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MonJan 31

National Backward Day – January 31, 2022

National Backward Day is celebrated on January 31, encouraging us to do things oppositely. It’s a time to take a look at our actions to see how reversing them can be effective and fun at the same time. One example of how doing things backward can be enlightening is by reverse poetry, which is a form that uses a reverse method to convey different messages depending on how the poem is read. They can be read forwards top to bottom with one meaning and backward from bottom to top with another. Spend the day finding new ways to do things in reverse!

History of National Backward Day

An interesting example in history of doing things in reverse was from none other than one of the world;s most well-known artists, Leonardo da Vinci. He famously practiced mirror writing, which is where text is written in the opposite direction so that it can be read in a mirror. There are multiple theories as to why Da Vinci did this. Firstly, it made it harder for people to steal his ideas, or he could’ve been hiding his work to avoid religious persecution. Another theory is the artist simply wanted to prevent smudging of ink. Also, Da Vinci was left-handed, and starting right to left could have made it easier for him.

Backwards Day was created by two women, Sarah Nicole Miller and Megan Emily Scott, who came up with the idea while on a farm. They were milking cows, thinking about arts and crafts when the initial idea came to them. The two women came up with the rules of and created it on January 29, 1961. The next day, word had spread around and the community was doing things backward. The pair then made the day on January 31 and so it has remained. 

Throughout the decades, the benefits of doing things in reverse have become more visible. Some schools celebrate National Backward Day where students can wear their clothes inside out, their shoes on the opposite feet, write their names backward, and so on. Adding a little fun to the school day adds some entertainment to what could be just another ordinary day.

Backwards Day isn’t just confined to the real world either. The invocation of doing things backward is seen In one of the most memorable episodes of the Nickelodeon cartoon, SpongeBob Squarepants. SpongeBob’s serious neighbor Squidward Tentacles calls a realty company to sell his house, but they won’t accept it if his neighbors are too out of control. Squidward tells the rambunctious SpongeBob that it’s Opposite Day so that he changes his ways, and SpongeBob acts as if he’s Squidward. Now, the day is a fun opportunity to do things in reverse!

National Backward Day timeline

September 11, 1999
Opposite Day in Bikini Bottom

One of SpongeBob’s most memorable episodes involves SpongeBob doing things backward to be more like Squidward.

20th Century
Backward Learning

Schools celebrate National Backward Day by having students go about their school day doing things in reverse.

January 31, 1961
Rewinding Women

National Backward Day was created by two women, Sarah Nicole Miller and Megan Emily Scott, who were working on a farm and brainstorming ideas.

15th Century
Text in the Mirror

Leonardo Da Vinci practices mirror-writing, writing text in the opposite direction that can be read in a mirror.

How To Celebrate National Backward Day

  1. Switch up your meals

    We’re all accustomed to doing things a certain way, but the point of National Backward Day is to break ourselves out of those routines. Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner and pay attention to any differences you might experience. Does it feel just a little off, or are you completely at home switching it up? You might surprise yourself.

  2. Change your meaning

    We tend to stay on autopilot when it comes to conversing with one another, why not change it up? Instead of saying “good morning” in the morning, say “good night” at night and vice versa. Challenge a friend to a battle and see how long you can keep up speaking oppositely. It might make you feel like you’re in a world where up is down and down is up.

  3. Write a reverse poem

    It’s difficult enough writing a poem, and it’s even harder writing one in reverse. If you’re up for the challenge, test your literary skills by writing a reverse poem. Decide what meaning you want the poem to have from top to bottom, and what meaning you want it to take on from bottom to top and judge how well you were able to execute it.

5 Facts About Backward Things That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Backward planning moves you forward

    A study showed that students who reversed the order in which they normally prepared for tests had a high success rate.

  2. Peeling out

    It has been theorized that bananas are meant to be peeled from bottom to the top.

  3. Bizarre Earth

    Superman's opposite-based villain Bizarro comes from Bizarro world, a fictional planet where everything is backward including their Earth which is called Htrae.

  4. Messages in reverse

    There are conspiracy theories that claim certain songs played backward, like certain Led Zeppelin songs and The Beatles songs, reveal hidden messages.

  5. Waddle this way

    Penguins are known for being adorable flightless birds, but they’re also unable to walk backward.

National Backward Day dates

YearDateDay
2021January 31Sunday
2022January 31Monday
2023January 31Tuesday
2024January 31Wednesday
2025January 31Friday

Let’s get social

Here are some special hashtags for the day.

#change #backward #women

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