International Hummus Day: Creative Persuasion at Work

hummusRecently I saw a notice of National Hummus Day, which made me smile. I mean, I like hummus, but how did it come to have a national day? Then I discovered hummus appears to have two celebrations: National (U.S.) Hummus Day on the third Thursday in May and International Hummus Day on May 13. I was fascinated by this article about Israel preparing for the celebration.

Even more interesting is the way the days originated. Not surprisingly, the U.S. National Hummus Day appears to be spearheaded by a company that makes (very good) hummus. But the international hummus celebration started as something of a goof by tech-savvy teen Ben Lang, when he and a friend decided if Nutella could have a day, why not hummus? A year later, when he’d forgotten all about Hummus Day, others were already celebrating and an international festival was born.

The saga of a teen, technology, and hummus made me think about all the other foods that could be celebrated. If your students need to work on persuasive language, or supporting points with evidence (and in these Common Core days, what students don’t?), why not assign them to create a rationale to award a special day to the food of their choice? Of course it would require research into the nutritional and cultural strengths of the food choice, and a well-constructed argument. You may not spark a movement, but you certainly will have opportunities for creative thinking, while teaching critical analysis and supporting a thesis statement with key facts. Or if you’d rather students investigate something other than food, they could argue for honoring particular plants, landforms, or anything else that strikes your fancy or fits your curriculum.

It sounds as if we should be celebrating hummus all month. Perhaps it is time to ask your students what else we should celebrate, then give them a chance to convince you. If they do, I’d love to hear about it.

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