A rare neurological condition that blends sensory information through unexpected places, synesthesia impacts up to 4% of the population. This genetic condition causes individuals to experience unique combinations of senses, or more than one sense at the same time. For example this might include seeing shapes when a person hears music, tasting a certain food when seeing a word, or experiencing music as a color.
National Synesthesia Awareness Day is here to increase knowledge and understanding about this fascinating anomaly and show some appreciation for those who experience it!
History of National Synesthesia Awareness Day
While people throughout history have likely had unique experiences related to synesthesia, the term wasn’t actually coined until the late 1800s and is still working to make its way into common use. National Synesthesia Awareness Day is celebrated with the purpose of bringing attention to this unique and special way that people with synesthesia view the world.
The founder of this day, Stephen Melton, is a synesthete and believes that this has been misunderstood and under-researched for far too long. The hope for National Synesthesia Awareness Day is to shine a light on this unique perspective while encouraging those who have this phenomenon of the human mind.
How to Celebrate National Synesthesia Awareness Day
Get on board with National Synesthesia Awareness Day by connecting with some of these idea and activities:
Learn About People with Synesthesia
Many visual artists, musicians, writers and composers have been connected with synesthesia through different sources. Some feel that the synesthesia contributes to their work as artists by expanding their level of creativity. Some research has even shown that synesthesia is more common in artists than in the general population.
In honor of National Synesthesia Day, consider doing a bit of research and learning more about these and other famous people with synesthesia:
- Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890). This Dutch artist is believed to have been a synesthete, experiencing associations between color and music.
- Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). This Russian painter experimented with the congruence of images and music in his paintings.
- Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962). The niece of this actress and model has noted that synesthesia runs in her family and that Marilyn experienced it through colors and sounds.
- Franz Liszt (1811-1886). This Hungarian composer could see musical notes as colors and he could “hear the violet”.
Check Out Synesthesia Resources
Those who want to learn more about synesthesia, whether they have it or know someone who does, can get involved with National Synesthesia Awareness Day by accessing resources. The day’s website offers various book titles and other resources, such as a podcast made by the day’s founder, Stephon Melton, called “Let’s Talk Synesthesia”.
Listen to Music by Synethetes
Since so many artists and musicians seem to have synesthesia experiences, perhaps it would be fun to create a playlist in honor of National Synesthesia Awareness Day! Make a large collection of songs and add in some of these known people with synesthesia to get started with:
- Billy Joel
- Kanye West
- Billie Eilish