National Happy Hour Day
Surprisingly, something that most of us associate with fun after work in mostly urban settings, actually got its start with the U.S. Navy as far back as 1914. (However, in 1900 “Happy Hour” social clubs did exist.)
Happy Hours, as we know them today, got started during the early days of the Mexican-American war. During the occupation of Veracruz Harbor, American sailors aboard the U.S.S. Arkansas were the subject of desperate reporters looking to fill out mundane stories after earlier fighting had used up all the exciting copy. Notices, as in this lead in the “Washington Times” of May 1, 1914, “ ‘The Happy Hour’ Aboard Ship Makes U.S. Tars (short for “tar heels”, a slang for sailors from North Carolina) Contented.” were common. After a busy day, happy hours boosted morale with boxing matches, dancing and drinking. (Although liquor was expressly banned from naval vessels starting in 1899, sailors may have sneaked booze onboard.)
By the end of WWII, happy hours were a “thing.” The relaxing practice had spread throughout U.S. naval fleets. But on April 25, 1959, a “Saturday Evening Post” article popularized, “happy hour” for everybody outside the Navy. According to “Bustle,” an article entitled, “The Men Who Chase Missiles” described the hazards for people who “ lived and worked on remote island outposts tracking Cape Canaveral’s missile launches… “Except for those who spend too much during “happy hour” at the bar — and there are few of these — the money mounts up fast.”
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