National Trivia Day

Calamity Jane is full of useless information!

Some say I’m full of sumpthin’ else, though!

What National Day on January 4th celebrates those who accumulate and hoard tidbits of useless trivia? National Trivia Day, of course!

Each year, the holiday recognizes the collectors of unconnected, irrelevant data, facts, history, and quotes in the recesses of their brains. They are the ones who usually proffer these sometimes astounding bits of history when friends and family least expect it. 

The word trivia is plural for the word trivium.

In ancient times, the term “trivia” was appropriated to mean something very new.

Nostalgic college students in the 1960s, along with others, began to informally trade questions and answers about the popular culture of their youth.  After writing trivia columns, Columbia University students Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky created the earliest inter-collegiate quiz bowls that tested culturally (and emotionally) significant, yet virtually useless information, which they dubbed trivia contests.  Trivia (Dell, 1966) was the first book treating trivia in the revolutionary new sense, authored by Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky.  This book achieved a ranking on the New York Times bestseller list.

  • Over time, the word “trivia” has come to refer to obscure and arcane bits of dry knowledge as well as nostalgic remembrances of pop culture.
  • In North America, the game Trivial Pursuit peaked in 1984, when consumers bought over 20 million games.
  • Steven Point, Wisconsin, holds the largest current trivia contest at the University of  Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s college radio station WWSP 89.9 FM.  During the April 2013 event, the university hosted the 44th annual contest. Typically, 400 teams participate, ranging from 1 to 150 players.  The competition, which is open to anyone, spans 54 hours over a weekend with eight questions each hour.
  • The first season of the popular television trivia show Jeopardy! premiered on March 30, 1964. 

Calamity Jane

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