Did you know that there are an abundance of daily holidays and special days every month? Some are immersed in tradition, while others may be silly, bizarre, unique, special or inspirational. Unofficial Holidays are not traditionally marked on calendars but are celebrated by various groups and individuals. Some are designed to promote a cause or to recognize historical events not recognized officially, while others are fun holidays, generally intended to just be humorous. So, in the midst of our busy lives, maybe consider taking time to enjoy some of the entertaining but lesser-known holidays throughout the year.

The month of February is typically associated with romantic dinners, boxes of chocolate, roses and engagement rings. Often referred to as the ‘month of love,’ it is also the shortest month of the year. February is also the only month of the year that can pass without a full moon, which can happen every 19 years. If you’re not a hopeless romantic looking for a full moon with your nonexistent Valentine’s date or if you’re allergic to flowers or perhaps have given up chocolate for dietary reasons, you can find a multitude of other fun-loving holidays to celebrate this month.

If you love Asian food, then National Chopsticks Day on Wednesday, February 6 is a day to celebrate! No matter how much some of us may struggle with these wooden wonders, chopsticks are fun to use! Chopsticks originated in China more than five thousand years ago and are used in almost all Asian cultures. In fact, more than a quarter of the world’s population uses chopsticks on a daily basis. Chopsticks can be made of wood, bamboo, plastic, fine china or metal. The word chopstick translates to the phrase ‘quick little bamboo fellows.’ So on this special day, you should run, don’t wok, to your favorite Chinese takeout such as Chopsticks at 801 E Brandon Blvd. in Brandon or Asian Yummy House located at 10679 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview.

If your fortune cookie told you to be kind to strangers, then this next holiday will be worth celebrating. National Random Acts of Kindness Day takes place on Sunday, February 17 and is observed nationwide by people, groups and organizations. This special, feel-good day has grown in popularity and has become a favorite day to many people. Take this opportunity to make a difference in someone’s day. Maybe bring baked goods to the office to share with coworkers, let somebody go first in the grocery store or pay for the food order of the person behind you at a drive-thru. If you made a difference in someone’s life on this day, share your idea with others on social media using #RandomActsOfKindnessDay. For more ideas, visit www.randomactsofkindness.org.

If you missed a random act of kindness, then never fear! You can be kind to your dog on Friday, February 22 for National Walking the Dog Day. This day combines two important things in life- dogs and exercise. Our loyal pooches love a good stroll with their humans. So grab walking shoes, the leash, some treats and take your favorite canine for a stroll. Want to try something new? Try a different trail, go to a new park or simply try a different route than normal. Your dog will love exploring the new sights, scents and sounds. What if you don’t have a dog? Visit your local animal shelter and take some dogs in need of adoption on a walk. Taking a dog on a walk is also a great way meet new people. If your dog would rather go on a cruise instead of a walk, consider a 90-minute sunset cruise. With a quick trip across the Sunshine Skyway, you can take your canine companion on a sightseeing cruise through residential waterways and tropical barrier islands south of Pass-A-Grille. Visit www.shellkeyshuttle.com for more information.

After a good walk, nothing hits the spot like a crunchy snack. National Tortilla Chip Day on Sunday, February 24 is the day to honor the yummy salty treat. Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas that have been cut into wedges and fried. Even though tortilla chips are considered to be a Mexican food, known as tostados, they were first mass-produced in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. It is said that the triangle-shaped tortilla chips were created as a way to use the misshapen tortillas that were rejected from the automated tortilla-manufacturing machine. People everywhere love a good tortilla chip to dip in salsa, guacamole, cheese dips or made into nachos. Honor this day by ordering some chips and salsa at your favorite Mexican restaurant such as Taqueria Don Julio located at 12859 U.S. 301 in Riverview or La Villa Mexican Grill located at 4377 Lynx Paw Trl. in Valrico. Use #NationalTortillaChipDay to post on social media.

February boasts many other fun holidays including: Stuffed Mushroom Day, National Organ Donor Day, Cherry Pie Day and Polar Bear Day. For a complete list, visit www.holidayinsights.com.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.