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[citation needed] primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs.[4]


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,[5][6] and then first celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students.[6] 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.[7] Since then, Monkey Day has been celebrated internationally, across countries such as the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.[5][8][9]

Traditional celebrations[edit]

Hallmark Cards describes it as the "one day when monkey business is actually encouraged."[10] 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.[11] 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.[8][12] The holiday cuts across religious boundaries and provides opportunities to share monkey stories and contemplate our simian relatives.[13][14] 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.[15]

In 2005, Peter Jackson's King Kong was released on the fifth anniversary of Monkey Day.[5] King Kong and Planet of the Apes films are popular at Monkey Day parties.[16] Monkey-themed songs, such as Major Lance's "The Monkey Time", are also part of Monkey Day festivities.[17]

Often, celebrations involve raising money for primate-related issues.[16] 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.[18][19] 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.[20][21] 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. [22][23]

Prominent webcomic artists like Sorrow, Millikin, Rob Balder, and David Malki have created Monkey Day themed comics and artwork.[7][24]

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.[25] 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."[26]

Sorrow also maintains a comprehensive "Monkeys in the News" blog with stories on topics like monkey attacks, monkey smuggling, and monkey science.[27] Every Monkey Day, Sorrow's "Monkeys in the News" blog counts down the previous year's "top 10 Monkey and Primate News highlights".[28]


  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. ^ a b c McKenzie, Charlie (December 8, 2005). "Holiday monkey business". Hour
  6. ^ a b Klein, Sarah (December 10, 2003). "Monkeying around with the holidays". Detroit Metro Times
  7. ^ a b Sorrow, Casey (December 14, 2006). "2006 Comics... It begins...". Monkey Day Comics
  8. ^ a b Kessler, Gregor (December 8, 2006). "Wir haben mehr als genug theologische Feiertage" (PDF). Financial Times Deutschland: pg 6. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ Laverne, Lauren (December 14, 2009). "BBC Radio with Lauren Laverne". BBC Radio
  10. ^ "Monkey Day". Hallmark Cards. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "A TOAST TO BUBBLES". Los Angeles CityBeat (131). December 8, 2005. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007. 
  12. ^ GateHouse News Service (Dec, 14, 2010). "Morning Minutes for Tuesday, December 14". Herkimer Telegram
  13. ^ Cayton-Holland, Adam (December 14, 2006). "Monkey See, Monkey Doo: Finally, a holiday worth celebrating.". Westword
  14. ^ O'Carroll, Eoin (December 14, 2010). "The top 10 monkeys.". The Christian Science Monitor
  15. ^ Brenner, Lisa (December 14, 2010). "Party Like Rhesus Witherspoon: Today Is Monkey Day!.". LAist
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ Jackson, Ashawnta. (December 4, 2012). "A December Holiday Playlist (No, Not That Holiday)". WNYC
  18. ^ "Out On The Town". City Pulse 8 (17): 36. December 10, 2008. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Mountain High". Missoula Independent 19 (50): Pg 37. December 11, 2008. 
  20. ^ Rubin, Neal (December 11, 2008). "Gallery owner gets artists to monkey around". Detroit News. 
  21. ^ O'Neil, Megan (December 10, 2008). "Night and Day". Detroit Metro Times. 
  22. ^ Strong, Sharon (December 09, 2013). "Celebrate Monkey Day: Paint it Forward for IPPL". Charleston Patch
  23. ^ (December 05, 2013). "Painting for Primates on International Monkey Day". International Primate Protection League
  24. ^ Sorrow, Casey (December 16, 2005). "The End of Monkey WebComics 2005". Monkey Day Comics
  25. ^ Millikin, Eric (Dec. 12, 2013). "Eric Millikin sends Monkey Day cards to strangers". Detroit Free Press
  26. ^ Millikin, Eric (December 12, 2012). "The 12 Stars of Monkey Day". USA Weekend
  27. ^ Hollifield, Scott (December 25, 2008). "Monkey Stories: They're thieves, gangsters and snitches". Winston-Salem Journal: Pg 3D. 
  28. ^ Sorrow, Casey. (December 14, 2012). "Happy Monkey Day 2012!". Monkeys In The News

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