Monkey Day

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Monkey Day
Also calledWorld Monkey Day
International Monkey Day
Day of the Monkey
Observed byPeople worldwide
CelebrationsCostume parties, art exhibitions, zoo visits, webcomic marathons
DateDecember 14
Next time14 December 2023 (2023-12-14)
First timeDecember 14, 2000

Monkey Day is an unofficial international holiday celebrated on December 14.[1] The holiday was created and popularized in 2000 by controversial artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin when they were art students at Michigan State University.[2][3] Monkey Day celebrates monkeys and "all things simian", including other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs.[4] Monkey Day is celebrated worldwide and often also known as World Monkey Day and International Monkey Day.


Monkey Day was created and popularized by contemporary artists Casey Sorrow (an internationally published illustrator and printmaker) and Eric Millikin (a Pulitzer Prize winning occult and artificial intelligence artist), beginning in 2000 when they were both art students at Michigan State University. Sorrow jokingly scribbled Monkey Day on a friend's calendar,[5][6] and then they first celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students, creating monkey artwork, wearing monkey costumes and imitating monkey behavior.[6][7] The holiday continued to gain notoriety every year as Sorrow and Millikin included Monkey Day in their artwork and alternative comics that they published online and exhibited internationally along with other artists.[8]

Since then, Monkey Day has been widely celebrated across countries such as the United States, Canada, Italy, India, Pakistan, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Thailand, and Turkey.[5][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Hallmark Cards describes the holiday as a "day when monkey business is actually encouraged."[18] The Washington Post describes Monkey Day as a day to "learn something about these adorable and highly intelligent primates. Or you could use this day to act like a monkey."[19]

Monkey Day is particularly popular among animal rights and environmental activists, and visual artists and arts institutions. Monkey Day's celebrants and supporters include Jane Goodall, Greenpeace, National Geographic, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Louvre Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Traditional celebrations[edit]

Zoo and animal sanctuary events[edit]

Many zoos hold annual Monkey Day events. For example, the Lahore Zoo in Pakistan holds an annual World Monkey Day celebration that includes art competitions and educational events about monkeys, including over a hundred children wearing monkey masks, poetry readings about monkeys, and performances to highlight monkey evolution as well as the threats monkeys face.[11][28] The Tallinn Zoo in Estonia celebrates Monkey Day by auctioning artwork created by chimpanzees and performing intelligence tests on Japanese macaques.[12] The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in India organizes Monkey Day programs to educate children about wildlife issues and encourage people to adopt monkeys.[29] The Faruk Yalçın Zoo and Botanical Park in Darıca, Turkey, hosts Monkey Day events to draw attention to declining monkey populations.[16] The Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland uses Monkey Day events including monkey story telling to raise awareness of the dangers that primates face worldwide.[17] Since 2009, the Colombian Association Primatological APC (for its acronym in Spanish) has celebrated Monkey Day.[30] During the week of Monkey Day, the National Zoo & Aquarium in Australia holds a range of activities and educational talks, raising awareness for all primates and raising money for conserving critically endangered species like Cotton-top Tamarins in Columbia.[31] The Zoo Debrecen in Hungary celebrates Monkey Day by allowing visitors to share meals with tufted capuchins and mantled guerezas.[32]

Art exhibitions[edit]

Prominent artists like Sorrow, Millikin, Rob Balder, and David Malki have created Monkey Day themed comics and artwork.[8][33]

For Monkey Day 2012, Millikin created The 12 Stars of Monkey Day, a series of paintings published by USA Weekend that were "in part inspired by the many pioneering space monkeys who rode into the stars on rockets, leading the way for human space flight."[34] In 2013, Eric Millikin created a mail art series where he mailed Monkey Day cards to strangers, including Koko the sign-language gorilla and President Barack Obama.[35] For Monkey Day 2014, Millikin created a 3D monkey experience.[36] Since 2016, Millikin has created the Danger Beast series of street art portraits of endangered animals created out of endangered plants, including a portrait of Harambe the gorilla made from Venus flytraps.[37][38]

In addition to his monkey-themed artwork, Sorrow also maintains a comprehensive "Monkeys in the News" blog with stories on topics like monkey attacks, monkey smuggling, and monkey science.[39] Every Monkey Day, Sorrow's "Monkeys in the News" blog counts down the previous year's "top 10 Monkey and Primate News highlights".[40]


Often, Monkey Day celebrations involve raising money for primate-related issues.[41] In 2008, the official Monkey Day celebrations included an art show and silent auction to benefit the Chimps Inc. animal sanctuary; the show and auction included art by human artists as well as paintings from chimps Jackson and Kimie, residents of the sanctuary.[42][43] The Biddle Gallery in Detroit also celebrated Monkey Day in 2008 with an annual Monkey Day art sale that included a free banana with each purchase.[44][45] For 2013, the International Primate Protection League celebrated Monkey Day and raised money for conservation by offering life-drawing classes where people could learn to draw portraits of Gary the gibbon.[46][47] Greenpeace says "Monkey Day is the perfect time to swing into action and help protect primate habitat by becoming a forest defender."[48]


The holiday is also celebrated with costume parties intended to help draw attention to issues related to simians, including medical research, animal rights, and evolution.[49] Often there are competitions to see who has the best costumes, who can act like a monkey the longest or perform the most amusing impression of one, or speed knitting of monkey dolls.[9][50] Other Monkey Day activities include going on shopping sprees for Paul Frank "Julius the Monkey" fashions, eating Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream, and spending the day at the zoo.[51] Often when monkeys cause trouble, such as a monkey driving away in a stolen bus, the monkey is said to be honoring the traditions of Monkey Day.[14]

Movies and music[edit]

Films and music about monkeys and other nonhuman primates are popular at Monkey Day events. In 2005, Peter Jackson's King Kong was released on the fifth anniversary of Monkey Day.[5] For Monkey Day 2014, the creators of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb released a short feature starring Crystal the Monkey.[52] Mainstream American films like King Kong and Planet of the Apes films are popular at Monkey Day parties,[41] as well as monkey Kung Fu films like Lady Iron Monkey.[53] Monkey-themed songs, such as Major Lance's "The Monkey Time" and The Rolling Stones song "Monkey Man", are also part of Monkey Day festivities.[54][55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
    • Weeks, Linton (June 17, 2011). "Time To Mark National Theme Day Appreciation Day". NPR
    • Koo, Zena (December 14, 2010). "Today's Pictures: Monkeys!". Slate
    • Turner, Paul (December 14, 2009). "Marmot Nation is gearing up for a huge 2010". Spokesman Review: 1C.
  2. ^ * Ahmed, Shoaib (December 14, 2014). "Schoolchildren adopt colourful zoo macaws". Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Portrait of the artist as a playful grandfather". August 16, 2013. Archived from the original on August 16, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  4. ^ Millikin, Eric. (December 14, 2012). "Eric Millikin: For Monkey Day, the 5 wildest monkey stories of 2012". Detroit Free Press
  5. ^ a b c McKenzie, Charlie (December 8, 2005). "Holiday monkey business Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine". Hour
  6. ^ a b Klein, Sarah (December 10, 2003). "Monkeying around with the holidays". Detroit Metro Times
  7. ^ "Peristiwa 14 Desember: Peringati Hari Monyet Sedunia, Begini Sejarahnya". December 14, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Sorrow, Casey (December 14, 2006). "2006 Comics... It begins...". Monkey Day Comics
  9. ^ a b Kessler, Gregor (December 8, 2006). "Wir haben mehr als genug theologische Feiertage" (PDF). Financial Times Deutschland: 6. Retrieved January 16, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Laverne, Lauren (December 14, 2009). "BBC Radio with Lauren Laverne". BBC Radio
  11. ^ a b "'World Monkey Day' celebrated at zoo". December 15, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Monkey Day celebration 14.12.! – Tallinna loomaaed". Tallinna loomaaed. December 8, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  13. ^ "¡Feliz día de los monos!". Asociación Primatológica Colombiana. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Monkey business: This primate's bus-driving skills in UP may have been aimed at reviving a tradition – Firstpost". December 23, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "Some Offbeat Days To Celebrate in December". Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Kocaeli'de Dünya Maymunlar Günü". Özgür Kocaeli. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  17. ^ a b "World Monkey Day | Edinburgh Zoo". Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  18. ^ Sadowski, Tom. "Just Saying: Monkey Day – Free Press Online". Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  19. ^ Barron, Christina. "Mark your calendar with these odd or silly holidays". Washington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  20. ^ Goodall, Jane. "Happy World Monkey Day from Dr. Goodall". Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  21. ^ "World Monkey Day has arrived!". Greenpeace USA. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  22. ^ "In pictures: Swing into action, it's Monkey Day! | Greenpeace UK". Retrieved September 1, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Musée du Louvre (December 14, 2016). "C'est la journée du singe aujourd'hui!". Musee Louvre. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  24. ^ National Geographic Society (November 14, 2014). "Monkey Day". National Geographic Society. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  25. ^ National Portrait Gallery (December 14, 2016). "A fitting image for World Monkey Day". @NPGLondon. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  26. ^ Metropolitan Museum of Art (December 14, 2016). "Georges Seurat imparted an idealized appearance to this monkey by showing the animal in strict profile. Monkey Day". @metmuseum. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "Monkey Day". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  28. ^ Ali, Haider (December 14, 2016). "Dailytimes | Every monkey has a day!". Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  29. ^ Patnaik, Santosh. "Monkey Day has a serious message for children". The Hindu. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  30. ^ "Historia de la APC". Asociación Primatológica Colombiana. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  31. ^ "World Monkey Week". National Zoo & Aquarium. December 7, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  32. ^ "Majmok Világnapja / World Monkey Day | Zoo Debrecen | December 14, 2021". Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  33. ^ Sorrow, Casey (December 16, 2005). "The End of Monkey WebComics 2005". Monkey Day Comics
  34. ^ Millikin, Eric (December 12, 2012). "The 12 Stars of Monkey Day Archived February 5, 2013, at". USA Weekend
  35. ^ Millikin, Eric (December 12, 2013). "Eric Millikin sends Monkey Day cards to strangers". Detroit Free Press
  36. ^ "Celebrate Monkey Day in 3D with Eric Millikin". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  37. ^ "Tours on Bicycle Built for Six Showcase Art Explored". Royal Oak, MI Patch. August 11, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  38. ^ "ENDANGERED: ARTISTS". THE STUDIO DOOR. July 31, 2016. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  39. ^ Hollifield, Scott (December 25, 2008). "Monkey Stories: They're thieves, gangsters and snitches". Winston-Salem Journal: 3D.
  40. ^ Sorrow, Casey. (December 14, 2012). "Happy Monkey Day 2012!". Monkeys In The News
  41. ^ a b The Times Leader (Dec, 10, 2012). "FIVE THINGS TO KNOW THIS WEEK: Monkey Day, a piece of cake, and Gollum's 'precious' Archived December 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine". Times Leader, pg. 1A
  42. ^ "Out On The Town". City Pulse. 8 (17): 36. December 10, 2008. Archived from the original on October 9, 2009.
  43. ^ "Mountain High". Missoula Independent. 19 (50): 37. December 11, 2008.
  44. ^ Rubin, Neal (December 11, 2008). "Gallery owner gets artists to monkey around". Detroit News.
  45. ^ O'Neil, Megan (December 10, 2008). "Night and Day". Detroit Metro Times.
  46. ^ Strong, Sharon (December 9, 2013). "Celebrate Monkey Day: Paint it Forward for IPPL". Charleston Patch
  47. ^ (December 5, 2013). "Painting for Primates on International Monkey Day Archived December 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine". International Primate Protection League
  48. ^ Glienicke, Angela. "In pictures: Swing into action, it's Monkey Day! | Greenpeace UK". Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  49. ^ "A Toast to Bubbles". Los Angeles CityBeat (131). December 8, 2005. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  50. ^ GateHouse News Service (Dec, 14, 2010). "Morning Minutes for Tuesday, December 14". Herkimer Telegram
  51. ^ Brenner, Lisa (December 14, 2010). "Party Like Rhesus Witherspoon: Today Is Monkey Day!. Archived January 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine". LAist
  52. ^ Lesnick, Silas (December 12, 2014). "Meet Night at the Museum's Crystal the Monkey in an Exclusive Video! -". Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  53. ^ Padua, Pat. "Popcorn & Candy: Strindberg and Helium Edition". DCist. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  54. ^ Jackson, Ashawnta. (December 4, 2012). "A December Holiday Playlist (No, Not That Holiday) Archived December 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine". WNYC
  55. ^ Stones, The Rolling (December 14, 2016). "Happy #MonkeyDay! …". @rollingstones. Retrieved December 10, 2017.

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