Quick Facts

Every May 8th
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  1. Animals

When fishes flew, and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

G.K. Chesterton, The Donkey

World Donkey Day is a show of respect for one of the most enduring and respectable animals in the Equidae family. Throughout history, it has served throughout the world as both a mount and a beast of burden in some of the most challenging terrains and forbidding climates, and has done so with pride and endurance. It’s unsurprising that these beasts success is due in part to their stubborn nature, and World Donkey Day honors them for this along with their other, perhaps more laudable, traits.

History of World Donkey Day

Two subspecies of the donkey, the Somalian and the Nubian, were bred together to produce what we think of as the modern Donkey. Available evidence points to the Donkey having been working alongside humanity since 4000 BCE, most likely in Nubia, as a more versatile and resilient pack animal than the ox they were presently using. Since then they have been bred and transplanted all over the world as cultures moved, and the world expanded, and can now be found just about everywhere.

They’re also the progenitors of the sterile mule, a cross-breeding of horse and donkey that results in a breed with the strengths of both. Sadly mules are almost entirely sterile, and the exceptions so rare that no breeding stock of pure mules has ever been able to be achieved, in part due to there having yet to be recorded a case of a breedable mule stallion. Strangely, there have been cases where female mules have birthed what are, for all appearances, pure horses when bred with a horse.

Regardless, these animals have played an essential part in human history and are worthy of World Donkey Day celebrating their history and their heritage.

How to celebrate World Donkey Day

The best way to celebrate World Donkey Day, depending on where you are, is merely to research these incredible beasts and the role they had to play in the world. If you’re somewhere you can take a Donkey Ride tour like the Grand Canyon or tours of certain abandoned mines then that’s an even better way to become acquainted with these adorable long-eared equines. World Donkey Day reminds us that we owe a large part of our success on this planet to these fellow travelers on the starship Earth.