I would have to describe my personal favorite genre of “fun fact” as “facts that make me say: ‘huh—well isn’t that neat?’” And, whew, did I recently learn a great one: 4/20/2024 is a palindrome.
And why is that a fun fact? Well, it takes a bit of explaining.
What is 4/20?
For those not in the know, April 20th, or 4/20, is a day cannabis lovers celebrate cannabis culture. While many believed early on that the phrase came about as a reference to a police code for marijuana possession, the slang actually came about in the 1970s when a group of students from California began using “4:20” as a code in relation to their search for a lost cannabis crop.
According to a PBS deep-dive on the subject published in 2023, the smoker’s saying spread because one of the members of the student group happened to be friends with the bassist of The Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh, who adopted the code in his own friend group.
However, things didn’t really pick up until the 1990s, when a reporter for High Times attended a Grateful Dead concert and received a flier stating, “Meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais.” He printed the flier in the magazine, and the rest is history.
Since then, “4/20” has become an internationally recognized phrase for referring to cannabis activity, such as roommates describing their living situation as “4/20 friendly.”
What’s a palindrome?
In its simplest possible definition, a palindrome is a sequence of letters, words, or numbers that read the same way backward as they do forward.
Think words like “madam.” “Racecar.” “Taco cat.” Or, my personal favorite palindrome phrase: “Do geese see god?” A palindrome day is any calendar date that reads the same from the front and back, like 4/20/2024.
Comedian Demetri Martin even once wrote a 500-word palindrome a decade ago:
Together, they make a fun fact for 2024—no matter which direction you look at it
4/20/2024 being a palindrome this year is just undeniably a very fun fact. As one Reddit user eloquently put it: “It’s the only time it’ll happen in history. Like, a stoner eclipse!”
So, uh, yeah! There you have it!
For those who partake, make sure you’re all stocked up for the impending super-holiday, and—in the meantime—allow me to leave you with this delightful TikTok dance paying tribute to ‘Danksgiving’ as a celebration: