Monkey Day

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Monkey Day
Also called World Monkey Day
International Monkey Day
Day of the Monkey
Observed by People worldwide, including:
 United Kingdom
 United States
Celebrations Costume parties, art shows, zoo visits, webcomic marathons
Date December 14
Next time 14 December 2015 (2015-12-14)
Frequency annual

Monkey Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated internationally on December 14.[1][2][3] While the holiday is mainly about monkeys, it also celebrates other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs.[4] Monkey Day was created to spread awareness for the animals, and to show love and care for them.[5]


The holiday was started in 2000 when artist Casey Sorrow, then an art student at Michigan State University, jokingly scribbled Monkey Day on a friend's calendar,[6][7] and then first celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students.[7] It gained notoriety when Sorrow and fellow MSU art student Eric Millikin began including Monkey Day in their artwork and Fetus-X comic strips, and began promoting it online along with other artists.[8] Since then, Monkey Day has been celebrated internationally, across countries such as the U.S., Canada, Germany, Pakistan, Estonia and the United Kingdom.[6][9][10][11][12]

Traditional celebrations[edit]

Hallmark Cards describes it as the "one day when monkey business is actually encouraged."[13] The holiday is primarily celebrated with costume parties intended to help draw attention to issues related to simians, including medical research, animal rights, and evolution.[14] Often there are competitions to see who has the best costumes, who can act like a monkey the longest, or speed knitting of monkey dolls.[9][15] The holiday cuts across religious boundaries and provides opportunities to share monkey stories and contemplate our simian relatives.[16][17] 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.[18]

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.[11] The Tallinn Zoo in Estonia celebrates Monkey Day by auctioning artwork created by chimpanzees and performing intelligence tests on Japanese macaques.[12]

In 2005, Peter Jackson's King Kong was released on the fifth anniversary of Monkey Day.[6] For Monkey Day 2014, the creators of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb released a short feature starring Crystal the Monkey.[19] Mainstream American films like King Kong and Planet of the Apes films are popular at Monkey Day parties,[20] as well as monkey Kung Fu films like Lady Iron Monkey.[21] Monkey-themed songs, such as Major Lance's "The Monkey Time", are also part of Monkey Day festivities.[22]

Often, celebrations involve raising money for primate-related issues.[20] 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.[23][24] 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.[25][26] For 2013, the International Primate Protection League is celebrating Monkey Day and raising money for conservation by offering life-drawing classes where people can learn to draw portraits of Gary the gibbon. [27][28]

Prominent webcomic artists like Sorrow, Millikin, Rob Balder, and David Malki have created Monkey Day themed comics and artwork.[8][29]

For Monkey Day 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.[30] In 2012, USA Weekend published The 12 Stars of Monkey Day, a series of paintings by Millikin 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."[31]

Sorrow also maintains a comprehensive "Monkeys in the News" blog with stories on topics like monkey attacks, monkey smuggling, and monkey science.[32] Every Monkey Day, Sorrow's "Monkeys in the News" blog counts down the previous year's "top 10 Monkey and Primate News highlights".[33]


  1. ^ Weeks, Linton (June 17, 2011). "Time To Mark National Theme Day Appreciation Day". NPR
  2. ^ Koo, Zena (December 14, 2010). "Today's Pictures: Monkeys!". Slate
  3. ^ Turner, Paul (December 14, 2009). "Marmot Nation is gearing up for a huge 2010". Spokesman Review: 1C. 
  4. ^ Millikin, Eric. (December 14, 2012). "Eric Millikin: For Monkey Day, the 5 wildest monkey stories of 2012". Detroit Free Press
  5. ^ Ahmed, Shoaib (2014-12-14). "Schoolchildren adopt colourful zoo macaws". Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  6. ^ a b c McKenzie, Charlie (December 8, 2005). "Holiday monkey business". Hour
  7. ^ a b Klein, Sarah (December 10, 2003). "Monkeying around with the holidays". Detroit Metro Times
  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: pg 6. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ Laverne, Lauren (December 14, 2009). "BBC Radio with Lauren Laverne". BBC Radio
  11. ^ a b "‘World Monkey Day’ celebrated at zoo". 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  12. ^ a b "Monkey Day celebration 14.12.! - Tallinna loomaaed". Tallinna loomaaed (in en-US). Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  13. ^ "Monkey Day". Hallmark Cards. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  14. ^ "A TOAST TO BUBBLES". Los Angeles CityBeat (131). December 8, 2005. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007. 
  15. ^ GateHouse News Service (Dec, 14, 2010). "Morning Minutes for Tuesday, December 14". Herkimer Telegram
  16. ^ Cayton-Holland, Adam (December 14, 2006). "Monkey See, Monkey Doo: Finally, a holiday worth celebrating.". Westword
  17. ^ O'Carroll, Eoin (December 14, 2010). "The top 10 monkeys.". The Christian Science Monitor
  18. ^ Brenner, Lisa (December 14, 2010). "Party Like Rhesus Witherspoon: Today Is Monkey Day!.". LAist
  19. ^ Lesnick, Silas. "Meet Night at the Museum's Crystal the Monkey in an Exclusive Video! -". (in en-US). Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  20. ^ a b The Times Leader (Dec, 10, 2012). "FIVE THINGS TO KNOW THIS WEEK: Monkey Day, a piece of cake, and Gollum's 'precious'". The Times Leader, pg. 1A
  21. ^ Padua, Pat. "Popcorn & Candy: Strindberg and Helium Edition". DCist (in en-US). Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  22. ^ Jackson, Ashawnta. (December 4, 2012). "A December Holiday Playlist (No, Not That Holiday)". WNYC
  23. ^ "Out On The Town". City Pulse 8 (17): 36. December 10, 2008. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Mountain High". Missoula Independent 19 (50): Pg 37. December 11, 2008. 
  25. ^ Rubin, Neal (December 11, 2008). "Gallery owner gets artists to monkey around". Detroit News. 
  26. ^ O'Neil, Megan (December 10, 2008). "Night and Day". Detroit Metro Times. 
  27. ^ Strong, Sharon (December 09, 2013). "Celebrate Monkey Day: Paint it Forward for IPPL". Charleston Patch
  28. ^ (December 05, 2013). "Painting for Primates on International Monkey Day". International Primate Protection League
  29. ^ Sorrow, Casey (December 16, 2005). "The End of Monkey WebComics 2005". Monkey Day Comics
  30. ^ Millikin, Eric (Dec. 12, 2013). "Eric Millikin sends Monkey Day cards to strangers". Detroit Free Press
  31. ^ Millikin, Eric (December 12, 2012). "The 12 Stars of Monkey Day". USA Weekend
  32. ^ Hollifield, Scott (December 25, 2008). "Monkey Stories: They're thieves, gangsters and snitches". Winston-Salem Journal: Pg 3D. 
  33. ^ Sorrow, Casey. (December 14, 2012). "Happy Monkey Day 2012!". Monkeys In The News

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