Tag Archives: March 21

Fragrance Day

perfume-bottle-Sarah-BarthMarch 21 is Fragrance Day! Today is a celebration of all good-smelling things that our noses know they love! Perfumes, colognes, potpourri, soaps, scented candles, incense, fragrant food dishes, and anything else that you can’t stop smelling should all be a part of your life today!

Smell is said to be the most powerful of the senses. Animals and humans alike rely on their sense of smell for survival. It is used in the selection of mates, to smell our predators and other dangers, and to find food. Smell has a direct connection with certain memories and associations because when we smell something, it travels directly to our memory cortexes in our brains. Other senses must first travel through multiple other layers of the brain. It becomes our strongest sense because it was probably the first to develop, and is a direct reaction to chemicals in the outside environment. It is no wonder that certain smells can bring back a rush of memories – good and bad.

Much like fingerprints, every human being (with the exception of identical twins) has their own particular fragrance or “smellprint.” Romantically involved partners are thought to be able to smell each other’s happiness, fear, and arousal. Your sense of smell is also known to be stronger during the warmer months of spring and summer and after exercising, and a study done by Yale showed that coffee was the most recognizable scent.

Women have keener sense of smell than men which is evidence as to why the female perfume industry is much larger and more successful than the men’s cologne industry. Specific fragrances can become part of who we are and we have a tendency to wear different scents to fit our personalities and moods. The art of perfumery and personal fragrances started as early as ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt when people bathed less often, and thus needed a way to disguise their odor. It was then refined by the Romans and Persians. Perfumery as we know it today did not start, however, until the late 19th century when chemists began to commercially synthesize aroma compounds. One of the most well-known and best-selling perfumes of all time is Chanel No. 5, released by Coco Chanel in 1921. It is estimated that around $25 million is spent per year to market Chanel No. 5.

Fragrances play a vital role in our quality of life and sense of well-being. Celebrate today by trying some (or all!) of the following:

  • When you wake up, make yourself a delicious pot of coffee and take in one of the most recognizable and comforting smells!
  • Buy yourself a new perfume, scented candle, incense, or anything to make yourself or where you live smell wonderful.
  • Bake or cook yourself your favorite treat or meal and fill your home with delicious food aromas.
  • Learn how to make your favorite perfume or cologne last all day by reading these helpful tips.
  • Visit a garden, nursery, or florist and surround yourself with amazing floral smells.

However you decide to celebrate, just make sure those good ol’ olfactory glands are part of the celebration!

Sources: Gone-ta-Pott, Examiner.com, Yahoo News, Wikipedia

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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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