land of Oz.
- 1969 – How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. The Tootsie Pop (the trademark name for Tootsie Roll’s lollipop) commercial debuted on U.S. television. The 60-second advertisement included a boy, cow, fox, turtle, owl, and the narrator.
- 1973-1978 – How do you make a lollipop look tough? Put it in the hands of Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. The lollipop-loving detective was played by Telli Savalis in the TV series Kojak. At the same time, the candy did no harm to the tough guy’s persona.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalLollipopDay
“I want candy! I want candy!” Enjoy a lollipop today to celebrate. You can also explore the magic of candy making. Pick up a bagful and give them out to friends, neighbors, and customers, too. Give a shout out to your favorite candy shop using #NationalLollipopDay on social media.
NATIONAL LOLLIPOP DAY HISTORY
The National Confectioners Association founded National Lollipop Day.
Check out these sweet holidays:
- S’mores Day
- Raspberry Bombe Day
- Toasted Marshmallow Day
NATIONAL FORTUNE COOKIE DAY
We see a time when you will enjoy a crunchy, sweet treat on National Fortune Cookie Day! Each year on July 20th, Americans celebrate the cookie that is a traditional part of Chinese take-out.
These crisp, folded cookies have a hint of buttery sweetness. Break them open, and you will find a slip of paper tucked inside with a message on it. The phrase will range from profound words of wisdom or tricky riddles to simple bits of common sense. Some fortunes include quotes from famous philosophers.
While these nuggets of enjoyment are most often found at the end of a Chinese meal, they didn’t originate in China. The distinctively folded cookie began in Japan, where elegant desserts and folding techniques are quintessentially Japanese. However, in Japan, the fortune was tucked in the fold on the outside of the cookie. Sometime in the late 1800s, the fortune cookie migrated to the United States and made its transition. During World War II, it exploded in popularity, and Americans have never stopped enjoying them.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FortuneCookieDay
Order some Chinese takeout and indulge in some fortune cookie therapy. But that’s not the only way to celebrate. Of course not!
- Try making your own fortune cookies. Here’s a tasty homemade fortune cookie recipe for you to try.
- Make origami paper fortune cookies. Yes, we found a link for that, too.
- We know you save your favorite fortunes. Please share them with us.
- While you’re sharing, take a turn at writing a fortune. If you’re making fortune cookies, you’re going to need to practice this.
Share your celebration with us. Use #FortuneCookieDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL FORTUNE COOKIE DAY HISTORY
We opened a fortune cookie to see if we could find the origin of this holiday. This was what it said: Ask the Magic 8 Ball.
In 2017, National Day Calendar® began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. Many states have their own state celebrations, and National Day Calendar’s observances in no way replace them. There’s so much more to explore, we can’t help but celebrate our beautiful country even more!
National Pennsylvania Day on July 20th recognizes the second state to join the Union. Once the home of the temporary capital of the United States in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also known as the Keystone State. While the source of the nickname has been forgotten, the meaning is not lost. Bridge builders know leaving the vital keystone out of their structure would be folly, leading to collapse.
Pennsylvania played many roles that could be considered keystones. To begin with, its vote for independence split between eight delegates. Because of this, the split played a vital role in deciding to move toward independence and cementing the union of the newly formed country.
Throughout military operations, Pennsylvania provided forces to support the cause. In fact, Valley Forge tells the story of leadership and sacrifice of a young, developing army and citizenry.
As we know, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in Philadelphia during its tenure as the temporary capital. It was geographically centered among the 13 original colonies.
We can eat our way through history, too! To understand Pennsylvania’s flavor profile. We start in Lancaster County, which is the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country. German and Swiss immigrants brought with them a wide range of hearty recipes that they incorporated into the fresh ingredients available in the Pennsylvania countryside. From pork and sauerkraut to pot pies and scrapple, these dishes filled the tables with the bounty of the land.
Much of more of the sweeter side of Pennsylvania, Dutch flavor finds its way into restaurants than the savory flavored foods. For example, the whoopie pie, shoofly, and funnel cake are tourist and fair favorites found everywhere. Unfortunately, the home-cooked seasoning of chicken corn chowder or stuffed cabbage rolls are often not found in a restaurant.
For the best and original Philly Cheesesteak, there is only one place to go. Philadelphia, of course! Made with thinly sliced beef rib eye, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms, melted cheese, on a long, crusty Italian roll. A hot dog vendor, Pat Olivieri, created the cheesesteak in the 1930s. One cab driver caught a whiff and soon after Olivieri opened a restaurant. It’s still there with competition across the street, a 24-hour a day rivalry for tourists and cheesesteak lovers to choose along with several others in the area.
Head on over to Hershey to pick up all variety of chocolate and adventure. Don’t stop there! Pennsylvania’s sweet tooth has deep roots. From Twizzlers to Peeps, confectioners love Pennsylvania. Candy isn’t the only sweet treat on the menu, though. In 1904, the banana split was invented in Latrobe, PA.
If your preference is more on the salty side, Pennsylvania has that covered, too. They’ve mastered soft and hard pretzels. They also have a terrific competition between four regional potato chip brands.
Full of regional festivals and local cuisine, Pennsylvania is also home to Kennett Square, otherwise known as the Mushroom Capital of the United States. Every year, in celebration, they shut down the town square for a mushroom festival. It’s no wonder Pennsylvanian mushrooms make it into dishes around the world, even into your very own house.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPennsylvaniaDay
Join National Day Calendar as we celebrate National Pennsylvania Day by exploring the iconic, historic, and hidden treasures of this enchanting and complex state. Use #NationalPennsylvainaDay to share your experiences on social media.
July 20th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
The opening ceremonies for the first Special Olympics began in Chicago at Soldier Field.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to land on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Recipe of the Day
Spiced Raisin Bars
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total Prep: 35 minutes
Servings: 80 servings
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon rum extract
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 – 1/2 cups golden raisins
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons rum
2 teaspoons water
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Prepare a 15x10x1 jelly roll pan by greasing bottom the bottom and sides.
Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Sift all ingredients together twice.
Cream together shortening and sugar.
Add molasses, egg, rum extract, water, and vinegar.
Pour batter into baking pan evenly.
Bake 17-20 minutes until bars turn light brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes.
Turn the pan onto a cooling rack to cool for an additional 10 minutes.
Place on a cutting board.
Combine confectioners’ sugar, rum, and water in a small bowl.
Brush glaze over the bars and allow to harden.
Cut bars into desired serving sizes.
July 20th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Dr. Clifford Allbutt -1885
The British physician developed the short thermometer (it was only 6 inches long) that registered a patient’s temperature in 5 minutes making it possible for doctors to make monitoring temperatures more routine. Before his invention, doctors used thermometers that measured 12 inches and took 20 minutes to register the patient’s temperature.
Mike Ilitch – 1929
In 1959, the American entrepreneur founded the pizza chain Little Caesars.
Natalie Wood – 1938
The award-winning actress is known for her musical talent. Some of her most popular roles were in the films Miracle on 34th Street, West Side Story, and Gypsy.
Carlos Santana – 1947
The award-winning Mexican American guitarist gained prominence with his band, Santana. His Latin-Rock fusion is one of the reasons he has won 10 Grammy Awards.
Omar Epps – 1973
The American actor, rapper and producer is known for his roles in Fox’s House and the film Love & Basketball. He was most recently cast in the series Power Book III: Raising Kanan.
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!
Our Ambassador Program is another way #CelebrateEveryDay®! Whether you become an ambassador or follow one of the savvy ambassadors, their fun videos and posts will keep you prepared for every holiday.