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What is 420, and Why Do We Celebrate It?

What is 420 and Why Do We Celebrate

Photo from Visualistka from Shutterstock

Find out why April 20 is considered the Stoner’s Holiday.

Holidays exist to allow individuals to celebrate a special event or to commemorate a cultural tradition. Just like the 4th of July, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve, it is customary to do something big and extra to celebrate a holiday.

In the United States, a memorable holiday is being commemorated every April 20 to celebrate a drug still illegal in some states, marijuana. 420, also known as the Stoner’s Holiday or Marijuana Holiday, is marked by many countercultural events and protests. This holiday has become an international holiday for smokers and cannabis enthusiasts.

Origin of 420

Most holidays have a deep story on setting a specific date. 420 falls on April 20, but the real story behind it isn’t that familiar to the majority.

Some people said that the term “420” was a code for the cops about marijuana operations. It’s just a myth as code 420 is used as a reference to homicide in Las Vegas, and police departments from other states do not use it.

Another hilarious story said that it is somehow connected to Adolf Hitler’s birthday, 4/20/1889, which is entirely false. Adolf Hitler had no relevance to the marijuana holiday. He’s not as relevant as Bob Marley is to the cannabis community. A hearsay also said that the holiday originated from the 420 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, which is also false because Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the only chemical compound found in the cannabis plant.

These were just rumors and had no solid support to these stories.

The Waldos & The Grateful Dead

According to the former editor of the High Times, Steven Hager, the real story about 420 started with a group of boys from San Rafael, California, who called themselves “The Waldos”. As young boys who were bound to have fun and make bad decisions, these teenagers would always meet up at 4:20 pm each day just to smoke after their practice. This became their everyday routine that somehow turned into a bit of ritual. Although the term “420” has become a part of their daily dialogue, their teachers and parents had no idea what they were talking about.

Back in the ‘70s, the Waldos had personal connections with The Grateful Dead band. Upon working with the band for some shows and events, the Waldos had the opportunity to introduce the term “420” as a code for marijuana. Since then, the band also used it to talk about pot sessions before their shows. From there, the term has spread, and it has become the most relevant term in a smoker’s vocabulary.

At present, the term 420 is being used and known as marijuana by almost everyone around the globe.

Why Do We Celebrate 420?

Some people would celebrate 420 just to have fun, meet with their friends and smoke throughout the day. Although smoking marijuana is always related to spreading good vibrations and having fun, some people have other priorities when celebrating the holiday.

As mentioned earlier, marijuana is still illegal in some states in the US. With this, enthusiasts and other community members are doing protests and counter-cultural activities every April 20 to highlight the need for global marijuana legalization. 420 has become a way for enthusiasts to speak up about how marijuana is different from how society thinks about it.

As we all know, medical marijuana has been recognized as a cure for severe illnesses. It has touched and changed a lot of lives. Patients of medical marijuana have also become the inspiration, leaders, and spokespersons of the marijuana community, which also becomes a highlight of the holiday.

420 is also being celebrated through engaging with relevant conversations that could help break the cannabis stigma. It has been years since the Waldos started this movement, and we need to change society’s view of marijuana.

The holiday may come off only as a fun event for smokers, enthusiasts, and other communities. Still, this holiday has a deeper meaning as enthusiasts consider this a movement to show their fondness for marijuana and how it has become a part of their lifestyle.

Ways to Celebrate 420

There are a lot of festivals, gatherings, and other events to look forward to every 420. Since the pandemic happened, some events have been pushed back since we can’t gather around like we usually do. With that, let’s just relive the previous 420 events and talk about the best ways to celebrate this much-awaited holiday.

Attend a 420 music festival

Music that revolves around marijuana has been a part of every stoner. For the past years, hip-hop icons such as Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and A$AP Rocky have been guesting in 420 events. Nothing beats a day with endless puffs while enjoying good music.

Participate in a countercultural protest or conversation

Are you tired of hearing false accusations about marijuana? Join an engaging conversation that could help lessen the stigma of cannabis. The only thing to abhor these nasty comments by the public is to talk about how it truly works. Being united with people who have the same belief as yours could be a memorable way to celebrate a holiday.

Attend a variety show

Variety shows that feature a lot of cannabis experts, performers, chefs, comedians, and artists are also a fun way to celebrate the 420 holiday. Variety shows are known to be entertaining as different acts will be shown. A 420-themed variety show will undoubtedly be different from a typical variety show, making it an event to look forward to.

Last 2020, Willie Nelson hosted an online variety show called “Come and Toke It” which became a success despite the pandemic. Aside from Nelson, a lot of icons have also hosted virtual 420 events since the pandemic happened. A Smoke Out event on Zoom also happened the same year, hosted by Jim Jones.

Staying at home? Listen and smoke to Bob Marley!

As the legend himself, his music and love for marijuana will forever be a part of the cannabis community. To ensure your health and safety during this global pandemic, you can still celebrate the holiday by surrounding yourself with Bob Marley’s good vibrations.
Invite some friends over and have a pot session
Staying outdoors is still not safe. Another fun way to celebrate the holiday is to have some friends over to enjoy good weed, delish munchies, great stories, and endless laughter!

Dress up and wear your favorite 420-themed outfit

Just like wearing a costume for Halloween and a themed sweater for Christmas, it’s also best to wear something extra for 420 to express yourself through a 420-themed outfit! From head to toe, wear clothing pieces that scream marijuana. This holiday only happens once a year. Make sure to make the most out of it!

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