August Holidays, Ranked: Our hottest month lacks hot holidays

Folks, it is HOT. I’m writing this in the middle of a stinkin’ heat wave. There are times I wish my apartment wasn’t built before the Great Depression, and this is one of them. Central air really was a great idea. 

As now you’ve come to expect, I’m here to serve up some more HOT takes (how fitting) on the holidays of August. Hold onto your pants, folks, because Leo season has some doozies. And with arguably no real, tradition-steeped holidays occupying this month, we had to dig pretty deep.

5. Victory Day: Monday, August 8

“Don’t worry guys, we aren’t celebrating the nuclear elimination of tens of thousands of Japanese people.” — RI General Assembly, 1990. We probably shouldn’t be recognizing a holiday that requires this clarification, but it seems that we are ready to make the sacrifice for the long weekend in August. RI has the distinction of being the only state to continue to acknowledge the end of WWII with a state holiday, since Arkansas dropped “World War II Memorial Day” in 1975. Probably because about 1 in 10 Rhode Islanders served in the war at the time. 

Whenever I think of the end of WWII, I think of how it took not one, but two atomic bombs for Japan to surrender. Imagine — a bomb is dropped on your country that wipes out an estimated 70,000 people (the entire population of modern Pawtucket, for example) in the blink of an eye. It’s the deadliest single moment on Earth since the meteor killed the dinosaurs — and the Japanese government (of the time) doesn’t blink. People are crazy. 

4. Just Because Day: Wednesday, August 27

Just Because Day celebrates spontaneity. The probable boomer who instigated it seems to believe that people would use Just Because Day to bestow random acts of kindness upon friends and strangers, but I seriously fear what Gen Z will do when they hear about this. They already eat laundry detergent and hit the woah with reckless abandon. Let’s keep this between us. 

3. National Oyster Day: Friday, August 5

It may surprise you to learn that for the first 200 years, oysters outnumbered quahogs in RI. Roger Williams’ notes describe members of the Narragansett Tribe fishing for them. It wasn’t until the Hurricane of 1938 wiped out oystering infrastructure, in addition to WWII depriving the industry of willing hands, that the quahog stepped in with its cute little foot. 

Both quahogs and oysters are great for the environment, as they filter their watery environments through filter feeding and provide habitat for other marine life. So if you see me at midnight wearing a ski mask dumping oysters and quahogs off the Providence Pedestrian Bridge to clean up the Providence River… no you didn’t.

2. National Spumoni Day: Sunday, August 21

I’m gonna be honest, folks. When I first read that August 21 was Spumoni Day, I thought it was a tribute to Dino Spumoni, an Italian-American big band swing singer who fakes his own death for post-mortem popularity on an episode of Hey Arnold!. He’s right up there with Chip Skylark (“My Shiny Teeth And Me” was a banger) and Ernesto de la Cruz (at the beginning) on my list of favorite fictional singers. Don’t sleep on Spongebob in that category either — Sweet Victory, The Campfire Song Song, and Krusty Krab Pizza were all childhood-defining. 

Anyway, turns out Spumoni is a colorful Italian gelato dessert, often with fruits and nuts. I’ve never heard of it, but check it out sometime. 

1. National Kool-Aid Day: Friday, August 12

OH YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic pitcher pitchman is coming through a wall near you on the second Friday in August. I had no idea how well the Kool-Aid Man captured the American imagination in the 1980s, appearing in a Marvel Comic, an Atari game, and even being used as hair dye. And the Southerners figured out that by adding Kool-Aid to a pickle jar and allowing that to marinate for a week, you can enjoy what are called “Koolickles,” a salty-sweet, unnaturally-colored snack. 

Dang. What can’t you do with this stuff? (Apparently, snort it. A popular post on the r/unexpectedkoolaidman subreddit is “I snorted Kool-Aid powder and I think I’m dying.” Food for thought there.)

Happy August!