National Nothing Day

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National Nothing Day
DateJanuary 16
Next time16 January 2021 (2021-01-16)

National Nothing Day is an "un-event" proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin and observed annually on January 16 since 1973, when it was added to Chase's Calendar of Events. [1] [2] [3] It is not actually a public holiday, as that requires an act of Congress. Its purpose is:

to provide Americans with one National day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything.

It is sponsored by Coffin's National Nothing Foundation, registered in Capitola, California. [4] [5] [6] [7]

The third Monday of every January has subsequently been inaugurated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day which falls between the 15th and 21st. This means that one-in-seven January 16's now fall on a public holiday (e.g. Monday, 16th Jan 2012), effectively usurping the very nature of National Nothing Day.

In contrast, the Realist Society of Canada (RSC) has a religious holiday called THABS ( "There has always been something" Day, pronounced /ˈtæbs/). THABS is dedicated to the celebration of the "realization" that "if there was ever nothing, there would be nothing now". It is celebrated July 8 of each year.[8]

Coffin's commemoration, when proposed in 1972, was not a novel idea. In 1956 the Associated Press circulated the proclamation by the Mayor James W. Morgan of Birmingham, Alabama of a "National Nothing Week" to be celebrated 26 February through 3 March that year. The news item appeared in newspapers nationwide.[9][10][11]


  1. ^ Chase's Calendar of Events, 2011 Edition, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2010, p. 88, ISBN 978-0-07-174026-5
  2. ^ Michele Humes, Harold Coffin, American Hero; Or, Every Day Is National Capitulate-To-Inane-Press-Releases Day, archived from the original on 2010-08-29
  3. ^ Bob Symon, It's National Nothing Day; Celebrate in Earnest
  4. ^ "Newsweek", Newsweek, Newsweek, Inc., 93: 127, 1979
  5. ^ "The Review of the News", The Review of the News, Correction, Please, 15: 25–26, 1979
  6. ^ David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace (1975–1981), The People's Almanac (series)
  7. ^ Bruce Felton, Mark Fowler (1994), The Best, Worst, & Most Unusual: Noteworthy Achievements, Events, Feats & Blunders of Every Conceivable Kind, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., p. 335, ISBN 978-0-88365-861-1
  8. ^ "The Realist Society of Canada Religious Holidays"
  9. ^ "National Nothing Week." Petaluma [CA] Argus-Courier, 24 February 1956.
  10. ^ "National Nothing Week is Declared for Birmingham, Alabama." The Progress (Clearfield, Curwensville, Philipsburg PA), 8 February, 1956.
  11. ^ "National 'What' Day?" Franklin Citizen-Times, Russellville AL, 12 April 1956.