Skip to content

National Backward Day. The day where the world gets turned upside down and inside becomes out and madness becomes sanity and day becomes night, at least in concept. There’s just too much seriousness in the air, and sometimes you really just have to bend all the rules and let it all hang out.

Learn about National Backward Day

National Backward Day is a fun day that encourages us to do things in an order that we would not usually do them in! Take a different direction. Who says that we have to have breakfast first? Why can’t we start off the day with a slice of chocolate cake or a slice of pizza? It won’t hurt for one day of the year, right? After all, we all live our lives doing things the way that we think we are meant to, at least to a certain degree. And while your daily decisions may make logical sense, it is fun to have a day whereby you do everything differently.

People all over the world observe National Backward Day. It is very popular with children especially, and you will often see activities that go on at schools for kids to participate in. However, there is no age limit when it comes to National Backward Day, and we would encourage everyone to get involved, no matter whether you are six-years-old or 60-years-old. Who doesn’t like to have a bit of silly fun? Perhaps you could wear your clothes to bed and your PJs during the day?

History of National Backward Day

National Backward Day has a really long history, far older than the name of the holiday itself. In almost every culture there came a time of year when all the societal rules got turned on their head. Rome had Saturnalia, a day when all social norms were turned on their head. Gambling was no longer forbidden, and the masters took the day serving their slaves at the high table. During no other time was free speech actually permitted, especially amongst the slaves, but during Saturnalia, all manner of insult was allowed.

There are other cultures throughout the world that celebrate this changing of the guard, this overcoming of mores and exemplifying of wildness. In the end, it all comes down to questioning the way the world is established and the rules that we have in place to govern our behavior. National Backward Day isn’t just a day of silliness, but of mental revolution.

In terms of the date that we all know and celebrate today, though, this was created by Megan Emily Scott and Sarah Nicole Miller back in 1961. One the 29th of January, they were thinking about making arts and crafts while they were busy on the Miller family farm milking the cows. This is when they had an idea! Later on in the evening, they sat down together and wrote down some rules. It was not long before the idea got out and reached all of the people in the town. When the two women were walking around two days later, on the 31st of January, they noticed that everyone was doing things backwards.

How to celebrate National Backward Day

It all starts when you get up in the morning. Wear your clothes inside out and your underwear as your outerwear, or be a bit more reasonable and slip into your pajamas. Have a nice hot pizza for breakfast, and answer the phone with “Goodbye! Thank you for calling!” When you get to work tell your boss you’re glad he made it in today, and hand him a dollar as a bonus for all his hard work.

When lunchtime comes around, have yourself a nice big helping of dessert. Greet everyone throughout the day with a goodbye, and as you walk out the door, say hello to everyone and tell them to have a great day. These are just some of the wonderful doses of insanity you can add to everyone’s day on National Backward Day.

That night, when it’s time to go bed, turn off that alarm, get into your work clothes, and crawl into bed. (Ok… Turn the alarm back on. You’ll need that tomorrow) This is a great way to celebrate National Backward Day, and add a little madness to the mundanity of life, and free your mind from the tyranny of ‘normal’.

We would definitely recommend that you document your National Backward Day online if you are a social media user. This can be a fun way to get other people involved and to spread the fun that is associated with this day. A lot of people post funny photos and videos of them doing things in an order or way that they shouldn’t. We are sure that your Instagram feed will be filled with lots of funny clips!

You can also look at National Backward Day from more of a serious perspective. If there is a task that you have been trying to conquer for quite some time and you do not seem to be having much success with it, why not scrap your approach and do things differently? This is something that we are sure a lot of people can relate to in the workplace. Sometimes it helps if you rip up the rule book and you look at things from a different point of view. If there is one day that you’re going to give this a try, this is the day to do it!

Also on ...

View all holidays

National Hot Chocolate Day

Made with creamy milk and yummy cocoa, this sugary sweet treat is delicious when enjoyed by itself, or can be a great basic recipe that can then be used to get creative with by adding unique flavors, spices and even liqueurs.

Eat Brussel Sprouts Day

Roasted, sautéed or fried, these cruciferous veggies are loaded with vitamins and fiber, and make a tasty addition to any meal.

National Fun at Work Day

Creating laughter and good vibes while tackling tasks, the office can be a playground of camaraderie, where work and play intermingle.

Scotch Tape Day

Whether it's wrapping gifts or mending a torn page, this versatile adhesive is a must-have in any household.

View all holidays


Join the community!

Password requirements

  • At least one capital letter
  • At least one lowercase letter
  • At least one number
  • 8 or more characters

Welcome back!

Log in to get personalized recommendations, follow events and topics you love, and never miss a day again!