According to legend, on Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19th of every year, large flocks of cliff swallows, gathered together on the last leg of their long annual migratory flight from Argentina, would arrive at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California, nesting in the crossbeams, under the eaves, in the corners, everywhere they could attach their gourd shaped nests, all around the old mission that was founded back in 1776.
Visitors from all parts of the world would visit to witness the return of swallows.
What no one knew, until more recently, when Thomas and Ruth Roy submitted their official holiday entry form to Chase’s Calendar of Events, was that, when the swallows return to Capistrano, all the slugs leave. It can only be imagined that the slugs fear for their lives, given the huge increase in the bird population.
This day, observed on May 28th, is known as “Slugs Return from Capistrano Day”.
The famous swallows’ yearly farewell to Capistrano is celebrated on October 23rd, when they are said to circle the mission before heading back to Argentina. This day must be celebrated by the slugs as well, as they can then safely go back to vacationing in Capistrano, which is understood to be lovely.
They get to stay there all winter, swallow free.
Over the past 15 years, or so, Tom and Ruth Roy have added other humorous holidays to our calendar, including “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night”, celebrated August 8th, “Stay Home Because You’re Well Day”, celebrated on November 30th, which happens to be Tom Roy’s birthday, and “International Moment of Frustration Scream Day”, celebrated on October 12th. Chase’s has made them all official, and has placed them in their book, along with Labor Day, and other more serious occasions.
An editor at Chase’s once said that the Roys are probably America’s biggest holiday makers, after the president and Congress.
So, since their return is officially recognized, be sure to wish the slugs a fond welcome back to your gardens and patios on May 28th. And Happy Slugs Return from Capistrano Day to you!