Boy, is today ever a big day! We got psychotropics, we got the Dutch, we got Benjamin Disraeli and his favorite flower. It is literally all here. Those actually aren’t even all the holidays for today, but these three are all so good we can not choose. So we won’t.
1) Happy Primrose Day!
Benjamin Disraeli was a Prime Minister. He was an architect of Britain’s contemporary Conservative Party. He also suuuuuuper loved primroses. I MEAN LOOK AT THEM. They are like half flower/half fireworks made out of flowers! They are tasteful and delicate and appropriate for basically any occasion, whether it is a state dinner for the new Empress of India (Queen Victoria) or like, just for your bathroom or whatever. Disraeli loved primroses so much (as do we all, Benjamin!) that when the U.K. celebrates his life and work (technically his death), they celebrate primroses. It is Primrose Day, not Benjamin Disraeli Day, not Prime Minister Day. Primrose Day. Queen Victoria sent a wreath of primroses to his funeral, and to this day his statue in Parliament Square will get decorated with them today, as will his grave at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire. So happy Primrose Day!
2) Merry Bicycle Day!
Stay with me: today is not about bicycles. Today is about LSD.
LSD was first synthesized in Switzerland in November 1938 by chemist Albert Hoffman. He was trying to come up with a stimulant for respiratory symptoms or something like that. SO I guess that went pretty well. On April 16, 1943, Hoffman accidentally absorbed some of the substance through his fingertips and he noticed an extreme restlessness and a pretty active imagination. Interested, Hoffman decided to ingest the substance on April 19, 1943.
After the drug began to take its effect, Hoffman, to put it kindly, freaked. He became paranoid, specifically that his neighbor was a witch, and demanded that one of his lab assistants take him home. Since there were motor vehicle restricti0ns (there was a war, remember?), Hoffman and his assistant were forced to ride bicycles home.
Once they reached Hoffman’s home, a doctor was called who detected no physical symptoms of sickness except for some extremely dilated pupils. Of course by this point, Hoffman’s anxiety had given way to feelings of intense well-being and what Hoffman later described as “the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes.”
Bicycle Day was first celebrated in the 80s (duh) in DeKalb, IL at Northern Illinois University.
3) Gelukkig Nederlandse American Vriendschap Dag!
That is Dutch for “Happy Dutch-American Friendship Day!” Which is what today is!!
On April 19, 1782, John Adams was recognized in the Hague as the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America!
WHAT IS THAT, IS IT SOME KIND OF WIZARD? OR A CHURCH MINISTER? you may be asking yourself. You are half right (not really). Minister Plenipotentiary is apparently a diplomat of the “second class,” ranking between an Ambassador and a Minister Resident, and their title is “His/Her Excellency.” Because one thing that is true about democracy is that it throws titles right out the window (j/k).
OK, so not only was John Adams recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary on April 19, he also closed the sale of a house at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 which became the first American Embassy EVER. So that is pretty cool.
Yes, today is a big day for minor holidays. There are a lot of ways you could celebrate. You could read Disraeli’s seminal An Inquiry into the Plans, Progress, and Policy of the American Mining Companies, drop some acid, and eat a stroopwafel. You could make a list of the relative merits of primroses as compared to tulips while you synthesize a designer drug. The sky is literally the limit today.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you had to pick just one, which April 19th holiday would YOU make a national holiday?