Today Is National Ice Cream Day — Or Is It?

We have always celebrated National Ice Cream Day on the third Sunday of July.

– George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

In 1984, Ronald Reagan signed a presidential proclamation naming the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day — or so the dairy-industrial complex would have us believe. But the actual text of that proclamation refers only to dates in 1984 — so where did the recurring Ice Cream Days and Ice Cream Months come from?

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.

And why did Reagan wait until July 9 — almost a third of the way into the month — to sign this proclamation? The obvious answer, of course, is that he didn’t want to detract from National Duck Stamp Week, which ran from July 1 through July 8. But wait! Look at this:

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of July 1 through July 8, 1984, as National Duck Stamp Week and 1984 as the Golden Anniversary Year of the Duck Stamp. I urge all Americans to observe these occasions with appropriate ceremonies and events, including participating in this program.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Do you see? National Duck Stamp Week was July 1-8, but he waited until July 3 — when the week was almost half over — to issue that proclamation. Was this a passive-aggressive means of asserting a deep-seated hostility towards commemorative dates in general? Or was the government engaged in secret ice-cream- and duck-stamp-related ceremonies and activities that the general public has no knowledge of even today?

And why do we have a National Ice Cream Day and a National Ice Cream Month, but no National Ice Cream Week? Why has there never been a National Year of Ice Cream? If there’s an entire month devoted to ice cream, why isn’t there even a single day set aside to honor hot fudge?

These are deeply troubling questions. I have, however, decided to set aside my misgivings and celebrate National Ice Cream Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities just as President Reagan may or may not have intended. If you’re in the United States today, I urge you to do the same. And if you’re not, then of course you’re not bound by our national customs, so you’ll just have to celebrate with ceremonies and activities that are inappropriate. I’m sure you’ll find a way to rise to the occasion.

39 comments on “Today Is National Ice Cream Day — Or Is It?

  1. I like your take.

    Bring on National Let’s Not Celebrate Anything Day also known as NLNCAD, a handy acronym if ever there was one.

    • Laura says:

      I like it — a day where everyone walks around confused, wondering what ceremonies and activities best honor the concept of not celebrating,

  2. Holly Folly says:

    You know, I always suspected there was some sort of wide spreading government ice cream conspiracy. It all makes sense now, really.

  3. Elyse says:

    I am READY to do this for my country. I am a true American.

  4. LFFL says:

    I would say any day is National Ice Cream day if it gives a reason to eat ice cream.

  5. Gail says:

    I may have blown it. When I read your post I rushed out to buy ice cream, but I got carried away and came home with a pint of Tahitian Vanilla Gelato. Will that be a problem? Is that un-American? I mean, Tahiti isn’t in America (is it?) and gelato is Italian… What was I thinking?

  6. I’m so glad you called my attention to this important event. I am off to celebrate right now.

  7. And here I am stuck on a campsite with no ice cream. Will yogurt do? I feel so un-American. I’ve let myself down. I’ve let my fellow Americans down. I’ve let my country down. How will I live with the shame?

  8. List of X says:

    Uh-oh. I just found out about this holiday and didn’t do my patriotic duty… Can you recommend a good lawyer that specializes in the ice cream law violations?

  9. joehoover says:

    I just walked past a pub that had a sign saying “Come in for ice cream” They’ll try anything to get kids drinking

  10. Roxie says:

    I have failed. I had frozen yogurt. I’m so ashamed.

  11. Thanks to my kids, we have zero ice cream in the house at the moment. Well, I think I saw an old frost-bitten grape fla-vor-ice at the bottom of the fridge, does that count? I’ll eat it even if it doesn’t.

  12. I can’t believe I missed National Ice Cream Day. At least I still have a week to eat it every day.

  13. Go figure I TOTALLY missed-out on National Ice Cream Day.
    Oh, well.
    They was probably a run on ‘Duck Stamp Brickle’ anyway.
    :)

  14. Connie says:

    Maybe you should just have a bowl of ice cream and mull that over ;)

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