Cucumber Day

On March fourth, I explained why it’s my favorite day of the year.  It’s the only one in which the date itself makes a sentence.  March forth!  I commented that it was a day for bold and decisive action based on the date’s pun.  Imagine my delight to discover that May 2 is an informal holiday in South Korea some call Cucumber Day.  Why?  Because when you say Five, Two (as in the actual date, 5/2) in Korean, it sounds exactly like the Korean word for cucumber (which is also the word for pickle; so why not Pickle Day?).  I confirmed this with a friend who speaks that language. 

Koreans write the word cucumber like this: 오이 and they pronounce it: oh-ee. They write the number five: pronouncing it: oh, and the number two: and pronounce it ee.  Cucumber and five-two are pronounced exactly the same.  In other words, on my birthday this July when I turn fifty-two, I could say (if I spoke Korean and the others at the party understood it), I am cucumber today, and though people might wonder if Id been out in the sun too long, theyd understand my attempt at a joke.

What I liked most about this is finding out I’m not alone in recognizing a pun wrapped in a date, then using the pun as the basis for a sort of informal holiday.  I feel slightly less weird.  Slightly.

I hope you all had a wonderful Cucumber Day but if you missed it, I suggest you jot a note to yourself (I’ve lately been suggesting writing as a solution to most problems) on the bottom of the December calendar page to make a note in your new calendar on May 5, 2012 to celebrate Cucumber Day by buying and eating a few cucumbers, like these people in an article from the Korean press.  (If you look carefully, you can see the characters for cucumber/ five-two in the picture.)

About literarylee

I sling words for a living. Always have, always will. Some have been interesting and fun; most not. These days, I write the fun words early in the morning before the adults are up and make me eat my Cream of Wheat.
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