Monkey Day was created and popularized by contemporary artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin, beginning in 2000 when they were both art students at Michigan State University. Sorrow jokingly scribbled Monkey Day on a friend’s calendar, and then they first celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students.
The holiday gained notoriety when Sorrow and Millikin began including Monkey Day in their artwork and alternative comics that they published online and exhibited internationally along with other artists.
Since then, Monkey Day has been widely celebrated across countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany, India, Pakistan, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Thailand, and Turkey.
Hallmark Cards describes the holiday as a “day when monkey business is actually encouraged.”The Washington Post describes Monkey Day as a day to “learn something about these adorable and highly intelligent primates. Or you could use this day to act like a monkey.”
Monkey Day is particularly popular among animal rights and environmental activists, and visual artists and art institutions. Monkey Day’s celebrants and supporters include Jane Goodall, Greenpeace, National Geographic, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Louvre Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution.