National Gumbo Day is traditionally celebrated every year on October 12th. On this day, it’s time to enjoy Gumbo, Louisiana’s official dish. It typically consists of a broth with shellfish and meat, celery, bell peppers, okra, onions and lots of aromatic spices.
Gumbo has been around since the early 19th century with the arrival of English settlers to what is now the United States. It has since been adopted as Louisiana’s official dish and can be found in many of the state’s restaurants in two popular varieties – Cajun Gumbo and Creole Gumbo.
The exact origin of National Gumbo Day is unknown, however, since 1989, the city of New Iberia in Louisiana has hosted an annual Gumbo CookOff championship. This event, which brings in around $2 million to the state’s budget each year, had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
In light of the celebration of the national day, here are some fun facts about Gumbo:
- In 1802, American surgeon John Sibley wrote a review of the “thick soup” Gumbo which he had tried – this is one of the earliest mentions of the soup in history.
- In 1824, Mary Randolph’s Virginia Housewife was published, which included a version of Gumbo which she called a “West Indian dish”.
- In 1972, after the death of Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender, the local eatery added Creole Gumbo to its menu as a permanent dish.
- One of the main ingredients of Gumbo, okra, was first used as food in the 12th century AD in what is now Ethiopia.
How to take part
To celebrate the holiday, you can cook Gumbo at home for your family. Don’t worry if there are leftovers – chefs say that the next day Gumbo will be even tastier, as the vegetables and meat have had more time to stew and absorb each other’s flavours and aromas. Don’t forget to share a photo of your delicious creation on social media with the hashtag #NationalGumboDay.
When is National Gumbo Day celebrated in 2023?
National Gumbo Day is observed on October 12 each year.