Sunday, April 20, 2014

Holidays and Observances for April 20 2014

National Pot Smokers Day

April 20 is "National Pot Smoking Day." It's a day where people across the world celebrate in the conspicuous consumption of the magical herb, marijuana. It's an unofficial counterculture holiday that is based on the simple concept of smoking some cannabis and being happy.

The history of its origin is somewhat cloudy. I found some interesting theories into the beginning of this toker's holiday. The most convincing account was recorded in the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the editor of High Times, Steven Hager, the term "420" originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971, among a group of about a dozen pot-smoking students who called themselves the Waldos. The term was shorthand for the time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis Pasteur, to smoke pot. Intent on developing their own discreet language, they made 420 a code for a time to get high, and its use spread among members of an entire generation through various vehicles like the music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Other versions say 420 originated from a police dispatch code that identified pot smokers or that 420 was the number of chemical compounds that are found in pot.

Whatever its true origin may be, 420 Day is now firmly implanted in the marijuana subculture. The true significance of this day, beyond the fact that it brings together people to celebrate the use of marijuana, is that it's a day to explore the meaning of the freedom - or the lack thereof - to indulge in its use. Despite being a popular drug that is enjoyed by millions of Americans, it is still classified as an illegal substance. Penalties range from the stigma of arrest to fines and even imprisonment.

Currently, there is a tremendous amount of activity in the marijuana arena. Many states like New Jersey and Illinois are calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. This was in the wake of a recent policy shift by the Obama administration. It openly called for the limitation of prosecuting sick people who use the drug for medical purposes or to the caregivers that dispense it in states that have passed medical marijuana legislation.

Recently in California, San Francisco lawmaker, Tom Ammiano, introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. "With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense," Ammiano told reporters. "This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes. California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana."

Advocates point out that thirteen states already regulate medical marijuana. "Marijuana already plays a huge role in the California economy. It's a revenue opportunity we literally can't afford to ignore any longer," said Stephen Gutwillig, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "It's time to end the charade of marijuana prohibition, tax the $14 billion market, and redirect criminal justice resources to matters of real public safety. Assemblyman Ammiano has done the state an enormous service by breaking the silence on this commonsense solution."

On May 2 there will be a worldwide marijuana march that will be held in over 544 cities in 54 nations around the world to celebrate the medicinal value and spiritual benefits of marijuana. 

The principal organizer of the event is veteran activist, Dana Beal. He believes that this is a critical year for the cause. Beal is especially concerned about the large amount of pot arrests involving nonviolent citizens who choose to smoke it in the privacy of their own homes. "Criminalizing millions of people - nearly 10 percent of the total US population for smoking a plant is ridiculous" he says. Numerous scientific studies since President Nixon's Shafer Commission have proved this. Beal also believes that the money spent by the criminal justice system to prosecute and jail harmless pot smokers would be better spent on our educational system and health care.

The debate on the legalization of marijuana continues. It's up to the millions of pot smokers across our nation who use 4/20 as a day to light up to get involved in changing the prohibition that ruins so many lives and takes away the legal right to consume what we want in our own bodies, without the threat of governmental interference.


Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a movable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

he exact origins of this religious feast day’s name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter.

Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance. Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before Lent, known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples; Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-day period following Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

In addition to Easter’s religious significance, it also has a commercial side, as evidenced by the mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring. As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy, have become a standard part of this holy holiday.

National pineapple upside-down cake day

There are many types of desserts that come in the form of pies and cakes, but today is a day to celebrate just one special cake. Today is a day to turn everything upside down. Why? April 20 is National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day.

An upside-down cake is a cake that is baked in a single pan, then turned over and eaten upside-down. Even though in the United States, the pineapple upside-down-cake is the most popular, there are other upside down cakes. Usually chopped fruits such as apples and cherries are used in upside-down cakes.

To make an upside-down-cake, butter and sugar topping are placed on the bottom of the pan before the batter is poured in. When turned upside down, this combination forms a decorative topping.

It seems hard to believe that the pineapple-upside-down cake has not always been with around. That's because canned pineapples were not available until 1903 when Jim Dole of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company decided to put them in a can.

By 1925, the pineapple upside-down-cake had become a favorite in most households. Today the pineapple upside-down-cake is a popular dessert that is so easy to make.

Celebrate National pineapple upside-down-cake by either baking one yourself by using a quick and easy recipe or by picking up one from the local bakery for your family.

Lima Bean Respect Day

Today is Lima Bean Respect Day! Did you know that lima beans are incredibly good for you? They are filled with nutritious fiber, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Lima beans are also low in fat and contain protease inhibitors that stall the development of cancerous cells. Lima beans may not be your favorite healthy vegetable, but today is the day to show them some respect!

Humans have been cultivating lima beans since 6000 BC. Today, people use them in recipes for soups, spreads, casseroles, and salads. In Japan, green baby lima beans are an important ingredient in bean paste, which is a popular dessert. Succotash, a dish usually found in the southern region of the United States, combines lima beans, corn, and chili peppers.

To celebrate Lima Bean Respect Day, enjoy some tasty lima beans cooked your favorite way!

National Look Alike Day

Oh Boy! It's Look Alike Day. Time to look like somebody else.....copycat.

Today's a day to find someone you really look up to, and try to look like them. Start with the hair. Cut and style your hair, as needed,  to look like the person you've selected to look like. Then, select items from your wardrobe (or buy some new clothes!) that your lookalike wears. Along the way, make sure to practice and copy their walk, their talk, and their facial expressions. In other words. try to be as identical to that person as possible.

Who should you look like? Anyone you want. Its as simple as that. Pick an actor or actress, a singer, a politician, family member or friend.

Look alike contests and parties are a great idea for today.

Most Famous Look Alikes (Impersonators): Elvis Presley, The "King". Also, current and past presidents.

National Pineapple Upside-down Cake Day

National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day

Not April 20th, but EASTER is always National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day. Its a floating holiday.

Oddly enough, with yesterday in mind, Baked ham is often referred to as “picnic ham” because it is a quintessential picnic item.  Although, it’s not what I think of when I think of a picnic.  I don’t know who decided pineapples go well with ham, or when they decided it, but it is a very common topping for baked ham.

The tradition of having ham on Easter goes back to pre-biblical pagan traditions, where a pig was to be slaughtered on the first Sunday after the full moon (which is how the day of Easter is decided).  There is a long involved legend about the people of Babylon and a false god named Ishtar or Baal.  But essentially it is just another pagan tradition rewritten into the Catholic teachings.

Volunteer Recognition Day

Volunteer Recognition Day is celebrated on April 20, 2014. It honors all volunteers who are working on behalf of others without being motivated by financial or material gain. You can celebrate Volunteer Recognition Day by thanking volunteers for their work, involving yourself in a volunteer activity or by donating to a volunteer group. 

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity and is intended to promote good or improve human quality of life. In return, this activity produces a feeling of self-worth and respect; however, there is no financial gain. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development, socialization, and fun. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. 

Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.