Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Holidays and Observances for June 18 2014

International Picnic Day

International Picnic Day is an informal food holiday which falls on June 18. Interested parties, families, organizations, or social clubs celebrate International Picnic Day with picnics, where food is brought from home or a market and eaten at an outdoor location. It is not an official holiday recognized by Congress. 

The origin of the concept of a picnic may have been the social banquets held outdoors by wealthy people in medieval times. The earliest picnic gatherings were also probably related to an outdoor feast held after a successful hunt. In reality, any individual, couple, family, or group who ever enjoyed eating outdoors for any reason was having a picnic, whether or not they had a specific word for it at the time. 

The origin of the word picnic is most likely the French word pique, which can mean to pick or peck. It was probably joined with the rhyming obsolete word pique, meaning trifle, to convey the idea of multiple guests bringing different foods. In this way, all guests can make a meal of picking at small or trifling amounts of each dish or option, rather than only eating the food they have brought. This suggests that the original use of the word picnic may have referred more to the idea of sharing a variety of dishes between people, as with a potluck meal. It is possible that picnics in the past were based more upon this idea, and by often implementing the idea outdoors, the meaning of the word gradually moved towards sharing a meal socially outdoors.

Some offline sources talk about picnics as they occurred in the Victorian era, where it appears that they rose in popularity. There is a theory that this occurred partly as a way to enjoy eating socially, without the restrictive rules of etiquette which applied to indoor social dining occasions. It seems that other factors which may have added to the appeal were viewing outdoor scenery, and holding a gathering in connection with hunting parties. The Victorians also believed there was an association that had been made between good health and fresh air, which may also have led to the picnic's rise in popularity.

There is little reputable information available which points to a definite origin for International Picnic Day. On varying dates, depending on the location, celebrations and commemorations relating to the activities of worker's unions and labor groups are held around the world. Often these celebrations have a connection with picnics.

A notable example of a time when protest or social change became connected to picnics was after the French Revolution. After the Revolution occurred, the royal parks were opened to the public for the first time. With this change, the royal parks became popular as aesthetically pleasing locations for ordinary citizens to enjoy dining outdoors.

The connection is probably also related to the way a large picnic gathering can be used to temporarily occupy significant public territory and capture attention. 

It is possible that International Picnic Day has been developed and promoted as a way to create a uniform worldwide picnic celebration. This idea of a day focusing only on the picnic - on simply relaxing and enjoying food outdoors, on one day in all locations - may have been considered preferable by some to picnic holidays scattered on different dates throughout the world, connected to labor movements or social change. It is celebrated wherever people are aware of and interested enough in it to celebrate it.

Celebrating International Picnic Day can be done in many enjoyable ways. If you are looking for a truly large-scale way of celebrating, you could check event and entertainment websites, community noticeboards, and local media for International Picnic Day events that may be held in your area. 

Another option is to use local guides or web searches to find picturesque or functional outdoor locations near you, and organize your own event. Websites and resources relating to national parks or nature reserves may be useful in finding suitable locations. 

There is also no reason that celebrating International Picnic Day requires a large or complicated event. The day can be enjoyed simply as a family, a small group of friends, a couple, or even an individual. 

International Picnic Day lends itself to cold dishes such as salads, sandwiches, canapes, or homemade drinks and desserts. Foods such as crackers, homemade dips, gourmet cheeses and pates, and cold meats can also create delicious options for celebrating International Picnic Day. Many people enjoy combining foods such as these with wine, and perhaps some chocolate or a sweet dish afterward. Remember to designate a non-drinking driver. 

Of course, for an easier picnic, simply incorporate store-bought food options or even purchase something fresh to eat outdoors. Keep in mind that celebrating International Picnic Day on its exact day may mean being prepared for unpleasant weather, depending on where you are in the world.

International Panic Day

International Panic Day is celebrated on June 18th of each year. 

Panic is a sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction. Panic may occur singularly in individuals or manifest suddenly in large groups as mass panic (closely related to herd behavior).

The word panic derives from the Greek πανικός, “pertaining to shepherd god Pan”, who took amusement from frightening herds of goats and sheep into sudden bursts of uncontrollable fear. The ancient Greeks credited the battle of Marathon’s victory to Pan, using his name for the frenzied, frantic fear exhibited by the fleeing enemy soldiers.

Prehistoric men used mass panic as a technique when hunting animals, especially ruminants. Herds reacting to unusually strong sounds or unfamiliar visual effects were directed towards cliffs, where they eventually jumped to their deaths when cornered. Humans are also vulnerable to panic and it is often considered infectious, in the sense one person’s panic may easily spread to other people nearby and soon the entire group acts irrationally, but people also have the ability to prevent and/or control their own and others’ panic by disciplined thinking or training (such as disaster drills). Architects and city planners try to accommodate the symptoms of panic, such as herd behavior, during design and planning, often using simulations to determine the best way to lead people to a safe exit and prevent congestion (stampedes). The most effective methods are often non-intuitive. A tall column, approximately 1 ft (300 mm) in diameter, placed in front of the door exit at a precisely calculated distance, may speed up the evacuation of a large room by up to 30%, as the obstacle divides the congestion well ahead of the choke point.

An influential theoretical treatment of panic is found in Neil J. Smelser’s, Theory of Collective Behavior. The science of panic management has found important practical applications in the armed forces and emergency services of the world.

Many highly publicized cases of deadly panic occurred during massive public events. The layout of Mecca was extensively redesigned by Saudi authorities in an attempt to eliminate frequent stampedes, which kill an average of 250 pilgrims every year. Football stadiums have seen deadly crowd rushes and stampedes, such as at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, England, in 1989 when 96 people were killed in a deadly crush.

International Sushi Day

Celebrate one of the original "fast foods"! Not only is Sushi delicious, its also an art form meant to be appreciated and worthy of celebration. Once a means of preserving fish in Southeast Asia, Sushi has now become a popular dish and experience enjoyed by people of all ages at restaurants around the world.

The history of sushi in Japan began around the 8th century. The original type of sushi was first developed in Southeast Asia as a means of preserving fish in fermented rice. In the Muromachi period, people began to eat the rice as well as the fish. During the Edo period, vinegar rather than lacto-fermentation was used to sour the rice. In modern times, it is an early form of fast food strongly associated with Japanese culture.

The original type of sushi, known today as narezushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司, fermented sushi), was first developed in Southeast Asia and spread to south China before introduced to Japan sometime around the 8th century. Fish was salted and wrapped in fermented rice, a traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Narezushi was made of this gutted fish stored in fermented rice for months at a time for preservation. The fermentation of the rice prevented the fish from spoiling. The fermented rice was discarded and fish was the only part consumed. This early type of sushi became an important source of protein for the Japanese.

The Japanese preferred to eat fish with rice, known as namanare or namanari (生成, なまなれ, なまなり, semi-fermented). During the Muromachi period namanare was the most popular type of sushi. Namanare was partly raw fish wrapped in rice, consumed fresh, before it changed flavor. This new way of consuming fish was no longer a form of preservation but rather a new dish in Japanese cuisine.

During the Edo period, a third type of sushi was introduced, haya-zushi (早寿司, 早ずし, fast sushi). Haya-zushi was assembled so that both rice and fish could be consumed at the same time, and the dish became unique to Japanese culture. It was the first time that rice was not being used for fermentation. Rice was now mixed with vinegar, with fish, vegetables and dried food stuff added. This type of sushi is still very popular today. Each region utilizes local flavors to produce a variety of sushi that has been passed down for many generations.

When Tokyo was still known as Edo in the early 19th century, mobile food stalls run by street vendors became popular. During this period nigiri sushi (握り寿司) was introduced, consisting of an oblong mound of rice with a slice of fish draped over it. After the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, nigiri sushi chefs were displaced from Edo throughout Japan, popularizing the dish throughout the country.

Today the sushi dish internationally known as "sushi" (nigiri zushi; Kantō variety) is a fast food invented by Hanaya Yohei (華屋与兵衛; 1799–1858) in today's Tokyo (Edo). People in Tokyo were living in haste even a hundred years ago. The nigiri zushi invented by Hanaya was not fermented and could be eaten using the fingers or chopsticks. It was an early form of fast food that could be eaten in public or in the theater.

National Go Fishing Day

National Go Fishing Day is celebrated on June 18th of each year.  

Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish.  Fish are normally caught in the wild.  Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping.

The term fishing may be applied to catching other aquatic animals such as molluscs, cephalopods, crustaceans, and echinoderms. The term is not normally applied to catching farmed fish, or to aquatic mammals, such as whales, where the term whaling is more appropriate.

According to FAO statistics, the total number of commercial fishermen and fish farmers is estimated to be 38 million. Fisheries and aquaculture provide direct and indirect employment to over 500 million people. In 2005, the worldwide per capita consumption of fish captured from wild fisheries was 14.4 kilograms, with an additional 7.4 kilograms harvested from fish farms. In addition to providing food, modern fishing is also a recreational pastime.

Recreational and sport fishing describe fishing primarily for pleasure or competition. Recreational fishing has conventions, rules, licensing restrictions and laws that limit the way in which fish may be caught; typically, these prohibit the use of nets and the catching of fish with hooks not in the mouth. The most common form of recreational fishing is done with a rod, reel, line, hooks and any one of a wide range of baits or lures such as artificial flies. The practice of catching or attempting to catch fish with a hook is generally known as angling. In angling, it is sometimes expected or required that fish be returned to the water (catch and release). Recreational or sport fishermen may log their catches or participate in fishing competitions.

Big-game fishing describes fishing from boats to catch large open-water species such as tuna, sharks and marlin. Sport fishing (sometimes game fishing) describes recreational fishing where the primary reward is the challenge of finding and catching the fish rather than the culinary or financial value of the fish’s flesh. Fish sought after include marlin, tuna, tarpon, sailfish, shark, mackerel, and many others.

National Splurge Day

When it comes to fabulous holidays, June 18 is a real winner. It's National Splurge Day (NSD), an annual "holiday" that encourages folks across the country to treat themselves to something extra special. Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith created the special day back in 1994.

Americans work very hard to provide for their families and put in long hours to pay the bills. Many do things for others and rarely do things for themselves. Today is about going that extra mile for the most important person in your life - you! Whether it is enjoying a dinner at your favorite restaurant with your favorite fella or gal pal, indulging in a decadent sweet treat to eat, pampering yourself with a relaxing day at the spa, finally buying that sparkling gem you've been eyeing for months or purchasing a new ride, today is all about you. Some studies suggest splurging from time-to-time may actually be beneficial for you! It can provide greater overall happiness while reducing guilt and the sense of wanting.

Life is short. Splurge and enjoy it because tomorrow it is back to business as usual and tightening those purse strings and buckling that belt.