Last Tuesday was ‘National Reflection Day’. It was chosen by the Marie Curie charity (who supports people with terminal illnesses and their families) as a day to reflect on the loss of a loved one and to remember those who’ve lost their lives. We were encouraged to join a minute’s silence at 12 noon and to shine a light at 8pm. With no disrespect to this worthy organisation, I don’t see why I have to be told how and when to reflect on lives of our lost friends and relatives. I have many moments of reflection (thinking about their lives and their families). I say prayers, light a candle, visit a memorial tree etc. and not just on anniversaries and birthdays. So, forgive me if I don’t play along on a random day because a charity says I should. Make us aware of what the charity’s cause is and what it does by all means but don’t do this.
Last week it was International Day of Happiness 2021. Clive, in his blog ‘Take it Easy’ published a great post on this. In it, he comments on the pointlessness and stupidity of the UN in telling us to be happy when there is so much fear and uncertainty in all of our lives (not least Covid). He says, “It doesn’t strike me as being in any way in touch with reality…. I have a huge degree of difficulty in understanding how anyone can think that we can be told to be happy”. I agree!
If you look up ‘Awareness Days’ or ‘National Days’ you will notice that every single day is dedicated to something. And these awareness days, weeks or months can be based on absolutely anything. Go to the National Awareness Day website and for a mere £195, you can start your own national day, simply by filling in a form.
It’s not just charities that use Awareness Days. Businesses use them for marketing purposes either by latching on to a charitable cause or by inventing what seems a worthwhile and fun event so that they can use it to showcase and sell their product or service. There are marketing web sites which show businesses how to use Awareness Days to market their businesses by showing support for a cause (e.g. on Twitter and the like) regardless of however intangible the link between the cause and the company business.
Its difficult to know when an Awareness Day is disguised to look like a cause when it is actually a marketing campaign. For example it seems clear to me that whilst NATIONAL BED WEEK is about promoting the health benefits of a comfy bed and getting a good night’s sleep, it is also intended to boost the sale of beds.
Less clear is NATIONAL DEBT WEEK which is supported by the Step Change Debt Charity. This provides advice to people in debt and provides links to certain partner business, banks, lenders etc.
I think it is not just the integrity of Awareness Days that I have a problem with. It is the concept of being expected to participate. It is a mystery to me why people seem willing to celebrate something on a random day just because someone says they should. I think it’s a lot to do with Twitter and Facebook. People like to latch onto the trending stories and events that are promoted on these platforms. It gives the event some credibility and people engage simply because others appear to be doing so. They don’t question it; they just follow the crowd.
As I don’t have Twitter and Facebook, most Awareness Days are lost on me, thankfully. I had to look these up (see below). Do they have your support? (My comments in italics.)
- TICK BITE PREVENTION WEEK. Imagine telling your friends you are wearing the recommended ribbon and wrist band to make them aware of tick dangers.
- WEAR A HAT DAY. I don’t understand how wearing a favourite hat raises funds to bring us closer to a cure for brain tumours.
- NO SKIP SUNDAY. The organisers of this new national awareness day have been branded irresponsible by recycling experts Scott Bros – who say it will only encourage further fly tipping.
They get dafter…..
- APRIL 21ST: NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED CASHEWS DAY. I can’t for the life of me see the point in this, however tasty chocolate covered cashews are.
- MAY 9TH: NATIONAL LOST SOCK MEMORIAL DAY. To mourn the passing of socks with their single partners? I think I’m actually OK with this one.
- MAY 13TH: NATIONAL CROUTON DAY. I would only celebrate croutons on my Caesar salad. I wouldn’t have them at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- JUNE 10TH: NATIONAL BALLPOINT PEN DAY. What if pencils, felt tip pens, highlighters and gel pens wanted one? Where would it end? And a whole day to appreciate a pen?
- JUNE 14TH: NATIONAL POP GOES THE WEASEL DAY. This is to encourage people to revisit and enjoy old nursery rhymes. I suppose Pop the Weasel might be one of the few that are not regarded to be politically incorrect these days.
- JULY 29TH: NATIONAL TALK IN AN ELEVATOR DAY. I presume this is to encourage us to talk to complete strangers and potentially annoy them.
- AUGUST 8TH: NATIONAL SNEAK SOME ZUCCHINI INTO YOUR NEIGHBOUR’S PORCH DAY. Yes, this is real. But why courgettes as opposed to other vegetables? And why not sneak it in a food bank for someone whose need may be greater?
- SEPTEMBER 19TH: INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY. Sorry me hearties, I haven’t the patience to look up why we should talk like a pirate, but it could be fun…..for two minutes.
Enjoy your Day!