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International Carrot Day – what’s it really all about?

Our man Rhodri Marsden wonders whether International Carrot Day (April 4) is really worth celebrating? Plus: carrot-themed songs and some (sort of) facts that you definitely won't have heard of.

Get yourself ready to start julienning like you’ve never julienned before, because this Saturday (April 4th) is International Carrot Day. Hm. “Yeah? Who says?” I shout into my laptop, because the general election campaign is turning me into the kind of person who takes nothing he reads at face value. Who says it’s International Carrot Day? What vested interests are at play? Has someone got a few tons of carrots to offload, and is now trying to bump up demand by announcing an arbitrary day of celebration, and forcing us to dance around a pile of root vegetables against our will? What dark forces are these?

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It wouldn’t be the first time that misinformation has led to an increase in carrot consumption. The success of the Royal Air Force in shooting down enemy aircraft in World War II was attributed to carrot munching by the government; it was actually down to the development of radar, but they didn’t want to let on. They could have said it was anything. They could have said it was prayer, or practise, or prunes, but they said it was carrots. We bought the story, and we bought the carrots. Incredibly, we still believe, deep down, that eating carrots will help us see in the dark, but they don’t. No more than they serve as effective love potion. Don’t make that love potion. Put those carrots down.

The International Carrot Day website, which hasn’t been updated for at least two years, is registered to a bloke in Sweden. International Carrot Day does appear to be something that a Swedish man has created on the world’s behalf. “It is the day when the carrot is celebrated through carrot parties,” he wrote on the website, while probably laughing his head off. “A true carrot lover celebrates in a carrot dress, or orange tail suit with a green hat. But for the newcomer it is enough to wear something orange.”

It’s hard to believe that International Carrot Day is anything other than a mischievous attempt to get men to dress up in orange suits, but this kind of thing is happening regardless. The Museum Of Carrots, the web’s premier online carrot resource, gives details of numerous international carrot celebrations including a carrot festival in the self-proclaimed carrot capital of the world, Holtville, California. The first of these, in 1948, featured a local businessmen dressing up as Bugs Bunny. (Incidentally, the website also offers an excellent guide to the appearance of carrots in fine art; who could forget Francois Boucher’s “Boy Holding A Carrot” (1738) or Willem Frederik van Royen’s 1699 masterpiece, “The Carrot”?)

Maybe I’m being too hard on International Carrot Day. Questioning whether it’s real or not appears to plunge me into philosophical arguments surrounding the nature of truth, and I don’t have the time for those right now. In fact, having wanged on about it for 500 words, I almost feel like promoting it. Thus far, only one organisation is bothering to use the hashtag #internationalcarrotday on Twitter, and that’s the Karat Cakery in Washington DC. We can do better, surely? After all, in the words of a catchy-ish songwritten in celebration of the carrot: “Carrots wrote the constitution / and the theory of evolution / they prevent electrocution / and believe that love is the solution.” This may be overstating the carrot’s credentials a tad, but hey. One thing I do know: they’re orange, and they sound like a parrot. Let’s celebrate!

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Don’t forget to check out all our wonderful carrot recipes!

Roasted carrots with tahini and pomegranate