Find out what 'holiday' your birthday is on!

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Every day of the year is an official 'national day' for something - here's a SAS chart to help you find which bizarre 'national day' falls on your birthday!

I recently read an article that lists weird and unconventional national days. It was very interesting, but I found the data a little hard to digest, being spread out over 10+ pages.

I decided to use SAS to present the data graphically, to make it easier and quicker to analyze. I came up with the following scatter plot that allows you to quickly find a given date (such as your birthday), and then mouse over the marker to see what bizarre holiday(s) fall on that date. You can also click on the markers to launch a Google search to find more information about that holiday.

A snapshot is below - click on it to see the interactive graphic:

Please leave a comment if you have ever celebrated any of these strange days ... especially the one that falls on your birthday!  And if you notice that the birthday of any of your friends & family happens to fall on a national day that is 'strangely appropriate' for them, be sure to share this blog with them so they can see!  Hahaha!


Technical Details:

My first inclination was to present the data on a calendar chart, using a leap year so it would cover February 29 ... but the calendar layout wasn't conducive to quickly finding a certain date (especially with the layout being different each year, and wanting to represent the data with 1 graphic).

Therefore I went with a simpler scatter plot layout, where each row is a month, and each column is a day-of-month. I visually color the markers by quarter to make it easier to follow from left-to-right, and I draw a reference line after every 5 days to help you follow from bottom-to-top. The markers are colored using the "plot month*day=quarter" syntax in Proc Gplot, and I use the html= option to add the hover-text and Google-search drilldown.

For those who don't like charts, I also included a table of the data below it. Whereas the table in the original article only listed the month name at the beginning of each month, I place the month & day in the table alongside each national day description, and I added the Google-search drilldown to the text (that the original table didn't have).

Although this is "fun data," this example demonstrates a lot of powerful techniques you can use with other, more important, data. Here's the sas code if you'd like to re-use it.

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About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 25 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).

12 Comments

  1. Michael A. Raithel on

    Robert,

    What a lot of fun! I was born on "Tell A Story Day", and I've been doing that all of my life. I used to keep childhood friends amused with made-up adventure stories. And, my sons heard lots of stories as they grew up; especially on road trips. So, I think the technical accuracy of your program is also pretty solid:-)

    Best wishes!

    ----Michael A. Raithel

  2. Shelley Sessoms
    Shelley Sessoms on

    Hmm, Richter Scale Day and National Pretzel Day. Not so sure about the Richter Scale, but I do love some peanut butter stuffed pretzels!

  3. "National Play-doh Day". Not sure - do i celebrate by playing with play-doh? It seems, well, just TOO obvious. :)

    There is dispute on the day...not by me...but google: several links have it as Sept. 16th, and then others have Sept. 18th. I feel...jilted...for not a getting a definite holiday.

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