December 14 is Monkey Day! We may look a little different from our primate friends, but we must not forget that we share a common ancestor with them in chimpanzees!
Warm up those vocal cords and get ready to unleash your wildest screams and screams in observance of this holiday, which celebrates not just monkeys, but all that are apes.
MONKEY DAY HISTORY
It is a difficult task to pin down the exact moment when monkeys first emerged as a unique species within the animal kingdom, but their appearance is believed to have taken place approximately 60 million years ago. This vast amount of time would pass, month after year after millennia, both crawling and at full speed, without the existence of a National Monkey Day! However, at last, thanks to two pioneering college students, this would change in the year 2000.
Casey Sorrow and Erik Millikin, both studying art at Michigan State University, are responsible for creating this ape-centric day of celebration. Sorrow (appropriately) would admit to the Detroit Metro Times that he experienced a form of malaise during the holiday season and felt compelled to find a way to combat this December blues. After jokingly jotting down “Monkey Day” on a friend’s calendar, Sorrow took the idea and followed it: when December 14 rolled around, he and his art school friends dressed up as monkeys and went crazy. , showing his best monkey prints.
They would continue to incorporate ideas related to their newly formed vacation into their homemade artwork and comics. Posting these pieces online allowed the notion of a Monkey Day to spread, and now, decades later, the day is celebrated around the world in countries like Germany, India and Thailand.
What started as a little fun has turned into a full-blown operation. Monkey Day serves as an important anniversary each year to raise awareness of modern threats to monkeys, with entities such as National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, and Greenpeace promoting the day. Sorrow and Millikin have also been instrumental in using monkey-themed art as vehicles to accomplish this end. His work has brought a completely new understanding of the term “monkey business.”
MONKEY DAY ACTIVITIES
Cousin, donate, celebrate
Help raise funds to support ethical animal research, primate awareness programs, or aging monkey reserves.
Go to the zoo
The animals we love so much are fun to see, and many zoos across the country will have special programs and initiatives that specifically focus on monkeys during the week of December 14.
Consume monkey media
From Curious George to Aladdin’s Abu, primate entertainment can be fun for the whole family. So find an ape-appropriate movie and start watching!
WHY WE LOVE MONKEY DAY
It’s a great day to play
Feel free to interpret Monkey Day in a less literal way and use it as an opportunity to break free! Be silly, play games, make it fun… Everyone needs a good excuse to be silly sometimes!
Generate much needed awareness
Although not everyone knows it, half of the 262 species of monkeys in the world are threatened with extinction. Monkey Day plays an important role in educating people about the current dangers these animals face.
Monkeys are cute
Not only are they playful, smart and friendly, but monkeys are also some of the cutest animals out there!