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Lion's Share Day – July 22, 2024

People around the United States celebrate Lion’s Share Day on July 22 every year, which is one of the most remarkable and fun holidays celebrated in the U.S. As much as this celebration is related to an interesting concept — to provide special treatment to someone, hence the lion’s share — it is also a commemoration of the fables of Aesop, from which the phrase originates. Today, the holiday is known as a fun celebration, with something in it for everyone.

History of Lion's Share Day

This special celebration comes from the phrase “a lion’s share,” which means the biggest share of something divided among several parties. The phrase itself is ascribed to the fables of Aesop, which were written around the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. Many fables recount this particular phrase or the issue of a lion sharing spoils with other animals. In one of Aesop’s fables, the lion asks other animals to help him hunt. Upon dividing the spoils, the animals proposed several reasons explaining why he should get a larger part.

As many other fables recount, the lion, as king of the jungle, will always try to honor that title, hence, the expression ‘a lion’s share.’ The moral of the story is generally interpreted as the virtue of being cautious when working with someone much stronger. These fables of Aesop are now considered one of the earliest examples of fables; stories with serious implications told through animals as characters. The symbolism of fables can be far-reaching, which is what made them very significant in the history of literature.

Aesop’s fables eventually led many writers, later on, to use the same techniques and settings to present the narrative with serious implications, without giving too many details. Throughout history, there have been many historical and cultural narratives similar to the one by Aesop on the dangers of trusting more powerful entities (or animals, notably the lion). By the 18th century, the expression ‘a lion’s share’ had become so prevalent that it made its way into the dictionaries of several languages, like English and French. Today, the phrase is still widely used and warrants its own annual celebration.

Lion's Share Day timeline

6th Century B.C.
Aesop’s Fables

The origin of the phrase ‘a lion’s share,’ Aesop’s Fables are written by a former Greek slave.

Jean de La Fontaine

The French author pens the first translation in French, essentially popularizing the use of the phrase in French.

18th Century
English Idiom

The phrase is widely used in English writing and enters the English dictionary as an idiom.

Animal Farm

One of the most significant fables in the history of literature follows in the footsteps of Aesop.

Lion's Share Day FAQs

What is the most famous Aesop fable?

All of Aesop’s fables are widely known and even taught in schools. However, the most widely recognized is “The Hare and The Tortoise.”

How many of Aesop’s fables are there?

There is no precisely known number, but the modern editions of the fables contain about 200.

Why did Aesop use animals?

Aesop used animals as characters in his fables, as they can pass on meaning very quickly without the need to develop a character, and it allows him to easily build a moral to the story.

Lion's Share Day Activities

  1. Read fables

    The significance of this celebration stems from a phrase originating in fables. It is also a commemoration of this interesting literary tradition. Reading fables is a sure way of understanding the nuanced concept they present, and why they are significant.

  2. Demand your lion’s share

    After all, it’s Lion’s Share Day, and it's the only time of the year when it’s okay to demand more than just your fair share. Seize the opportunity, but don’t overdo it. As a celebration, reward yourself on this special holiday.

  3. Organize a theme party

    The various themes of fables can make for a fun party theme. You can organize one with friends and family and take part in so many fun activities. Make sure you look for people in your area who are also planning a celebration for this day.

5 Interesting Facts About Aesop

  1. Very little is known

    Although his work has survived for several centuries, very little is known about Aesop’s life.

  2. Transforming work

    The Aesop fables we know today are different from the original works, as the stories were edited several times, with more material added.

  3. African origin

    Although Aesop is known throughout history as a Greek, his origins were African, specifically from Ethiopia.

  4. Tragic death

    Aesop died in Delphi, after an altercation with a judge who executed him by throwing him from a cliff.

  5. Last words

    Before his execution, Aesop predicted that his death would bring bad luck to Delphi, which eventually happened.

Why We Love Lion's Share Day

  1. Fun read

    Aesop’s fables are a fun read. Reading through the original manuscripts, or the translated version, with the additions and specificities of each, is what makes this body of work so fun to read. Fables in general are designed to be fun, but they still carry so much substance.

  2. Reward yourself

    It is by far the only day in the year when you can ask for more, besides your birthday. Lion’s Share Day allows us to reward ourselves, making this celebration one of the most fun holidays we have ever celebrated.

  3. Important lessons

    If reading fables and indulging are not fun enough, celebrating fables is essentially recognizing the important role they play and the lessons they teach. Fables are essentially life lessons from ancient times. That alone makes fables worthy of celebration.

Lion's Share Day dates

2024July 22Monday
2025July 22Tuesday
2026July 22Wednesday
2027July 22Thursday
2028July 22Saturday

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