Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 13 2014

National Indian Pudding Day

Celebrate National Indian Pudding Day! Indian pudding is a delicious custard made with molasses, cornmeal, milk, butter, spices, eggs, and sometimes apples. Once baked, Indian pudding looks like an inedible mush, but after one bite you'll be hooked!

Historians trace this uniquely American dessert as far back as the 17th century. It most likely descended from England's hasty pudding, a sweetened stove-top porridge made by stirring boiling milk or water with wheat flour. Indian pudding, however, uses cornmeal, which was abundant to early settlers in New England, while wheat was not. ("Indian meal" was what settlers called cornmeal.) Molasses, meanwhile, which was being produced in massive amounts to produce rum, was a readily available, inexpensive sweetener during Boston's rum trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. And unlike its British predecessor, Indian pudding is baked for a long time at a low temperature, a reflection of the hearth that was central to the early New England kitchen, which radiated heat for hours after the weekly baking was done. The pudding would have sat in that ambient warmth until it set. A uniquely new-world dish was born.

This scrumptious recipe has been around for centuries. Early American colonists did not have the necessary ingredients to make plum pudding, so they created an alternative using cornmeal. Indian pudding is still a popular dessert around New England and other parts of the country. Celebrate your American heritage today and enjoy some Indian pudding on National Indian Pudding Day!

Sadie Hawkins Day

An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day is a pseudo-holiday that originated in Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner (1934–1978). This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask boys out.

In Li'l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch's earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The "homeliest gal in all them hills", she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin'. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it "Sadie Hawkins Day". A foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town's eligible bachelors. She specifically had her eye on a boy who was already in a courtship with the cute farmers daughter Theresa. She was the daughter of the areas largest potato farmer Bill Richmand and unlike Sadie, had a lot of courtship offers. Stud-muffin Adam Olis was her target and because the engagement of Miss Theresa and Adam wasn't offical he was included in the race. With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race the men of the town were running for their freedom. Turned out Adam Olis was in 4th place out of 10th leaving John Jonston Sadies' catch of the day. it seems likely that the concept's origins lie in an inversion of the myth of Atalanta, who, reluctant to marry, agreed to wed whoever could outrun her in a footrace.
"When ah fires [my gun], all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin—after givin' yo' a fair start—Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husbin."
The town spinsters decided that this was such a good idea, they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dog patch bachelors. In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown—by law he had to marry her.

Sadie Hawkins Day was first mentioned in the November 15, 1937 Li'l Abner daily strip, with the race actually taking place between November 19 and November 30 in the continuity. It would prove to be a popular annual feature in Li'l Abner, and a cultural phenomenon outside the strip. (see Schreiner, Dave; "Sadie's First Run", Li'l Abner Dailies Volume 3: 1937, Kitchen Sink Press, Princeton, WI, pg. 8.)

Capp's creation captured the imagination of young people, particularly in high schools and on college campuses. In 1939, only two years after its inauguration, a double-page spread in Life proclaimed, "On Sadie Hawkins Day, Girls Chase Boys in 201 Colleges" and printed pictures from Texas Wesleyan. Capp originally created it as a comic plot device, but by the early 1940s the comic strip event had swept the nation and acquired a life of its own. By 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day was reportedly celebrated at 40,000 known venues. It became a day-long event observed in the United States on the Saturday that follows November 9.

Outside the comic strip, the practical basis of Sadie Hawkins Day is one of simple gender role-reversal. Women and girls take the bold initiative by inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date—almost unheard of before 1937—typically to a dance attended by other bachelors and their assertive dates. When Capp created the event, it wasn't his intention to have it occur annually on a specific date because it inhibited his freewheeling plotting. However, due to its enormous popularity and the numerous fan letters he received, Capp obligingly made it a tradition in the strip every November, lasting four decades.

World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day - Kindness is universally appreciated so why not show some on November 13th!

Mark Twain summarized kindness when he said it is "the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see".

World Kindness Day has been recognized in many countries throughout the world for a number of years.   Driven by The World Kindness Movement, the day involves people around the world showing that we can think about more than ourselves and make the world a better place because of it.

In June 2010 Louise Burfitt-Dons and David Jamilly, both members of the World Kindness Movement and humanitarians, launched a Kindness Day UK.  Their aim is to highlight good deeds done across the country.

Everyone's idea of kindness is different.  Helping an elderly person cross the road, giving someone a compliment, volunteering at a local children's charity, or distributing baked goodies in your workplace - it all counts.

You’ll also notice a wide range of people quoted on kindness on the official homepage.  From comedian Jo Brand to Kay Boycott at Shelter they only reinforce the significant role of kindness in a person’s life no matter who they are.

I thought I'd need to hop on a plane and go do some humanitarian work in an African orphanage or something equally as significant.   But it turns out I can make the world better by being kind to the people around me. Its so simple yet so true.

So, whether you hold your tongue and don't voice mean thoughts or do something proactive to be kind to others, you can play your part in the day. 

For half a minute on November 13th, you are asked to contemplate kindness and selfless acts that have had a lasting impact on you.  Nothing huge, or shouting it from the rooftops – it's a gesture as gentle as the notion itself.

Remember what Wordsworth said; "the best bits of a man's life are the simple, random acts of kindness and love". 

It really doesn't take much to show someone somewhere an act of kindness - so what will you do on November 13th?

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