April 25th is World Penguin Day

Yes, it’s time to get out your tuxedo or penguin costume as this April 25th is International (World) Penguin Day.  So, what exactly is International Penguin Day and when did it begin?  For me it began about 20 years ago when I read an article in the Science New York Times about researchers at McMurdo Station in Antarctica who had noticed that every year, like clockwork, on April 25th a colony of Adelie penguins returned from months at sea to the exact same spot on the exact same day every year.  These delighted scientists and their support crew marked it on the calendar and would make a day of it, gathering near the shore to celebrate and welcome the penguins who would arrive by the hundreds right on schedule every year.  It became an unofficial holiday at McMurdo known to the staff as Penguin Day.  So when I read the article in The Times two decades ago, I became intrigued and contacted some folks I knew who had worked at McMurdo Station to confirm.  Not only did they confirm, but they expanded on the story, which I then passed along in an article in the print version of the Penguin Post in 1997.  In the article I gave it a bit more of an important title calling it World Penguin Day since I felt Antarctica is an international place, and besides World Penguin Day sounds like a holiday penguin lovers everywhere could celebrate.  Within a couple of years with the dawn of the internet word of the April 25th Adelie penguin phenomenon spread and it took on a life of its own to the point where it’s now an internationally celebrated “niche” holiday.   So, now that you know it’s World Penguin Day,  what should you do to celebrate?  Obviously, this is a holiday to have fun with and put your penguin passion front and center.  So have a blast and try to do lots of things “penguinish”, whether dressing in plenty of black and white, wearing penguin apparel and / or accessories, eating fish (healthy), waddling every now and then (remember to stretch first), telling penguin jokes (keep them clean), watching a penguin video (be it a nature film, animated or something in between like Mr. Popper’s Penguins), read about penguins (plenty of kids and adult books are available),  visit penguins at your local zoo or aquarium, adopting a penguin or maybe even treating yourself by buying up hordes of penguin merchandise.


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7 Responses to “April 25th is World Penguin Day”

  1. Danielle Says:

    Reblogged this on enchantedbybooks and commented:
    Hooray for Penguins!

  2. David Ainley Says:

    Sounds a bit fishy to me. It’s dark where McMurdo is located on 25 April. 25 December should be World Penguin Day, that’s when most of the chicks have hatched on Ross Island. Or if you want it to be the day when the penguins arrive at colonies near McMurdo, then it should be 25 October. Sorry to crash the party. David Ainley, penguin researcher

    • Eric Bennett Says:

      I’m not sure how fishy it is, but like the stories behind most holidays (religious and secular) there needs to be a lot of room for faith in the myth. The April 25th day of the Adelie arrival is what I read and the story behind World Penguin Day has taken on a life of its own.. Although the days are getting shorter in McMurdo at this point in time it is not completely dark for another two months. I wouldn’t mind a penguin day in October as it’s my birthday, but I think it’s pretty well entrenched on April 25th.

  3. David Ainley Says:

    A great resource about real life penguins can be found at http://www.penguinscience.com. At Cape Royds, we have a PenguinCam that takes pictures of the colony every day, that is, when there is enough light to power the batteries. This past season, we did see the first penguin, 6 of them, on 22 Oct, and the last on 16 March.

    • Eric Bennett Says:

      I just added Penguin Science to our http://www.Penguin-Place.com links page. It’s a great resource for penguins and their eco-system. Also, October 22nd is my birthday so I’ll try to see if I can move the holiday or perhaps start a new one.

  4. Cheryl Fuller Says:

    We here in the town of Penguin Tasmania would like to start celebrating World Penguin Day – but April 25th is Anzac Day in Australia and is sacred and dedicated to the rememberance of war.
    October is my birthday month too Eric Bennett – I am going to persue the October idea ….

  5. 14 Fun Facts About Penguins | Surprising Science Says:

    […] 25 of each year is World Penguin Day, and to celebrate here are 14 facts about these […]

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