Austria has All Souls’ Day (Allerseelen), Belgians give flowers to sick people on the Day of the Ill People (Ziekendag), the Czech Republic celebrates Nameday Adam and Eve (Naamdag Adam en Eva), the Danes honor Crown Princess Mary (Verjaardag Kroomprinses Mary), the Finns dance the night away on Walpurgis Night (a spring festival with bonfires), the French have Mardi Gras (a la New Orleans), and the Germans have Thank You Day (Danke Shoen Tag).
That’s not even half the alphabet of countries on a floral holiday listing put out by the Floral Council of Holland. It shows creative sales opportunities for European and U.S. floral retailers, not counting common standbys such as Christmas, New Year’s, Women’s Day, Mother’s Day and a plethora of religious occasions celebrated by giving flowers.
All told, 541 floral holidays are listed in the calendar for 23 countries, and all but the United States are in Europe. The Netherlands, perhaps unsurprisingly, led the way with 43 listings, followed by Sweden with 36, Slovakia with 35, Italy with 34 and Belgium and Germany with 30. The United States ranked near the bottom with 25. All but four countries had at least 20 listings.
For the United States, with Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day the gold standard, there seems to be lots of room on the calendar for the giving of flowers. Grandparents’ Day, Sweetest Day and Women’s Day, for example, seem to be gaining traction. But what about National Flirt Day in Great Britain, Last Day of Elementary School in Hungary, Girls’ Festival in Italy, Union Day in Romania, and Defenders of the Fatherland Day in Russia? You get the idea.
OK, so some floral days are geopolitically fixed. Like Slovak Uprising Day, Reformation Day in Germany, Sweden’s Midsummer’s Eve, Guy Fawkes Day in Great Britain, or our Pearl Harbor Day (or so it is listed in the calendar). Most “special days” here have been promoted by greeting card companies. How can the floral industry here spark sales by adding more special days to the calendar? Perhaps Walpurgis Night will catch on, once people learn how to spell it.