Friday, October 31, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 31 2014


Evolving from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, modern Halloween has become less about literal ghosts and ghouls and more about costumes and candy. The Celts used the day to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, and also believed that this transition between the seasons was a bridge to the world of the dead.  Over the millennia the holiday transitioned from a somber pagan ritual to a day of merriment, costumes, parades and sweet treats for children and adults.

Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III (731–741) later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1. By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It is widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats. We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred; it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe. And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces. Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Of course, whether we’re asking for romantic advice or trying to avoid seven years of bad luck, each one of these Halloween superstitions relies on the good will of the very same “spirits” whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly.

Books For Treats Day

Books For Treats founder Rebecca Morgan began offering books to her ghouls and goblins at her home in Willow Glen (San Jose, CA) in 1995. She was frustrated at candy being the primary option for Halloween treats. She wanted an inexpensive treat the kids would like. She knew she could opt for small toys, but she wanted something that would make a difference to the kids and last more than a few days.

At her local library book sale Rebecca saw the boxes of gently read children’s books for about what she was spending on candy. Aha! Since she was a bestselling author of business books she knew books had high value. “Plus,” she jokes, “I’d be helping kids learn to read, which would ensure the next generation would be interested in buying books, maybe even mine!”

She bought dozens of books covering toddlers to sixth grade, sorted them by grade level and let her trick-or-treaters choose from among the age-appropriate books. Not having kids herself, she had to research and learn how to discern the grade and reading levels.

After 6 years, she saw the response was so overwhelmingly positive, Morgan decided to take the concept beyond her home and to the community. She started Books For Treats in 2001 to begin to turn the tide from problematic candy to a treat that, as she says, “Feeds kids’ minds, not their cavities.”

A turning point came in 2009 when Morgan approached Greg Evans, the creator of the “Luann” comic strip, about having Luann give books to her trick-or-treaters. Initially, Greg said he’d already drawn the Halloween strips even though it was only July. Then the next day he told Rebecca he’d decided to change the week’s strips to include the idea of Books For Treats. Rebecca boldly asked if he’d include the Books For Treats URL, which he did! The week the strips ran, blogs and media outlets picked up the idea so tens of thousands of people visited the website and downloaded the free setup kit. This led to more people and communities offering book for treats in 2009 and beyond.

This movement has spread from her San José community to many others around the US and Canada. Books For Treats was recently given non-profit status so tax-deductible donations can now be used to help spread the word and assist other communities in starting a Books For Treats event. In 2012, the Canadian company Big Earth Media became the first international licensee and will take Books For Treats to communities across Canada.

Some naysayers tell Rebecca that she is stealing the fun of Halloween and ruining kids’ Halloween. “In fact, the contrary is true. Kids love books. Since they get to choose their book from the age-appropriate box, they are excited to have a treat that lasts more than a few seconds. I commonly hear, “We made sure to come to the book-lady’s house.”

She shares the kids’ reaction: “Kids run to the curb waving their hard-cover treat, saying, ‘How cool — I got a book!’ Parents help pick out their kid’s book and the kids compare books with their friends and offer to swap when they were done with it. I’d never had a kid raising a candy bar, running to the sidewalk yelling about it. I knew I was on to something.

“You can thrill kids with gently read books that cost about the same — or sometimes less — than the candy you've been throwing in those Jack-O-Lanterns,” Morgan says.

When asked what she thought of Books For Treats, seven-year-old Alana said, “I like books better than candy. A book lasts a long time and candy is gone in a bite! And I can sit on my daddy’s lap and read the book over and over with him.”

Carve a Pumpkin Day

Carve a Pumpkin Day is observed on October 31st. Pumpkins are commonly carved into decorative lanterns called jack-o'-lanterns for the Halloween season in North America. 

Every October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world.Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns”—the name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack—originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.

People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Day of the Seven Billion

31 October 2011 – Top United Nations officials today marked the global population reaching 7 billion with a call to action to world leaders to meet the challenges that a growing population poses, from ensuring adequate food and clean water to guaranteeing equal access to security and justice.

“Today, we welcome baby 7 billion. In doing so we must recognize our moral and pragmatic obligation to do the right thing for him, or for her,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a press event at UN Headquarters to mark the milestone.

Mr. Ban noted that the world’s population reached 6 billion in 1998, only 13 years ago, and it is expected to grow to 9 billion by the middle of this century, or even a few years earlier – by 2043.

“But today – this Day of 7 Billion – is not about one newborn, or even one generation,” he stated. “This is a day about our entire human family.”

The world today is one of “terrible contradictions,” said Mr. Ban, noting that there is plenty of food but 1 billion people go hungry; lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others; huge advances in medicine while mothers die everyday in childbirth; and billions spent on weapons to kill people instead of keeping them safe.

“What kind of world has baby 7 billion been born into? What kind of world do we want for our children in the future?” he asked.

“I am one of 7 billion. You are also one of 7 billion. Together, we can be 7 billion strong – by working in solidarity for a better world for all,” the Secretary-General said.

In an op-ed published in The International Herald Tribune, Mr. Ban said that as the world population passes 7 billion, “alarm bells are ringing.” He noted that the meeting later this week in France of the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies (G-20) is taking place against the backdrop of growing economic uncertainty and mounting inequality.

“In Cannes, leaders should agree to a concrete action plan that advances the well-being of all nations and people, not just the wealthiest and most powerful,” he stated.

The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said today’s milestone is a reminder of how the world’s poorest – the so-called ‘bottom billion’ – are rendered vulnerable with little or no access to basic needs.

“Seven billion people face, almost on a daily basis – with varying degrees of severity – the consequences of environmental challenges, increasing poverty, inequity, wars and economic instability,” he told the event.

“But with each of these challenges comes an opportunity – 7 billion opportunities in fact,” he added, noting that these opportunities can be harnessed to reach global anti-poverty targets, to invest in youth and women, and to re-think the approach to sustainable development.

The Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) underscored some of the challenges in an expanding global community, including in promoting the rights and health of 7 billion women, men and children.

“We must ensure that, in areas of the world where population is growing fast, we raise the status of women and young girls to be able to access education and make choices for themselves,” Babatunde Osotimehin said at the gathering.

“We also owe it to the 215 million women worldwide who require family planning and are not getting it to make it available,” he said, adding it is also necessary to ensure safe pregnancy and delivery for every woman that wants to give birth.

At the same time, he highlighted the need to give ageing populations in many parts of the world a life of dignity, and to tackle the rapid urbanization and migration which many countries have to face.

The UN human rights chief also marked the occasion, stating that the 7 billionth child is, by virtue of her or his birth, a permanent holder of rights, with an “irrevocable” claim to freedom.

“But she or he will also be born into a world where some people, given the chance, will trample on those rights and freedoms in the name of state security, or economic policy, or group chauvinism,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.

“If she was born a girl, she will have fewer choices. If born in the developing world, she or he will have fewer opportunities. If born a descendant of Africans in a non-African country, or as an indigenous person, member of a religious minority, or as a Roma, she or he is likely to face discrimination and marginalization, with a childhood rife with vulnerability, and a future adult life hedged in by exclusion.

“But he or she has also been born at a time of great hope,” Ms. Pillay added, noting that the demonstrations and mobilizations of civil society seen in 2011 in a sense “provide a birthday celebration for the 7 billionth person on this planet, and also serve as a warning to those who might be inclined to deprive this child, like many others, of his or her birthrights.”

Frankenstein Friday

Frankenstein Friday is observed each year on the last Friday in October. Frankenstein Friday celebrates he birth of Frankenstein and its creator. Frankenstein's monster (also called just Frankenstein) is a fictional character that first appeared in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein.

The novel is about the eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. In popular culture, the creature is often referred to as "Frankenstein" after his creator Victor Frankenstein, but in the novel the creature has no name, and this usage of "Frankenstein" is generally considered incorrect.

Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. It has had a considerable influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films, and plays.

Girl Scout Founder's Day

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, was born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia.

"Daisy," as she was affectionately called by family and friends, was the second of six children of William Washington Gordon and Eleanor Kinzie Gordon. Family members on her father's side were early settlers in Georgia, and her mother's family played an important role in the founding of Chicago, Illinois.

A sensitive and talented youngster, Daisy Gordon spent a happy childhood in her large Savannah home, which was purchased and restored by Girl Scouts of the USA in 1953. Now known as the Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center, or often referred to as the Birthplace, the handsome English Regency house was designated a registered National Historic Landmark in 1965.

Young Daisy Gordon developed what was to become a lifetime interest in the arts. She wrote poems; sketched, wrote and acted in plays; and later became a skilled painter and sculptor. She had many pets throughout her life and was particularly fond of exotic birds, Georgia mockingbirds, and dogs. Daisy was also known for her great sense of humor.

Juliette Low was very athletic. From her childhood on, Daisy was a strong swimmer. She was Captain of a rowing team as a girl and learned to canoe as an adult. She was also an avid tennis player. One of her special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces' and nephews' birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.

National Bandanna Day

Celebrating 20 Years - National Bandanna Day is set to take place on Friday, October 31st 2014.

Every year, another 23,000 young people have to deal with the challenge of cancer, whether it’s their own diagnosis or their parent, brother or sister. CanTeen believes that no young person should face cancer alone. Since National Bandanna Day started 20 years ago in 1994, over $30 million has been raised through the sale of over 5.5 million bandannas and donations. With these funds, CanTeen has provided more than 60,000 opportunities for young people affected by cancer to meet and support each other, share their cancer experiences and have lots of fun.

This year, CanTeen aims to raise $1.1 million to continue providing life-changing support to young people affected by cancer. The funds will go towards programs and services to help young people cope with the physical, emotional and practical impact of living with cancer including specialist hospital care, counselling, peer support programs and much more.

Along with the sale of bandannas around the country, this year National Bandanna Day encourages people from all around the country to “Dare to Be Brave”. This courageousness that young people affected by cancer show every day of their lives is extremely inspiring. To show your support, CanTeen asks you to be brave. Whether you’re afraid of heights, spiders, singing and dancing in public or you simply need a reason to give up coffee for a week, do it to celebrate National Bandannas Day. Post your experience online to motivate your friends and family to face their fears and encourage them to support the cause by donating.

National Caramel Apple Day

Oct. 31 is not only Halloween, but it is National Caramel Apply Day. So, you have a couple of things to celebrate today.

Do not confuse caramel apples with candy apples or taffy apples. Caramel apples are made by dipping or rolling apples in hot caramel. You may also roll the apples in nuts or other confections after rolling or dipping the in hot caramel. This method is excellent if your are making a small number of caramel apples; however, if you are making many caramel apples, then it is best to wrap a sheet of caramel around the apples followed by heating the apples to melt the caramel evenly onto it. This method makes a harder caramel on the apple.

Even though Halloween has passed, there’s no reason to get out of the fall spirit just yet. Thanksgiving is still around the corner and there is more than enough time to indulge in some sweet fall treats. One of the best fall treats there is for both health and taste is the caramel apple. While you get the sweet caramel taste, you also get all the health benefits of an apple! If you've ever wondered where this delectable treat got its roots, we’re here to tell you.

Dan Walker, an employee of Kraft food company back in the 1950s, is credited with the invention of the caramel apple. Since caramels were already a Halloween staple, all Walker had to do was melt them down and add the apple. Then, voila! The caramel apple was created. For the next ten years of so, all caramel apples were created by hand. The task became very tedious after a while. A gentleman by the name of Vito Raimondi decided it was time for an automated way to make caramel apples. He set up the very first caramel apple machine in Chicago, Illinois. The rest is, as they say, history.

Even though caramel apples can be enjoyed all year long, they are popular for holidays especially for Halloween. Caramel apples are usually eaten as treats at autumn festivals.

Granny Smith or Fuji apples are the preferred apples for making caramel apples because they are hard, crisp and tart. The softer, grainy-textured apples are not preferred even though they can be used.

National Increase Your Psychic Powers Day

National Increase Your Psychic Powers Day is always October 31st. Go ahead and guess, errr read my mind....if you can.

I'm thinking of a number from one to ten. Okay, take a guess.......what number is it??

Nope, it's ten. Sure, I fooled you. But, if you truly have psychic powers, you would know I was up to something.

The reason for this little exercise (above), was to show you that you need to improve upon your psychic powers. And, today is "the" day to increase your psychic powers.

Now, let's get on to "How" you can increase your psychic powers. There are a number of ways. And, there is no shortage of psychics, groups and websites to help you.

Here are a few ways, to improve your psychic capabilities:
  • Get out the Ouija board. Use it with some friends.
  • Practice makes perfect. Get out a deck of cards. Shuffle them well. Think of what the top card is. Then, turn it over. Keep going.
  • Flip of the coin, too. Guess heads or tails while the coin is in the air. As your psychic power increases, you should guess correctly more than 50% of the time.
  • Hone your ESP skills - When the phone rings, guess who it will be. As you go through the day, guess what people are going to say, or what is going to happen next.
Tip: Concentrating and clearing your mind of other thoughts, is essential to successfully developing your psychic powers.

I'm getting a reading in my mind that you will have a happy and fun filled National Increase Your Psychic Powers Day.

National Knock-Knock Jokes Day

When it comes to fun holidays, October 31 is one of the best holidays of the entire year! Not only is it ooey gooey National Caramel Apple Day and the "defrightful" Halloween, it’s also National Knock Knock Jokes Day!

Knock Knock Jokes
Just in case you don’t know what what one is - it takes two to knock knock. One person is the “knocker” while the other person is the “knockee.” And unlike other jokes, you don’t have to be a comedian or practical joker to tell a great knock knock joke either.

These classic non-rhyming jokes are fun for all ages. What parent, grandparent or teacher hasn't heard a knock-knock joke? Children seem to revel in telling these silly little jokes, even if they don’t make much sense.

Classic & Clean Knock Knock Jokes
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Boo. (Boo who?) Don’t cry – it’s only a knock knock joke!
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Cash. (Cash who?) No thanks. I’d rather have peanuts instead!
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Madam. (Madam who?) Madam foot got caught in the door!
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Wendy. (Wendy who?) Wendy wind blows de cradle will rock.
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Dwayne. (Dwayne who?) Dwayne the bathtub – I’m drowning!
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Dewey. (Dewey who?) Dewey have to listen to all this knocking?
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Macomb. (Macomb who?) Do you know where I left macomb?
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Annie. (Annie who?) Annie thing you can do, I can do better!
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Little old lady. (Little old lady who?) Gosh, I didn’t know you could yodel!
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Anita. (Anita who?) Anita hug right about now.
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Mirra. (Mirra who?) Mirra mirra on the wall….
  • Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Dishes. (Dishes who?) Dishes the police – open up!
In honor of National Knock Knock Jokes Day, go ahead - give it your best shot! Knock knock….

National Magic Day

National Magic Day started as a tribute to the life and work of the famous magician Harry Houdini. Ironically this world famous conjurer, in what could be considered his final act, left the earthly realm on October 31, 1926. During the summer of 1927, less than a year after his death, a Houdini Day was celebrated with a commemorative trophy presented to his surviving spouse, Wilhelmina Beatrice known as “Bess.”

Since then, Harry Houdini has remained one of the most well known names in magic and the most famous member of the Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.). Eventually Houdini Day evolved into Magic Day officially founded in 1938 by the Society and wholly sanctioned by Mrs. Harry Houdini.

Known for numerous handcuff escapes, he also performed many daring and death defying stunts like the milk can escape and the buried alive stunt. His performances required a great deal of work and precision and he always upheld a high set of professional standards.

Magic and Halloween just seem to go hand in hand. While we often portray the scary side of this holiday with skeletons, vampires and zombies, it’s also important to remember the magical side of this day. Consider the witches and fairies with all their magical spells and pixie dust. And don’t forget your own personal magic expressed through the choice of a mask or costume. It’s your day to proclaim your creativity. Be bold, crazy, charismatic, beguiling and bewitching!

Think about celebrating National Magic Day with a little magic of your own. Consider learning a few card tricks to amaze your family and friends. Or simply hide the Halloween candy in your hands or pockets and invite your little trick-or-treaters to choose which one holds the prize.

Spending a quiet evening of magic at home? Why not watch a magical movie like The Illusionist starring Edward Norton and Jessica Biel or a family friendly Walt Disney classic like Bedknobs and Broomsticks? And don’t forget about the great Houdini himself. There is a TV biography available entitled Houdini from 1998 and a 2005 documentary called Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, you might decide to follow in the footsteps of many magicians around the world and hold a Houdini Séance. In a tradition that began with his widow Bess, yearly séances have been held for Houdini every October 31st. Notable ones have been held at the Excaliber nightclub in Chicago and at the Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Ironically, Houdini himself spent a great deal of time debunking psychics and mediums. Believer or not, there is no doubt about Houdini’s spellbinding abilities.

With all this magic in the air, it would be hard not to mention the magic of nature and the autumn season. Harvest time is coming to a close and we are miraculously given gifts from the bounty of nature. The fall leaves and their ever-changing colors are both fascinating and enchanting. What a show we get from Mother Earth!

Let the magic of the day and the season infuse your spirit. Let its energy influence your life, not just on National Magic Day but every day. Strive to notice the magic in everyday things and create extraordinary moments for yourself. Be joyful and take inspiration from the master illusionist himself. Like Houdini said, “Keep your enthusiasm up! There is nothing more contagious than exuberant enthusiasm.” Now that’s magical!


Samhain had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.

The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the other world. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons--all part of the dark and dread.
Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. In the early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted them to Christianity, the Celts practiced an elaborate religion through their priestly caste, the Druids, who were priests, poets, scientists and scholars all at once. As religious leaders, ritual specialists, and bearers of learning, the Druids were not unlike the very missionaries and monks who were to Christianize their people and brand them evil devil worshipers.
As a result of their efforts to wipe out "pagan" holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshiped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.

In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John's Day was set on the summer solstice.

Samhain, with its emphasis on the supernatural, was decidedly pagan. While missionaries identified their holy days with those observed by the Celts, they branded the earlier religion's supernatural deities as evil, and associated them with the devil. As representatives of the rival religion, Druids were considered evil worshipers of devilish or demonic gods and spirits. The Celtic underworld inevitably became identified with the Christian Hell.

The effects of this policy were to diminish but not totally eradicate the beliefs in the traditional gods. Celtic belief in supernatural creatures persisted, while the church made deliberate attempts to define them as being not merely dangerous, but malicious. Followers of the old religion went into hiding and were branded as witches.

The Christian feast of All Saints was assigned to November 1st. The day honored every Christian saint, especially those that did not otherwise have a special day devoted to them. This feast day was meant to substitute for Samhain, to draw the devotion of the Celtic peoples, and, finally, to replace it forever. That did not happen, but the traditional Celtic deities diminished in status, becoming fairies or leprechauns of more recent traditions.

The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the new, more abstract Catholic feast honoring saints. Recognizing that something that would subsume the original energy of Samhain was necessary, the church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day in the 9th century. This time it established November 2nd as All Souls Day -a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. But, once again, the practice of retaining traditional customs while attempting to redefine them had a sustaining effect: the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises.
All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows (hallowed means sanctified or holy), continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The evening prior to the day was the time of the most intense activity, both human and supernatural. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead, but the supernatural beings were now thought to be evil. The folk continued to propitiate those spirits (and their masked impersonators) by setting out gifts of food and drink. Subsequently, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe'en--an ancient Celtic, pre-Christian New Year's Day in contemporary dress.

Many supernatural creatures became associated with All Hallows. In Ireland fairies were numbered among the legendary creatures who roamed on Halloween. An old folk ballad called "Allison Gross" tells the story of how the fairy queen saved a man from a witch's spell on Halloween.

Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these dreadful creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved. To this day, witches, ghosts, and skeleton figures of the dead are among the favorite disguises. Halloween also retains some features that hearken back to the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as the customs of bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices cider associated with the day.

World Savings Day

World Savings Day is observed on October 31st.

World Savings Day was established on 31st October 1924 during the 1st International Savings Bank Congress held in Milano, Italy. On the last day of the congress, an Italian Professor Filippo Ravizza declared this day the "International Saving Day". It was formerly called World Thrift Day. The World Savings Day is usually observed on October 31st except in countries where this day is a public holiday. This is because the objective is to keep the banks open, so that the people can transfer their savings into their account.

In India, World Savings Day was observed on October 31 till 1984. After that it is celebrated on October 30th because of the death of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the same day in 1984. After the Second World War, World Savings Day reached the peak of its popularity. In order to attain the goal of world savings day celebrations, savings banks started working with the support of the schools, the clergy, as well as cultural, sports, professional, and women’s associations.

The World Savings Day celebrations have the following objectives.
  • It is meant for the promotion of savings all over the World.
  • To attain a higher standard of life
  • To secure the economy
Nowadays the focus of the banks that organize the World Savings Day is on developing countries, where the citizens do not have their own bank account. Savings banks along with nongovernmental organisations organize campaigns to enhance savings in these countries and to double the number of savings accounts owned by the poor.

World Savings Day is celebrated in a variety of ways including the following.
  • Distribution of brochures, leaflets and posters to masses emphasizing the importance of thrift/saving.
  • Press articles and educational films are also employed to highlight and promote savings in many parts of the world.
  • In schools, saving campaigns are organized as part of World Savings Day celebrations, as it is very important to inculcate this habit in children since beginning. These campaigns will make children aware of the benefits of saving money and how it can help them in future.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 30 2014

Checklist Day

The reason for this day is a tragedy: On this date in 1935, a plane crashed while taking off. Afterwards, people tried to find out why, and they discovered that a gust lock was still engaged (whatever that means)—and, I guess, shouldn't have been. A group of pilots sat down together and discussed what could be done to prevent future accidents. They came up with a checklist to go through, each and every time they were about to take off in a plane. Similar checklists have been used by pilots ever since.

It's been discovered that hospital checklists save lives. NASA's space program uses many checklists for vehicles, spacesuits, and equipment. Camping checklists make enjoying the great outdoors safer and more fun, and taking a grocery checklist to the market makes you a more efficient shopper AND saves you money, because you are less likely to buy things you don't need (AND less likely to have to come back for stuff you forgot and a little more stuff you don't need).

Did you know that there is a checklist website that offers checklists for health, home, travel, and even saving the earth? There are super serious checklists, for such things as online safety and flu prevention, and there are lighter checklists, for going to places like parties and amusement parks. Check out Checklist-dot-com!

Of course, the best checklists are the ones you make yourself—after studying other people's checklists and personalizing them for your exact situation!

You might want to make a checklist for getting ready for Trick-or-Treating tomorrow (if you celebrate Halloween). I need to buy some candy and candles for the jack-o-lanterns, and my kids might need some more glow sticks and special make-up...

Create a Great Funeral Day

Stephanie West Allen was stunned when her significant other suddenly died in 1988. She hardly remembers the funeral and still feels badly about being unprepared.

Ten years later, she watched her husband struggle to pull together a meaningful funeral for his mother, who had left no directions. Observing his grief, Allen felt that knowing what her mother-in-law might have wanted would have made holding a funeral so much easier.

Based on those experiences, Allen wrote Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook. In 1999, she registered October 30 as Create a Great Funeral Day as a “holiday” with Chase’s Calendar of Events. 2011 marks the 12th annual celebration.

“Back then, Create a Great Funeral Day was a very bizarre idea,” said Allen. “Some people got angry and a number of funeral directors were resistant to the idea and considered it competition. There’s still a lot of resistance to the whole notion of planning ahead.”

The idea behind Create a Great Funeral Day is to think about how you would like to be remembered and to let others you love know how you’d like your life celebrated. The family’s experience of funerals is so much better when a loved one expresses their desires and values before dying.

“The people who are left behind are so grateful to have this already done,” said Allen. “And planning your funeral in advance, regardless of your age or state of health, is a good way to think about ‘What is my legacy thus far and how am I going to change, improve, or affirm it as I move forward?’”

So why do people hesitate to discuss funeral planning, let alone do anything concrete about it in advance?

Social psychologists cite the Terror Management Theory, that all human behavior is ultimately motivated by the fear of death. Death creates anxiety, because it strikes at unexpected and random moments, and its nature is essentially unknowable.

The awareness of our own eventual death, called “mortality salience,” affects our decision-making in the face of this terror. Many people decide to avoid the topic.

Create a Great Funeral Day prompts us to be mindful and self-aware, to plan reflectively in advance, rather than in reaction after someone dies.

“There are people who approach funeral planning with fear and resistance, and they’re probably the ones who get angry or uncomfortable when thinking about their funeral,” said Allen. “For those who are motivated by love, planning is an act of love. If you’re afraid, then you’re probably afraid in lots of other areas of your life.”

She added, “Someone else said ‘The way you die is the way you live.’ I believe the way you plan your funeral is the way you live. Did I have a fun life? Was it kooky, rich, giving to others? It’s a metaphor.”

Allen had previously stated she’d like to have a Western barbeque to celebrate her life, but now she’d only do that if the beef came from grass fed cattle. She said her mother was mortified by the idea of a cowboy-themed service.

Still, stating a plan is better than no plan at all. Far too many funerals wind up with a “rent-a-minister” who didn't know the deceased talking about theology. When there’s a death in the family, relatives may return to a religious tradition they had abandoned years before. Unfortunately, many will find such traditional funeral services don’t meet their emotional needs.

“To have some person who doesn't even know you stand up and talk about belief systems not shared by half the audience – or the deceased – that’s just so inappropriate,” said Allen.

Allen suggests spending time on October 30 to avoid the specter of a “facelift funeral.” That’s a memorial service that goes through the motions of honoring the deceased but offers no emotional healing. A facelift funeral follows a cookie cutter form, with no personalization that connects the bereaved to the deceased.

Consider the purposes behind the memorial service that you plan. Allen gives these reasons: to remember and celebrate your life; honor you; facilitate a sense of closure for those in attendance; give attendees an occasion to say goodbye to you; allow people from various segments of your life to meet each other; allow people to express their thoughts and feelings; begin the grieving process; provide an opportunity for those in mourning to support each other; confirm the finality of your death; and to celebrate and support your departure to an afterlife.

Use Create a Great Funeral Day to avoid a facelift funeral. Change from fear of funerals toward courage to plan ahead and talk about it. It’s an act of love to plan and communicate your values.

Haunted Refrigerator Night

October 30 is Haunted Refrigerator Night! As a precursor to one of the spookiest nights of the year, Haunted Refrigerator Night was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Wellcat to find, “what evil lurks in the refrigerators of men… and women… and venture unto the realm of the lower shelf, rear.”

When was the last time you gave your fridge a good scrub down? We’re going to venture to guess that it’s been a while. Those Asian leftovers behind your quite possibly curdled milk are probably growing some hauntingly hairy mold. If you’re looking for a way to get into the Halloween mood that doesn't involve the traditional pumpkin carving or ghost story telling, turn off the lights and gather your friends and family around your fridge and find out what’s been lying dormant inside. The results are sure to be terrifying!

To keep your fridge from becoming the scariest place in your home, it’s good to give it a deep cleaning at least once a week. If you don’t always have time to complete such a task, there are a few things you can do to keep your fridge tidy in the mean time. These include: periodically checking for any spoiled foods and throwing them out, wiping condiment bottles before returning them to the fridge, and cleaning up any leaks or spills immediately.

Happy Haunted Refrigerator Night!

Mischief Night

Mischief Night is an informal holiday on which children and teens engage in pranks and minor vandalism. While its name and date vary from place to place, it is most commonly held near the end of October to coincide with Halloween.

The earliest reference to Mischief Night is from 1790 when a headmaster at St John's College, Oxford encouraged a school play which ended in "an Ode to Fun which praises children's tricks on Mischief Night in most approving terms". In the United Kingdom, these pranks were originally carried out as part of May Day celebrations, but when the industrial revolution caused workers to move to urban areas, Mischief Night shifted to November 4, the night before Guy Fawkes Night. According to one historian, "May Day and the Green Man had little resonance for children in grimy cities. They looked at the opposite end of the year and found the ideal time, the night before the gunpowder plot." In Germany, Mischief Night is still celebrated on May 1.

In the United States, Mischief Night is commonly held on October 30, the night before Hallowe'en. The separation of Halloween tricks from treats seems to have only developed in certain areas, often appearing in one region but not at all nearby. In New Jersey's Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth,Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, and Union counties, as well as in Philadelphia; Westchester County, New York; and Fairfield County, Connecticut, it is referred to as "Mischief Night" or "Hackers Night." In some towns in Northern New Jersey and parts of New York State, it is also known as "Goosey Night".[citation needed] Some areas of this geographical area also use the term "Hell Night", but this is not as prevalent as "Goosey Night".

In rural Niagara Falls, Ontario, during the 1950s and 1960s, Cabbage Night referred to the custom of raiding local gardens for leftover rotting cabbages and hurling them about to create mischief in the neighborhood. Today, the night is commonly known as "Cabbage Night" in parts of Vermont; Connecticut; Bergen County, New Jersey; Upstate New York; Northern Kentucky; Newport, Rhode Island; Western Massachusetts; and Boston, Massachusetts.

It is known as "Gate Night" in New Hampshire, Trail, British Columbia, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Rockland County, New York, North Dakotaand South Dakota, as "Mat Night" in Quebec, Canada, and as "Devil's Night" in many places throughout Canada, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania.

Mischief night is known in Yorkshire as "Mischievous Night", "Miggy Night", "Tick-Tack Night", "Corn Night", "Trick Night", or "Micky Night", and is celebrated on November 4 on the eve of Bonfire Night. In some areas of Yorkshire, it is extremely popular among thirteen-year-olds as they believe it to be a sort of "coming of age ceremony". This may be because Guy Fawkes was born in York, the capital of Yorkshire.

Mischief Night tends to include popular tricks such as toilet papering yards and buildings, powder-bombing and egging cars, people, and homes, using soap to write on windows, "forking" yards, setting off fireworks, and smashing pumpkins and jack-o'-lanterns. Local grocery stores often refuse to sell eggs to pre-teens and teens around the time of Halloween for this reason. Occasionally, the damage can escalate to include the spray-painting of buildings and homes. Less destructive is the prank known as "Knock, Knock, Ginger", "Ding-Dong Ditch", "knock down ginger", or "knock-a-door-run", in which children ring doorbells or knock on doors and then run and hide. One variation involves pranksters inserting a pin into a doorbell so that it rings continuously.

In some areas of Queens, New York, Cabbage Night has included throwing rotten fruit at neighbors, cars, and buses. Pre-teens and teens filled eggs with Neetand Nair and throw them at unsuspecting individuals. In the mid-1980s, garbage was set on fire and cemeteries were set ablaze. In Camden, New Jersey, Mischief Night escalated to the point that in the 1990s widespread arson was committed, with over 130 arsons on the night of October 30, 1991.

National Candy Corn Day

It’s National Candy Corn Day! Did you know that candy corn has been around for more than 100 years and has never changed its look, taste, or design?

Every Halloween countless party-throwers, party-goers, and trick-or-treaters hit the streets to harvest candy corn. The little yellow, orange, and white treat is an icon among the holiday candies and has a legacy that goes back more than a century.

According to oral tradition, George Renninger, a candymaker at the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, invented the revolutionary tri-color candy in the 1880s. The Goelitz Confectionery Company brought the candy to the masses at the turn of the 20th century. The company, now called Jelly Belly Candy Co., has the longest history in the industry of making candy corn -- although the method has changed, it still uses the original recipe.

Candy corn starts as a mixture of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavor, and marshmallow creme. This mixture is melted into liquid candy, called slurry, and is colored and run through a cornstarch molding process to create each kernel. Wooden trays filled with cornstarch are imprinted with rows of candy corn molds where the layers are individually deposited from bottom to top.

The mixture cools in the tray, which seals the three layers together. The kernels of candy corn are sifted from the trays and polished in large drum pans with edible wax and glaze to create its irresistible, hand-grabbable shine.

Today, candy corn is a favorite American treat to enjoy during the Halloween season. The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually. Grab a handful to celebrate National Candy Corn Day!

War of the Worlds

On this date in 1938, Martians invaded the Earth, frightening thousands of people...

—— Wait! Martians didn't attack us! As a matter of fact, there are no Martians!

What actually happened on October 30, 1938, was the broadcast of an Orson Welles radio show based on H. G. Wells's book The War of the Worlds. The fictional show was done in a non-fiction style—in the style of news bulletins that seemed to break into another show. There were only three announcements during the 60-minute program that this was just fiction—once each at the beginning and end, and once at the 40-minute mark. This kind of story-presented-as-news had never been done before, and people were used to trusting news flashes and bulletins, so there was understandably some fear and confusion among people who tuned into the show while it was already underway.

In other words, some of the listeners who missed the announcement that this was fiction were unsure—was this really happening?

Remember, back in 1938, there was no Twitter or Facebook. As a matter of fact, there was no internet, only a very few people had television, and many people still did not even have telephones! Some people literally went door to door asking their neighbors what was going on. Some even drove to the spot that the aliens were supposed to have landed—Van Nest Park, Grover's Mill, New Jersey!

There was some panic, but the amount of panic was exaggerated by the newspapers of the time. More people got mad than scared, actually—mad at Welles, and mad at CBS, who broadcast the show. Still, War of the Worlds made Orson Welles famous.

Several film versions of H. G. Wells's book have been made, including a somewhat recent version filmed in 2005.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 29 2014

International Internet Day

International Internet Day is celebrated worldwide, every year on 29th of October. Since the year 2005 the International Internet Day has been famously celebrated to commemorate a momentous day in the history of telecommunications and technology. This was the event of the sending of the first message, first electronic message which was transferred from one computer to another in 1969. This was situated in California, in the USA. Today the International Internet Day is also an on-line project germinating from the society, of the society and for the society. The International Internet Day project is open to everyone and anyone just as access to the internet is open and free for everyone. The International Internet Day thus celebrates this grand democratic fervor which in essential is linked to this idea of liberation, where everyone is afforded an equal opportunity and an equal advantage to share of services, which connect the world to each other.

Gleaning back at the history of the event would inform us that the journey to this era of easy communication wasn't exactly as simple as surfing up information on Google. For starters it the present scenario has been preceded by years of attempts including failed attempts to render digital data visible to everyone, instead of using teleprinters and other devices. At the time when history was being made, Internet was known as ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). This was the year of 1969 when Charley Kline, a student programmer at the UCLA transmitted the first ever message on 29th of October in 1969. This event was to follow only few months after the first man landed on the moon. Great things were happening in the world, and this was one of it. Charley Kline, working under the supervision of Professor Leonard Kleinrock, transmitted a message from the computer housed at the UCLA to a computer positioned at the Stanford Research Institute's computer. The two computers, one at the UCLA was the SDS Sigma 7 Host computer and the receiver was the SDS 940 Host at the Stanford Research Institute. Interestingly enough the message was a text message comprising the word 'login'. But as it would transpire only the letter L and O could be transmitted across, because following the initial transmission the system collapsed and the transmission crashed.

The Internet is a worldwide, publicly accessible series of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching, using standard IP (Internet Protocol). Now Internet has become one of the most important part of our life. Most of us cannot think of spending one day without internet. Internet has made our lives much easy.

National Cat Day

Today is National Cat Day! “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Charles Dickens once mused. Cats are one of the most beloved human companions of all time. They were first domesticated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent as early as 12,000 years ago. When humans relied on hunting as their main source of food, dogs were most useful – but when the first agricultural societies emerged, cats became invaluable. Domesticated cats became responsible for keeping grain stores free of mice and other rodents. Today, cats can be found in 34% of American households, making them the most popular house pet in the United States.

Pet lifestyle expert and animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige established National Cat Day in 2005. In honor of the occasion, celebrate cats and the unconditional love and companionship they give to their owners. If you don't own a cat, volunteer at your local animal shelter or make a donation. It’s the purrrrfect way to show you care!

National Hermit Day

National Hermit Day is always on October 29th. It's a quiet day to spend quietly in seclusion, all by yourself. For some people, being a recluse is a way of life. They spend everyday by themselves, in peaceful seclusion. For whatever reason, Hermits prefer living away from the crowds and the sea of humanity. For many of us who lead an increasingly busy lifestyle, the idea of being a "Hermit for a Day" is very tempting. The thought of getting away from it all, even if for just one day, is very appealing.

If you are a Hermit, celebrate your lifestyle today. If you're one of the many, who yearn for a break from your hectic lifestyle, be a Hermit on this day. Chill out by yourself where no one can find you. Spend this day in a secluded area or environment. May we suggest you do so with a good reading book. We hope that no one interrupts your the calm and serenity.

Have a happy, secluded, quiet, and peaceful Hermit Day.

National Oatmeal Day

It’s National Oatmeal Day! Oatmeal is an extremely healthy, versatile food that can be eaten any time of day. It is both filling and low in calories, which makes it the perfect breakfast or snack. Oatmeal is also delicious baked in cookies.

Oats were first cultivated in 1,000 BC in central Europe. Ancient Greeks and Romans scoffed at oats as “barbarian” food and only fed it to their animals. It was oat eating Germanic Tribes that later defeated the Romans, resulting in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Oats were first brought to America in the early 1600’s by European explorers, such as Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, who planted them off the coast of Massachusetts. Scottish and Dutch immigrants first used them in traditional porridges, puddings, and baked goods. Currently, Vermont has the highest per capita oatmeal consumption in the United States, where it is often consumed with another local favorite, maple syrup.

You may have heard the saying that a hearty bowl of oatmeal at breakfast “sticks to your ribs”. This is not too far off from the truth.

Oatmeal contains insoluble fiber which stays in the stomach longer and helps you feel fuller, longer. This can prevent overeating later on in the day, which may help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid the health problems associated with overweight.

The fiber in oats also has many health benefits. Eating just a half cup of oatmeal a day is enough to reap the many health benefits.

Fiber describes the portion of plant materials in the diet which humans cannot digest. It is an important component in maintaining gastro-intestinal (GI) health by regulating transit time through the GI tract and adding bulk, increasing a feeling of fullness and preventing constipation.

There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber absorbs water and becomes a viscous gel as it moves through the GI tract and is fermented by bacteria. Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, acts as a bulking agent, and is not fermented by bacteria. Oatmeal contains both types and has the largest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain in the form of beta-glucan.

The soluble fiber in oatmeal has been shown to decrease low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or “bad cholesterol” by 10-15%, particularly when consumed as part of a low-fat diet.  Studies show fiber can also decrease risk of high blood pressure and reduces risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.

The water soluble properties of beta-glucan help control blood sugar by slowing down digestion time, which can help diabetics achieve better glycemic control and prevent insulin resistance.

A high fiber diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat 25-30 grams of fiber per day -- most Americans only eat about half that amount!

One cup of oatmeal contains about 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber (about half soluble and half insoluble), and 6 grams of protein. In addition to fiber, oatmeal is rich in thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.

Did you know that the Quaker Man is one of the oldest advertising mascots in America? The Quaker Oats company registered him as the first trademark for a breakfast cereal in 1877. The character purposely embodies the values of the Quaker faith—honesty, integrity, and purity. Enjoy National Oatmeal Day and celebrate its history and tastiness!

World Psoriasis Day

World Psoriasis Day is an annual day specially dedicated to people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. Conceived by patients for patients, World Psoriasis Day is a truly global event that sets out to give an international voice to the more than 125 million people with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis around the world. Formed by a global consortium of patient associations from around the world, World Psoriasis Day aims to raise the profile of a condition which needs to be taken more seriously by national and international authorities.

Aims of World Psoriasis Day:
  • Raising awareness: to let people with psoriasis know that they are not alone and to raise the profile of this devastating skin disease and the misery it can cause. To dispel myths about the condition, such as the mistaken view that psoriasis is contagious. 
  • Improving access to treatment: to encourage healthcare systems,governments, physicians, carers and all those responsible for psoriasis care to allow psoriasis sufferers access to optimum therapy. For too long, psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis has been low priority. They are debilitating diseases and must move up the healthcare agenda.
  • Increasing understanding: to provide information to those who are affected by the condition as well as the general public in order to educatepeople about the condition so that they can discuss it more openly and confidently.
  • Building unity among the psoriasis community: to provide a platform from which patient voices from around the world can speak as one and be heard by key decision makers. 
For a number of years various patient groups discussed the idea of having an annual day specially dedicated to people with psoriasis. In 2004 members and non-members of psoriasis associations around the world launched World Psoriasis Day to raise awareness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 28 2014

National Chocolate Day

Today is National Chocolate Day! Just what you've been waiting for – a reason to eat more chocolate! Americans consume an average of 12 pounds per person per year. Do you help contribute to this staggering stat?

The first recorded evidence of chocolate as a food product goes back to Pre-Columbian Mexico. The Mayans and Aztecs were known to make a drink called "Xocoatll from the beans of the cocoa tree. In 1528, the conquering Spaniards returned to Spain with chocolate still consumed as a beverage. A similar chocolate drink was brought to a royal wedding in France in 1615, and England welcomed chocolate in 1662. To this point "chocolate" as we spell it today, had been spelled variously as "chocalatall, "jocolatte", "jacolatte", and "chockelet.11

In 1847, Fry & Sons in England introduced the first "eating chocolate," but did not attract much attention due to its bitter taste. In 1874, Daniel Peter, a famed Swiss chocolateer, experimented with various mixtures in an effort to balance chocolates rough flavor, and eventually stumbled upon that abundant product -- milk. This changed everything and chocolate's acceptance after that was quick and enthusiastic.

Cocoa beans are usually grown on small plantations in suitable land areas 20 degrees north or south of the Equator. One mature cocoa tree can be expected to yield about five pounds of chocolate per year. These are planted in the shade of larger trees such as bananas or mangos, about 1000 trees per hectare (2,471 acres).

Cocoa trees take five to eight years to mature. After harvesting from the trees, the pods (which contain the cocoa beans) are split open, beans removed, and the beans are put on trays covered with burlap for about a week until they brown. Then they are sun dried until the moisture content is below 7%. This normally takes another three days.

After cleaning, the beans are weighed, selected and blended before roasting at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Then shells are removed leaving the "nib." Nibs are crushed to create a chocolate "mass." This is the base raw material from which all chocolate products are made.

Valentine’s Day and Easter are two of the top holidays for buying chocolate, but you can’t forget about Christmas or Halloween! However, many will argue that chocolate is best enjoyed year-round.

To celebrate National Chocolate Day, enjoy some chocolate with each meal today! Try hot chocolate or chocolate donuts for breakfast. A fun lunch idea is to pair your favorite dish with a tall glass of chocolate milk. For dinner, try a traditional mole sauce, made with cocoa powder. Top it all off with a decadent chocolate dessert!

Give a friend a box of chocolates, try a new recipe using chocolate, or treat yourself to some! 

Plush Animal Lover's Day

Plush Animal Lovers Day is a day of celebration that is held every year to show your favourite stuffed toy some extra special love and appreciation.

The original origins of the day’s creation are vague but there is an unconfirmed Urban Legend that the day first came about after a collectibles dealer named Royal Selangor came up with the idea of a Teddy Bears Picnic Day in the late eighties. Other stuffed toys became jealous that Teddy Bears were being singled out for their own celebration and demanded a special day all of their own! Not long after, Plush Animal Lovers Day quickly replaced Teddy Bears Picnic Day in popularity!

Plush Animals Day is a great opportunity for you to share your love of your favourite toy with the rest of the world. Try taking them to your Office, school or work-place or by giving your toy an extra special tea party all of their own. Take this day to show your favorite toy just how much they have been loved in all the time you've been together and remember – a stuffed toy is for life, not just for Christmas!

Childhood memories are filled with colorful plush toys, and stuffed animals filling up a bed. Everyone has their own favorite stuffed toy, whether they cried into a teddy bear or got it from someone that they would eventually marry. But how long ago did these cuddly creatures start springing up in toy shops?

Historical records indicate that the ancient Egyptians could probably be credited with the first plush toys. There are actually no stuffed animals that have been unearthed from any of the archaeological digs in Egypt, but hieroglyphics and paintings indicate that they were present. They were not stuffed toys, however, but representatives of real animals that could be used in ceremonies.

The 1830's saw the introduction of stuffed animals as toys. These were not the soft, stuffing-field plush toys that we have today, however. These were made at home from cloth and straw, and were more like sock puppets than the factory-made toys that we now have. The original idea, moreover, to stuff animals also came from taxidermy, where real animals are stuffed, and where the process is far more expensive (not to mention dangerous, if you're after stuffed moose).

Finally, in 1880, stuffed animals finally took on the look of the toys that we see today. They were first made and sold in Germany. They were made from rather expensive materials, but with more technology and tests on the softness of plush animals, cotton and even synthetic fibers became more popular as materials. Even small beans were used to stuff toys, which could then be tossed around and played with.

The teddy bear, it is said, was named after President Theodore Roosevelt, who was approached by a toy manufacturer interested in having a line of stuffed animals. So having plush toys isn't just about getting the right materials, it's also having the right people to inspire you!

Today, stuffed animals are still selling, whether they're from classic cartoons or modern-day Disney characters. There is also a market for older, antique plush toys, which are now considered rare, if not at all precious collectors' items. Whether they're gathering dust and grime in your attic, or still sitting in your bedroom, these cuddly creatures really do make our lives brighter.

Statue of Liberty Dedication Day

On this day in 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The statue’s full name was Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. It had been a gift from French citizens to their American friends in recognition of the two countries’ commitment to liberty and democracy and their alliance during the American Revolutionary War, which had begun 110 years earlier. The 151-foot copper statue was built in France and shipped to New York in 350 separate parts. It arrived in the city on June 17, 1886, and over the next several months was reassembled while electricians worked to wire the torch to light up at night.

As President Cleveland accepted the statue on behalf of American citizens, he declared "we will not forget that liberty here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected." The statue quickly became a symbol of America’s humanitarianism and willingness to take in the world’s "tired, poor and huddled masses"—in the words of the poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the monument’s pedestal—who yearned for freedom and a better life.

"Lady Liberty" was originally intended to work as a functional lighthouse and, from 1886 to 1901, the statue was operated by the United States Lighthouse Board. In 1901, the War Department took over its operation and maintenance. The statue and the island on which it stands, now known as Liberty Island, were together proclaimed a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge on October 15, 1924, and, in 1933, the National Park Service assumed oversight of the monument. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan established a commission tasked with restoring the deteriorating Lady Liberty in time for a centennial celebration in 1986. A joint French-American preservation and rehabilitation group cleaned the statue and replaced the glass and metal torch with gold leaf. The original torch is on display in the statue’s lobby.

Today, the Statue of Liberty is a major tourist attraction, hosting as many as 5 million people every year. Although access to the statue’s crown was restricted following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, tourists can still visit Liberty Island, and the statue’s pedestal observation deck and museum.