The Dumbarton Oaks Unicorn Lady

The Dumbarton Oaks Unicorn Lady, erected in Washington D.C. for the International Day of the Unicorn, November 1, 1911. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Today’s post is in support of Unicorn Appreciation Day at Fish of Gold. Be sure to visit to express your solidarity!

Today is World Unicorn Appreciation Day, and in recognition of that happy fact, here is a list of other unicorn-related days throughout the yearly calendar:

January 11: World Unicorn Appreciation Day – The 5th Annual Congress of the Mythological Animal Preservation society declared January 11 to be World Unicorn Appreciation Day in 1905. In their statement, conference chair Dr. Stanley Einhorne said that “the time has now come to honor these majestic creatures and to stop the indiscriminate slaughter and disbelief which have bedeviled them since the advent of modern magic-piercing ammunition.” Adoption was slow, and nations which hadn’t attended the Congress have rejected the date, which was chosen by the delegation based on the American date reading of 1/11.

April 4: 幸運的柒柒柒龍吉祥麒麟一天肆兩黃金 – Proclaimed by the Kangxi Emperor in 1664, 幸運的柒柒柒龍吉祥麒麟一天肆兩黃金 (lit. “Lucky 777 Dragon Auspicious Kirin Day With 4 Taels of Gold”) was the very first day associated with unicorns to be proclaimed anywhere in the world (aside from perhaps the Minoan “Horn Festival” which many have interpreted as celebrating minotaurs instead). Created specifically to celebrate the one-horned Chinese Unicorn or kirin, (獨角麒麟 or du jiao kirin, lit. “unicorn kirin”) which had long been a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and auspiciously arranged furniture. Traditional celebrations include offerings of gold to kirins, the wearing of elaborate kirin onesies, and of course the traditional 紫麒麟purple kirin lanterns. The holiday was suppressed by Mao Zedong between 1949 and 1976 and the slaughter of kirin for food was encouraged, but the population has rebounded and the government currently enforces the death penalty for kirin poaching in an effort to encourage unicorn tourism.

Chinese Unicorn (Kirin)

A woodblock print of a Chinese Unicorn (Kirin) from De Tomaso’s Cor Sinarum (1668). Courtesy Library of Congress.

June 1: Einhorntag – Proclaimed by Kaiser Frederick III in 1888, Einhorntag was the first official protection/preservation accorded to the Eurasian unicorn. Perversely, from 1888-1914, Einhorntag was the date of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s annual Einhornjagd, when a team of virgins would beat the bushes to flush out unicorns for Wilhelm to shoot one-handed to prove his manliness. After the German Revolution, the Weimar Republic restored Einhorntag to its conservation roots. Strangely, the Third Reich continued the practice and did not harvest its own unicorns for the war effort, relying instead on captured French and Polish unicorns; indeed, considerable propaganda material of the Führer riding or being sought out by unicorns survives to this day.

July 10: Australunicorn Preservation Day – The rare australunicorn (“loarinnacon” in the native Parlevar tongue) was granted official protection on July 10, 1937–two months after the last known specimen in the Hobart Zoo was mounted by a virgin and disappeared into the bush. Hunted due to the perception that they competed with introduced Eurasian unicorns on Tasmania’s famous, vast, free-range unicorn farms, no australunicorns have been captured since then. Sightings persist, though, and with the rediscovery of the Tasmanian bunyip (thought extinct since 1908), authorities use Australunicorn Preservation Day as the occasion for an annual search with volunteer virgins.

November 1: International Day of the Unicorn – Dissidents from the CMAP conference held their own meeting in 1906 to declare November 1 the International Day of the Unicorn. This alternate date gained currency worldwide for several years, and to this day many commemorative plaques and statues list dates of 11/1 (especially confusing when one considers the differing American and European methods of writing out dates). A grand celebration held on 11/1/1911 attracted almost a million people, but the world wars eventually caused this day to dwindle in popularity. It’s still officially observed in many Spanish-speaking countries as “Día Internacional del Unicornio,” though, as the January 11 date conflicts with Día de Eugenio María de Hostos and Día Internacional de Gracias.

Australunicorn Print

A print of the newly-discovered Australunicorn (Loarinnacon) in Cooke’s Codex Australis (1702). Courtesy Library of Congress.

December 29: Yedinorog-Den (единорог день) – Russian delegates were absent from the CMAP congress that declared World Unicorn Appreciation Day due to the Revolution of 1905, but adopted it informally later on. They celebrated it on December 29 of the Julian calendar, and it remained on that date even when the new Soviet government moved to the Gregorian calendar in 1918. It was celebrated as a propaganda holiday as a way to cover up the USSR’s massive state-sponsored unicorn farms, which ruthlessly processed unicorns held in inumane conditions to obtain elixirs for the nomenklatura and horndust for use in tank armor and anti-magic artillery shells. The RDS-U1\11C0R1\1 Anti-Magic Ballistic Missile was the ultimate product of this, and its first test was on December 29, 1967.

Check out these other celebratory posts:
L. R. Badeau on Being a Full-Time Unicorn
Presenting Horace Swindley’s Unicorn Droppings
The 301st Fighting Unicorn Division
The 302nd Fighting Unicorn Division
The 303rd Fighting Unicorn Division

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