|Also called||World Monkey Day
International Monkey Day
Day of the Monkey
|Observed by||People worldwide, including:
|Celebrations||Costume parties, art shows, zoo visits, webcomic marathons|
|Next time||14 December 2015|
Monkey Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated internationally on December 14. While the holiday is mainly about monkeys, it also celebrates other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs. Monkey Day was created to spread awareness for the animals, and to show love and care for them.
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, and then first celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students. 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. Since then, Monkey Day has been celebrated internationally, across countries such as the U.S., Canada, Germany, Pakistan, Estonia and the United Kingdom.
Hallmark Cards describes it as the "one day when monkey business is actually encouraged." 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. 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. The holiday cuts across religious boundaries and provides opportunities to share monkey stories and contemplate our simian relatives. 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.
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. The Tallinn Zoo in Estonia celebrates Monkey Day by auctioning artwork created by chimpanzees and performing intelligence tests on Japanese macaques.
In 2005, Peter Jackson's King Kong was released on the fifth anniversary of Monkey Day. For Monkey Day 2014, the creators of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb released a short feature starring Crystal the Monkey. Mainstream American films like King Kong and Planet of the Apes films are popular at Monkey Day parties, as well as monkey Kung Fu films like Lady Iron Monkey. Monkey-themed songs, such as Major Lance's "The Monkey Time", are also part of Monkey Day festivities.
Often, celebrations involve raising money for primate-related issues. 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. 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. 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. 
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. 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."
Sorrow also maintains a comprehensive "Monkeys in the News" blog with stories on topics like monkey attacks, monkey smuggling, and monkey science. Every Monkey Day, Sorrow's "Monkeys in the News" blog counts down the previous year's "top 10 Monkey and Primate News highlights".
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