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Reading time - 8 minutes - April 21, 2021
The 20th April 2021 will go down in history as one of the weirdest 420 celebrations. Perhaps almost as weird as the 20th April 2020. All we can now hope for is that the 20th April 2022 brings a time of good health, peace and fun. The coronavirus has of course affected all parts of life; shops have closed down, people haven’t been able to leave their homes, holidays are cancelled (just to name a few). This means that any big-group events – outside or inside – have been either outlawed or at least tarnished. But the question is: how have people been spending their 420 during coronavirus? In regards to national holidays, 420 is a fairly new one, so it’s hard to compare this year’s 420 celebrations with the one during WW2 because there probably wasn’t one. But who knows? Today we’re going to be looking at 420 celebrations over the years and how the world has adapted to the most recent ones. Most importantly, however, we hope you have an incredible 420. It’s the least we all deserve after what has been a shocking year.
420 is a way of life, not just a celebration. This is true in a lot of ways. Although many people who enjoy 420 won’t necessarily delve into the meaning of it politically, almost everyone who takes part in it loosely understands what it is about. So what is it about? To put it simply, 420 is a day every year – the 20th April – where people come together and enjoy the blessings of marijuana together. Some will go a step further and ensure they’re inhaling bud at exactly 4:20pm too. The reason for that particular day and time has many theories (some funnier than others), which we will get on to later. The art of smoking or vaping marijuana is intrinsically political because, in most countries, it’s illegal (or only now becoming legal). Therefore, 420 has always been a time of political movements. People come together in protest for weed legalization. But it doesn’t stop there, 420 has also been a time for rallying in support of BLM, gender equality, and many other political movements. Thus, even if you’re just sitting in Hyde Park with your mates having a joint, you’re also part of something bigger. However, unfortunately, the last two years of 420 haven’t had the same amount of people coming together.
Many 420-lovers will often ask themselves the question: where did 420 come from? Most national holidays (if we can call 420 one, which we can!) have an origin story. Christmas is the day that Jesus was born. The 4th July is celebrated in America because it was the same day that they broke away from England’s control. And 420…well. You’ll have to decide for yourself which origin you believe. After reading this article, if you want to find out even more then check out our other one: how did 420 start?
This is by far the most realistic and the most widely believed. The origin story states that students from a 1970s Californian high school would make it a ritual to meet at 4:20pm after school every day to blaze up. The ritual became so popular and widespread that it then was altered to signify a specific date: 4/20. 4/20, in America, means the 20th April. Steven Hager from the High Times wrote in support of this origin story and also included images of posters that the boys had made to celebrate the early 420 celebrations in the 70s.
Then there are the other theories. Which we won’t delve much into as they are somewhat ridiculous but also kind of funny. This theory states that Bob Dylan’s song ‘rainy day women number 12 & 35’ is called that because 12×35 = 420. Yep.
The penal code in California, America for any marijuana related issue was apparently once 420. Thus the name 420. Not sure if anyone from the Californian police force has actually ever confirmed this but there you have it.
Some crazy theorists have decided that the marijuana plant has exactly 420 chemical cannabinoids within it. But this is potentially proven to be wrong because some scientists have discovered over 500.
The last theory we will delve into today is to do with Adolf Hitler; the infamous man himself. Well, would you believe it, his birthday is on the 20th April. Did he enjoy marijuana whilst scheming to take over the world and do horrible, disgusting things? Who knows. I imagine the majority of weed smokers, and the world, would rather this not be the real origin story. So let’s close the book on that.
If 420 is more than just a day, and is a movement, then in a way, the pandemic has had no effect on it. But the truth is – whilst some have still come in full force to parks around the world to celebrate it – many haven’t. Therefore, that sense of togetherness, unity, and the beautiful smell of bud, has been truly diminished over the last two years. And this could continue for a third year, as some still believe it’s not likely to be over by the end of 2021. However, human beings have always seemed to flourish in the face of adversity. So, it can’t be all doom and gloom. Today we wanted to focus on how people have continued the 420 celebrations despite the pandemic. So that is what we will do.
Whilst many events have been cancelled – including the famous Hippie Hill in San Francisco – there are still some people who have continued despite the pandemic. For many, this will bring outrage. The idea of coming together in Hyde Park to celebrate 420 despite the government’s restrictions is intrinsically wrong, right? Well, that’s up to each individual. Protests for many important issues have still happened in person during the last year, despite the pandemic. Therefore, if some people believe it is within their rights to come together, sit in a park, and enjoy 420, then maybe they cannot be stopped. Perhaps it is the innate nature of 420.
Whilst of course some people are still turning up to parks to enjoy the Mary Jane, the majority of the big, official events have been cancelled in person. If you want to know what the greatest 420 events around the world are then make sure to check out our other article: top 10 best 420 events around the world. In addition, the police are on high alert to stamp out any unlawful groupings. The Mayor of San Francisco made this known on Twitter:
“To be clear, 420 will not be tolerated this year. Do not come to San Francisco to celebrate. We will cite people. We will arrest people if necessary. Order food. Watch Netflix. Stay home and stay safe”
Nonetheless, human beings don’t often fail in their ability to use their imagination. And thus, many 420 events have switched to online. Here’s a list of some of the best 420 online events:
Snoop Dogg decided to host his own digital DJ set, dropping his album ‘The Chronic’, on Instagram. If people feel lonely during 420, why not grind up some bud with a metal herb grinder and bring Snoop Dogg into your living room?
Another event that occurred during coronavirus was hosted by 7Acres, who are a Canadian cannabis producer. The Virtual Sesh was an online DJ set – including cannabis anthem tunes, a communal smoke session, and stand up comedy from Mike Rita. What an evening!
Then you have the Great American Sesh In, which again is an online event featuring a variety of artists – even including Scott Page from Pink Floyd. Again, a great evening, from the comfort of your living room.
Not only have 420-lovers found ways to unite unlawfully or in online events, they’ve also had the platform of social media to enjoy each other’s company. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – whilst all debatably evil conglomerates that are trying to take over the world and our minds – have all played a part in giving people a home this 420. The truth is, for some people the only social life they’ve had is online. So whilst the last two 420s have been somewhat odd and slightly depressing, the positive is that the people of this planet have found ways to still enjoy it.
If you’d told any of us in 2020 that the pandemic would still be looming large in 2021 we probably would have told you to sit down, have another hit from your dry herb vaporizer, and chill out. But here we are: two 420s during a pandemic. So now, perhaps, it doesn’t sound too unbelievable for there to be a third, right? Well, as summer comes around once more, it seems that maybe we are out of the woods. So hopefully the 20th April 2022 will be a 420 of people hugging and sharing zoots and vapes together. However, if not, there’s no doubt that humans will once again find alternative ways to have a good time; we always do.
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