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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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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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Opposite Day

opposite-dayJanuary 25 is NOT Opposite Day. Remember not to celebrate and believe everything you hear. Today is not special and it’s just like every other day.

Okay, all jokes aside – Opposite Day DOES have a real date, though its origin is unknown, and it is typically celebrated today. The general rule of thumb behind Opposite Day is that you are supposed to do or say the opposite of what you actually mean, and likewise take everything everyone else says with a grain of salt. ‘No’ means ‘yes,’ ‘left’ means ‘right,’ ‘up’ means ‘down,’ and… you get the picture. Young children are the biggest proponents of this silly holiday, but it can be a welcome excuse for adults to break up the monotony of their daily routines as well. Doing things you wouldn’t usually do and living your life the opposite of your norm could bring about surprising results. Maybe you’ll discover some new hobbies or interests that you used to be opposed to. One can begin to wonder though, since today was declared Opposite Day, is it even really today? Before we confuse you any more, we’ll give you some tips on how to properly celebrate:

  1. Start by inverting your statements to others. In other words, say the opposite of what you mean. It’s in good taste to keep these statements playful and silly – don’t say anything that could potentially offend your friends and family! This is typically best practiced with others who know it is Opposite Day so you can laugh and joke together.
  2. Eat your meals in the opposite order. Who wouldn’t want dessert first?
  3. Walk backwards! Just be sure you’re still watching where you’re going.
  4. Wear clothing that is opposite of the way you normally dress. Explore new fashions that you were too afraid or self-conscious to before!
  5. Take a different route to work, school, or anywhere else you may be traveling. Who knows – maybe you could discover a new scenic way of getting around!
  6. Try taking on a new hobby that varies from any you already have or would typically take on. You could find that something you originally opposed doing may not be that bad after all.
  7. Opposite Day aficionados have been known to start their Opposite Days by saying, “After this phrase is over, it will be officially opposite day.”

Now, don’t go out into the world, and please stick to your normal routine!

Sources: Examiner.com, Geekdays, Wikipedia

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Answer Your Cat’s Question Day

Why Cats Do That Calendar from Calendars.com.

Why Cats Do That Calendar from Calendars.com.

January 22 is Answer Your Cat’s Question Day! Our feline friends can be quite mysterious. Are those meows masking their true feelings? Or are they feeling purrfectly fine, and just want you to know it? Today is meant for us to try and figure out the meaning behind their many different meows, and answer our curious cats’ questions.

As the most popular pet in the world, according to Scientific American, cats have been domesticated companions of humans for about 9,500 years. Because they have been active partners of humans for many centuries, cats are now found in almost every area of the world humans inhabit. Though they have played a pivotal role in human happiness, we still do not fully understand one another. Today was created as a way for us to gain some insight into the minds of our furry friends. Our loyal buddies deserve a day where we make a more conscious effort to figure out and satisfy their wants and needs.

What Cats Teach Us Calendar from Calendars.com.

What Cats Teach Us Calendar from Calendars.com.

Not sure what sort of questions your fuzzy feline may be pondering? We’ve compiled a potential Q&A to prepare you:

  • Cat: Is it really necessary for you to bathe me?
  • Person: I know you bathe yourself regularly, but a few baths a year are good to get rid of any leftover dirt you may have missed. Just be glad you’re not a dog.
  • Cat: Why do you take away my favorite resting spots?
  • Person: Oh, you mean that newspaper or book I was reading? I’ll try and be more conscientious next time.
  • Cat: Why do you get mad when I go to the bathroom somewhere besides that stinky box you gave me?
  • Person: Because it’s gross! But I’ll try harder to make sure your litter box is always clean so that this doesn’t happen.
  • Cat: Why do you keep petting me when I tell you to stop? Do you not know what this swishing tail means?
  • Person: Because you’re soft and adorable! I’ll be more aware of your subtle cat cues in the future though.
  • Cat: Who is this stranger and why won’t they stop trying to pick me up before I’ve even got to know them?
  • Person: They’re my friend and they love cats! I’ll be sure to tell them to leave you alone until you’ve sniffed around and decided if you want to be friend back first, sorry!
  • Cat: If cats have nine lives, which one am I on?

… we’ll let you ponder the answer on that last one!

Sources: Punchbowl, Cat Channel, Petcentric, Wikipedia

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National Hugging Day

two-children-huggingJanuary 21 is National Hugging Day! Today is a day to spread love and happiness by embracing the embrace!

National Hugging Day was created in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney. Zaborney published the holiday idea in Chase’s Calendar of Events, and though he was certain his idea would fail to take hold, it has become a widely popular holiday. So many countries across the world now unofficially celebrate this holiday that many have expressed interest in renaming it “International Hugging Day.” He chose January 21 as the celebration date because it falls between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and Valentine’s Day, a time which Zaborney thought most people were not in high spirits. ”American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public,” expressed Zabroney, hoping that the holiday would help Americans to be less self-conscious and more emotive. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School conducted a study in 2003 which proved that French couples touch three times the amount that Americans do.

Not only is hugging a way to greet your loved ones or show affection, but it has also been proven to have some great health benefits. Physical contact between human beings has been proven to benefit both physical and psychological development. Hugging is an excellent way to improve your immune system. A simple embrace between you and someone you care for can help lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart disease. Women who give and receive hugs can decrease the levels of cortisol in their bodies, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Higher levels of oxytocin, a stress reducing hormone, has been found in couples who hug for more than 20 seconds. Stress can have harmful physical effects, and a study done by the American Psychosomatic Society has found that even holding hands with a romantic partner for as little as 10 minutes can quell those harmful levels of stress. Higher blood pressure and heart rates have been found in those who do not enjoy regular physical contact.

hugcalendarIt is recommended by doctors that 4-6 hugs per day can help maintain a good physical and emotional well-being. Nick Vujicic holds the record for most hugs given in one day. In 2010, he gave 1,749 hugs to visitors at an expo center in Oregon.

To help you celebrate today, we’ve compiled a list of some of the many different hugs you can give today (or any day):

  • The Full Hug: This hug is the most common hug, in which both parties participate in equal amounts of embracing and affection for one another.
  • The Back to Front Hug: This hug can be given to a loved one even if they are busy doing something else. It is a great way to show someone you will always be there for them because it is given without expecting a reciprocal hug back.
  • The Side Hug: While this hug may seem like it is not as affectionate as other hugs, it is a good way to quickly express gratitude, love, or simply to tell someone “hello” in a more sincere way.
  • The Bear Hug: Considered the strongest of all hugs, this type of hug is usually given in a moment of excitement or when someone wishes to display strong affection for whoever they are hugging.

No matter what your hugging style is, remember to give a squeeze to those special people in your life today!

Sources: Wikipedia, National Hugging Day, Punchbowl 

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Old Rock Day

rocksJanuary 7 is Old Rock Day! This isn’t a day meant to celebrate classic rock ‘n roll music; this day’s meaning is much more literal. Today is meant to actually celebrate those geological formations better known to us as rocks. Old rocks, better known as fossils, are not only interesting to look at, but they have taught us much about life on earth before we were here that we would not have otherwise known.

Though the exact origin of this holiday is unknown, people have been searching for and collecting fossils since the beginning of recorded history. Fossils have allowed us to study organisms of the past due to the rocks and minerals which form them, preserving the outer form of extinct and ancient creatures. The existence of all fossils, discovered and undiscovered, and their place in the sedimentary layer of earth is known as the fossil record. The fossil record is what began the human study of evolution, and it is still used to this day as a source for studying the history of life on Earth. Paleontologists use the fossil record to figure out the way various species have evolved over time.

Old rocks aren’t just limited to fossils, and trying to go on an archaeological dig for them today may not be the easiest way to celebrate. Going into your backyard and digging up any old rock will do! If you know some children who would like to celebrate today, you can help them create their very first pet rock. Let them find a rock they like, and then start crafting! Help them paint on a face, glue on some googly eyes, and then they’ll have a kooky little pet who will never grow old or die, and will always stay exactly where they leave it. If you’re past your pet rock days, you can celebrate by using small stones to make inexpensive jewelry. You can also spice up the landscaping outside your house by starting a rock garden. Collect as many attractive rocks as you can and arrange them in any shape or design you like for a cheap and easy way to make your yard more beautiful.

However you decide to celebrate today, just make sure it totally rocks!

Sources: National Whatever Day, Days of the Year, Altius Directory

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Cuddle Up Day

cuddlykittensBaby, it’s cold outside. Lucky for you that January 6 is Cuddle Up Day! Time to get cozy. The origins of this day for snuggling seem to be unknown, but who cares! The history of this day isn’t important – the only thing that matters is that you take today to sit back, unwind, and get some good old-fashioned cuddling action going.

The word “cuddle” was first recorded in 1520, though we’re fairly certain that the action of cuddling has existed forever, even in the animal kingdom. Cuddling is technically defined as tenderly hugging or closely embracing someone, but even if you don’t have a special cuddle buddy to nestle up next to, you can still enjoy this day. If you’ve got a pet, you can snuggle up with them! Animals enjoy being close and comfy just as much as we do. Even if you don’t have a animal counterpart, you can get cozy by yourself in your favorite chair, on the couch, or in your bed. Spoon with a soft stuffed animal friend (come on, we know you’ve got one – we do too). Stay warm under the covers with a good book, and perhaps some hot chocolate or other comforting beverage or food? Pop in a movie you love and let yourself melt into relaxation. Forget all your responsibilities and stresses and plump up that pillow. You deserve it.

However you decide to cuddle, just make sure you’re comfortable and your mind is at ease. Happy Cuddle Up Day!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Days of the Year, World’s Special Days

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Festival of Sleep

sleepingbeautiesJanuary 3 is known as the Festival of Sleep! Though this unofficial holiday’s origins are unknown, we all know how to celebrate it. Unlike other holidays that typically revolve around some sort of active celebration, today is all about doing nothing but resting. The holidays are over, and it’s time to get over the exhaustion they’ve left you with and get some much needed shut eye. Put on those comfy pajamas, cuddle up under the covers, and don’t worry about setting that alarm clock.

Though it seems a bit ironic, sleeping is an important part of living. Your brain and body need to shut off from the world for a while to retain longevity. While you sleep, your body repairs damaged cells, improves your concentration skills, and aides memory formation. Severe lack of sleep can have several negative effects on your health like increase in development of infections, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Getting the proper amount of sleep will help you to be more alert, reduce your risk of depression, and may even prevent cancer! In the time you spend sleeping, your brain sorts and stores information, solves problems, and replaces chemicals your body needs.

481_NAPSMissing out on sleep is sure to make anyone grumpy, but too much lost sleep can cause much worse side effects like hallucination. In severe cases, your body will stop taking direction from your brain altogether. Humans can live longer without food than they can without sleep!

Whether you’ve been traveling and need to get rid of that jet lag or need to rest up before you head back to school or work, there is no better day than today to catch up on those Z’s! A word from the wise though – if you’re already back at your job or in the classroom, you had better wait to get recharged until your next day off. We wouldn’t want you to wake up to an angry boss or teacher!

Happy Festival of Zzzzzzzz…

Sources: Holiday Insights, Sleep Compass, Wiki How

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Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute

December 30, the day before the last day of the year, is known as the Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute.

The new year is approaching fast. Are you worried you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to this year? Do you want to make your resolutions for next year before it’s too late? Today is a day dedicated to making those big changes before the year comes to an end! Spend the day reflecting on the past year(s) and making those positive life changes a reality.

Is there anything you resolved to do in the past year that you didn’t quite get to? You’ve got two days until the new year – do your best to make it happen! If two days isn’t enough time to take the leap and make those big changes in your life you’ve been meaning to, then spend the next two days planning out your resolutions for next year. Don’t wait until midnight on New Year’s Eve to decide on those important changes that will make you feel better about the life you’re living. If you’re pondering what you can resolve to do in the New Year, but are coming up blank, we’ve got a few ideas to get your resolution juices flowing:

  • Get healthy. Whether this means eating healthier, exercising, or doing anything else that will make you a healthier person, this is your year!
  • Get inspired. Go on adventures, challenge yourself, create! Do whatever you can to inspire yourself and those around you!
  • Go green. Show some love to the environment you live in!
  • Get organized. Get rid of those stacks of paper on your desk, make a schedule, and clean up that messy life you’ve been living!
  • Learn a new language. Expand those linguistic skills and make another language less foreign to you!
  • Laugh more. Tell a joke, watch a funny movie, and spend more time with those who bring a smile to your face!

Since today is a “festival,” it makes sense to let your friends and family know about the importance of today. Celebrate together by all coming up with New Year’s resolutions or accomplishing what you haven’t before the year is over!

Sources: Zany Holidays, Giftypedia

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National Flashlight Day

Flashlight-Tag-GameDecember 21 is National Flashlight Day! Today also happens to be the Winter Solstice which is the longest night of the year. Though we are not sure if these two days coincide on purpose, you won’t be left in the dark!

Flashlights first became a tool for exploring the darkness at the end of the 19th century. The first dry cell batteries were invented in 1896, which allowed electronic devices to become portable because they used an electrolyte paste instead of liquid, preventing spillage. David Misell, an English inventor who worked for the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company, obtained a patent for the first flashlight in 1899.

Misell created an “electric device” which consisted of “D” batteries arranged front to back inside a paper tube with a light bulb and brass reflector attached at the end. Some of the devices created by Misell were given to the New York City Police Department and were met with approval from officers. Because of the zinc carbon batteries used in these early devices, they could not provide a steady current and needed to “rest” periodically to continue working. The lights thus could only be used for short intervals, hence the name “flashlight.”

We’ve come up with a couple of ways you can celebrate National Flashlight Day:

  • Make shadow puppets on the wall.
  • Play a rousing game of flashlight tag.
  • Plan a nighttime scavenger hunt.
  • Stay up reading a book under the covers.

Today is also the perfect day to make sure your family knows where your flashlights are in the case of a power outtage or other situation which may cause you to need your trusty flashlight to find your way. Be sure to test all your flashlights and make sure the batteries are all working.

Happy Flashlight Day!

Sources: Giftypedia, Holiday Insights, National Whatever Day

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