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: 오 pronouncing it: oh, and the number two: 이 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 I’d been out in the sun too long, they’d 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.)