Weird History

15 Weird Forgotten Holidays We Should Totally Bring Back 

Kellen Perry
Updated July 31, 2019 3k votes 626 voters 85.8k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the fallen-by-the-wayside holidays you'd like to see make a comeback.

Are you happy with the holidays we currently have? Or do you think it's time to bring in some new blood? We don't necessarily have to start from scratch - there are dozens of holidays from history we could just revive. It turns out there are plenty of old-fashioned holidays people basically don't celebrate anymore.

This list features alternatives to Groundhog Day, a Thanksgiving prequel, cross-dressing for fun and profit, and much, much more. Looking for a change from the tired old traditions your family has been pretending to enjoy all these years? Any one of the following old-school holidays is guaranteed to shake things up.

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Imbolc: Groundhog Day, But with a Divine Hag
Imbolc: Groundhog Day, B... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 15 Weird Forgotten Holidays We Should Totally Bring Back
Photo: Metropolitan Films/via Irish Film Institute

We should bring back Imbolc because everyone is sick of that damned groundhog.

The Celtic holiday known as Imbolc (February 1) marks the beginning of spring and is one of the four major seasonal "cross-quarter" holidays that mark the midway points between the solstices and equinoxes. Imbolc also features the threat of winter personified as something a whole lot scarier and cooler than that tired old groundhog Punxsutawney Phil: Cailleach, a "divine hag" that gathers her firewood during Imbolc. If conditions are bright and sunny, that means the horrific old hag is gathering a lot of firewood, and we're all in for a crappy, long winter. If the weather is foul, it means Cailleach is only gathering a little, and the winter should be short.

Should we bring it back?
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Gŵyl Mabsant: A Drunken Welsh Mini-Olympics
Gŵyl Mabsant: A Drunken ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 15 Weird Forgotten Holidays We Should Totally Bring Back
Photo: Peter Roberts/via National Museum Wales

We should bring back Gŵyl Mabsant because it's an excuse to get drunk, gamble, and play and/or watch ridiculous sports.

The Welsh holiday of Gŵyl Mabsant, which celebrates a local parish saint, hasn't been properly celebrated since the end of the 19th century. It's a damn shame, too - the whole thing sounds like a blast, with highly unorthodox athletic competitions such as blindfolded wheelbarrow-driving, "fives" (a squash-like game, pictured, played against the church walls), and something called "old women's grinning matches." There was also football, bando (a field hockey-like game), and, unfortunately, cockfighting. The mix of alcohol, gambling, and crazy games gave the holiday a bad reputation, ultimately getting it shut down by religious leaders.

Should we bring it back?
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Old Clem's Night: A Crazy Blacksmith Party
Old Clem's Night: A Craz... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 15 Weird Forgotten Holidays We Should Totally Bring Back
Photo:  Chatterbox, 1896/via Google Books/Public Domain

We should bring back Old Clem's Night because it's like a mix between the Fourth of July and Halloween, but with blacksmiths.

It essentially died off by the beginning of the 20th century, but St. Clement's Day/Old Clem's Night (November 23) formerly celebrated Pope Clement I, the patron saint of blacksmiths, in an absolutely bonkers fashion. The night began with the ritual firing of the anvil, a proto-fireworks display generated by packing gunpowder into anvils and then hammering away at them like a madman. The night continued with plenty of singing and drinking, but also a Halloween-like ritual where the blacksmiths would dress up like "Old Clem" and knock on doors, begging for beer, fruit, nuts, or money.

Should we bring it back?
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St. Crispin's Day: Revenge via Dummies
St. Crispin's Day: Reven... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 15 Weird Forgotten Holidays We Should Totally Bring Back
Photo: Granger, 1794/via Fine Art America/Public Domain

We should bring back St. Crispin's Day because it's a creative way to let off some steam.

The feast day of the twin Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian (October 25) used to give people a fun and creative way to humiliate jerks. Villages in England into the late 1800s would create an effigy (a dummy, basically, like the one made for John Jay during the Revolutionary War pictured above) of the one or two people in the village they thought "had misconducted himself or herself, or had become particularly notorious during the year."

This dummy would hang on a signpost until November 5, presumably infuriating the offender that inspired it, before being taken down and burnt.

Should we bring it back?