4/20: The Origins of the Holidaze

4/20: The Origins of the Holidaze

One of the most renowned yet misinterpreted holidays of the year is April 20th. Every year, tens of thousands of adults indulge in cannabis with family and friends. Literally tons of buds and gallons of cannabis concentrates are consumed during the holidaze. Nevertheless, most consumers and partakers in the holiday do not understand the true origin or meaning of 4/20. 

What is 4/20?

April 20th, commonly known as 4/20, is a holiday meant for the indulgence of cannabis. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Weed Day.’ 4/20 has been celebrated since the 1970s. This would align with a time that Americans were becoming more socially and politically sound. Today,  4/20 is still celebrated by cannabis consumers. 

Additionally, companies have taken advantage of this social holiday. In recent years, companies have turned the holiday into ‘Green Friday.’ Coupons and deals such as ‘20% off of 4 items as well as other similar gimmicks. Who doesn’t love a good deal on cannabis and unique cannabis accessories?

Early interpretations of the holidaze

Contrary to popular belief, Weed Day has absolutely nothing to do with Adolf Hitler. Outside of sharing a birthday with the most villainous man in history, Weed Day has no relation. The true origins of 4/20 are credited to a bunch of kids in California in 1971. According to the lore, five students belonging to San Rafael High School located in Marin County, CA, would synchronize their watches to meet up and smoke some cannabis. The group of kids, known as the Waldos, included: Steve Capper, Larry Schwartz, Dave Reddix, Mark Gravich, and Jeffery Noel. The time they agreed upon was 20 minutes after 4 p.m. 

Additionally, the Waldos would pass notes labeled ‘420’ along to each other outside of the agreed-upon time when they wanted to smoke cannabis early. This would lead to 420 being utilized around the globe. This is why Weed Day is celebrated on the 20th of April.

Cannabis publications’ role in 4/20

During the 1970s, the stars were aligning in favor of cannabis and its future holiday celebrations. Smoke-friendly peers quickly picked up the Waldo’s lingo surrounding 420. This word of mouth would eventually make its way to HighTimes Magazine. High Times is an authority on cannabis culture and has been for almost five decades. In the 1990s, High Times Magazine would publish a flyer in their magazine at the height of its popularity utilizing the green slang term ‘420’. For some reason, it grew on readers, and the rest was history.

Music’s position in the advancement of the holidaze

High Times’ inclusion of the term ‘420’ for all fellow cannabis consumers to see would spark the proverbial joint on the advancement of cannabis and the holiday associated with the plant. Also, in the 1990s, hip-hop and rap were at an all-time high. Rappers such as Ice Cube, Doctor Dre, Bone Thugz-n-Harmony, Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, Master P, TLC, and The Notorious B.I.G. were giving away free publicity in regards to the benefits of cannabis. These lyrics may have angered some, but the presence of cannabis was undeniable in their music. 

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, all of the artists have lyricized about celebrating 4/20 in the 1990s. One of the most prominent examples of music’s influence on 4/20 can be found in hip-hop group Luniz’s breakout hit ‘I Got 5 On It’, which is an ode to cannabis and enjoying it with your friends. That is still what 4/20 is all about. However, celebrating 4/20 post-pandemic will have its ups and downs.

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