National Banana Day is a bit like a heady mix of April Fool’s Day and Halloween (of course, without the trick or treating and vandalism) and with a helpful portion of healthy eating thrown in for good measure!
So, get ready to Go Bananas on National Banana Day!
History of National Banana Day
National Banana Day is a yearly event that is aimed at celebrating bananas in every conceivable sense of the word–because the banana is certainly a fruit worth celebrating!
While bananas are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, mainly in India. They made their way west by Arab conquerors in 327 BC, and eventually bananas ended up in Europe. By the 1870s, bananas made their way to the Caribbean with missionaries, where the bananas were originally used for micro crops (which means growing one crop that helps another crop to grow). Eventually, though, bananas became a lucrative crop in their own right.
The popularity of bananas in the West grew throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. As they became more affordable and less exotic, bananas were added to special dishes like the banana split, or used in baking recipes like banana bread.
Regarding the origins of National Banana Day, it is known that every year students at many prestigious American universities use National Banana Day as a way of celebrating this humble fruit as a lunchbox standard. On this day, they eat and share weird and wonderful banana concoctions (banana punch, anyone?), they dress as bananas and they generally go a bit…well…nuts.
And bananas too, of course.
National Banana Day is the perfect day to find solace in this world-renowned fruit that is useful and beneficial on so many levels. Happy National Banana Day!
National Banana Day Timeline
Bananas are brought from East to West
Arab conquerors bring this yellow fruit when Alexander the Great sends his armies to descend upon India.
Bananas make a debut in the Caribbean
Brought by a Portuguese monk missionary, Friar Thomas de Berlanga, bananas reach the New World.
Mass production of bananas begins
Banana trees are planted and production begins on a larger scale, especially in the Caribbean.
How to Celebrate National Banana Day
Celebrating National Banana Day seems like a great time to get creative and enjoy a big load of fun! After all, there aren’t many days in the year when it is allowed to legitimately goof off and also have a little fruit-based fun, so why not take a (banana) leaf out of the students’ book and go a little bit bananas today?
Consider these ideas for celebrating National Banana Day:
Make a Banana Treat
Get creative in the kitchen and enjoy what monkeys have known all along–the banana is a fabulous food! Try these delicious treats to eat alone or share with friends:
Banana Split. A classic American tradition, the banana split uses the two halves of a sliced banana, some scoops of ice cream (usually one of each vanilla, chocolate and strawberry), and toppings such as hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts and cherries.
Banana Bread. Although the same recipe will bake more quickly when poured into muffin tins, there is something special about a dense loaf of warm banana bread. No matter what shape they are in, this is a great way to use up bananas that have gotten a bit over-ripe or brown, because over ripe bananas are sweeter.
Bananas Flambe. This French Caribbean treat is made from peeled banana halves fried in oil and then coated with rum and sugar. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course, it makes a delightful and dramatic show of a simple food!
Chocolate Covered Bananas. Channel that inner Arrested Development character (Bluth family, anyone?) by freezing some bananas and dipping them into chocolate–add nuts too!
Host a Banana Party
Throwing a party for National Banana Day is a great way to observe and celebrate this occasion. And certainly it’s not hard to decorate with a banana theme! Just make sure everything is yellow and green, including paper plates, napkins, balloons, tablecloths and streamers.
For an activity that doubles as a snack, provide a chocolate dipping station (aka fondue) or chocolate fountain where guests can dip slices of banana. For extra fun, supply other items for dipping, such as sprinkles, small candies, or mini marshmallows.
Learn Fun Facts About Bananas
In honor of National Banana Day, it might be a fun idea to share some information and facts about bananas with family and friends! Here are some bits of trivia to get started with:
A banana is technically not a fruit, it’s really a berry! This has to do with the fact that the seeds are located inside the flesh rather than on the outside.
Because they contain so much of the isotope Potassium-40, bananas are technically radioactive. The good news is that they can’t harm a person unless they are eating around 700 or more bananas per day for their entire lifetime.
Bananas cannot be grown simply from a seed, which means they are technically “sterile”. Instead, in order to propagate bananas, a piece from another banana plant has to be split and then grown, sort of like cloning.
The growth of popularity of bananas can be partially attributed to Jules Verne, the American author who wrote about the fruit in his book Around the World in 80 Days, which brought them to the forefront of many people’s minds.
Try Some New Recipes for National Banana Day
Other treats that can be served at a banana party, or simply taken to the office to share with coworkers, include banana muffins or banana bread (same recipe, but muffins are faster to bake and a bit easier to serve). Bananas also make a delicious and healthy additive to milkshakes or smoothies, they can be sliced up and put on top of a bowl of cereal in the morning, or they can be mashed up and put into pancakes.
Banana cake, banana ice cream, banana splits or banana pudding are all delicious and delightful recipes that can be enjoyed in honor of National Banana Day. Or try out a classic frozen banana dipped in chocolate as mentioned above.
Another treat made with bananas was also rumored to be a favorite of the pop singer, Elvis Presley, which was the peanut butter and banana sandwich
Listen to a Banana Playlist
There is no better day than National Banana Day to get jamming with a fruit-focused playlist on Spotify or another music hosting website. Play it at the above-mentioned Banana Party or listen alone. Try out a few of these songs or add a few other creative ones:
- Day O [The Banana Boat Song] (1956) by Harry Belafonte
- Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas (1974) by Harry Chapin
- Yes, We Have No Bananas (1923) by Louis Prima
- Hollaback Girl (2004) Gwen Stefani
- Apples and Banana (1985) by Raffi
- Banana in Your Fruit Basket (1991) by Bo Carter
- Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears (1967) by The Monkees
Tell Some Banana Jokes
Get a little silly and have a laugh (or groan) with friends or family using a variety of banana jokes like these:
- What kind of key can open a banana? A Mon-key!
- Why did the banana go to the doctor? It wasn’t peeling well.
- Why are bananas never lonely? Because they come in bunches.
- What’s the easiest way to make a banana split? Cut it in half!
- What do bananas say when they answer the phone? “Yellow?”
National Banana Day FAQs
Is there a National Banana Day?
Yes! National Banana Day is the day that people all over choose to celebrate everything to do with this delicious and nutritious yellow fruit.
When is National Banana Day?
National Banana Day is celebrated on the third Wednesday of April each year, so the date changes with the calendar.
Are Bananas good for you?
Emphatically yes! Tasty and nutritious, bananas contain fiber, protein, potassium, vitamins, manganese and more.
Do Bananas grow on trees?
Well, sort of. Though they appear to be trees, the plants that bananas grow on are actually classified as herbs that form an underground stem, called a rhizome. But technically, it’s not a tree!
How to keep Bananas fresh?
Keep your bananas in a cool, dry place. To keep them from getting overripe, bananas can be stored in the refrigerator.