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National Crawfish Day – April 17, 2023

National Crawfish Day, celebrated on April 17 every year, is a holiday particularly enjoyed by the Southern United States as the subject of the holiday is a Southern staple food. Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans that resemble small lobsters, which they are in fact related to. In certain regions, they are also known as crayfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, and rock lobsters, among others. In terms of classification, crawfish are members of the superfamilies of Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. Crawfish breathe through gills, which are like feathers. Some crawfish species can be found in brooks and streams where there is a flow of fresh water, while others may thrive in swamps and paddy fields. Most crawfish are intolerant of polluted water, although the Procambarus clarkii are tougher. Crawfish are omnivorous, feeding on animals and plants, both living and decomposing.

History of National Crawfish Day

Although crawfish have a long history spanning many periods and civilizations, some of the oldest accounts of their existence and consumption date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. According to the crawfish’s history in America, reeds coated with deer meat served as the first fishing lure used by Native Americans to catch crawfish. The Houma Tribe of Native Americans is said to have employed a red crawfish as their emblem as early as the 17th century, representing the aggressive crawfish that lifts its claw in defense rather than retreating.

The Acadians, or Cajuns, as they are now known, arrived from Canada in the 1700s and settled along the bayous in what is now the Southern United States. Consuming crawfish at the time was primarily driven by necessity because it was so affordable and accessible. By the 1800s, the Acadians had started adapting traditional Canadian lobster recipes to the much smaller cousin of crustaceans, the crawfish. According to documents from the Louisiana Office of Tourism, “Creole restaurateurs in New Orleans caught on, and once it took off in the Big Easy, the secret was out: crawfish became synonymous with Louisiana food.”

The Louisiana spring custom of crawfish boils emerged in the 1900s, along with other aspects of the great cultural change. The crawfish was designated as Louisiana’s official crustacean by the state government in the year 1980. Red swamp and white river crawfish are the two principal species taken in Louisiana’s annual 100 million pound crawfish production.

National Crawfish Day timeline

1600s
Red Crawfish as a Symbol

According to French records, the Houma Tribe adopt the red crawfish as their emblem in the 1600s.

1700s
Crawfish Consumption Becomes Popular

The Cajun settlers from Canada make the consumption of crawfish popular in the 1700s due to its accessibility and affordability.

1900s
Crawfish Boil Tradition Begins

The custom of holding yearly crawfish boils starts in the 1900s.

1983
Louisiana Makes Crawfish the Official Crustacean

Louisiana officially designates the crawfish as the state crustacean.

National Crawfish Day FAQs

What is National Crawfish Day?

National Crawfish Day, celebrated on April 17 each year, is an American holiday for the celebration of one of their most iconic foods.

Are crawfish really fish?

No, they’re not. Crawfish are crustaceans, with exoskeletal features that fish do not have.

Where can I get crawfish?

Crawfish can be found in most places in the world where there is fresh water as they are freshwater crustaceans. But if you’re in Louisiana, in the United States, you’re walking on a goldmine.

National Crawfish Day Activities

  1. Go Crawfish hunting

    Going crawfish hunting is a fantastic option for National Crawfish Day. You might want to join a team of expert fishers or simply freestyle with some pals.

  2. Try out a new crawfish recipe

    Discover something magical as you try out a new crawfish recipe for National Crawfish Day. Invite your friends over to try it.

  3. Eat some crawfish

    What better way to enjoy National Crawfish Day than to simply eat some crawfish? Not only is it delicious, but also nutritious.

5 Interesting Facts About Crawfish

  1. They can walk forward and swim backward

    Crawfish have four legs for walking and four for swimming, hence their ability to walk forward and swim backward.

  2. Crawfish drown where fresh air is absent

    Crawfish can mostly only survive in freshwater, and so they are liable to drown if the water is polluted.

  3. Crawfish live up to 30 years

    According to studies, crawfish can live up to 30 years in the wild.

  4. They aren’t always red

    Crawfish can be in a variety of colors, including blue, green, and white, among others.

  5. Crawfish aren’t actually fish

    Crawfish are crustaceans, much like crabs and their close relatives, lobsters.

Why We Love National Crawfish Day

  1. Crawfish are high in protein

    Crawfish are high in protein. Therefore, they are quite healthy for human consumption.

  2. Crawfish are tasty

    Crawfish tastes great in a wide range of meals, especially if and when blended and added as a condiment. Try some today!

  3. They’re a source of livelihood

    Crawfish are a source of livelihood for farmers who breed them commercially. We must support locally sourced produce.

National Crawfish Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 17Monday
2024April 17Wednesday
2025April 17Thursday
2026April 17Friday
2027April 17Saturday

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