Geek Pride Day
Also known as
Nerd Pride Day
annually on May 25th (since 2006)
Germán Martínez in 2006
Geeks and geek culture are celebrated and promoted today. The day began in 2006, but various precursors came before it. The Geek Pride Festival, organized by Tim McEachern, was held at a bar in Albany, New York, from 1998 to 2000. Dick Morley, the "father" of the programmable logic controller, organized Geek Pride Days at his retreat in New Hampshire, beginning in 2001. The Geek Pride Day we celebrate today originated in Spain, coming from an idea from Spanish blogger Germán Martínez in 2006. He chose May 25 as its date because that is the anniversary of the debut of the original Star Wars film, which was released in 1977. In Madrid, 300 self-proclaimed geeks played a game of human Pac-Man together on the day. Rights and responsibilities for geeks were also written up. These included rights such as "the right to not be 'in-style'" and "the right to not like football or any other sport," as well as responsibilities such as "attend every geeky movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else."
The idea for the day spread around the internet and was first officially celebrated in the United States in 2008. The following year, Science Channel put on special programming related to the day. The day spread to other countries in the following years, with celebrations, parties, meetups, and parades happening all around the world.
The word geek comes from English dialect "geek" or "geck," meaning fool or freak. "Geck" in modern German means fool or fop. In eighteenth-century Austria, Gecken were freaks in some circuses. In nineteenth-century North America, geek meant a performer in a geek show.
What does it mean to be a geek today? A geek is often seen as being eccentric, non-mainstream, socially awkward, intellectual, and not concerned with fashion. Geeks are similar to nerds. The term geek may be affectionate, but it is often derogatory. It may be used as a pejorative against children and teenagers by their peers. Geeks may be looked down on for being non-athletic, not fashionable, socially inept, loners, less popular, and for focusing on their studies. On the other hand, the term may have a more positive connotation. A geek may be seen as someone who seemingly knows everything about a complicated or intellectually stimulating subject, being fascinated by issues related to technology, mathematics, science fiction, fantasy literature, or video games. Presently, many self-identified geeks involved in technology have gone on to be heads of top tech companies. No matter how a geek is described, one thing is for sure, they go against the grain. On today's holiday, they take pride in this.
How to Observe
If you consider yourself a geek, proudly wave your geek flag today. Share your enthusiasm and pride about geeky hobbies and interests with others; perhaps you can interest someone in a subject that has long been used to label you as a geek. You can spend the day trying to find like-minded people who are into the same things as you, or meet up with those you already know who have similar interests, and geek out on your hobbies together. Watch Star Wars, play Dungeons and Dragons, build a computer, wear geeky looking clothes, or get out your coin, postage stamp, or rock collection. Make a human Pac-Man. If you know someone who self-identifies as a geek, you may wish them a "Happy Geek Pride Day." Just make sure they consider themselves a geek, as it is not proper to ascribe the term to someone. You can also check for events such as meetups and parades that may be happening in your community.