National Limerick Day

National Limerick Day is a day that falls on May 12th every year. It’s a day that not only celebrates the limerick but also celebrates the birthday of the English poet who created his own unique limericks, Edward Lear. Although Mr. Lear didn’t invent the limerick, his self-proclaimed nonsense style of limerick writing did help to popularize the style all over the world. So, if you’re in the mood for busting out some rhymes and want to observe the birthday of a fascinating poet, then this is the holiday you might want to observe.

What Is A Limerick?

Even though most people recognize a limerick when they hear one, few people actually know what makes a limerick a limerick. A limerick is defined as a humorous poem that’s very short, only about five lines, and the first two lines rhyme with the fifth line. Also, the third and fourth lines should rhyme together as well. This type of poem is written in anapestic trimeter.

The History Of Limericks

Limericks began in England during the 18th century, but it wouldn’t be until the 19th century that the form would become popularized by none other than Edward Lear. Most of the time, the limerick is used with obscene lyrics, but several poets—including Edward Lear—penned limericks that were clean.

About Edward Lear

Edward Lear was born on May 12th, 1812, in Holloway, England, and was not only a poet but was also an artist, illustrator, and musician. He would become known for his nonsense collections of limericks, poems, stories, recipes, and artwork. In 1832, he created Illustrations Of The Family Of Psittacidae, Or Parrots, and in 1841 he produced Views In Rome And Its Environs. Other works include Nonsense Songs And Stories (1870), Laughable Lyrics (1877), and Nonsense Botany (1888). He died on January 29, 1888, at the age of 75.

Book Of Nonsense Limerick 104 By Edward Lear

Below is one of the lyrics that he wrote during the mid-19th century and is now in the public domain. It will give observers of this holiday an idea of his lyrical style.

There was an Old Person of Sparta,
Who had twenty-five sons and one daughter;
He fed them on snails,
And weighed them in scales,
That wonderful person of Sparta.

Observing National Limerick Day

If you want to observe this holiday, then you can do so in a number of different ways. You can write your own limerick, share some of Edward Lear’s limericks, or find other poets who practiced this style. And while you’re at it, why not share some of these limericks on social media using the hashtag #NationalLimerickDay and let all of us in on the joke.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 12 Sunday
Next year (2025)
May 12 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 12 Friday
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