As the sun sets earlier and the weather becomes cooler, the days left in this year are becoming increasingly numbered. Although it feels like we were just celebrating the demise of a tumultuous 2020 filled with pandemic woes, and greeting the arrival of its friendly counterpart that we all anticipated would treat us better, 2021 is quickly coming to a close.
With this, it is more than necessary to detail the very best newsworthy moments that plastered headlines and buzzed online that will make you question, “wait, that happened this year?!” So here it is: the ultimate 2021 wrap-up, celebrating all of the big pop culture moments and major events to pay homage to a year just as subpar as last.
The United States Capitol Attack
On Jan. 6, 2021, an enormous mob of President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in opposition to the verdict of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. On the day of the attack, Congress was convening to count electoral votes to formalize President Biden’s victory, which was delayed by several hours due to the insurrection.
The 46th Presidential Inauguration
Jan. 20, 2021, was the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States Joe Biden. Apart from a few noteworthy moments such as Lady Gaga’s performance of the national anthem and Amanda Gorman’s delivery of her poem “The Hill We Climb,” the moment that truly took the cake was Bernie Sanders lackadaisical lounging on a folding chair adorned with the most stylish mittens. The Bernie Sanders memes that took the internet by storm definitely made up for the chaotic month that preceded it.
GameStop Stock Fiasco
Ending what felt like the longest month to face humanity, the infamous GameStop short squeeze event peaked on Jan. 28. Initiated by the subreddit r/wallstreetbets, the American chain of video game stores was victim to mass borrowing and quick selling of stocks that resulted in the inflation of the stock price to nearly 30 times the value at the beginning of the year. The absurdity of this event resulted in countless memes, as best summed up by the one and only Elon Musk, “Gamestonk!!”
Baked Cherry Tomatoes and Feta Pasta
As we wished farewell to the month that seemed to never end, TikTok users found their ways in the kitchen with the viral feta pasta recipe that, allegedly, made the grocery stores in Finland run out of Feta?
NASA Mars Landing
A couple of weeks later, on Feb.18, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars after seven months of travel during the Mars 2020 mission. We also got our first glimpse of a first-hand perspective on Mars, and, let’s be real, we all hoped for some perseverance that we could get better imaging before we send actual humans onto the red rock. And, as always, the internet spun some pretty noteworthy memes to follow the landing.
Oprah with Meghan and Harry
March was a month filled with memorable moments. To kick things off this month, we had the wonderful Oprah sit-down interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on March 7. The interview revealed Markle’s experience marrying a royal, handling intense public pressure and her plans for the future after her move to the United States from the United Kingdom. Many iconic moments ensued such as the meme-worthy, “Were you silent, or silenced?” Oprah question.
Beyonce Making Music History
On March 14, Beyoncé became the most-awarded woman in Grammy history with 28 Grammy wins and 79 nominations overall, while taking home four awards during the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.
Suez Canal Blockage
On March 23, the six-day standoff between a 400-metre-long vessel, the Ever Given, and the walls of the Suez Canal, resulted in a delay of an estimated US$ 9.6 billion in trade. As attempts to free the ship ensued, so did the Twitter memes. Who would’ve thought a massive ship blocking a canal could actually be funny?
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
A very honourable mention goes out to Lil Nas X’s MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) released in March and the beautifully constructed internet ruckus it caused.
Death of Prince Philip
The Royal Family made headlines once again, but this time with the passing of Prince Philip on April 9, at the age of 99. Prince Philip was the longest-serving royal consort in history.
The Trial of Derek Chauvin
On April 20, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the murder of George Floyd. The trial received extensive media coverage throughout as it was the first trial to be fully televised in Minnesota. A couple of months later Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the second-degree charge.
Cyber Attack Causing a Gas Shortage
May was a rather uneventful month that had few memorable moments. However, one noteworthy event was the cyberattack that disrupted the United States Colonial Pipeline’s almost 9,000 km system. This attack prevented millions of litres of natural gas from reaching distributors in the eastern United States. This led to widespread panic-buying of gasoline in a similar fashion to the toilet paper frenzy in March 2020, although this time, a commodity far more difficult to store, and combustible for that matter.
Olivia Rodrigo’s Debut Album
May 21 marked the day the world came to know a new pop icon in full. With the release of her debut album SOUR, Olivia Rodrigo made headlines and dominated charts worldwide. SOUR broke the global Spotify record for an album with the biggest opening week by a female artist while debuting at the top of the US Billboard 200. The 18-year-old is nominated for Best New Artist at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards and received several nominations for SOUR, such as Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Needless to say, May was Rodrigo’s month.
COPA America and EUFA Euro cup
June was a month mostly dedicated to soccer tournaments and competitions. Kicking things off on June 11 was the 2020 EUFA Euro cup. Postponed to summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Euro 2020 was hosted by 11 different countries, with Italy ultimately winning their second title. On June 13, the 2021 Copa America was held in Brazil where 12 teams battled it out for Argentina to take home their 15th title.
Surfside Condominium Collapse
On June 24, the Champlain Towers South condominium, in Surfside, Florida, collapsed leaving 98 people dead. Relief and rescue were offered the following days in shock of such a tragic accident attributed to long-term structural degradation.
2020 Summer Olympics
Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics took place from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Over the course of the event days, the United States topped the medal count, with China finishing in second place and Japan in third.
Western Canada wildfires
Fuelled largely by lightning strikes and exacerbated by climate change, from July 3 onwards, over 130 wildfires burned through Western Canada following a record-breaking heatwave in North America. British Columbia declared a state of emergency on July 20 in response to the fires.
Kabul airport attack
On Aug. 26, a suicide bombing occurred at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 183 people were killed, among them 170 Afghan civilians. In response, the United States launched an airstrike attack on Aug. 27 and a subsequent drone strike in Kabul on Aug. 29, which took the lives of 10 Afghan civilians. Seven of them were children.
Canadian federal election
Just when you thought nothing else could possibly happen… Surprise! Here’s a federal snap election! The 2021 Canadian federal election was held on Sept. 20, to elect members of the House of Commons to the 44th Canadian Parliament. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ultimately secured a third term as prime minister, but with another minority government.
Squid Game, the South Korean thriller series, was released on Netflix on Sept. 17 and immediately became an international success. Created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, the premise of the series is a contest in which participants who find themselves in financial trouble are incentivized to partake in deadly children’s games for a chance to win the grand cash prize. After just 28 days, Netflix estimates that Squid Game drew over 142 million member households.
WHO endorses first malaria vaccine
On Oct. 6, the World Health Organization endorsed the first malaria vaccine, making it the first malaria vaccine candidate as well as the first vaccine that addresses parasitic infection to receive this sort of recommendation. Although this vaccine has been in the works for quite some time, this endorsement is significant for the mass use of the vaccination.
Bone or no bones day?
If you used Tiktok in October, you were more than likely to stumble across a video of Noodle, the 13-year-old pug. Noodle and his owner, Jonathan Graziano, help determine what kind of day you will have according to Noodle’s desire to flop back into his bed (no bones) or stand up on his own (bones) when he is propped up in the morning. No bones would indicate a rather lazy day whereas a bones day encourages you to adopt a carpe diem mindset and enjoy the day ahead of you!
From Oct. 31 until Nov. 13, The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) was held after the 2020 conference was postponed due to COVID-19. Some major deals by world leaders include a 30 per cent cut in methane emissions by 2030, plans to discontinue deforestation by 2030 and increased financial support for developing countries.
A series of floods are currently underway in Southern British Columbia, prompting a state of emergency for the province. The flooding was initially caused by an atmospheric river that brought heavy rain to southern British Columbia. The impacts of the flooding are being felt throughout the province, from supply chain issues to providing disaster relief.
At the time this article was written, December was just around the corner with another 31 days left to make up for all of the lost time Googling what a hedge fund is and what exactly starts a wildfire.
Through it all, 2021 had its many ups and downs. Although the low points may have been extremely low, the memes and laughs along the way made it all worth it. All we can do now is see what our future awaits in 2022.