It’s International Hummus Day!

When I walked into the office today, my colleague Anne told me it was International Hummus Day. How did I miss that? I asked, a little embarrassed.

I did some quick research and here’s what I learned:

International Hummus Day is a relatively new holiday. It was started in 2012 by a young entrepreneur named Ben Lang, with the goal of creating “a holiday around a food that could bring people together from around the world, in particular the Middle East,” according to HummusDay.com.

“The idea was to create viral projects that could promote Israel in different ways,” Lang, 21, told the Forward. “What better way than hummus?”

An Israeli-American living in Herzliya, a city on Israel’s central coast at the northern part of the Tel Aviv district, Lang works on the project with Miriam Young, a 23 year old student and “social-media guru,” according to Lang.

Observance of the holiday is straightforward. First, eat hummus. Then tweet using the hashtag #hummusday. Visit the official Facebook page and click “Going” to show you’re participating. (At last look 85,000 people were “going.”) Share pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #hummusday.

You get the idea.

If you happen to be the proprietor of a hummus joint, you’re encouraged to post your location to the site’s Hummus Map. (Lang is co-founder of a startup called MapMe.) And if you’re looking for a place to eat hummus, you can use the map as a handy resource.

Ben Lang’s company, MapMe, created this crowd-sourced map of hummus joints around the world.

International Hummus Day is gaining traction in Israel, where “the most famous hummus place, called Abu Gosh, gave out free hummus all day,” Lang said. “There are lots of hummus places all over the world giving out deals, coupons, all sorts of special things.”

So has the holiday achieved its goals?

“Yeah. Just looking at the pictures of Facebook, there are thousands of people posting pictures everywhere around the world,” Lang said. “That was really the goal. I don’t want to be unrealistic. Things aren’t so simple here, so it’s great to have something that makes things a little more simple.”

When next year’s holiday rolls around, I won’t be taken by surprise. Because when I clicked on the hummus map, a pop-up window emerged. It said, “Get a Hummus Day Reminder. Enter your email and we’ll remind you about Hummus Day 2016.”

That’s a relief. Meanwhile, I know what I’m having for lunch.

Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at schoenfein@forward.com. Her personal blog is Life, Death & Dinner.

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