Celebrated annually on February 12th, Darwin Day – also known as International Darwin Day – is a holiday that commemorates the birth of naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin in 1809. This holiday is also a day to bring attention to Darwin’s contributions to science and is used to highlight science in general. It is celebrated in the United States and around the world.
Biography of Charles Darwin
Born in Shrewsbury, England, on February 12th, 1809, Charles Robert Darwin was the second youngest of six children born to wealthy doctor and financier Robert Darwin and his wife, Susannah Wedgwood Darwin. In 1831, at the age of 22, he left for a five-year survey voyage on HMS Beagle. As he studied various types of animal and plant specimens around the world, he began crafting his theory of evolution and his views on natural selection. Twenty-eight years later, he published “On the Origin of Species.” His theory argued that all life today comes from a single ancestor and that the diversity in the animal and plant kingdoms arose due to evolutionary processes, which included genetic mutation, natural selection, and extinction. On April 19th, 1882, he died in London.
History of Darwin Day
While the celebration of Charles Darwin’s life and work has been done sporadically since his death in 1882, it would be many years before an official holiday commemorating him would be established. Over the years, it was recognized by numerous groups of scientists, academics, and universities around the globe. In the United States, it was made an official holiday due to House Resolution 67, which designated February 12 as Darwin Day in the United States in 2015.
Darwin Day Customs & Celebrations
Darwin Day can be celebrated in a number of different ways. People can attend one of the many exhibitions and exhibits on evolution, they can read “The Origin of Species,” or they can visit a natural history museum. They can also use the hashtag #DarwinDay in all of their posts on social media to spread the word about it.