Trivia Day is celebrated on January 4th of each year. The staff at National Whatever Day were unable to discover the origin of Trivia Day. However, we believe it was established as a way to establish the importance of knowing little factoids. Those little factoids can help in a number of ways, from winning Triva Pursuit to starting up a conversation.
Beginning in the 1960s, the plural trivia in particular became used for knowledge that is nice to have but not essential, specifically detailed knowledge on topics of popular culture. From this usage, the expression came to apply more to information of the kind useful almost exclusively for answering quiz questions, hence also the brand name Trivial Pursuit (1982).
The word was popularized in its current meaning in the 1960s by Columbia University students Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky, who created the earliest inter-collegiate quiz bowls that tested culturally significant yet ultimately unimportant facts, which they dubbed “trivia contests”. The first book treating trivia of this universal sort was Trivia (Dell, 1966) by Goodgold and Carlinsky, which achieved a ranking on the New York Times best seller list; the book was an extension of the pair’s Columbia contests and was followed by other Goodgold and Carlinsky trivia titles. In their second book, More Trivial Trivia, the authors criticized practitioners who were “indiscriminate enough to confuse the flower of Trivia with the weed of minutiae”; Trivia, they wrote, “is concerned with tugging at heartstrings,” while minutiae deals with such unevocative questions as “Which state is the largest consumer of Jell-O?” (Answer: California) But over the years the word has come to refer to obscure and arcane bits of dry knowledge as well as nostalgic remembrances of pop culture.