National Ding-a-Ling Day
annually on December 12th (since 1971)
Franky Hyle in 1971
The dictionary definition of a "ding-a-ling" is that it refers to a "stupid, foolish, or eccentric person" or "one who is crazy." The term came about in the 1930s, and the word is meant to evoke the ringing of a bell. It came from the idea that crazy people hear bells ringing in their head. But this day doesn't really have much to do with that definition, except for that both the definition and the day have to do with ringing.
The idea for National Ding-A-Ling Day came in 1971 when Franky Hyle of the Chicago area was at home with friends. "Some husbands and wives were sitting around my house, talking and drinking and thinking people ought to be friendlier to one another," he said. They looked up what "ding-a-ling" meant in a dictionary, and they found one of the definitions said it was "one who hears bells in his head." Hyle decided to create a day where celebrants would call people they haven't seen in years, in order to rekindle old friendships. He wanted to encourage people to be natural and let their guard down. Perhaps the idea of having a phone be involved in the day had to do with the fact that it rings, just like a ding-a-ling is associated with ringing.
In 1972, Hyle began placing an advertisement in Chase's Calendar of Annual Events saying December 12 was National Ding-A-Ling Day, and that a ding-a-ling was a "wonderful, friendly, intelligent, loving, responsible and desirable person." By 1975, almost 900 people had answered the ad and joined the Ding-A-Ling Club. They paid one dollar to become members, and received a bumper sticker which said: "Be a Bell Ringer."
How to Observe National Ding-a-Ling Day
Celebrate the day by calling an old friend you haven't seen in years, and trying to rekindle your friendship. If there is someone you have been putting off getting into contact with, today is the day to let your guard down and go for it. For added fun, you could also celebrate the day by listening to "My Ding-A-Ling" by Dave Bartholomew, or Chuck Berry's live version of the song. There's reason to believe this holiday may be quite popular because of the song and its double entendres.