Jan 12, 2011

National Rubber Duckie Day ~ January 13

National Rubber Duckie Day is celebrated every year on January 13th.

Rubber Ducks first emerged sometime in the late 1800's with the development of rubber. Many rubber toys were created at that time but the Rubber Duck has stood the test of time. Most Rubber Ducks today are made from vinyl plastic, a rubber-like substance. You can still buy a natural Rubber Duck bath toy made from rubber harvested from a rubber tree. It supposedly looks very similar to the original Rubber Ducks.

Rubber Duckie's Birthday
The Rubber Duck's popularity received a major boost in 1970 when Jim Henson introduced the Rubber Duckie song on Sesame Street. Ernie, who of course is a well-known Muppet character, had a favorite toy Rubber Duck which he frequently carried around on the show. In one segment, Ernie has just hopped into the tub for bath time when he begins to regale us with a "bubbly" tune about his beloved toy, the Rubber Duckie. We celebrate Rubber Duckie Day in honor of Ernie's squeaky little friend whose birthday is January 13. (It's interesting to note that the Rubber Duckie song hit Billboard's chart the year it was introduced. It didn't hit #1 but made an impressive showing at #16.)

Some Rubber Duckie fun:
Rubber Duck Races
Today hundreds of rubber duck races are held throughout the U.S. and internationally to raise money for various charities. In these races hundreds or thousands of rubber ducks are dumped into rivers, pools, or other bodies of water and then floated down a race course. The duck which floats past the finish line first is the winner.

A Royal Duckie
In 2001 a workman who was given the job of painting Queen Elizabeth II's bathroom was surprised to see there a rubber duckie wearing an inflatable crown. After this story broke, rubber duck sales in the U.K. increased by 80% for a short period of time.

Bon Voyage Rubber Duckie 
During a Pacific storm in January of 1992, a cargo ship departing from China lost 29,000 rubber bath toys which included yellow ducks, green frogs, and blue turtles. Two thirds of the toys floated south and washed up three months later on the shores of Indonesia, Australia, and South America. Some of the remaining 10,000 toys headed north to Alaska and the Bering Sea where they were trapped in Arctic ice. They slowly moved through the ice at a rate of one mile per day. After fifteen years of fighting their way through the ice and across the sea they finally drifted ashore in Britain in the summer of 2007. (And Gilligan thought he had it rough!) You can read the entire story at Daily Mail.

Giant Rubber Duck
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman created a giant inflatable rubber duck to be displayed at the Loire River in France in 2007. The giant duck measured 205 feet tall and 85 feet wide. It is known as Canard de bain or "rubber duck". You can see pictures of the giant rubber duck, taken in Osaka in 2009, at the artist's website, Florentijn Hofman. (Check it out, you'll be amazed!)

Rubber Duckie Song from Sesame Street

Do De Duckie Song from Sesame Street

Images: #1, #2

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