Hey, Texas! It’s Time to Celebrate National Taco Day!

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Yes, it seems the each day on the calendar now commemorates a special person, thing, or idea. And while your boss probably didn’t give you the day off, you might consider actually celebrating this little holiday if you’re a true Texan. National Taco Day is upon us and it calls for hitting up your favorite local mom and pop taco shop, or truck, or dive, or restaurant and letting the savory, spicy goodness lovingly wrapped in a tortilla warm you up from the inside out.

Photo: Flickr/Karl-MartinSkontorp

According to the National Taco Day website (yes, this holiday even boasts it’s own website), Mexican food lovers throughout the U.S. consumed 450,000 tacos last year; if you were to line up that many tacos end to end, they would create a crunchy footpath all the way to the moon and back.

The website also says that while no one knows the exact history of this foodie fave, the dish most likely came via Mexico. The word taco comes from Mexico’s silver mining days when a piece of paper was wrapped around gunpowder and shoved into holes in rock for blasting purposes.

Photo: Flickr/ClaudiaMidori

Tacos didn’t show up in the dictionary until the end of the 19th century where a variation called tacos de minero — miner’s tacos– gives credence to the mining story as the origin of the word. Others say that tacos were around long before the 16th century with anthropological evidence suggesting people in Mexico ate tacos filled with small fish or insects and ants. The credit for the spread tacos as a popular food item throughout the U.S. goes to Taco Bell with its two billion customers across 5,800 restaurants.

Photo: Flickr/MikeMozart

Several national chains are offering special deals on this delectable of days, including Taco Bell. The well-known Mexican food chain is offering free downloadable National Taco Day greeting cards to share with friends and a catchy taco day downloadable ditty. Chipotle, too, is taking advantage of the holiday. Still struggling to recover after a contamination crisis damaged its so-called healthy reputation, Chipotle chose National Taco Day to introduce a new ingredient to its menu, chorizo. For more information on today’s taco deals at other chains, click here.

So do your part and head out to your favorite taco joint tonight. It’s about time the taco got a chance in the spotlight.