National Doughnut Day: Who has the free doughnuts?

Grab your slippers, pull on your stretchy pants, and set aside your high dietary standards. June 7 is National Doughnut Day.

Mary Knox Merrill/Staff
June 7 is National Doughnut Day. Go get your free doughnut!

Some national holidays hold annual traditions for quiet reflection and gratitude among friends and family. Other holidays celebrate mindless consumerism, and capitalize on our desire for all things free: June 7 is National Doughnut Day! Can you believe it's already been a year?

Despite the maturity and poise each new year brings, we can't help feeling a certain exuberant delight that comes with the first Friday in June.

National Doughnut Day 2013 

So here are the deals:

Dunkin Donuts is offering a free doughnut with the purchase of any beverage.

Krispy Kreme, in classic corporate undercutting fashion, is offering a free doughnut, no purchase necessary.

If you haven't fled your computer to get to your nearest doughnut shop, have you ever wondered why doughnuts have holes in them? Anecdotal evidence relating to the creation of the doughnut's now-famous shape points to one Capt. Hanson Gregory, a Maine native.

By all accounts, Captain Gregory was a salty old salt with a nose for innovation and a hankering for fried dough on the stormy seas. Cutting a hole in the center of the traditionally whole dough meant the tasty cakes would be evenly cooked, more easily dunk-able, and (as one legend has it) would fit on the spokes of his ship’s wheel.

Some people say that each year, on National Doughnut Day's Eve, Captain Gregory visits the cubicles of good office workers and puts doughnuts in their loafers. (OK, we made that up. But we wish it were true.)

Whether or not he actually made the holes in doughnuts, he certainly capitalized on the press, and has since been immortalized by a plaque in Rockport, Maine.

Whatever you believe, the hole remains and, through some doughnut magic, it reduces the calories in the doughnut. (OK, we made that up, too. But you wish it were true.)

National Doughnut Day is generally billed as a showdown between corporate giants Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme. However, National Doughnut Day was actually established by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor a tradition that began in World War I: doughnuts served to homesick soldiers by female volunteers known as "lassies."

That’s right, 75 years ago eating doughnuts was firmly declared a patriotic act. Purely for love of country those young men fought fascism and ate fried dough as though there were no tomorrow. But tomorrow is here, and it’s brought with it the highest symbol of freedom: free doughnuts. We must do our part!

And if you are now madly searching the Web to find your closest doughnut, it's likely you are a woman looking for a Dunkin' Donuts store. We didn't make that up. According to Yahoo analytics, Dunkin' Donuts is searched three times more than Krispy Kreme on their site, with the majority of those who searched for Dunkin' Donuts being women.

This makes sense historically, because in the 1934 movie "It Happened One Night" Clark Gable teaches Claudette Colbert how to dunk a doughnut. As everyone knows, when a guy teaches a girl how to do something in a movie they're bound to fall in love at some point. And everyone also knows that when beautiful people in the movies do it, we do it, too.

So go get your free doughnut.

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