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Polar Bear Day

PrintFebruary 27 is Polar Bear Day! This day celebrates these large majestic carnivores who inhabit both of Earth’s polar areas.

Polar bears are the world’s largest carnivorous creatures and are a popular attraction at zoos around the globe. They can grow up to 10 feet tall when standing on their hind legs and can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. They mostly survive on marine animals, as they are not usually fast enough to catch prey on land. Polar bears have adapted to the cold weather climates they live in and usually can’t survive well in temperatures that are above 50 degrees.

Because of this climate adaptation, the polar bear population is heavily affected by human carbon emissions. Carbon emissions lead to climate change, and as climates raise, the polar ice caps, also known as the polar bear’s home, starts to disappear. Polar bears need the icy climates to survive, and without these colder conditions in the polar regions of Earth, the polar bear may cease to exist.

polarbears2Polar Bears International has taken it upon themselves to help spread awareness concerning these issues. Every February 27th, they use Polar Bear Day as a way to call people to action, and help reduce their carbon emissions. They ask people to reduce their footprint by taking the Thermostat Challenge. This challenge requires that you either turn your thermostat up or down (depending on where you live and what the weather is like) to decrease the amount of harmful greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. The Thermostat Challenge is part of PBI’s SOS! (Save Our Sea Ice) campaign. PBI encourages us to make the Thermostat Challenge part of our normal routine by keeping our thermostats properly adjusted and making other energy saving efforts like insulating your home. They also ask that we speak with our representatives about reducing the price of carbon. If we can slow or reverse the global warming, we can keep sea ice from melting and keep polar bears alive and well.

Celebrate today by brushing up on polar bear facts and participating in environmentally friendly activities like SOS! Happy Polar Bear Day!

Sources: Polar Bears International, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Holiday Insights, Wildlife Promise

 

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International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day

February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! Although we humans cannot appreciate dog treats, we can spend today appreciating how happy our canine friends become after consuming a tasty biscuit!

Some form of dog treat has been around since Roman times. Back then, they were called “dog’s bread,” and were made from bran, moldy bread, and rotting leftovers. In the nineteenth century, the English began to add various vegetables, but the consistency was still  rock hard. After taking a trip to England in the mid-1800s, James Spratt saw stray dogs scavenging for food and created a cake-like bone that contained vegetables and meat. He claimed it gave dogs enough endurance that they no longer needed to eat other dog food.  He called them “Meat Fibrine Cakes.”

Spratt dominated the market on dog treats until 1907. F.H. Bennett created a bone-shaped treat that contained minerals, milk, and meat products. Calling his new product “Milk-Bone,” Bennett took over the market, and in 1931 his company was bought by Nabisco.

You can help your pups celebrate today by buying them some of their favorite treats, or by making some of your own. Check out the dog biscuit recipes we found below!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Examiner.com, Wikipedia

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International Tug-o-War Day

CompetitionFebruary 19 is International Tug-o-War Day! Tug-o-war is a competitive sport played between two people or two teams in which each team tugs on both sides of a rope to test who is stronger.

The competition of strength has roots in many ancient civilizations, but its precise origin in unknown. Reference to this and similar physical tests have been seen in old carvings and artwork made by many including ancient Egyptians and vikings. It started out as a way to settle disputes between individuals and groups over things like food and clothing before evolving into the competitive sport it is today. Legend also surrounds the game likening it to the constant battle that took place between the Sun and the Moon, fighting daily over whether the world should be shrouded in light or darkness.

When tall ships were a common form of transport and travel on the high seas, sailors who needed to stay fit for their rigging duties began to play the game as a form of practice and an entertaining rivalry. The name “Tug-o-War” may have originated from crews who practiced and played the game on Man-o-War ships. Tug-o-war became an organized sport in the late 19th century when clubs began to form around competing. It became a featured sport at the 1900 Olympics in Paris, and remained a part of the Olympic games until 1920. Countries began forming associations for tug-o-war after the sport was trimmed from the Olympic program, with the first popping up in Sweden in 1933. Other countries across the world soon followed suit.

In 1960, the Tug-of-War International Federation (TWIF) was formed and as of 2008, 53 countries were a part of the federation. Each year the federation holds a world championship game.

To celebrate today, grab a rope, some buddies, and compete in a good old-fashioned game! If you want to have an official by-the-book game, check out the rules here.

Happy Tug-o-War Day!

Sources: Days of the Year, USATOWA, Wikipedia

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Do a Grouch a Favor Day

grouchFebruary 16 is Do a Grouch a Favor Day. Is there someone in your life who constantly has a sour face on? Someone who passes the time with pessimism? Someone whose spirit animal is Grumpy Cat? Today is the perfect day to bring a smile to someone’s face who can be classified as having a “perma-frown.”

The origin of this holiday and why it falls on this particular February day is unknown, but we think it’s a great chance to make the world a little brighter and a little less grim, even if it is for just one person. Now, we’re not saying we haven’t experienced our own form of grouchiness from time to time. Sometimes you don’t get enough sleep or the sunshine hasn’t been out in days or your boss, significant other, parent, teacher, or whoever else just won’t stop nagging you. Everyone has their grumpy days, and everyone appreciates it when someone does something nice for them, so why not use the latter to help cure the former? Find a way to alleviate the situation of that person who seems like they’re angry at the world today.

Whether you buy this person a gift, big or small, lend an ear to their problems, or just give them a sincere compliment, anything can be helpful in making a grouch less grouchy. Even if your attempts fail, at least they’ll put a smile on your face.

Now get out there and turn some frowns upside down!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Examiner.com, Yahoo

 

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Ferris Wheel Day

ferris wheel modelFebruary 14 is Ferris Wheel Day! This day celebrates the rotating wheel-shaped amusement ride featuring seats or capsules which stay upright, allowing riders to have a slow, elevated view of wherever they are.

Ferris Wheel Day is celebrated on February 14 as an homage to the Ferris wheel’s creator, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., who was born on this day in 1859.  He created the original Ferris wheel in 1893 for the  World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This original Ferris wheel, also known as the Chicago Wheel, was 264 feet tall and was built to rival the Eiffel Tower, which made its debut a few years earlier in 1889 at the Paris Exposition. The original wheel held 36 cars, each able to hold 60 people, making the capacity for the wheel 2,160. It would complete two full revolutions in 20 minutes.

www.richard-seaman.com

The Singapore Flyer, the tallest Ferris wheel in the world.

The Ferris wheel has since become the single most common ride at state fairs across the United States. Ever since the original wheel was built in 1893, Ferris wheel creators have constantly tried to outdo each other in order to have the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. There have since been eight tallest-ever Ferris wheels, and the current record holder is the  Singapore Flyer which was opened in March 2008 and stands 541 feet tall.

Though state fairs are not commonly opened during this time of year, there are several permanent Ferris wheels across the world that are typically open year-round. If you’re not near one of these wheeled wonders, you can reminisce about the last time you rode a Ferris wheel and plan your next fair visit and subsequent Ferris wheel ride.

Happy Ferris Wheel Day!

Sources: Wikipedia, Holiday Insights, Yahoo

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World Radio Day

radio calendarFebruary 13 is World Radio Day! This day was created to raise awareness about the importance of radio and the significant role it plays in transmitting information, especially to those who are vulnerable or who are in remote communities without access to other communication devices.

World Radio Day was created on November 3, 2011 during the 36th General Conference of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and the idea for the day was initially proposed by the Spanish Radio Academy in September 2010. The decision to celebrate the day on February 13 was made to commemorate the anniversary of the day the United Nations established United Nations Radio in 1946.

The discovery of radio waves was made in the mid-19th century, and the invention of the radio itself came in the late 19th and early 20th century, with a plethora of scientists contributing to its eventual creation and evolution.

Radio has since become the most used and easiest way relay information, to provide interchange between social groups, to save lives during natural and human-caused disasters, and to educate scores of people across the globe. It gives people everywhere the ability to widely engage with others discuss topics that effect them, and allows journalists to have a platform with which they can report news and stories.

Every year, World Radio Day is celebrated through planned activities and events put on by organizations and broadcasters around the world. UNESCO has used the day to follow through with their commitment to promote human rights and gender equality issues.

You can celebrate by tuning in to your favorite radio station and listening to music, news, talk shows, and whatever else you desire to hear.

Happy World Radio Day!

Sources: World Radio Day, UNESCO.org, Wikipedia, Time and Date

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Toothache Day

February 9 is Toothache Day – ouch! Toothaches are a sharp pain in the mouth, often centered around the tooth or gums. Why would anyone want to celebrate that?

The origin of this day is speculated to correspond with the day the Hershey Corporation was founded. Hershey is the largest producer of chocolate in North America, so the origin of this day coinciding with Hershey’s beginnings in 1894 makes sense. February 9 is also known as St. Apollonia Day. In 249 A.D., Apollonia, who was a Deaconess in Alexandria in Egypt, was attacked by a mob who knocked out her teeth. The Egyptian government had given the group permission to burn anyone who would not give up their Christianity. Refusing, Apollonia threw herself into the fire and took her own life. She was then made the Patron Saint of dentistry and toothaches.

Toothaches can be caused by any number of things, but the most common are cavities, wisdom teeth coming in, gum disease, a cracked tooth, infected dental pulp, jaw disease, or tooth root exposure. They can also be caused by more serious things such as heart problems like angina or a myocardial infarction, causing a referred pain in your mouth.

To celebrate Toothache Day, educate yourself on what you can do to keep yourself from going through this pain. Here are just a few ways:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day.
  • Flossing regularly.
  • Use mouthwash.
  • Eating foods that are beneficial to tooth health and consuming water with fluoride added.
  • Staying away from detrimental foods like those high in sugars.
  • Do not smoke.

Sources: Examiner.com, Holiday Insights, Gone-ta-pott

 

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Hedgehog Day

hedgehogWhile most people in America know February 2 as Groundhog Day, it is thought to have grown its origins from another woodland critter – the hedgehog. February 2 is also known to some as Hedgehog Day!

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that have become widely domesticated across the world. Domesticated hedgehogs are mostly docile and friendly creatures, but keep your distance when both wild and tame hedgehogs get frightened or angry. These little guys are covered in quills or spines which are hollow hairs filled with keratin, causing them to be stiff and pointy. As a defense mechanism, hedgehogs will roll into a ball, allowing their quills to stick straight out and harm anyone or anything that tries to touch them.

The origin of Hedgehog Day has two stories behind it. The first dates back thousands of years to ancient Roman times. Just as we celebrate Groundhog Day by waiting to see if the famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and thus predicts the continuation of winter for six more weeks, the Romans had a similar tradition involving one of their native critters, the hedgehog. Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, so their tradition varied slightly. If the hedgehog sees his shadow it means there is a clear moon and six more weeks of winter, so he returns to his burrow. Punxsutawney Phil, on the other hand, is observed looking for his shadow during the day. The tradition spread to Germany, and when German immigrants came to America and found no indigenous hedgehogs, they replaced it with the groundhog.

sonic the hedgehogAnother story behind the creation and popularization of Hedgehog Day came about due to one of the most famous hedgehogs in the world – a speedy blue video game character called Sonic. On February 2, 1994, Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in the United States, and re-popularized the lesser-known Hedgehog Day.

Celebrate today by learning more about hedgehogs, playing your favorite Sonic the Hedgehog game, or maybe even adopting an adorable new hedgehog friend from your local pet store!

Happy Hedgehog Day!

Sources: Sega BlogHedgehog CentralDays of the Year

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National Croissant Day

croissantsJanuary 30 is National Croissant Day! Croissants are flaky, buttery pastries, identified by their crescent shape.

Just as we are unsure why January 30 has been made this unofficial holiday, tales abound about the origin of the croissant itself as well. What is thought to be the precursor to the croissant, the Kipferl, dates back to 13th century Austria. The Kipferl is usually made plain in a variety of shapes or with the addition of nuts. The first of the tales about origin of the crescent-shaped treat goes back to the Battle of Tours in 732. A Frankish victory over Umayyad forces led to Islamic crescent-shaped treats being made in celebration. Another story states that when Turkish forces tried to invade Vienna in 1683 by tunneling underground, Viennese bakers who were working in a basement heard the Turks and alerted the army. In celebration of outwitting the Turks, the bakers shaped breads to look like crescent moons, which was the symbol of the Ottoman Empire.

How the pastry arrived in France and received the name croissant, meaning crescent in French, also has varied origins. Some think that Marie Antoinette, the formerly Austrian princess who married Louis XVI, introduced the pastry to France from her homeland of Austria 100 years after the Turks failed to invade Vienna. Others say that the croissant came into being in France in 1839 when August Zang, an Austrian artillery officer, opened a Viennese bakery (Boulangerie Viennoise) in Paris. His Viennese pastries became popular and the French began to imitate this baking style, using yeast-leavened dough. From this the French version of the Kipferl was created and named croissant for it’s crescent shape. It’s recognizable shape and name became known all over the world.

If you’re not already enjoying a delicious croissant with your breakfast, we’ve gathered up some recipes to help you celebrate!

Sources: Punchbowl, Wikipedia, Examiner.com, CNN’s Eatocracy

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Fun at Work Day

funatworkJanuary 28 is Fun at Work Day! In an ideal world, everyone would have a job they loved every part of, so the words “fun” and “work” would be synonymous. For most of us, however, work is not always fun because, well, you have to get work done! For the lucky few who enjoy doing every aspect of their job, every day is Fun at Work Day. For everyone else who dreads at least a little bit of their work day, today is meant to make things more bearable.

According to several reports produced over the years, over half of Americans feel uninspired or disengaged at work and have a perpetual case of the “Mondays.” If your monotonous schedule has got you feeling a little down in the dumps, liven up your work environment.  Personalizing your desk with decorations, photos, or other personal mementos can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed while you’re working because your space will really become your own. Socializing with and having a good rapport with your co-workers can also make time pass more quickly and make working more like hanging out with your friends (while still being productive, of course).

Dilbert 014Desk Covercomp.inddThose are just small suggestions for things you can do on a daily basis to make your work life more tolerable. Since today isn’t just any other day though, you can be a bit more elaborate with your “fun.” Buzzfeed has come up with a list of 26 Delightful Ways to Make the Work Day More Fun that we give our stamp of approval. Some of our favorites are: using break room condiments to bring your favorite video game characters to life, starting a new silly filing system, and giving your office some decorative flair using only Post-It notes.

Take a break (or two… or three) today – you deserve it! Just make sure to check with your supervisor before you start having TOO much fun.

Sources: Holiday Insights, World’s Special Days, USA Today

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