National Emo Day

December 19th is celebrated as National Emo Day every year—a holiday that celebrates the emo subculture, its music, and its fashion. It’s a day for emos to celebrate their culture and for people who aren’t in the movement to dress as if they are emo. It’s also a day to listen to emo music produced by bands such as My Chemical Romance, The Used, Panic! At The Disco, and Paramore.

The emo music subgenre is a type of rock music with punk influences that has complicated arrangements and lyrics that deal with deep and emotional subjects. So, everyone wishing to observe this day had better grab a pair of earbuds, don their best black attire, and get ready to have a good time.

The History Of National Emo Day

The emo subculture can be traced back to the 1980s. This is when the beginnings of the music genre subculture began to take root. The Washington, D.C., band Rites of Spring was often described by music critics of the mid-80s as writing emotional hardcore.

Their LP used hardcore dynamics while changing the form structurally and melodically. Another band that emerged from the D.C. hardcore scene of the mid-80s was Gray Matter. They used loud riffs but, instead of lacing these notes with nothing but unadulterated anger, they gave it a more emotional range.

It was suddenly okay to be hardcore and still express emotions such as sadness or disappointment. Other bands that formed the base of this musical subgenre include Embrace, Garden Variety, Jawbreaker, and Moss Icon.

Technically, emo music would last from the mid-80s to the mid-1990s and would begin to wane in the early 2000s. But that wouldn’t last very long as the Emo Revival began in the late 2000s and continued into the early 2010s.

Also known as the Midwestern Emo Revival Movement, Post Emo-Revival, and Fourth Wave Emo, this underground emo movement would abandon the style emphasized by the emo acts of 2005-2010 and instead opt for a style that was more reminiscent of 1990s emo music.

Unfortunately, this movement didn’t last very long, and the Emo Revival was done by 2015-2016. Emo fashion evolved alongside emo music. Black hair and clothing, heavy eye makeup, eyeliner, band tees, tattoos, and facial or body piercings quickly became part of the “fashion.”

Of course, emo fashion continues to evolve even now, so who knows what it will end up looking like in the future. As far as this holiday goes, at this time, we don’t know who created National Emo Day or when it was created. We think it was created sometime after the fall of the emo music genre.

Some Essential Emo Bands

Now that everyone has been caught up to speed with the emo and emo revival movements, we think it’s time to pass out a little bit of homework. For anyone who wants to get a taste of the emo lifestyle, even if only for a little while, we would like to list some of the emo bands that will get them in the mood.

We think the following emo bands, divided into the ’90s and 2000s music eras, will give everyone listening to them a quick education in this musical movement.

1990s Emo Bands:

  • Cap’n Jazz
  • Sunny Day Real Estate
  • Mineral
  • Jawbreaker
  • Still-Life
  • The Promise Ring
  • Texas is the Reason
  • Jimmy Eat World

2000s Emo Bands:

  • My Chemical Romance
  • Fall Out Boy
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  • The Used
  • Taking Back Sunday
  • New Found Glory
  • Brand New
  • Paramore
  • Dashboard Confessional

People looking over the above lists might complain that we’ve missed several emo bands. There are two reasons for that fact. One, we don’t have the room to list every emo band from the 1990s and 2000s, and two, several bands that are usually found on other “Emo Music Lists” feature bands that aren’t specifically emo or cover a wide variety of other musical styles other than emo.

For example, Weezer has emo songs, and some albums are more emo than others, but it’s not a strictly emo band. Another band is Blink-182. We feel that the band belongs in the Punk-Pop genre more than the Emo genre, as does Yellowcard. Of course, there is always going to be a little overlap in musical genres, but we do have to draw the line somewhere.

Observing National Emo Day

We’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible in our discussion of National Emo Day and the genre of music and fashion that inspired its creation. Now all that’s left for people to do is to observe this holiday in their unique style. Just be sure to use the hashtag #NationalEmoDay to spread the word about this holiday while you’re observing it.

When is it?
This year (2024)
December 19 Thursday
Next year (2025)
December 19 Friday
Last year (2023)
December 19 Tuesday
Art & Entertainment, Lifestyle