Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Holidays and Observances for March 26 2014

Manatee Appreciation Day

Manatees are aquatic mammals known for their immense size and jowly appearance. Manatees might not make the list of cutest animals, but enough manatee enthusiasts exist for there to be a Manatee Appreciation Day.

Manatee Appreciation Day is devoted to raising awareness about these quirky creatures. Unfortunately, manatees are endangered. Although hunting manatees is usually illegal, they continue to be poached for their meat and hide. Also, manatees are often fatally injured in collisions with boats. It is important to increase manatee awareness so that these fascinating animals will continue to exist in the future.

Manatee Appreciation Day events usually take place in areas with large manatee populations, such as Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. Zoos and marine biology centres may offer special manatee-related programming on Manatee Appreciation Day. You can celebrate Manatee Appreciation Day anywhere by researching manatees, starting your own awareness campaign, or donating to manatee conservation programs.

In the past, the manatee was hunted for its meat, fat and hide, but today is protected by several state and federal laws. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 make it a crime to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammals, including the manatee. If convicted at a federal level, violators face a fine up to $100,000 and/or prison time of up to one year. In addition, the manatee is protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. Anyone convicted under this act faces a $500 fine and/or jail time up to sixty days.

Because manatees are such gentle, friendly creatures, people often make the mistake of trying to interact with them in the water. Also, because manatees make their homes in the same waters that people use for recreation, they are at risk for injury and death from being hit by boat propellers and other water craft. It is incredibly important that when playing in these areas to be mindful of the manatee and do your best to avoid any kind of contact whatsoever with these animals.

Dos and Don’ts:
  • Don’t enter any area designated as a manatee sanctuary for any reason.
  • Don’t pursue a manatee in the water.
  • Don’t disturb a resting manatee. Doing so is unlawful.
  • Don’t ever attempt to feed a manatee or give it water. Doing so “tames” a manatee and interferes with its ability to survive on its own.
  • Don’t ever attempt to touch a manatee for any reason.
  • Don’t attempt to corner or surround a manatee.
  • Don’t ever attempt to separate a calf from its mother.
Taking part in any of these activities can interfere with a manatee’s natural existence. If manatees become dependent upon humans for food, water or entertainment, it could eventually lead to their death. But we don’t mind people getting close enough to film these gentle giants, and your kids should get a kick out of this video as the manatees frolic in their own weird way…

Legal Assistants Day

This day honors those skilled persons who work hard and  perform a variety of support jobs for supervising lawyers.  Legal assistants work diligently behind the scenes and are continuing to assume new responsibilities  in legal offices.

From the American Bar Association: "A legal assistant or paralegal is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." Under this definition, the legal responsibility for a paralegal's work rests directly and solely upon the lawyer.

National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Today is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day! If you've been following our daily Reasons to Celebrate, then you know how many interesting and unique holidays there are in the world. Today is your chance to make one up!

Establishing an official national holiday is not an easy process. For example, in the 1800s Sarah Josepha Hale decided that our nation should observe a national day of thanks. She wrote countless letters to politicians, governors, and even the president. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln agreed to Hale’s proposal, but Thanksgiving did not become an official national holiday until 1941!

To celebrate Make Up Your Own Holiday Day, come up with a creative, meaningful, or quirky idea for a holiday. Invite friends and family over tonight for its first annual celebration!

National Nougat Day

National Nougat Day is one of the many food holidays celebrated in the United States. National Nougat Day is celebrated on March 26th each year. 

Nougat is a light, chewy, pink or white confection or sugar paste. It is similar to caramel in its consistency. It can contain chopped nuts or dried fruit. It is often found inside of candy bars but can also be seen in other food creations such as cheesecake and ice cream. Nougat can be made by a home cook but is considered somewhat challenging to make. Nougat is made of sugar, corn syrup, honey, egg whites, salt and vanilla. It can be eaten by itself or made into a candy bar by adding nuts to the nougat and coated with melted chocolate.

Although nothing is known on how or why National Nougat Day was started, there is some knowledge on the history of nougat. Most historians feel that nougat comes from Ancient Rome. One offering Romans made to their gods included a sweet made from honey, almonds and eggs. Torrone, the Italian word for nougat, was first documented in Italy in 1441. It was made for the wedding of Francesco Sforza and Maria Bianca Visconti in Cremona.

To celebrate National Nougat Day, people can look up the romantic history of nougat. The celebration can also include buying a candy bar that contains nougat. People who like a challenging recipe can make some homemade nougat and share it with friends and family. There are no official celebrations for the national holiday.

National Spinach Day

Celebrate your inner Popeye and pop open some spinach - March 26 is National Spinach Day!

Not only is spinach crazy good for you, but there are a multitude of delicious ways to enjoy this leafy green. See how many you can try today, and you'll be feeling as healthy and buff as the famous sailorman.

Spinach originated in ancient Persia, eventually making its way to Italy in 827 and finally gracing European tables in the 1300s. Its appearance in early spring made this a fast favorite when other vegetables were scarce during Lenten diets. For this reason, spinach has the great honor of being mentioned in the first known English cookbook.

When Catherine de'Medici became the queen of France in 1522, she insisted that spinach be served at every meal because she loved it so. Today when you hear of spinach dishes referred to as "Florentine," that is because Catherine was born in Florence.

Spinach is available in a variety of types: Savoy, flat leaf and semi-savoy. Savoy is a nice dark green color with curly leaves, sold in fresh bunches. Flat leaf shows up mostly canned, frozen, in soups or baby food. Semi-savoy is a hybrid variety with crinkly leaves and appears fresh and processed.

Spinach Festival Day

In 1936 the Winter Garden Chamber of Commerce organized its first Spinach Festival. Bushels of spinach surrounded the platform, and people dressed as Popeye and other Popeye cartoon characters danced with joy as the band played “La Paloma.” Texas Governor James V. Allred proudly proclaimed Crystal City as “The Spinach Capital of the World” that same year.

Virginia Speedy was the first Acelga Queen. Princesses were Evelyn Moore, Dorothy Cox, Charlotte Spun, Lanice J. Parsons, Marianne Reeves & Ruby Englert.

The first festival was a great success and the tradition of the annual event held until 1941 when World War II ended all festivals.

In 1982, forty-one years later, the Spinach Festival was revived. On March 6, 1987 Crystal City Festival Association President Mike Delgado presented a letter from President Ronald Reagan to the residents of Crystal City recognizing it as the nation’s leading producer and shipper of spinach in the world.

The Crystal City Festival Association commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Popeye statue during the Spinach Festival on November 12 – 15, 1987, and the entire community responded with enormous enthusiasm to the unforgettable celebration. During the Festival, Delgado unveiled a proclamation from King Features Syndicate, Incorporated wherein the President of the Board, Joseph F. DiAngelo, promoted every resident of Crystal City to captaincy in Popeye’s crew. Dignitaries from all over the United States, as well as special guests from all parts of the world, have gathered to pay special tribute to the Spinach Capital of the World and its patron Saint Popeye.

The Crystal City Spinach Festival is a family-oriented celebration of Crystal City’s agricultural heritage and is held every second weekend in November. More than 60,000 people come to Crystal City to celebrate during the three-day event that includes a parade, free musical entertainment by famous and soon-to-be famous musical groups, a spinach cook-off, 5K run, custom car show, dance contests, arts and crafts, sports tournaments, beauty pageant, carnival, and much more.

In 1996 the Festival was chosen as one of the top 200 events by Special Events Network magazine on their “Coast to Coast” event map, and has also been mentioned in issues of Texas Highway and Texas Monthly magazines, and has been recognized by the publishers of the Special Event Industry and Event Business News, two leading publications in the special event industry.

Sometime during 1936 Ernest Mortenson of the Winter Garden Chamber of Commerce suggested sending a note of appreciation to E.C. Segar for his promotion of spinach through his Popeye cartoons. E.C. Segar was the originator of the famous spinach-eating hero of the high seas. He replied to the Chamber letter, assuring them that spinach was his favorite food and that he wanted all his children to enjoy eating this nutritious food. His letter was printed in the local paper – the Zavala Sentinel – and eventually found its way to the San Antonio Express News. A reader of that paper, O.P. Schnabel, suggested that a Popeye statue be built funded by public donations. Plans for the statue were made and sent to Segar for approval; he loved the idea of having a statue that would symbolize the nutritional value of his beloved spinach. He sanctioned the creation of the statue in Crystal City, and drew a special cartoon with Popeye, Olive Oyl and Wimpy coming to the Crystal City Spinach Festival.

On March 26, 1937 the Popeye statue was dedicated and Schable visited to help dedicate the scultpture “To All The Children Of The World.” Two local beauties, Marion Brennan and Doris Williams, posed on the Popeye statue for National Geographic Magazine.

Segar never had the opportunity to visit the testament to his enduring cartoon character, though, as he died in 1938 of Hodgkin’s Disease at the age of 44.

Purple Day

Purple Day is an event designed to raise awareness of epilepsy. Beginning in 2008, people are encouraged to wear a purple-coloured item of clothing on March 26. Purple and lavender are often associated with epilepsy, as for example in the wearing of a lavender ribbon.

Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy's goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia came on board in 2008 to help develop Cassidy's idea, which is now known as the Purple Day for Epilepsy campaign.

In 2009, the New York-based Anita Kaufmann Foundation and Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia joined forces to launch Purple Day internationally. The combined efforts of AKF and EANS have led to the involvement of numerous organizations, schools, businesses, politicians and celebrities around the world. On March 26, 2009, over 100,000 students, 95 workplaces and 116 politicians participated in Purple Day.

In March 2009, the official USA Purple Day Party was launch was organized[clarification needed] by the New York-based Anita Kaufmann Foundation - a charity dedicated to educating the public about epilepsy. Canadian Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman was one of many special guests that attended the official launch at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City. Paul Shaffer's cousin is an epileptologist in Toronto, Canada. Mr. Shaffer is familiar with some of the barriers that affect person's with epilepsy and wanted to attend the event to offer his support for Cassidy Megan's campaign 

As the global sponsors of Purple Day, both organizations are committed to partnering with individuals and organizations around the world to promote epilepsy awareness.

Deirdre Floyd, President of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia and Chair of the Purple Day for Epilepsy Campaign, member agency of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance says: “ "We are very proud of Cassidy Megan, and after reading various email postings we know her Purple Day for Epilepsy Campaign is making a difference to help others internationally to bring epilepsy out of the shadows. “ The Purple Day New York Party is the perfect way to get the message out there —with the help of some incredible celebrities to boot."