No, I have not lost my mind. Who celebrates a carrot, after all? But thousands of people join together in 14 different counties around the world, to celebrate International Carrot Day, or should we say week, as in some places, a day simply isn’t enough!
Purple ones, white ones, yellow ones and of course, the one we know best of all – orange. Such is the world’s love of carrots, International Carrot Day has turned into a week-long extravaganza in many countries, particularly the USA.
History of Carrots
Carrots were first discovered being cultivated in the Middle East about 1,000 years ago, in fact Afghanistan have laid claims to them. In those days they were purple and white – it was much later that our orange and yellow hybrid friends took their place on our plates. For much of the population though, a carrot is still orange, and these make up over 85% of carrots sold – purple, white and yellow are less frequently seen in the average supermarket or restaurant.
We seem to be in love with carrots, there is even a carrot museum in the UK (albeit a virtual one), so if you want to learn all about carrots…?
This day (or week) has made its way around the globe and now includes countries such as UK, USA, Sweden, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan et al. It is not the same day in all of these countries but is usually held between April and September – I don’t remember carrots being seasonal, but there must be a reason for this. Coupled with COVID-19, carrot plans have taken a while to be ‘unearthed’.
Find this Carrot, Red Lentil and Ginger soup recipe here!
How to Celebrate International Carrot Day
If you want to join in the celebrations, there is everything from parades (carrot costume compulsory), best carrot, strangest ‘face’ carrot and ‘rudest’ carrot, to name but a few. Then we have ‘best coloured carrots’, best grower, best and most original carrot recipes – you name it. Enthusiasm is rife, to say the least. Carrots are no longer relegated to a snowman’s nose, or for your rabbits to crunch on, or even to promote seeing in the dark – they now have a firm place in society!
It does seem that the world has gone carrot crazy. In Okahune, New Zealand, the world’s largest carrot statue can be seen in pride of place and standing 7.5 metres tall! Originally made for an advertisement for ANZ Bank, they kindly donated it to Okahune, considered to be the best carrot growing region in New Zealand. You certainly know exactly where you are in carrot land!
Carrot Festivals in Switzerland
Our Simply Souperlicious homeland, Switzerland, still holds their carrot festival on the first Wednesday of November each year (pandemic permitting). It is held in Aarau, one of the chief cities in the Aargau region, which is known as ‘the carrot canton’. Now this is a serious market, paying homage to everything carrot, with amazing displays of carrot sculptures – they certainly take their carrots seriously here! Every stall is bedecked with carrots and carrot delights such as carrot cake, carrot muffins, carrot ice cream, carrot pates, jams, pickles, soup, bread, carrot cheese, juices and smoothies and, wait for it, carrot hotdogs! Who would have thought it – probably the 35-40,000 visitors that turn up to see and savour this amazing sight. Must be worth going, just to see what this hotdog looks like!
It just shows you, there is so much more to a carrot than you would ever have thought.
Are you looking at carrots now in a different light – we are! Go celebrate the carrot in all its glory!