National Hysteria Day
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National Hysteria Day takes place on July 22nd. It is the annual celebration of terrifying things that never actually happen.
National Hysteria Day is in fact international and can trace its origins back to the days when primitive humans periodically became convinced that the Earth itself was rising up to swallow them. Science now understands that this was a primitive response to the phenomenon known as "falling over". Surviving cave paintings in Australia depict small stick-like people with placards and angry expressions, waving spears and staring around themselves in horror.
In Yore the celebration was suppressed by most major religions or replaced by a similar but more theologically valid festival. Thus were born a number of small but popular local holidays to celebrate events like the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, Imminent Mongol Invasions and The Rapture.
As people in Yore were much less sophisticated than they are now, these variations of National Hysteria Day tended to lack the expected modern trappings of rioting, ill-advised self-diagnoses and food-hoarding.
To promote the holiday and thus promote some sort of world-wide harmony for at least 24 hours of each calendar year, governments and scientific groups release special advertisements known as "scare stories" on a regular basis. The most popular of these are discussed for months at a time, and the campaigns have launched a number of international starlets like ebola, Asian bird flu, the War on Terra and near-Earth asteroids.
In this age of cheap celebrity and passing fads, it can be comforting to see old favourites reappear from time to time, and National Hysteria Day allows people to reminice over past panics and worry about new dangers that they might possibly die of if they weren't far more likely to get hit by a bus.