National Hoe Day

A person, dressed in casual gardening attire, holding a hoe with a smile on their face, surrounded by a flourishing garden and beautiful flowers in the background..
National hoe day illustration

Oh, gardening enthusiasts, mark the calendars! Our research found 673 mentions of National Hoe Day on the internet. A special day set on the summer solstice for all the gardening fanatics. Yes, you've got it right, we’re talking about your humble gardening tool. So dust off that garden hoe and let's dig in (pun absolutely intended) to the history of this unexpectedly intriguing day.

When is Hoe Day?

It's national hoe day on the 21st June.

A Sprouting Interest

Online mentions of National Hoe Day started to blossom around 21 June 2015. While we couldn’t trace the origin to a particular seed packet, we noticed an abundance of gardening posts and green thumb tips being shared on this summer solstice day. Why not, after all? What could be a better time to pay homage to the handiest of garden tools?

A Hoe Lot of Love

Like a trusty sidekick, the garden hoe has been helping us weed out the unwanted, aerate our soil, and cultivate the ground for thousands of years. On National Hoe Day, people tend to honor their trusty gardening partner by giving it a good clean, or even a new wooden handle. Talk about giving your tools some TLC!

Green Moments

Gardening is no bout of 'hoe hum' activity. It's therapeutic, rewarding, and you get to play in the dirt, which might remind you of those childhood pursuits. National Hoe Day encourages us all to slow down, get our hands in the earth, and cultivate something beautiful. So why not plant something new on June 21st, solicit some help from your trusty hoe, and see where the day takes you?

History behind the term 'Hoe'

1000 AD

Old English Origins

The term 'hoe' traces its roots back to Old English, where it originally referred to a heavy hand tool used for digging and tilling the soil. The word was derived from the Old English word 'hāh', which meant 'a hewer or digger.' During this time, the term specifically denoted the tool itself rather than a person.

13th century

Origin of the term 'Hoe'

The term 'hoe' originates from the Old English word 'hoh' or 'haw,' which referred to a tool used for tilling soil. It is believed to have been derived from the Proto-Germanic word 'hawwan,' meaning 'to hew' or 'to chop.' Initially, the term was used to describe various agricultural implements, but over time, it came to specifically refer to a tool used for gardening and farming purposes.

16th century

Hoe as a farming tool

By the 16th century, the term 'hoe' became widely used to describe a handheld implement consisting of a long handle attached to a flat blade with a sharpened edge. This tool was primarily used for breaking up the soil, removing weeds, and cultivating crops. The hoe played a crucial role in agricultural practices during this time, aiding farmers in preparing and maintaining their fields.

1300 AD

Metaphorical Shift

In the 14th century, the term 'hoe' underwent a metaphorical shift and started to be used to describe a person - particularly a woman - who engaged in promiscuous or immoral sexual behavior. This usage is believed to have originated based on the association of tilling the soil (the original meaning of 'hoe') with loosening or turning over the ground, which was then metaphorically connected to sexual looseness. The derogatory connotation gradually emerged during this period.

18th century

Expansion of the term 'Hoe'

During the 18th century, the term 'hoe' began to expand its meaning beyond just a farming tool. It started being used metaphorically to describe individuals engaged in menial or labor-intensive tasks. This metaphorical usage likely originated from the association between the physical exertion required while using a hoe and the laborious nature of certain jobs. Consequently, the term 'hoe' evolved to refer to a person who performs repetitive or degrading work.

1800 AD

Slavery and African-American Vernacular

By the 19th century, the term 'hoe' became rooted in the history of slavery in the United States. Enslaved African-American women were often subjected to hard labor in the fields, including cultivating and weeding crops with hoes. Due to this association, 'hoe' took on an offensive racial and sexist epithet, predominantly targeting African-American women. This derogatory usage continued through the Jim Crow era and beyond, perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

20th century

Evolving slang usage

In the 20th century, the term 'hoe' further evolved in certain subcultures and communities, particularly in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) and hip-hop culture. It began to be used as slang, often referring to a promiscuous woman. This usage stemmed from the analogy between the hoe as a tool used for cultivating different crops and a woman who engages in various sexual relationships. It is important to note that this slang usage has both negative and sexist connotations and should be approached with sensitivity.


Reclaiming the Term

In the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a movement within popular culture, particularly within rap and hip-hop music, to reclaim and redefine the term 'hoe.' Some artists sought to transform it from a derogatory slur into a term of empowerment, representing a confident and sexually liberated woman. By reclaiming the term, they aimed to challenge societal double standards and reclaim agency over their own sexuality. This reappropriation sparked debates and discussions surrounding the power dynamics of language.


Continued Evolution

Today, the term 'hoe' is still subject to ongoing discussions and debates. Its meaning has shifted and expanded over time, now encompassing a range of interpretations influenced by context, culture, and personal perspectives. The evolution of society's understanding and usage of the term 'hoe' demonstrates the complexities of language and the significance of cultural sensitivity and inclusivity.

Did you know?

Did you know that there are at least seven different types of garden hoes? Each one was designed with a specific gardening task in mind. They might be named Dutch Hoe, Draw Hoe, Scuffle Hoe, but we just call them our garden's best friends!


fun community celebration gardening green tools history summer solstice

First identified

13th April 2015

Most mentioned on

21st June 2015

Total mentions


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