What and When is Monkey Day?

Monkey Day highlights new world and old world monkeys.
Monkey Day highlights new world and old world monkeys.

Monkeys are interesting, cute, mischievous, and obnoxious creatures. They are classified into two different categories; new world monkeys’ endemic in the Americas and old world monkeys endemic in Asia and Africa.Their existence is considered very crucial in the environment and in the various world cultures. Some Chinese culture for instance revere and worship monkeys as their gods. The monkey is also the animal representing the 9th year in the 12-year cycles of the Chinese calendar.

History of Monkey Day

While there are various theories regarding the existence of Monkey Day, the most common theory relating to its existence relates to the prank by students from Michigan University. Others claim that the day was initiated by conservationists who wanted to raise awareness about the role of monkeys in the environment. Monkey Day was popularized by Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin in 2000 when they were students at the Michigan State University. Casey Sorrow teasingly scribbled Monkey Day on a friend’s calendar. On December 14, which is the international monkey day, Casey together with his colleagues at the Michigan State University observed Monkey Day. It became popularized through artworks and alternative comics published online and exhibited internationally by Casey and other artists. Since 2000, Monkey Day became an international day celebrated widely across countries like Estonia, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Pakistan, Turkey, and India. The day is highly celebrated by various institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Geographic.

Celebration Events

In most countries, the day is observed through various events like art exhibitions from prominent artists including Sorrow, Millikin, Rob Balder, and David Malki. Their art pieces have been used to create Monkey Day themed comic and artworks. Other events involve parties with monkey themed costumes. Often, there are competitions to see who rocks the best monkey costume or perform the most amusing impression of a primate. Many zoos across the world such as the Lahore Zoo in Pakistan hold annual Monkey Day events through informative events about monkeys by highlighting the current threats facing primates globally and conservation efforts such as adoptions. There are also fundraising events aimed at raising money for primate-related issues.

Importance of Monkey Day

Albeit being named the Monkey Day, the day does not only celebrate monkeys. It popularizes other simian beings including non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs. The earth is a primate world hosting over 700 different species, of which, half are on the verge of extinction. Monkey Day brings to the limelight the importance of preserving the world’s primate population whose existence is highly threatened by poaching and destruction of the natural habitats in favor of human progressive activities. Conservancy organizations such as CITES and IUCN urge citizens from across the globe to join in conservation efforts by donating their resources to organizations that works to protect and preserve natural habitats for primates. Greenspace movement views Monkey Day as the best time to take action and help protect natural habitats for primates by becoming forest defenders.


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