National Mule Day Date in the current year: October 26, 2022

National Mule Day National Mule Day, also known as National Mule Appreciation Day or Mule Day USA, is observed annually on October 26. It was created to celebrate the animal that is often associated with stubbornness but is in fact very intelligent, patient, even-tempered, and hard-working.

The mule is a hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse. The head and foreparts of a mule are similar to those of a donkey, where its hindparts and tail resemble those of a horse. The offspring of a female donkey and a male horse is called the hinny. Hinnies are smaller and less common than mules.

Mules are one of earliest man-made hybrid animals; their breeding became possible when the ranges of the domestic horse and the domestic donkey overlapped, which probably occurred in Western Asia some time before 1000 BC.

Mules were first brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus, but the first person to breed mules in the United States was George Washington. He valued mules because they were inexpensive to maintain, more intelligent and docile than donkeys, and longer-lived and hardier than horses.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries mules were widely used as draught animals. Their widespread use has declined in industrialized countries over the past century, but mules are still used extensively to transport various cargo in rural areas that have no roads. For example, in 2005 the UN World Food Program used pack mules to deliver food to remote Pakistani villages affected by a devastating earthquake.

The roots of National Mule Day can be traced back to Breeder’s Day, an annual meeting for mule breeders held in the city of Columbia, Tennessee, the self-proclaimed “Mule Capital” of the world. It began in the 1840s as a mule market and livestock show held on the first Monday in May and has since evolved into Mule Day, a multi-day festival held every April and lasting for almost a week.

Although National Mule Day may have been inspired by Columbia’s Mule Day, it is a different celebration that takes in October rather than in April. It was initiated in 1985 by Jim Cooper, the U.S. representative for Tennessee’s 4th congressional district. Following a petition signed by about 50,000 people, he put forth a congressional resolution that designated October 26 as National Mule Appreciation Day.

The date of the holiday was chosen by the Lynchburg Mule Traders Association to commemorate the day in 1785 when Spanish donkeys were brought to the United States as a gift from King Charles of Spain. It was from them that George Washington bred the first American mules at his home at Mount Vernon.

The resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives, but did not make it to the Senate, so National Mule Appreciation Day wasn’t established officially. However, it doesn’t prevent American mule breeders and the general public from celebrating National Mule Day on October 26. You can observe the holiday by learning more about these amazing animals, visiting a local zoo or a farm that has mules (some farms even offer mule rides!), and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #NationalMuleDay.

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Category

Ecological Observances, Unofficial Holidays

Country

USA

Tags

National Mule Day, National Mule Appreciation Day, holidays in the US, unofficial holidays, environmental observances