Johnny Appleseed Day
Johnny Appleseed Day celebrates the famous apple tree planter, whose real name was John Chapman. It is celebrated on two days—March 11 and September 26. Some sources list Johnny Appleseed's death day as March 11, but some list it as March 18, 1845. Johnny Appleseed Day is either celebrated on March 11 because it is the anniversary of his death, or because it is during planting season. Johnny Appleseed's birthday is September 26, in 1774, so that is why it is also celebrated on that day.
Appleseed did not simply scatter apple seeds on the ground, but planted nurseries, left them in the care of someone else, and returned every few years to check on them. Appleseed planted and introduced apples to the "West", which were areas where few Americans lived at the time. Appleseed planted trees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia, as well as in Ontario. He was against grafting, and most of the apples that he planted were used to make hard apple cider, which was a safe alternative to water on the frontier.
Similar to legend, Johnny Appleseed is known to have worn ragged clothes and many times be barefoot. He also wore a tin hat—not a tin pot—which he used for cooking and eating. This has become such a big part of his legend that there even is a baseball team called the Fort Wayne TinCaps in the city he died. He was a member of the New Church, and also used his travels to do missionary work. He told stories to children and the gospel to adults, many times being given supper and a place to sleep in return. He became a legend when he still was alive, and his legend continued to grow after his death.
How to Observe
The day can be celebrated by eating apples or drinking apple cider or hard apple cider. You could visit a place that makes or sells apple cider, or even make your own hard apple cider. If you are looking for a road trip, you could visit Johnny Appleseed's birthplace in Leominster, Massachusetts, or his gravesite in Johnny Appleseed Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana—which is also the home of the yearly Johnny Appleseed Festival. There are various other Johnny Appleseed festivals that take place during different times of the year that you may want to mark your calendar for. There is a festival in Sheffield, Pennsylvania, in Apple Creek, Ohio, and in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Children may enjoy doing crafts and activities associated with apples, or watching the segment on Johnny Appleseed from Disney's 1948 film Melody Time. It may be a good day to read more about Johnny Appleseed, and separate the man from the legend.