"Mountain Day" refers to three different and unrelated events: (1) Mountain Day, a student celebration in some colleges in the United States in which classes are cancelled without prior notice, and the student body heads to the mountains or a park, (2) International Mountain Day, held each year on 11 December, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 2003 to encourage sustainable development in mountains, and (3) Mountain Day, a national holiday in Japan as from 2016.
Mountain Day in the United States
Mountain Day dates back to at least 1838, when the students of Mount Holyoke College headed off to Mount Holyoke. Smith College declared its Mountain Day in 1877. Juniata College established its Mountain Day in 1896, and Williams College students have been climbing Mount Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts, to celebrate Mountain Day since the 1800s. Colby-Sawyer College's Mountain Day is stated to have started in the 1850s, although the first account of it in the student newspaper is not listed until June 1893.
In 2005, a student at Outfly, an equivalent celebration at Wartburg College (where there are no mountains), remarked wistfully to a reporter: "It's a tradition we won't be able to continue into our adult lives ... and we wish we could."
International Mountain Day
December 11, "International Mountain Day", was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003. The General Assembly "encouraged the international community to organize events at all levels on that day to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development."
International Mountain Day is "observed every year with a different theme relevant to sustainable mountain development. FAO is the U.N. organization mandated to lead observance of International Mountain Day.
The theme for International Mountain Day 2010 is "Mountain minorities and indigenous peoples." It aims to raise awareness about indigenous peoples and minorities who live in mountain environments and the relevance of their cultural heritage, traditions and customs."
Mountain Day in Japan
In May 2014, the Japanese Diet announced that Mountain Day will be celebrated as a public holiday every August 11, beginning in 2016. Supporters of the holiday included legislator Seishiro Eto and the Japanese Alpine Club. The legislation states that the holiday is to provide “opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains.”
- "Heading for the Hills on Mountain Day: It's Been a Mount Holyoke Tradition Since 1838". mtholyoke.edu. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- Mountain Day Builds on a History of Changing Customs
- "Williams College Mountain Day" Williams College. Retrieved March 6, 2008.
- "Colby Academy Voice".
- Spannagel, Brian (Oct 12, 2005). "No work, day of play marks Outfly tradition at Wartburg". WCF Courier.com (Waterloo, Iowa: David A. Braton). pp. Metro.
- International Mountain Day, 11 December
- International Mountain Day 2010
- Warnock, Eleanor; Eric Pfanner (2014-05-22). "Lawmaker Discusses Significance of Mountain Day - Japan Real Time". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-05-25.
- "Mountain Day created as newest official public holiday". The Japan Times. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2014-05-25.