Friday, April 15, 2011

Today's celebrations

April 16th has a bunch of celebrations to consider:
National Eggs Benedict Day ^
National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day
Day of the Mushroom
National Librarian Day
National Auctioneers Day
Foursquare Day - Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore ^
Teach Your Daughter to Volunteer Day
Day of Silence
Stress Awareness Day
Husband Appreciation Day (Always the 3rd Saturday of April)
Pet Owners Independence Day (Always the 3rd Saturday of April)
Record Store Day (Always the 3rd Saturday of April)
Birthday - Charley Chaplin (comedian) 1889-1977 ^
World Entrepreneurship Day (WED) site
Christian Feast Day: Benedict Joseph Labre, Bernadette Soubirous, Drogo, Fructuosus of Braga, Martyrs of Zaragoza, Turibius of Astorga
Lazarus Saturday (Orthodox)
St. Bernadette's Day
St. Padarn's Day
Emancipation Day (Washington, D.C.)
National Park Week is here: From April 16th to 24th, the U.S. National Park Service will offer free admission to its 394 park sites. ^

(^ Photo credit: Eggs Benedict consisting of “English muffins topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs & hollandaise sauce” with their house potatoes in the background, as served at Orange in Chicago, Illinois, Wikipedia; Four square Day,; Chaplin in character, 1910, Wikipedia; Yosemite Valley in winter, Yosemite National Park, Photo by: QT Luong,, The National Parks, American's Best Idea)

Today's food holiday: "National Glazed Ham Day"!

Historically, spring was the time when pigs cured in the fall were ready to eat. Food is often associated with religious traditions including meals. For early Christians, embracing ham as their holiday meal was one way they affirmed their beliefs. Ham is still a common Easter dinner.
“Among Easter foods the most significant is the Easter lamb, which is in many places the main dish of the Easter Sunday meal. Corresponding to the Passover lamb and to Christ, the Lamb of God, this dish has become a central symbol of Easter. Also popular among European and Americans on Easter is ham, because the pig was considered a symbol of luck in pre-Christian Europe.” — Encyclopedia of Religion
Ham glaze is a popular twist to hams for special occasions, not only does it add flavor to your baked ham, but also keeps it tender and moist. As for the glazed, spiral cut ham, that came later. In 1937, Harry J. Hoenselaar invented a machine that cut ham uniformly to the bone, according to the HoneyBaked Ham Company . Because he could nobody would buy his patented slicer, by 1957 he had “developed a unique curing and cooking/smoking procedure and opened his own store selling a superior quality spiral sliced ham.” It became a family business and the HoneyBaked Ham Company now boasts 310 stores.

(Source: &; photo credit:;

Happy 122nd birthday tomorrow to The Tramp!

April 16th is the birthday of Sir Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin (1889 – 1977) was the first world-famous movie star, a respected movie writer, director, editor, producer and composer. He remains one of the most recognizable icons of the silver screen today. He began starring in low budget one-reeler comedies at Keystone Studios in 1914. By the end of the year, he had starred in 35 movies, many of which he directed as well, and was known around the world. By 1916, he would work for the more prestigious Mutual Studios and would be the writer, directer, star, editor, and producer of his own comedy films. In 1919, he co-founded United Artists - one of the major film studios that still operates today. He would continue making entertaining and influential comedies, shifting later to dramatic movies.
He is best known for the character of Charlot or The Tramp, a poor, downtrodden man who nevertheless takes on life with vim and alacrity, defeating the bully/policemen/figure of authority and getting the girl before walking into the sunset.
Today's google doodle silent film piece is a tribute to Chaplin.

(Source:; photo credits: Standing Chaplin,; Closeup Chaplin,

Today's celebrations

April 15th has a bunch of celebrations to consider:
Tax Day: Income Tax Pay Day (US & Philippines)
National Take a Wild Guess Day
National That Sucks Day
Rubber Eraser Day
National Glazed Ham Day *
Global Youth Service Day
Law of universal gravitation Day (1726): Isaac Newton develops theory upon seeing an apple fall in his garden
DNA Day (varies) 
Education and Sharing Day
Titanic Remembrance Day: The Titanic hits an iceberg in the Northern Atlantic ocean as sinks. (1912)
Jackie Robinson Day: Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier in 1947 (Major League Baseball)

Christian Feast Day: Abbo II of Metz, Father Damien Day (Hawaii), Hunna, Paternus of Avranches
St. Aristarchus' Day
Arirang Festival, held to commemorate Kim Il-sung's birth. (North Korea)
Fordicidia, in honor of Tellus. (Roman Empire)
Father Damien Day (HI)
Emancipation Day' observed (DC)
Latest day on which New Year festivals in South and Southeast Asian cultures can fall. (see April 14)

(* in posts, previously or to follow)

(^ Photo credit: Tax maze,; DNA,; Titanic siniking,

Today's food holiday: "National Pecan Day"!

April 14th is "National Pecan Day"!
Not to be confused with "Pecan Day" which was March 25th, National Pecan Month (April) or "National Pecan Pie Day" which is July 12th.
The name "pecan" is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe "a nut requiring a stone to crack.” The pecan is the only nut indigenous to North America. It is estimated that in the 1500’s, Native Americans utilized and cultivated wild pecans. It is speculated that pecans were used to produce a fermented intoxicating drink called "Powcohicora" (where the word "hickory" comes from). There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.  Many are named for Native American Indian tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
Why April 14th? George Washington planted pecan nuts several times at Mount Vernon in an effort to grow trees. He also received pecan seedlings from Thomas Jefferson in 1794. Thomas Jefferson gave "Illinois nuts" (Pecans, Carya illinoinensis) from his nut orchard at his home in Monticello, Va., to George Washington. It is believed that on April 14th (and/or March 25th), Washington planted the trees at Mount Vernon, VA. (Side note: The pecan tree in the photo was estimated to be 140 years old and this tree does not date to Washington’s lifetime and was probably planted in the 1860s.  It was removed on Monday, March 1, 2004, in order to protect George Washington’s home. The tree, irreparably damaged during Hurricane Isabel last fall, stands 140 feet tall and is one of two towering pecan trees located within a precarious 115 feet of the Mansion.)
Washington and Jefferson's pecans were not the first, as they were cultivated by Native Americans and were a favorite of pre-colonial residents. It is one of the first known cultivated pecan tree plantings, by Spanish colonists and Franciscans in northern Mexico, appears to have taken place in the late 1600’s or early 1700’s. These plantings are documented to around 1711—about 60 years before the first recorded planting by U.S. colonists. 
One of the most common desserts with the pecan as a central ingredient is the pecan pie, a traditional southern U.S. recipe. Pecans are also a major ingredient in praline candy, most often associated with New Orleans. In addition to the pecan nut, the wood is also used in making furniture, in wood flooring, as well as flavoring fuel for smoking meats.

In the United States, pecans are second in popularity only to peanuts (which are not even true nuts). The United States produces about eighty percent of the world's pecans. Albany, Georgia, which boasts more than 600,000 pecan trees, is the pecan capital of the U.S.  Many southern states host annual National Pecan Festivals, usually in the Fall. In 1919 the 36th Texas Legislature made the pecan tree the state tree of Texas. In southeast Texas, the Texas Pecan Festival is celebrated every year. In 1906 then Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg asked that a pecan tree be planted at his grave instead of a traditional headstone, requesting that the nuts be distributed throughout the state to make Texas a "Land of Trees"
Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats and help reduce high cholesterol. Like walnuts (which pecans resemble), pecans are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, although pecans contain about half as much omega-6 as walnuts. A diet rich in nuts can lower the risk of gallstones in women and eating pecans daily may delay age-related muscle nerve degeneration.

(Source: Wikipedia,,, &; photo credit: pecan in cracked shell, sandy creek; Fall pecan tree at Mt. Vernon,; Winter pecan tree and Mount Vernon by zachstern,; pecan pie, allpierecipes.comPecans with and without shells, US Department of Agriculture, Wikipedia)

Today's celebrations (actually yesterday's)

April 14th has a bunch of celebrations to consider:
National Pecan Day * ^
Look up at the Sky Day
Reach as High as You Can Day 
International Moment of Laughter Day
Children With Alopecia Day (overall hair loss)
National D.A.R.E Day
Pan-American Day
Ex Spouse Day

President Abraham Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., 1865 (He died the next day) 

Christian Feast Day: Bénézet, Domnina of Terni, Lidwina, Peter González
St. Tiburtius' Day
Day of Mologa (Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia)
N'Ko Alphabet Day (Mande speakers)
Ambedkar Jayanti (India)
Black Day (South Korea)
Youth Day (Angola)
Dia De Las Americas (Honduras)
Vaisakhi (India)
Cultural Unity Day, recognized by India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal

New Year festivals in South and Southeast Asian cultures, celebrated on the sidereal vernal equinox: ^
-Assamese New Year, or Rongali Bihu (India's Assam Valley)
-Bengali New Year, or Pohela Boishakh (Bangladesh and India's West Bengal state)
-Burmese New Year, or Thingyan (Burma)
-Hindu and Sikh New Year, or Vaisakhi (Punjab region)
-Khmer New Year, or Chol Chnam Thmey, most commonly celebrated on April 13 (Cambodia)
-Lao New Year, or Songkan / Pi Mai Lao, generally celebrated from 13 to 15 April (Laos)
-Malayali New Year, or Vishu (India's Kerala state)
-Nepali New Year, or Bikram Samwat / Vaishak Ek (Nepal)
-Oriya New Year, or Maha Visuba Sankranthi (India's Orissa state)
-Sinhalese New Year, or Aluth Avurudhu (Sri Lanka)
-Tamil New Year, or Puthandu (India's Tamil Nadu state)
-Thai New Year, or Songkran, celebrated from 13 to 15 April (Thailand)
-Tuluva New Year, or Bisu (India's Karnataka state)
-The first day of Takayama Spring Festival (Takayama)

(* in posts, previously or to follow)

(^ Photo credits:; Team Singapore fireworks display from Singapore Fireworks Festival 2006, Wikipedia)