Monday, March 3, 2014

Holidays and Observances for March 3 2014

Casimir Pulaski Day

Casimir Pulaski Day is an annual holiday in Illinois, in the United States, on the first Monday of March. It celebrates the birthday of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish born soldier who is remembered for his contribution to American independence.

Casimir Pulaski Day is a legal holiday for city and county offices, as well as schools in Illinois. It is common for schools to include in their class teachings historical activities related to well-known patriots in American history, such as Casimir Pulaski, prior to the holiday. These activities give students a chance to learn about the country’s history and how it was shaped by the events that took place and people who contributed to these events.

The day is also celebrated among Americans in other states, including Polish-American communities. Various celebratory events may include group gatherings, street parades, and special ceremonies. Some community leaders may hold special activities to honor Pulaski and give public speeches. Some media usually write or broadcast information about Pulaski on or around Casimir Pulaski Day.

Casimir Pulaski (Kazimierz PuĊ‚aski) is known for his contributions to American independence. He was known as the “Father of American Cavalry”. He was born in Warka, Poland, on March 4, 1747. His father was one of the founding members of the Confederation of Bar, which begin in 1768 and took up arms against Russia, which controlled Poland at the time. After his father’s death, Casimir took over military command and his brilliance earned him an impressive reputation. However, it was not long before he was accused of being involved in a plot to kill the king and was forced into exile.

Pulaski travelled to Paris and met Benjamin Franklin, who enlisted him to help in the American Revolution in North America. He soon joined George Washington’s army. His first military engagement against the British troops was at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. After a dashing charge at Brandywine that allowed the American army to escape from the British, he was rewarded with a commission as brigadier general and the command of all American cavalry.

In 1779 Pulaski and his troops broke the British siege of Charleston, South Carolina. He was then sent to Savannah in a joint campaign with French allies. Seeing the French attack failing, Pulaski went into battle to rally the soldiers and was hit by a shot from a cannon. He died two days later (October 11, 1779) and was buried at sea. The United States Congress passed a joint resolution conferring honorary US citizenship on Pulaski in 2009, sending it to the president for approval. President Barack Obama signed the bill on November 6, 2009.

Various paintings, monuments, bridges and parks were created to honor Casimir Pulaski’s life and work. For example, there is a US Navy submarine, known as the USS Casimir Pulaski. There is also the Pulaski Memorial in Patterson Park in Baltimore, Maryland. Schools, museums, and even cities and counties in some parts of the United States are also named after Pulaski.

A commemorative stamp was issued on January 16, 1931, to honor Pulaski. The US Postal Service also issued a postal card on September 11, 1979. The card featured Pulaski on horseback at the siege of Savannah in 1779.

Fun Facts About Names Day

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," wrote William Shakespeare in "Romeo and Juliet."
Fun Facts About Names Day is day to explore for interesting facts about names. These can be facts about your name (first or last), about a friend or family member's, or about names in general. Below are some ideas...
  • What does your name mean?
  • What famous people have shared your name?
  • Was your name changed when it was Americanized?
  • What other words or phrases can you make from your name by rearranging the letters?
  • Does Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon (or other cartoon/fictional characters) have a last name?
  • What were the names of the dogs who lived in the White House?
This holiday is part of the Celebrate Your Name Week (CYNW) which was established in 1997 by onomatology hobbyist Jerry Hill.

I Want You to be Happy Day

March 3 is I Want You To Be Happy Day. As you go about this day, remember that the point is not for others to make you happy, but each and every one of us to do what we can to bring joy to someone else’s life. (Of course, the act of doing something kind for another often makes the doer happy as well, but that is never the point.

You have to put yourself in the other person’s shoes before figuring out how to make that person happy. Flowers can cause smiles . . . or sneezes. One person would love to be taken out to dinner, while another would like nothing more than to be given a completely free evening alone with a book. Just remember, whoever you are dealing with on I Want You To Be Happy Day, your goal is to make that person happy.

National Anthem Day

It’s National Anthem Day! In 1814, a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Key penned the verses after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The sight of the American flag flying triumphantly over Fort McHenry in the morning inspired his legendary words.

Key decided to set his piece to music, and borrowed the tune from a popular song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Not long after it was first published, people began referring to the piece as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The song became an overnight success, and bands began playing it during public events and military occasions. In March of 1931, over a hundred years after Key wrote it, “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the official national anthem of the United States.

Do you know all of the words to the national anthem (including verses two, three, and four)? Today's a great day to refresh your memory. Happy National Anthem Day!

National Cold Cuts Day

Whether you prefer salami, pastrami, pepperoni or B-O-L-O-G-N-A, today is all about those precooked sliced meats Americans love to eat. It’s National Cold Cuts Day! While the origins of this annual food holiday are unknown, National Cold Cuts Day is celebrated around the nation each year on March 3rd.

Cold Cuts
These popular precooked meats can be eaten straight out of the vacuum-sealed packages or made to serve at your favorite deli counter. In fact, deli meats are the most popular item at the deli counter. Whether you eat ‘em out of the package, in appetizers or in hoagies or submarine sandwiches, today’s cold cuts are readily available in a slew of flavors, shapes and sizes. Besides the more common varieties, there are other lesser known, speciality varieties like headcheese, liverwurst, tongue loaf, chorizo and blood tongue sausage, to name a few. Cold cuts are also referred to as luncheon meats or sliced meats. But no matter what you call ‘em, folks have been enjoying cold cuts for years.

National Mulled Wine Day

It does seem strange that National Mulled Wine Day comes when it’s nearly Spring instead of in the dead of winter or at holiday time when its cheering comfort is more welcome and more needed. What could be more comforting than sitting around a crackling fire cradling mugs of steamy and fragrant Hot Mulled Wine.

Mulled wine recipes are usually inappropriate on all counts. First, they usually tell you to use a good varietal wine. WRONG! Mulled wine was invented as a way to make not so good wine tolerable. Besides, after you have add all that cinnamon, clove, ginger nutmeg and whatever else, who is going to be able to tell if you began with a Merlot, Cabernet or Zinfandel, let alone what vintage it was. Save your good wines for when it counts and use jug wine for mulling.

The next thing wrong with most mulled wine recipes is that they have you add the spices and other agents to the wine and cook the wine. This is wrong on two counts. If the wine is heated with the spices for long enough for the spices to impart their flavors, then most of the alcohol and any character the wine originally may have had will have cooked out of the wine. If you heat it for a short enough period of time that the alcohol is still there, then there will be very little flavor of the spices.

To make a truly exceptionally delicious mulled wine, you first make a simple syrup with the spices, then add the syrup to the wine, to taste, and apply heat just long enough to heat it but not long enough to damage the wine. I think you will find this recipe an excellent one. Also, you can make your syrup up in bulk and store it in the fridge, ready to use throughout the winter, whenever you want a tasty tipple.

What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day

How would life be different if your pet had opposable thumbs? Would your cat abuse her can-opener privileges? Would your dog open the pantry door or raid the cupboards?

A holiday to be grateful that our pets don't have a better grip.
How would life be different if your pet had opposable thumbs? Would your cat abuse her can-opener privileges? Would your dog open the pantry door or raid the cupboards? Well now there's a day to imagine these scenarios... and be grateful that they're not possible. March 3 is What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day.

Most species do not have opposable digits, which allow for the development of fine motor skills and precise hand-eye coordination. With opposable thumbs, one can accomplish dexterous tasks such as writing and using tools. That's how ancient humans built fires, cooked their food, and invented crude axes, knifes, spears and scrapers made out of stone, wood and bone.

Opposable Thumbs Day is the brainchild of Thomas Roy. He has appeared in a movie with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, but that may not be his biggest claim to fame. He and his wife, Ruth, are the creators of more than 90 holidays, perhaps none quirkier than the one that's celebrated on March 3.

The Brad Pitt movie in which Roy played a street preacher was the 1995 time-travel thriller 12 Monkeys, which is fitting because opposable thumbs are the signature feature of the primate family. However, it wasn't his time on set that inspired him to create this wacky holiday.

Roy explains, "Having cats and dogs in the house for the past 45 years, it suddenly dawned on me that they've always been beholden to me for food. They run to the kitchen at the sound of the can opener, or even the lifting of the glass lid of the cheese dome. So one day about 15 years ago, I knew I had to create a day that all pet owners would appreciate: how things could go very awry if these pals of ours could get stuff out of the fridge, open cans, lift the cheese dome, open doors, and who knows ... drive off with the car?"

The image of a cat operating a can opener does make the mind wander to the other ramifications of pets getting a grip, so to speak. Consider, for example, this comic strip in which a cat with opposable thumbs devises a more effective way to wake up her owners. What would life be like if your pet had opposable thumbs? Feel free to share these imagined hi-jinks in the comments section below.

So how does one celebrate Opposable Thumbs Day? Roy recommends, "Get on your knees and give thanks that your pet doesn't€™t have thumbs!"

Or better yet, take some time to appreciate the extraordinary abilities that your pet already has. Here's one petcentric pet who doesn't even need thumbs to open the refrigerator and fetch a beer for his owner. As long as you've got the thumbs to throw a ball or open the front door to go on a walk, your pet is good to go. With an owner like you, who needs opposable thumbs?

World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

Wildlife has an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of sustainable development and human well-being. For these reasons, all member States, the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, non-governmental organizations and individuals, are invited to observe and to get involved in this global celebration of wildlife.

The secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in collaboration with other relevant United Nations organizations, facilitates the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.

Previously, 3 March had been designated as World Wildlife Day in a resolution made at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013. The CITES resolution was sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the Host of CITES CoP16, which transmitted the outcomes of CITES CoP16 to the UN General Assembly.

Peach Blossom Day

Peach Blossom Day is observed on March 03. It is a day to celebrate peach blossoms and a day for girls to celebrate being girls. Peach Blossom Day refers to the Japanese Doll Festival, which takes place on March 3.

The peach, Prunus persica, is a deciduous tree, native to China and South Asia, where it was first cultivated. It bears an edible juicy fruit also called a peach. The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, pink, with five petals. The fruit has yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a skin that is either velvety in different cultivars.

Peaches are not only a popular fruit, but are symbolic in many cultural traditions, such as in art, paintings and folk tales such as Peaches of Immortality. Momotaro, one of Japan's most noble and semihistorical heroes, was born from within an enormous peach floating down a stream. Momotaro or "Peach Boy" went on to fight evil oni and face many adventures.