Get your pillows ready! Saturday April 5 is International Pillow Fight Day.
When, Where, What?
In at least 85 cities around the world, the pillows will be flying Saturday, April 5. In the United States, the proverbial — and sometimes literal — feathers will fly in Atlanta; Boston; Boulder City; Charlotte; Chicago; Cincinnati; Dekalb, Ill.; Delray Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas; New York City; Panama City, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Me.; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. Some fights like Boston’s ask participants to avoid feather pillows to minimize clean-up.
If there’s no pillow fight near you, you can register your own on the International Pillow Fight Day website. The site contains tips for collaborating with existing efforts or starting your own. The rules are simple- when the whistle sounds, start whacking with soft pillows and don’t let up until participants run out of steam, a process that may take up to two-hours, according to experienced pillow fighters.
These massive pillow fights have been taking place internationally since 2007. In 2008, the events took place in only 25 locales, according to PSFK, but by 2011, the Guardian reported, citizens from 130 cities had joined the fun.
A photo essay of 2013 International Pillow Fight Day captured the whimsy from Brazil, Budapest, London, New York, and other participating cities.
Urban Playground Movement Politics
International Pillow Fight Day is part of the urban playground movement. The movement aims to increase spontaneous use of public space in lieu of commercially-organized activities. Newmindspace, one of the movement’s promoters, explains,”One of our goals at Newmindspace is to make these unique happenings in public space become a significant part of popular culture, partially replacing passive, non-social, branded consumption experiences like watching television. The result, we hope, will be a global community of participants in a world where people are constantly organizing and attending these happenings in every major city in the world.”
While substituting active participants for passive consumers is a key goal, self-determination is also high on the priority list. The organizers speak out against any notion of seeking government permission to use public space for activities like large-scale pillow fights. They say, “the ‘permit culture’ we citizens witness in city halls around the world is perhaps the single largest barrier to experiencing the full richness of public life in the cities we live in. Do not ask for permission, public assembly is a human right.”
The organizers note no one has been ticketed or arrested in connection with the celebration. NBC News reported a 2009 police action in Detroit confiscating pillows on the grounds of preventing a mess.