Saturday, February 20, 2016

Recognizing special and somewhat unusual holidays

As a writer seeking out potentially interesting subjects to share, there are internet sites that provide background information about diverse holidays, some of which are well known while others are more obscure. It's the lesser-known subject matter that make for interesting reads.

In case you weren't aware and it was definitely news to me, but today being February 20th, is National Love Your Pet Day. This is a great idea especially since pets play an important role as extended members of the family. It's also interesting that the day of pet recognition falls right after Valentine's Day, a day set aside whereby humans demonstrate affection towards a special person in their life. Pets and humans are a natural go-together. Having shared our household with various pets over the years including a dog for fifteen years and various aquatic species many of which didn't last the night and received a two-flush funeral, their contribution to family life should and is noted. Moving along...

Chances are few people are probably aware that February 20 is also National Cherry Pie Day in addition to February being National Cherry Month, a good a reason as any to indulge and cut into a slice or more of juicy scrumptiousness. In searching for background information and according to the American Pie Council, the pie itself came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists baked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffyns”.  As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking.  It was during the American Revolution that the term 'crust' was used instead of “coffyn”, which is preferable. I mean, eating cherry pie with a coffyn on top just doesn't do it.

National Hot Tea Month, celebrated for the entire month of January, slipped by without my notice, which is somewhat shameful being a confirmed tea imbiber. The Tea Association of Canada, who know lots about things tea-related, the custom of afternoon tea originated in the 19th century with Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who invited guests to join her for a cup of tea and goodies in the afternoon, to fill the long gap between breakfast and late dinners.

Although purists would probably advocate using loose tea when brewing a pot, tea bags are a personal preference. In spite of using a tea infuser, somehow stray tea leaves seem to work their way through the holes. Spitting the stray tea leaves into a napkin is viewed as a social faux-pas, as is filling up one's mouth with water to cleanse the mouth and returning it into the glass. Somehow, decorum always enters the picture where drinking tea is concerned. Moving right along...

Seems that February 20th has a lot going  including - wait for it - National Handcuff Day.  Handcuff Day marks the occasion back in 1912, when a patent was granted to George A. Carney for a revolutionary new style of handcuff. The source for this tidbit of information, offer some suggestions in the way of celebrating with some trivia questions. I mean, who wouldn't know the answers to:

  • what kind of handcuff replicas are used in China
  • which handcuff brand(s) were discontinued and then brought back, and why
  • who introduced the Gill Flash Action manacle and when that happened
  • how much standard and other types of handcuffs weigh
  • which handcuff models are made from stainless steel
  • what kind of handcuffs people suspected of conspiring against Abraham Lincoln wore

  • Lesser known and/or more obscure celebrations, which took place earlier in February include Dump Your Significant Jerk Day on February 1. Thinking further regarding this holiday, one doesn't have to wait until February to accomplish this feat, Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbors Day on February 7 and National Lash Day on February 19. According to information gleaned from the internet, "This is a day to promote the love and need for true and false eyelashes. It is a day we all can honor our lashes."  This leads one - me - to ponder: is it really necessary to honor our eye lashes? What about eye brows? Don't they deserver some recognition, also?

    According to Wikipedia, who always seem on top of relating the source of unusual items and articles:  "Eyelashes protect the eye from debris and perform some of the same function as whiskers do on a cat or a mouse in the sense that they are sensitive to being touched, thus providing a warning that an object (such as an insect or dust mite) is near the eye (which then closes reflexively)." Nothing unusual about the information however setting aside a day to honor eyelashes is somewhat...unusual, to say or write the least.

    All of these diverse celebrations got me thinking that perhaps it's time to add yet another observance, National House Plant Day, to the list in recognition the contribution of houseplants in our lives. I mean, what would our world and lives be without these living organisms, which give us so much pleasure and ask nothing in return except routine doses of fertilizer, an occasional leaf cleaning, re-potting and insect control? Perhaps candidates running for political office should or could offer an adopt-a-plant program, promoting the concept of a house plant in every home to clear the air. Given the extent of promises that are made in an election year, it would be a laudable promise to keep. Right?

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