Tag Archives: January Holidays

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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Thomas Crapper Dies

Sanitary pioneer Thomas Crapper died at the age of 73 on January 27, 1910.

It is a common misconception that Crapper developed the flushable toilet; it was actually invented by John Harrington in 1596. Crapper did, however, popularize the toilet, promote sanitary plumbing, and invent the ballcock, which is used to fill water tanks.

Thomas Crapper & Co. bathroom fixtures were considered the most luxurious of his time, so he was asked to outfit the palace of King Edward VII. This gained Thomas Crapper & Co. mass popularity and they went on to provide bathroom fittings to homes and buildings of all kinds.

Sources: Wikipedia, ThomasCrapper.com

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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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National Peanut Butter Day

peanutbutter2n-1-web January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day! The food spread made from roasted peanuts first rose up in popularity in the late 1800s. It is now considered a staple in 90% of American households, and the United States is the leading exporter of this savory and sweet spread.

Though it’s up for debate on who the original creator of peanut butter was, it started gaining popularity in the late 1800s. John Harvey Kellogg, who was a doctor and is also known for creating corn flakes cereal with his brother, patented the “Process of Preparing Nut Meal” in 1895. The holistic doctor fed peanut butter made from boiled peanuts to patients in his sanitarium. A St. Louis snack maker named George Boyle has also been credited with making peanut butter with roasted peanuts as early as 1894. George Washington Carver, who invented many other peanut-related products, is also sometimes credited with its invention. Spreadable peanut butter as we know it today was created in 1923 by the Heinz company after they homogenized peanuts.

Did you know that it takes about 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Or how about that the average American consumes over six pounds of peanut butter products every year? Whether it’s paired with it’s jelly counterpart in a sandwich, baked into cookies, or slathered on a stick of celery – we love peanut butter! It’s a good thing too because peanut butter has many proven health benefits. Two teaspoons of peanut butter contain 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, making it a heart healthy snack. Peanut butter is also high in potassium, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Because of peanut butter’s richness, it can keep you full longer than other snacks, which can help prevent unwanted weight gain. A serving of peanut butter also contains about 4.3 milligrams of niacin, a nutrient that helps keep you sharp and prevents cognitive decline leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s in older age.

Celebrate National Peanut Butter Day by trying some of these recipes including the popular snack food:

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

Sources: PunchbowlWikipedia, Babble

 

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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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International Hot and Spicy Food Day

OR-3-10-1710January 16 is International Hot and Spicy Food Day! Today is a red-hot day on the holiday calendar. It celebrates all foods that make your tongue burn, make your eyes water, and maybe even cause little beads of sweat to form on your forehead. Whether you’re a fan of super spicy salsa, confoundingly hot curry,  or jambalaya jam-packed with fiery flavor, today is best served with a side of heat.

Archaeologists have proven that humans have been using hot spices in recipes for over 6,000 years. Christopher Columbus discovered chili peppers in 1493 after he “discovered” America. The chemical in chili peppers that makes them hot is called capsaicin. The capsaicin oil is measured and diluted to determine the amount of “heat” in peppers and give it a place on the Scoville scale. Currently, the pepper which is highest on the Scoville scale, and thus the hottest, is called the Carolina Reaper, which is 300 times hotter than the average jalapeño pepper. People who have a palette capable of handling this kind of heat on a regular basis are known as “pyro-gourmaniacs.”

PrintHot spices are used the world over to give food that flavorful kick. Not only are spicy foods tasty, but they can also be beneficial to your health due to their medicinal and antimicrobial properties. Chiles, onions, garlic, oregeno, and allspice are known to kill bacteria and make food safer to consume.

Even if you’re not the type of person who likes to put your taste buds into a state of shock, you can still enjoy today by adding a touch of heat to whatever you’re eating. If the heat may become too much for you to handle, make sure to keep a glass of milk or some yogurt handy. While drinking tons of water is usually people’s immediate reaction to foods that are too spicy, doing this will only cause the spicy oils to be dispersed around your mouth because the oil in chili peppers will not mix with the water like milk will.

Whether you’re ready to go all-out on spicy foods today or just enjoy a small amount of spiciness on the side, make sure to add some heat to your meals today!

Sources: Punchbowl, Foodimentary, Days of the Year

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National Hat Day

hatsJanuary 15 is National Hat Day! Is your head feeling a little cold? Are you having a bad hair day? Or do you just want to add an extra something to top of your outfit? There is no better day than today to accessorize your head!

The first recorded incidence of humans wearing hats can be traced back to 3200 B.C. to an ancient tomb in Thebes, where a man is depicted wearing a straw hat. Hats were originally conceived as wearable items to protect people from the elements – glaring sunlight, rain, and snow – and soon after evolved into being used as a symbol of status. Certain groups of people were singled out by the specific headwear they wore. Hats for women especially began to get more elaborate in the Middle Ages. Though some women still wore simple scarves on their heads, women of higher status and nobility wore hennin, which were elaborate cone-shaped hats.

The 18th century brought with it the occupation and term “milliner.” The name came from the city of Milan, where the highest quality of hats were being produced at the time. Millinery was often an occupation held by women, who not only created normal everyday hats, but bonnets which included decorative trim to accessorize the outfit of the wearer. It was at this point, and moving into the early 19th century, that hats began to be worn as fashion statements. Bonnets became larger and more decorative, adding flowers, lace, and other trimmings. Other hats of various shapes and sizes including those with large brims and flat crowns began to appear as well. As flapper style and shorter hair became popular with women in the 1920s, hats began to take on a more snug shape which hugged the head. As society evolved, the hat evolved along with it, taking on more elaborate shapes and styles.

Isabella Blow wearing an elaborate hat designed by Philip Treacy.

Isabella Blow wearing an elaborate hat designed by Philip Treacy.

Starting in the 1980s and moving on into the 21st century, some hats have been exaggerated to a flamboyant state for the sole purpose of the wearer to be noticed. Some celebrities who have adopted this way of wearing hats are Isabella Blow and Lady Gaga, who both commissioned hats by one of the world’s most famous milleners, Philip Treacy. Treacy has also been commissioned to design hats for several of the world’s most famous designers and the royal family of Great Britain. Many other well-known milliners have been based in Britain including Sharp & Davis and David Shilling. Stetson, a famous North American cowboy-hat maker was commissioned to make hats for Canadian Mounties and the Texas Rangers.

Wearing hats has become a tradition and official “rule” at some events including horse racing events like the British Royal Ascot and the Kentucky Derby. There are also general “rules” that exist for hat-wearing men in certain circumstances. For instance, it became a common courtesy among some groups to tip your hat when meeting a lady or elder person. It is also considered disrespectful to wear hats during funerals or when the National Anthem is played.

Celebrate today by wearing your favorite hat (or hats) throughout the day. If you don’t own a hat, today would be a great day to make your first hat purchase. Happy National Hat Day!

Sources: Wikipedia, World’s Special Days, KTBS.com

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Make Your Dream Come True Day

dream1January 13 is Make Your Dream Come True Day! Along with the new year comes a new batch of resolutions, goals, wishes, and dreams we set out for ourselves. Today is a day dedicated to putting in motion whatever you need to in order to make your life dreams come true.

Dreams will forever stay your dreams unless you take some sort of action to make them become reality. Are you following the career path you want to be? Do you want to travel more? Perhaps you would like to move somewhere new? Is there something you have always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to it? Seize the day! Get yourself into gear, and push forward into the new year, fulfilling your desires and making yourself truly happy.

dream2To celebrate today and start following the path you believe you are meant for, we’ve compiled a list to get you started:

  • Create a dream list or board. Your dreams will begin to feel more real and achievable if you get them out of your head and physically put them down on paper. If you have something visual to remind you of your dreams every day, they are more likely to come true.
  • Make a plan. Outline the path you need to take in order to reach your goals. Plan out steps. Break everything down and put together a timeline. If you figure out what steps you need to take in order to reach your dreams, getting there will be a lot easier!
  • Don’t be pessimistic. If you have a dream, you can attain it. Don’t let negativity creep into your thoughts. Share your dreams with people who will support you, and keep clear of naysayers who may have you second guessing yourself and your goals.
  • Find a mentor. It is likely that there is someone in the world who has or had dreams similar to yours. Look up to them and take their advice for attaining what you want out of life. We advise you to not completely follow in their footsteps though, make your dream your own, and find your own way of getting there using tips from those you admire.
  • Inspire others. Everyone has dreams, and by following yours, you can inspire others to do the same. Supporting others, and having them support you, will give you (and them) the energy and empowerment to follow your heart.

Whatever your dreams are, they are reachable as long as you believe in yourself and push yourself to make them happen!

Sources: Work Smart. Live Smart., Bubblews, World’s Special Days

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