National Crawfish Day Date in the current year: April 17, 2024

National Crawfish Day National Crawfish Day celebrates one of the most iconic foods of the American South. It has been observed every April 17 since 2020.

Crawfish, also known as crayfish, crawdads, mountain lobsters, rock lobsters, freshwater lobsters, mudbugs and by many other names, are freshwater crustaceans that make up the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea in the infraorder Astacidea. Crawfish from the superfamily Astacoidea are native to the Northern Hemisphere, whereas crawfish from the superfamily Parastacoidea live in the Southern Hemisphere.

Crawfish are closely related to lobsters, but they live in fresh water, while lobsters are marine dwellers. Some crawfish species live in running water (brooks and streams), while others prefer standing water (ditches, paddy fields, swamps). Most crawfish can’t stand polluted water; due to this, scientists use them as sentinel species to monitor the levels of water pollution.

Crawfish are edible, but, like with other edible crustaceans, only a small portion of their body is eaten, typically the tail segment. In the United States, the production of crawfish is centered in the Southeast, particularly in Louisiana, where over 90% of the country’s crawfish farms are situated. The two main crawfish species produced in Louisiana are the red swamp crayfish (Louisiana crawfish) and white river crawfish.

In Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Texas, crawfish are usually served at social events called crawfish boils, where crawfish are boiled live in large pots with seasonings, vegetables (corn on the cob, garlic, onions, potatoes), mushrooms, sausage, and turkey necks. In some cases, boils are held by various organizations as fundraisers or mixers throughout the spring season. Smaller boils are held by individuals as weekend get-togethers for their family and friends.

Other popular crawfish dishes in the Creole and Cajun cuisines of Louisiana include crawfish beignets (deep-fried pastry), crawfish bread, crawfish bisque (creamy soup), crawfish dressing, crawfish étouffée (smothered crawfish served over rice), crawfish pie, and fried crawfish.

National Crawfish Day was founded in 2020 by Shell Shack, a Dallas-based seafood restaurant chain with locations in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Mesquite, and Plano. The main goal of the holiday is to introduce as many people as possible to the deliciousness that is crawfish and encourage them to indulge in crayfish during the peak season, which typically lasts from February to mid-May (at least in Louisiana).

There are many ways to celebrate National Crawfish Day. You can learn some interesting facts about crayfish, go out to your favorite seafood restaurant, invite your friends and family over for a Louisiana-style seafood boil, go crayfishing, attend one of the many crawfish festivals that are held in Louisiana every spring or book a crawfish farm tour, share your favorite crawfish recipes on social media, and spread the word about the holiday with the hashtags #NationalCrawfishDay and #CrawfishDay.

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National Crawfish Day, food days, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, Louisiana cuisine, crawfish boil