National Mask Burning Day

Cheerful group of people gathered around a bonfire, burning masks, wearing colorful summer clothes, sunny park setting..
National mask burning day illustration

Grab your marshmallows, it's National Mask Burning Day! Held on a day that’s as innocuous as a lawn ornament, this eccentric day is as unique as they come, and we’ll explain why. Ever wondered about the history of this curious day? You're in the right place!

When is Mask Burning Day?

It's national mask burning day on the 2nd September.

All Fired Up: A Brief Look at National Mask Burning Day

Spark up your curiosity, because National Mask Burning Day has an intriguing backstory. Initially, it became a social media phenomenon in 2020, when mask-wearing became a part of daily life amid the Covid-19 pandemic. On September 2, 2020, our site recorded 5344 mentions about this day, more than any other date.

Why Masks?

Now, why would we dedicate a whole day to burning masks, you ask? Is it creative bonfire fuel? A theatrical smoke signal? Well, let's explore. Given the necessity of masks for health and safety reasons, it became a symbol of all the changes and inconveniences brought on by the worldwide health crisis. The act of burning them is seen, by some, as a beacon of hope for a return to normalcy. It's a symbolism thing, rather than a pyromaniac's excuse!

A Glowing Legacy

If this leaves you on edge, don’t worry - we encourage you to repurpose your masks in a safe, creative, and eco-friendly way instead of burning them. Take it as a symbol of 'getting rid' of the year that was, without actually causing oxygen-deprivation among your local firefighters.

All In Good Fun

Just like that vintage mask you have in your drawer (you know, the one with the outlandishly loud colors you thought was a good idea?), the hope of National Mask Burning Day is about sparking joy and humor. It's in this spirit we hope you remember this day - a beacon of hope, not of literal flames, okay?

History behind the term 'Mask Burning'


Emergence of Mask Burning

In 1968, during the peak of the civil rights movement and the feminist movement, the term 'mask burning' first emerged. It referred to a symbolic act of defiance against societal expectations and oppressive norms. Mask burning was initially used as a metaphorical expression of liberation.


Women's Liberation Movement

By 1970, mask burning had gained momentum as a visual representation of the growing women's liberation movement. Women would gather in public spaces, often in protest rallies or demonstrations, to burn masks and other symbolic items representing traditional gender roles imposed on them. The act aimed to challenge the notion of women being constrained by society's expectations.


Support from the Guerrilla Girls

In 1973, the renowned feminist collective known as the Guerrilla Girls embraced the concept of mask burning. They used it as a powerful tool to draw attention to gender inequality and the lack of representation of women in the art world. The Guerrilla Girls organization frequently staged performances where they burned masks depicting famous male artists, exposing the exclusionary practices within the art industry.


Transition into a Symbol of Empowerment

During the 1980s, mask burning transformed into a broader symbol of empowerment. It expanded beyond its initial focus on gender issues and became a way for various marginalized communities to challenge and resist societal pressures. The act of burning masks gained traction in LGBTQ+ rights movements, ethnic minority movements, and other activism efforts aiming to dismantle oppressive systems.

Present Day

Continued Significance

Today, while mask burning may not be as prevalent as it once was, the term still holds cultural significance. It served as a powerful vehicle for social change, highlighting the need for equality and liberation across various marginalized communities. The legacy of mask burning endures as a symbol of resistance and a reminder that challenging societal expectations can lead to meaningful progress.

Did you know?

National Mask Burning Day started as a Twitter trend and then just...kind of caught fire! Remember, safety first though - always!


awareness fun rememberance tradition

First identified

19th May 2020

Most mentioned on

2nd September 2020

Total mentions


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