National Retro Day
annually on February 27th (since 2018)
Hermelinda A. Aguilar on February 9th, 2018
Robert Duran on February 9th, 2018
Tina Duran on February 9th, 2018
National Retro Day was created for us to look back on a time before the internet, smartphones, and social media—a simpler time without distractions that is sometimes called "the good ol' days." Besides being a day to celebrate all things retro, the overarching goal is to focus more on those we are with instead of on our phones. It is a day to create memories and live in the moment with them, instead of being distracted by notifications or using technology to share those moments with the rest of the world. Both those who want to relive a past era and those who want to know what that time was like take part in celebrating.
Participants can celebrate any retro time period they would like. There is no concrete definition as to what time is "retro," although it currently is commonly looked at as being between the 1950s and 1990s. When it comes to retro, the creators of the day encourage celebrants to wear it (retro clothes), play it (retro games), drive it (classic vehicles), and show it off (collections).
How to Observe
Go back to a time when face to face connection was the norm, not texting, social media, and video chatting; to a time when dinner was more often eaten around a table than in front of a television or with smartphones in the hand; to a time when children spent more time outside and played games that didn't require the internet. The day should be spent without social media, smartphones, or the internet. The following are some ideas on how to celebrate National Retro Day:
- Eat dinner around a table with your family or friends.
- Call someone on a landline telephone. You could use one in a home or a business, or you could use a payphone. Using a rotary telephone may be the most appropriate for the day, but push-button telephones are okay as well.
- If you have a classic car, vehicle, or motorcycle, make sure to drive it.
- See a movie at a drive-in theater.
- Go to an arcade.
- Play retro video games such as Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Nintendo, or Super Nintendo.
- Show off your collection of vintage memorabilia. Perhaps you have a collection of action figures, sports cards, or Coca-Cola items that you could show your friends.
- Listen to music from the second half of the twentieth century on vinyl, 8-track tape, cassette, or even on compact disc. Pick a genre or an artist, or listen to many of both. Some popular genres from decades past that you could listen to include rock and roll, disco, soul, funk, punk rock, country, hip hop, and pop.
- Listen to music on a non-internet jukebox.
- Watch episodes of musical shows such as The Midnight Special, The Ed Sullivan Show, Soul Train, or Hullabaloo.
- Watch an old television show, such as The Andy Griffith Show, M*A*S*H, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Cheers, Happy Days, Starsky and Hutch, and I Love Lucy. You could also watch a documentary about past decades, such as the miniseries The Sixties or the other CNN documentaries that followed it.
- Watch a retro film. From the 1950s, you could watch Rebel Without a Cause, On the Waterfront, North by Northwest, Some Like it Hot, Sunset Boulevard, or Vertigo; from the 1960s, you could watch The Graduate, Dr Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Psycho, The Apartment, In the Heat of the Night, Easy Rider, or Cool Hand Luke; from the 1970s, you could watch Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Harold and Maude, Network, All the President's Men, Jaws, Star Wars, or The Godfather; from the 1980s, you could watch Back to the Future, The Goonies, Ghostbusters, The Breakfast Club, E.T., or The Terminator; from the 1990s, you could watch Jurassic Park, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Fargo, or American Beauty. While watching any of the above programs or movies, it is best to watch them on VHS or laser disc, or perhaps DVD, or on actual film if you really want to get retro. Although many of them are available on streaming services, as you are not to use the internet today, that should not be the way that you view them.
- Read a print newspaper.
- Write a letter to someone by hand.
- Play a board game such as Battleship, Monopoly, or Sorry.
- Buy or wear retro clothes. Styles vary by era. Some often-worn retro clothes include bell bottoms, leather jackets, platform shoes, and leisure suits.
- Slick back your hair, make it into an afro, or put it up into a beehive.
- Get outside and play some sports or go for a bike ride. You could also head to a roller rink.
- Eat at the oldest or most historic restaurant in your community.
- Eat at a drive-in restaurant.
- One of the official suggestions of the day is to share what you are doing that is retro on social media using the hashtag #NationalRetroDay. This seems ironic, as you also are supposed to avoid the internet or smartphones on the day. Perhaps you could use a retro camera to take pictures of your experience and then put them online tomorrow. The day also has a Facebook page that you could access. In past years, an official party has been held on the day, and information about it has been listed on the Facebook page.