Beat the Winter Doldrums with These 6 Movie-Related Days to Celebrate
January can be a long month depending on where you live in the country. Icy sidewalks, plummeting temperatures and huge dumps of snow can damper the spirits of even the most ardent winter enthusiasts. Without the festivities of the holiday season to look forward to, it can be a bit dreary. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of reasons for a party in this post-Christmas season.
Here is a list of six movie-related days to celebrate this January.
January 16 - Appreciate a Dragon Day In 2004, author Donita K. Paul created Appreciate a Dragon Day to celebrate the release of her book Dragon Spell. While most of us don’t have a dragon hanging out in our backyard, this year’s award-nominated movie How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a fun way to bring the whole family together for a movie night. You can also dig up the Disney classic Pete’s Dragon, the story about an orphaned boy who makes friends with a huge green beast that only he can see. Older children and tweens will get plenty of action in the movie Eragon when a young farm boy stumbles upon a strange blue stone that turns out to be a dragon egg.
January 19 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. At 35, he became the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize and donated the prize money to the civil rights movement. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan and is celebrated on the third Monday of January. Many people observe the day by participating in community service projects. Despite his historical significance, few movies have been made about Martin Luther King. The 2014 movie Selma looks at his involvement in the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama to bring attention to the Voting Rights Campaign. Actor Nelsan Ellis also plays the iconic man in the movie Lee Daniel’s The Butler.
January 19 is also National Popcorn Day And what goes better with movies than popcorn. Popcorn began appearing in movie theaters in the 1920s. Originally theater owners refused to sell popcorn because of the mess. (Something that the cleaning staff at the local cinema deals with everyday.) According to Popcorn.org, vendors set up machines outside of theaters and sold it to patrons on the way in until the movie house owners got smart and decided to set up their own popcorn machines inside. The site also notes that 5 and 10 cent bags of popcorn where one of the few luxuries families could afford during the Depression. While the price of popcorn has skyrocketed since the early days, those big bags of buttery kernels are still a favorite for most moviegoers.
January 20 - Penguin Awareness Day These black and white natives of Antarctica must have one of the best talent agents in the business. Over the past few years they have taken starring roles in movies like Happy Feet, Pinu: On Thin Ice, Surf’s Up, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and most recently Penguins of Madagascar. In 2005, the documentary March of the Penguins also won Best Documentary awards at the Academy Awards, the Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTA Awards. However one of my favorite penguin movie moments appears in Mary Poppins when Dick Van Dyke dances alongside a group of the animated birds dressed as waiters.
January 21 - Squirrel Appreciation Day Not everyone appreciates these scampering rodents—especially if they make a nest in your attic or empty your birdfeeder. But founder Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator from Asheville, North Carolina, thinks there is still a lot to celebrate when it comes to these adventurous little critters. While there haven’t been as many movie roles for these four-legged creatures, Scrat, the saber-tooth squirrel in the Ice Age movies, entertains audiences with his on-going pursuit of an elusive acorn. In The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a squirrel and his moose friend face off against long-time Cold War enemies in the animated movie based on the cartoon that ran from 1959 to 1964. And while Hargrove suggests setting out food during winter months for these little animals, the movie Hookwinked shows viewers why you should never give coffee to a squirrel.
January 25 - Opposite Day This is the day when you say one thing but mean the opposite so be careful about making big commitments on this day. No one is sure who created this day but there are references to Opposite Day that date back to the 1920s. SpongeBob Square Pants took time to celebrate this confusing day in one episode. You can look for more SpongeBob fun in his upcoming movie SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water releasing to the big screen on February 6.