Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 21 2014

American Red Cross Founder's Day

In Washington, D.C., humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross, an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross.

Barton, born in Massachusetts in 1821, worked with the sick and wounded during the American Civil War and became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield" for her tireless dedication. In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war, and with the extensive records she had compiled during the war she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.

She was in Europe in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and she went behind the German lines to work for the International Red Cross. In 1873, she returned to the United States, and four years later she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912.

I Need a Patch for That Day

Some holidays are set up with the express purpose of ensuring that something we often take for granted or miss entirely receives the honour that it deserves.

I Need A Patch For That Day is a good example of that. Quite simply, it is a day in which we sit back and celebrate the humble patch in all its forms. You may be wondering what sort of patch is referred to, and the answer is that it is every single type of patch that you can imagine: from patches in clothes to nicotine patches, from software patches to patchwork quilts.

Do we really need a day to celebrate patches? Well, think about it. Every single day we take many little things for granted, even though we would often struggle without them. Think of I Need A Patch For That Day as an idea that helps us to appreciate those little things in life.

National Employee Health and Fitness Day

National Employee Health and Fitness Day (NEHFD), is a national observance celebrated the third (3rd) Wednesday in May, and was created to promote the benefits of physical activity for individuals through their work site health promotion activities. 
“Even though NEHFD is a one day celebration, it raises awareness about the physical and fiscal benefits of establishing and maintaining healthy habits at work,” said Nichole Kelley-Korson, Governor’s Council Director of Active Work Environments. (2006) 
How Can I Promote This Program? 
  • Sponsor a healthy breakfast or lunch 
  • Leave a piece of fruit on employee’s workstation 
  • Host a “fitness walk” during lunch breaks; get the CEO to lead the walk 
  • Encourage employees to hand deliver messages rather using e-mail or voicemail 
  • Provide worksite health screenings on May 21 
  • Invite a fitness instructor to offer before or after work demonstrations on May 21. 
How Can My Company Benefit? 
  • Increased productivity among employees 
  • Reduced rates of absenteeism and sickness 
  • Increased well-being among employees 
  • Improved physical fitness and stamina 
  • Reduced stress among employees

National Memo Day

Note to self – May 21 is National Memo Day! While the origins of this annual holiday are unknown, today is all about those handy dandy memos, those useful notes that bring attention to and solve various problems, issues and concerns and serve as important reminders.

From important dates, addresses and telephone numbers to directions, grocery lists and to-do lists, memos can be written on just about anything. From sticky post-it notes and pieces of scrap paper, to napkins and formal memorandum notes, memos are must-haves in today’s busy society.

Make a note - when in doubt, write it out!

All About Memos
  • Check out these Free Memo Templates for various memorandum designs.
  • Learn How to Write a Memo.
  • Add a virtual Post-it Note to your computer desktop with this 30-day trial version of Post-it Digital Notes.
  • Make your own Post-it Notes with this Custom Post-it Notes Generator.
National Waitstaff Day

National Waitstaff Day is celebrated on May 21st of each year. Waiting staff, wait staff, or waitstaff are those who work at a restaurant or a bar attending customers — supplying them with food and drink as requested. Traditionally, a male waiting tables is called a “waiter” and a female a “waitress” with the gender-neutral version being a “server”. Other gender-neutral versions include using “waiter” indiscriminately for males and females, “waitperson”, or the little-used Americanism “waitron”, which was coined in the 1980s.

Waiting on tables is (along with nursing and teaching) part of the service sector, and among the most common occupations in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, as of May 2008, there were over 2.2 million persons employed as servers in the U.S.

Many businesses choose for the people waiting to all wear a uniform, a tradition that has been around in the waiting industry for centuries.

In recent times there has been a trend towards automation in the service of food and drink waiting, with the advent of technologies such as robotics to take on the waiting roles that once required human staff.

Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

“Turn Beauty Inside Out (TBIO) is a grassroots celebration of healthy media images that promotes critical analysis of sexism in media. It was created in 2000 by a group of girls ages 8-16, the Girls Editorial Board of New Moon Girls.” ( 

You’d be pretty hard pressed arguing that today’s society has a healthy view on appearance and “beauty”. The media constantly promotes the idea that in order to be happy we must be both young and beautiful…both things which disappear with the years. For a while the media practically screamed “skinny” at us, promoting unrealistic and unhealthy body ideals. The perfect woman had to be the most petit size in the store and women who were bigger than a size 12 incredibly ugly. Now there seems to be a bit of a shift in the culture of beauty. Except I’m not very happy with it.

While it’s great that people are now looking at women who are a size 12 and saying “day-um! Check out those sexy, healthy curves!” the pressure for people to look a certain kind of “beautiful” has not lessened. On the internet you’ll find a bunch of comparison photos, usually displaying some models, size 6 or 8 (Australian sizing…for comparison a size 6 is generally the smallest size you’ll find in a store, sometimes size 8), thin, yes, but not unhealthily so, and some models about size 12 or 14, with a caption saying something like “Now which is more beautiful?”. Below it you’ll find comments saying how beautiful the curvy women are and how disgusting the skinny women are. To me this is just as bad! Congratulations to the people bullying others for being “so skinny it’s ugly”…you’ve become exactly the same as the bully that teased the fat kid in the playground. 

Beauty shouldn’t matter. And by that, I means looks shouldn’t matter. Everyone can be beautiful – in the ways that actually count – whether they are a size 6 or a size 26! We should not be slandering people because they are “too fat” or “too skinny” or “too curvy” or “too flat chested” or “too scrawny” or “too muscular”. It’s shallow. Imagine for a moment you’re at the pearly gates (even if you’re atheist, just roll with me for a minute) and an angel is reviewing your life to see if you fit the criteria for heaven (it’s like a job interview, but they don’t need to ask you questions, because angels can read minds…what? That’s totally how it works, right?). The last thing they are going to say is “Well, you helped a lot of charities, were loyal to your partner and to your friends…you raised some great kids…oh…OH. Sorry. This just won’t do sweetie. You’re just too tall and a little bit too chubby. And your teeth are a bit crooked…what? You couldn’t afford braces because you were busy raising your five adopted children? Not good enough sorry.” 

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue & Development

In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.

On 5 May 2014, the UN General Assembly held a day-long debate on “Culture and sustainable development in the post 2015 development agenda.” Speakers underscored through country level testimonies and global data how culture, in its manifold expressions ranging from cultural heritage to creative industries, from sustainable tourism to cultural infrastructure, drives and enables the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainable development.

Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion
In 2011, a grassroots campaign ‘Do One Thing For Diversity and Inclusion’, celebrating the annual World Day for Cultural Diversity was launched by UNESCO and the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

By encouraging people and organizations from around the world to take concrete action to support diversity, the campaign aims:
  • To raise awareness worldwide about the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion.
  • To build a world community of individuals committed to support diversity with real and every day-life gestures.
  • To combat polarization and stereotypes to improve understanding and cooperation among people from different cultures.
The campaign works through a dedicated Facebook page, serving as a platform for people around the world to share their experiences through posts and videos.

Why does diversity matter?
Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension.

Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.

At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

Intercultural Dialogue
Equitable exchange and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect and the equal dignity of all cultures is the essential prerequisite for constructing social cohesion, reconciliation among peoples and peace among nations.

This action is part of the global framework of an Alliance of Civilizations launched by the United Nations. More specifically, within the larger framework of intercultural dialogue, which also encompasses interreligious dialogue, special focus is placed on a series of good practices to encourage cultural pluralism at the local, regional and national level as well as regional and sub-regional initiatives aimed at discouraging all expressions of extremism and fanaticism and highlighting values and principles that bring people together.

Interreligious Dialogue
UNESCO’s Interreligious Dialogue programme, an essential component of Intercultural Dialogue, aims to promote dialogue among different religions, spiritual and humanistic traditions in a world where conflicts are increasingly associated with religious belonging.

It stresses the reciprocal interactions and influences between, on the one hand, religions, spiritual and humanistic traditions, and on the other, the need to promote understanding between them in order to challenge ignorance and prejudices and foster mutual respect.

Learning the art of dialogue is both a personal and social process. Developing one’s skills and capacity for dialogue implies a willingness to be open while retaining one’s critical judgment. Dialogue concerns us all: from decision-makers and leaders to individuals within each community. Alongside relevant international conferences to raise awareness, UNESCO strives to promote grass-root activities, particularly in sensitive geo-strategical areas that reach target-populations such as women, youth and marginalized populations.

Culture and Development
Placing culture at the heart of development policy constitutes an essential investment in the world's future and a pre-condition to successful globalization processes that take into account the principles of cultural diversity.

Development is inseparable from culture. In this regard, the major challenge is to convince political decision-makers and local, national and international social actors to integrating the principles of cultural diversity and the values of cultural pluralism into all public policies, mechanisms and practices, particularly through public/private partnerships.

The aim is, on the one hand, to incorporate culture into all development policies, be they related to education, science, communication, health, environment or cultural tourism and, on the other hand, to support the development of the cultural sector through creative industries. By contributing in this way to poverty alleviation, culture offers important benefits in terms of social cohesion.

Emergency Medical Services for Children Day

Many communities in the United States join in on raising awareness about the need for specialized emergency care for children on Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day. It is held on the Wednesday of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, which is on May 19–25.

The EMSC Natural Resource Center hosts an annual event featuring activities and giveaways at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington DC. Many schools, health-related organizations, local communities and medical personnel take part in raising awareness about the need for pediatric emergency medical care. The day is also promoted via social media, newspapers, radio, television, and websites.

The federal Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program partners with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) every year to celebrate Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. The Wednesday within the week-long celebration, from May 19–25, is designated as EMSC Day.

The “Benny the Bearamedic” logo is often seen on t-shirts, mugs, brochures, and other promotional items on EMSC Day.

Rapture Party Day

While Christian media tycoon Harold Camping is prophesying worldwide devastation and the bodily lifting into Heaven of True Believers for May 21, 2011, the group American Atheists is prophesying something quite different: a good time. Here's the blurb from the biggest party AA is sponsoring; the two day (May 21-22) West Coast Rapture Ram in Oakland, CA:

We'll be there organized and ready to pick up the clutter left behind when the Christian Rapture begins that Saturday, as promised by "God" Himself at Since God has chosen to reveal this vital fact to his prophet in Oakland, we thought Oakland would provide the best venue fo an intimate view of the event.

Among the speakers will be Brian Dalton (Mr. Deity), Matt Dillahunty (host of "Non-Prophets Radio" and "The Atheist Experience), Greta Christina (Alternet blogger), Troy Conrad (Comedy Jesus), David Eller (author of "Natural Atheism") and bloggers Rebecca Watson (Skepchick) and Jen McCreight (Blag Hag). American Atheists says the event will feature two "days of community building, activism, networking and fun!"

AA is sponsoring "rapture parties" in three other locations as well: WICHITA, KS (AA National Communications Director Blair Scott will be speaking at Wichita's Rapture Event. Also attending will be Darrel Ray, David Fitzgerald, Sam Singleton, JT Eberhard and Richard Carrier); HOUSTON, TX (American Atheists VP Kathleen Johnson and Texas Freethought Convention President Paul Mitchell will appear at a Rapture Party in Houston TX. Entry is FREE); and FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (Celebrate the Rapture Lie at the Tiki Bar at the Lauderdale Beachside Hotel, 4660 North Ocean Drive, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308 from 5pm to midnight on Saturday May 21st. Requested Donation of $5 includes rum punch. 50% of donations given to Nonbelievers Giving Aid. No reservations needed -- just show up and have fun!). More information on these AA events can be found at the American Atheist website.

American Atheists aren't the only folks holding "rapture parties." Online social media sites like Facebook have many entries for them. Typing "rapture party" into the Google search engine results in more than 6 million hits. Even narrowing the search by enclosing the words in parentheses still results in 21,000+ hits. Of course, not all the people writing about rapture parties are atheists and not all the hits refer specifically to Camping's May 21 apocalypse, but a party is a party.

Camping's followers and other believers in apocalyptic nightmares may say these people are denying God and embracing evil but life is worth celebrating and the denial of death cult fantasies is worth broadcasting aloud. One can feel sorry for these followers. One can also fear them... not their God or their vision, but them. Beliefs such as theirs have real-world consequences. For some of them the consequences will mainly be personal or affect their immediate families. Some have given up jobs, families, homes and savings because of their beliefs. Their skewed view of reality (and I'm not just speaking of Camping's followers here but others for whom faith trumps evidence) also affects the rest of us in the way they vote and act towards others. A few even work to bring their visions of Armeggedon to fruition like the Australian evangelical Denis Michael Rohan who, in 1969, tried to burn down the famous Al Aqsa mosque (which sits on the site in Jerusalem where Judaism's Third Temple must be built to fulfil an end-time prophecy).

A "rapture party" is a good way to have a good time and repudiate all kinds of faith-based irrationality.

National Strawberries and Cream Day

Today is National Strawberries and Cream Day! The simple combination of fresh sliced strawberries and homemade whipped cream has been a popular dish for centuries. In fact, in medieval England it was customary for newlyweds to enjoy strawberries and soured cream for their wedding breakfast.

The strawberry is the first fruit to ripen every spring and each refreshing bite contains high levels of Vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium. If you’re feeling experimental, there are many interesting variations on the classic strawberries and cream recipe. Try flavoring your whipped cream with amaretto liqueur or substituting a combination of fat-free sour cream and brown sugar instead. For a more elaborate dessert, put together a trifle with alternating layers of fruit, cream, and a sweet pastry such as ladyfinger cookies. For more ideas, check out these recipes for stuffed strawberries.

To celebrate National Strawberries and Cream Day, head to a local farm and pick your own fresh strawberries as a fun spring activity for the whole family. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor with a delicious snack of strawberries and cream at home!