National Trivia Day is observed on January 4 each year. It celebrates the knowledge of random bits of information like fun facts, names, and dates.
You may think of trivia as frivolous and useless factoids or as irrelevant knowledge of little consequence. But millions of people enjoy playing trivia games and quizzes each year, both competitively and for fun.
Testing one’s trivia knowledge can become an obsession, whether the subject is food, music, animals, history, sports, or general knowledge. Let’s take a closer look at what National Trivia Day is all about.
When is National Trivia Day?
National Trivia Day is celebrated on January 4 each year.
History of National Trivia Day
Robert L. Birch of Puns Corps created National Trivia Day in 1980. The popularity of trivia was booming at the time, primarily due to the world-famous board game Trivial Pursuit.
Trivial Pursuit board game
Trivial Pursuit was created in 1979 in Montreal, Canada, and released publicly in 1981 by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott. The game became an instant hit worldwide.
The classic version of the game featured six categories: Geography (blue), Entertainment (pink), Arts & Literature (brown), history (yellow), Science & Nature (green), and Sports & Leisure (orange).
Milestones in trivia history
1932 – Ripley’s Believe It or Not began publishing fascinating facts and trivia.
The 1940s – The radio program “Take It or Leave It” began.
1962 – The Match Game TV game show began its run, hosted by Gene Rayburn.
1964 – The iconic game show Jeopardy! hosted by Alex Trabek began, eventually becoming one of the most popular game shows ever.
Trivia nights at colleges – Eventually, trivia nights became popular on college campuses in the U.S.
Pub trivia nights – Around the same time, pubs and bars featuring live trivia game nights began to emerge, first in the United Kingdom and then spreading around the world. Now, most bars have electronically-based trivia that can be played at any time of day. Check out ideas for your trivia team names.
How do I celebrate National Trivia Day?
Here are a few ideas for you to celebrate National Trivia Day with your friends and family:
- Host a trivia quiz night – Gather the family together and dust off your copy of Trivial Pursuit.
- Quiz friends and family – You don’t need a board game to enjoy trivia. Just find an old-fashioned encyclopedia. Select questions at random and see who can answer the most questions.
- Take part in trivia night – Go to your local pub or bar and join in on a trivia night competition. You might even win some money for your useless knowledge!
- Take trivia to work – Engage and encourage creative thinking by challenging co-workers with a trivia question or two. It makes a great icebreaker for corporate meetings too.
- Challenge others – Gather together with friends for trivia fun or play them online. Remember to post photos of your trivia meetings with the hashtag #NationalTriviaDay.
- Make trivia pay – Go to online trivia sites like Sporacle—the self-proclaimed “world’s largest trivia quiz website”—to test your knowledge and possibly win prize money.
What is the definition of “trivia”?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “trivia” as unimportant matters, facts, or details.
Latin origins of the word “trivia”
The word “trivia” is the plural form of the word “trivium.” In Latin, trivia means a spot where three paths meet, where “tri” = three and “viae” = roads. The three roads represent the three topics of Roman basic education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
In 16th-century Shakespearean times, trivia meant something trite, commonplace, or ordinary. The word evolved to its current meaning of obscure knowledge and facts, often pertaining to pop culture.
Trivia fun facts
1.) You may recognize the name Ken Jennings as a big winner on the game show Jeopardy!. But did you know that Brad Rutter is the highest-money winner of all time on the show? He won over $4.6 million.
2.) The first book dedicated to trivia was Ask Me Another by Justin Spafford and Lucien Esty in the 1920s.
3.) The first bestselling trivia book was titled Trivia. The 1966 New York Times bestseller was authored by Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky.
4.) The average trivia gamer spends about 40 minutes per day playing trivia, according to the QuizUp app.
5.) The Trivial Pursuit board game boasts over 20 million games sold.
What are other holidays similar to National Trivia Day?
Looking for more fun game days? Check out these other game-related holidays:
- National Lego Day – January 28
- American Chess Day – September 1
- International Sudoku Day – September 9
Trivia captions for Instagram
- Not here to make friends.
- Les Quizerables.
- Cash Cab rejects.
- Making trivia great again.
- Can’t help thinking we’d be better at Bingo.
- We thought we were speed-dating.
- Superiority Complex.
- Everyone else is playing for second.
- The spirit of Trebek.
- Who let the nerds out?
- We guess a lot.
- Google it.
- In dog beers, we’ve had only one.
- If we were a drink, we’d be smartini’s.
- Simple minds.
- Won Direction.
- Mullet it over.
- Our team member is an EMT. She’s usually our first responder.
- There’s nothing wrong with 9th place.
- In it to win it.
- The doctor was his mom!
- Mr. and Miscellaneous.
- Sauvignon Drawing a Blanc.
- The first rule of trivia night is we don’t talk about trivia night.
- You’re a Quizard, Harry!
Take the Trivia Quiz video
Quotes about trivia
Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random, useless facts that are all we have left of our education.
One of my great passions is the collection of historical trivia.
The brain may die, but my compulsion for useless trivia lives on.
Trivia rarely affects efficiency. Are all the machinations worth it when their primary effect is to make the code less readable?
From such trivia, I believe my soul was born.
To have a high IQ, you tend to specialize, think deep thoughts. You avoid trivia.
Science is an organized pursuit of triviality.
Art is a casual pursuit of significance.
Let’s keep it in perspective.
Anything television trivia I’m good at. But when you’re on your couch, you’re really good at it, but when you’re standing there, it’s probably scary.
Sayings about Trivia
By object, is meant some element in the complex whole that is defined in abstraction from the whole of which it is a distinction.
In a fast-paced world, today’s popular brand could be tomorrow’s trivia question.
In the wilderness, I sense the miracle of life, and behind it, our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.
Mary Kay Ash
Correct thinkers think that ‘baseball trivia’ is an oxymoron: nothing about baseball is trivial.
Trivia are not knowledge. Lists of facts don’t comprise knowledge. Analyzing, hypothesizing, concluding from data, sharing insights, those comprise knowledge. You can’t google for knowledge.
The best thing about lying in bed late is that you learn to distinguish between first things and trivia, for whatever presses on you has to prove its importance before it makes you move.
There is no trivia in a strategic mind.
In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
Robert A. Heinlein
An overburdened, overstretched executive is the best executive because he or she doesn’t have the time to meddle, to deal in trivia, to bother people.
I’m always trolling for trivia.
It’s a great medium for trivia and hobbies, but not the place for reasoned, reflective judgment. Surprisingly often, discussions degenerate into acrimony, insults, and flames.
Once you have been confronted with a life and death situation, trivia no longer matters. Your perspective grows, and you live at a deeper level. There’s no time for pettiness.
Why is it trivia? People call it trivia because they know nothing, and they are embarrassed about it.
By Phil Herman
Phil writes about history, pop culture, and entertainment.
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