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National Absurdity Day

An absurdity is something that is illogical, senseless, and unreasonable. The word comes from the Latin word "absurdum," which means irrational or out of tune. On National Absurdity Day, people accept the absurdities of life and engage in a few as well.

Absurdity has been studied since the Ancient Greeks. Absurdism says there may be a meaning to existence, but humans will never know it, making it absurd to try to construct meaning. Absurdism, or the absurd, is used in theater, film, and literature to make points about human behavior. The absurd emerged after World War II, dealing with and rising in part because of its reactions to the threat of nuclear war and to the brutality of Nazi concentration camps.

Prominent playwrights in the Theatre of the Absurd include the likes of Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, and Václav Havel. Filmmakers such as Alejandro Jodorowsky have also dealt with the absurd. Political movements have integrated absurdist elements. The most notable may be the Youth International Party—or "Yippies"—of the late 1960s. They attempted to levitate the Pentagon in 1967 and nominated a pig named "Pigasus the Immortal" for president the following year. Other examples of the absurd in popular culture include the Church of the Subgenius, as well as flash mob performances and pranks of a similar nature.

How to Observe

The day should be celebrated by accepting the world's absurdities and working to bring even more absurdity into it. Spend the day being absurd in your dress, speech, and actions. Have you had some pretty crazy ideas of pranks to pull to really confuse people? Today is the day to do them. You could also read some works by absurdist authors and playwrights, such as Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has some elements of the absurd, and may also be fitting to read. You could also watch an absurdist film such as El Topo, an acid western by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

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