Archive | March, 2013

Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Have you ever wished that there was a Talk in Secret Code Day or a Sleep in until Noon Day? Wish no more because March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day!

If you’re feeling extra enthusiastic about your holiday, why not try to make it official? After all, it was  Sarah  Josepha Hale’s 17-year letter-writing campaign that convinced President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. (Read Hale’s final, successful attempt to convince President Lincoln here.)

Get creative and let us know what you come up with!

Sources: punchbowl.com, time.com
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International Waffle Day

March 25 is International Waffle Day!

International Waffle Day (Vaffeldagen) originated in Sweden.

People have been consuming waffles for centuries, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages when people would enjoy simple waffles made of grain flour and water, much like the communion wafer.

Since then, waffles have been developed into a batter-based cake that people adorn with many different things: powdered sugar, butter and syrup, fruits, etc. Celebrate International Waffle Day by whipping up some waffles for your friends and family and eating them whichever way you like best.

Sources: Examiner, Wikipedia

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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday prior to Easter. It marks the beginning of “Holy Week” and the final seven days of Lent. This year, Palm Sunday is on March 24, 2013.

Palm Sunday is a commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entrance into the city of Jerusalem. Crowds of his followers greeted him by waving palm branches and laying them in his path prior to his arrest and Crucifixion.

Today, Palm Sunday is celebrated through the dispersal of palm branches tied into crosses during worship services.

Sources: About.com, Wikipedia

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When is Easter in 2013?

March 31, 2013

Learn more about Easter.

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National Chip and Dip Day

March 23 is National Chip and Dip Day!

As if we needed a national holiday as an excuse to eat chips and dips! Chips and Dip are the ultimate party snack food, or for that matter, anytime snack food – and with so many variations on the duo, you’ll never get bored. So grab some tortilla chips (or potato chips if that’s your preference) and go to town on some dips!

Here is a list of 40 different dip recipes for you to try at home.

Sources: Eatocracy, Punchbowl

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Turn Your Luck Around

Superstitions have existed as long as belief in the supernatural has, and people all over the world have been coming up ways to combat bad luck and superstitious beliefs ever since.

There are many superstitions that have become commonplace like how breaking a mirror, having a black cat cross your path, or walking under a ladder can bring you bad luck, but there are several other lesser-known superstitions that exist across the globe. In Turkey, it is said that if you chew gum at night, you are actually chewing the flesh of the dead. In 19th century England, men sometimes avoided eating lettuce because it was thought to have negative effects on fertility, thus if you ate lettuce, you may not be able to have a family. In Japan, if you pass by a graveyard or hearse and keep your thumb exposed, it could be bad luck for your parents because the Japanese word for thumb literally means “parent finger.” In some places, dropping a comb while combing your hair means disappointment is in your future. Another lesser-known superstition is that if you hear a dog howl while someone in your home is sick, it is a bad omen. The list of strange superstitions goes on and on and on, and many of them sprung from hoaxes or jokes.

To combat these superstitious beliefs or unlucky happenstances, different cultures have acquired various symbols and rituals over the years to increase the luck in their lives. In China, red is considered a lucky color meant to bring happiness. Doors of homes are often painted red to bring good omens, and red lanterns can be seen hung in many places around China. When five red bats are found together, they represent the “five good fortunes” of health, love, longevity, wealth, and virtue. The Dutch believe that circles are a symbol of success, and donuts are often eaten at New Year’s celebrations to bring luck for the rest of the year. People also wear circular items like hoop earrings to bring success into their lives. The Japanese eat soba noodles at the year’s start because long noodles are a signifier of a long and prosperous life. The 5 Yen coin in Japan is also considered lucky, and many Japanese carry one of these coins around at all times. Pronounced “go-en,” the name of these coins is close to the words for destiny, karma, or good luck. In Norse folklore, acorns and their bearers, the oak tree, are supposed to bring good fortune. Acorns are said to prevent lightening when set on a windowsill. Native Americans created dream catchers to catch negative images from dreams while asleep. Nautical stars have been seen as luck symbols that help provide guidance for sailors for many years. Then there are the old lucky standbys, like the four-leaf clover and rainbows. The number seven is also often considered a lucky number. In Japanese mythology, there are the Seven Gods of Fortune, which represent various aspects of life in which people wish to prosper like health and wealth.

Aside from these lucky symbols, there are also a plethora of rituals people partake in to try and get luck on their side. Well-known ones in the United States include throwing coins into a wishing well or breaking a wishbone in half. Whoever gets the bigger half of the bone gets to make a wish. Many have also been known to blow away stray eyelashes and make a wish, or wish on shooting stars seen in the night’s sky. In Turkey, those wishing to banish their luck participate in a ritual where a pot of boiling water is held over their head. Liquid lead is then dropped into the water where it instantly solidifies. The solidification is said to absorb that person’s bad omens. In Tahiti, getting tattoo is said to bring good luck and protection. The word “tattoo” comes from the Tahitian word “tatu,” and tattoos are meant to represent your history, background, and include symbols that represent good fortune. In several countries there are also rituals pertaining to marriage. In Morocco, unmarried women burn chameleons in glasses to rid themselves of bad luck. In Italy, grooms carry pieces of iron in their pockets to keep evil spirits away and brides rip their veils to bring the couple good luck. In Singapore before wedding ceremonies, a prosperous man will decide the place where the marrying couple’s bed should go, and then a young male relative will roll in the bed to bless the couple with fertility.

Whether you decide to paint your door red or drop lead over your head, there are many ways to combat bad luck and superstitious beliefs. Perhaps you can even come up with your own!

Sources: Stylist.co.uk, Listverse, Lists O’ Plenty, List25, Pimsleur Approach

 

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Cartoonist William Hanna Dies at 90

Born William Denby Hanna in Melrose, New Mexico on July 14, 1910, William Hanna was a famous American animator, director, producer, voice actor, and cartoonist. He is best known for his work alongside Joseph Barbera on their hit animated shows Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and Yogi Bear.

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s 60-year friendship and business partnership in the animation industry led them to win seven Academy Awards and eight Emmy Awards. Legendary cartoonist William Hanna died from lung cancer at the age of 90 on March 22, 2001.

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography.com

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Alcatraz Prison Closes

After 29 years of operation, Alcatraz Prison closed its doors for good on March 21, 1963.

Alcatraz Island was originally used as a civil war fort and a military prison before being transformed into a federal prison in 1933. It was a maximum-security, minimum-privilege institution that only guaranteed its prisoners four basic rights: food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.

Alcatraz Prison quickly became notorious for being inescapable due to the pure isolation of the island and the chilly waters that surrounded it. The 12-acre island has a rocky landscape and was a 1.5 mile swim from San Francisco for any prisoners who dared to attempt an escape.

Some famous (or rather, infamous) prisoners who had the misfortune of being holed up at Alcatraz Prison were Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis, and Arthur “Doc” Barker.

The decision was made in 1963 to shut down the prison because of the sheer expense; Alcatraz cost three times more to operate than other federal prisons at the time because of its isolation from the outside world. In 1972, Alcatraz was added to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and opened to the public for tours. It currently brings in over 1 million visitors from all over the world each year.

Sources: History.com, bop.gov

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International Astrology Day

March 20 is International Astrology Day!

International Astrology Day is observed by astrologers and astrology fanatics worldwide every March 20. It is viewed as the first day of the astrological year (or the Astrological New Year) because it is the day when the Sun enters Aries, the first sign of the zodiac.

What’s your sign? There are 12 signs in the Zodiac. Your sign is designated by your date of birth; you can be an Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, or Pieces. Find out more about the Zodiac and what your particular sign says about you.

Check out some of our awesome Astrology and Zodiac calendars!

Sources: Wikipedia, Starzology

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Sydney Harbour Bridge Opens

The Sydney Harbour Bridge opened on March 19, 1932. It is a steel arch bridge that connects the Sydney central business district (CBD) to the North Shore. It extends acrossSydneyHarbourand is able to accommodate trains, cars, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.

Construction on the arch began on October 2, 1928. Prior to its opening to the public, the bridge was tested for three weeks to ensure safety. It is heavily debated by Australians whether the Sydney Harbour Bridge (nicknamed The Coathanger) or the Sydney Opera House is the true icon of the city.

Sources: Wikipedia, Bridgeclimb.com

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