National Polka Dot Day Date in the current year: January 22, 2024

National Polka Dot Day January 22 is a great day to wear your favorite polka dot dress because it is National Polka Dot Day. This holiday was created to celebrate one of the most iconic patterns and to pay homage to Minnie Mouse, a Disney character who wears a recognizable polka-dotted dress.

Polka dot is a pattern that consists of an array of filled circles of the same size. The origin of its name is unclear; the most common explanation claims that the pattern became fashionable around the same time as the polka dance and adopted its name. The first mention of the term “polka dot” can be found in an 1857 issue of the women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book that was published in Philadelphia. 

The polka dot pattern is considered very informal. It most commonly appears on children’s clothes and bathing suits. The pattern is also closely associated with the 1950s fashion with its signature fit-and-flare dresses, as well as with pin-up models. To put it short, one of the most common associations with polka dots is playfulness, be it childlike playfulness or its more mature counterpart.

Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera used the pattern extensively on her dresses and boxes of perfumes in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Today, polka dots can appear on a wide range of items besides clothing: shoes and accessories, furniture, toys, ceramics, stationary, phone cases, etc. 

The polka dot pattern also features heavily in popular culture. Polka dot dresses were worn by Shirley Temple in Stand Up and Cheer, Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy, Marilyn Monroe in Seven Year Itch, Sophia Loren in That Kind of Woman, and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama frequently uses polka dot motifs in her works. There is even a cryptocurrency named Polkadot after this popular pattern.

A lot of people associate polka dot with Minnie Mouse, a Disney character introduced in the 1928 cartoon Steamboat Willie as Mickey Mouse’s sweetheart. Minnie is an anthropomorphic mouse whose signature look consists of a red or pink dress with white polka dots, white gloves, low-heeled shoes, and a big bow on her head.

Given Minnie’s iconic status, it is not surprising that National Polka Dot Day was launched by Disney in 2016. To celebrate Minnie Mouse and her signature polka-dotted dress, “Rock the Dots” fashion shows were held at Disney Parks, and attendees were encouraged to buy Minnie ears, bows, and other merchandise. Two years later, Minnie Mouse received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on National Polka Dot Day.

There are many ways to observe National Polka Dot Day. You can wear your favorite polka dot clothes, binge watch Disney cartoons featuring Minnie Mouse, cosplay this iconic character, host a polka dot-themed party, buy a polka-dotted ceramic tea set, listen to songs mentioning polka dot such as “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” by Frank Sinatra and “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland, etc. And don’t forget to spread the word about this fun holiday on social media using the hashtags #NationalPolkaDotDay and #PolkaDotDay!

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National Polka Dot Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, polka dot pattern, Minnie Mouse