Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holidays and Observances for December 14 2014

Monkey Day

Monkey Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated internationally on December 14. While the holiday is mainly about monkeys, it also celebrates other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs.

The holiday was started in 2000 when artist Casey Sorrow, then an art student at Michigan State University, jokingly scribbled Monkey Day on a friend's calendar, and then first celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students. It gained notoriety when Sorrow and fellow MSU art student Eric Millikin began including Monkey Day in their artwork and Fetus-X comic strips, and began promoting it online along with other artists. Since then, Monkey Day has been celebrated internationally, across countries such as the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Hallmark Cards describes it as the "one day when monkey business is actually encouraged." The holiday is primarily celebrated with costume parties intended to help draw attention to issues related to simians, including medical research, animal rights, and evolution. Often there are competitions to see who has the best costumes, who can act like a monkey the longest, or speed knitting of monkey dolls. The holiday cuts across religious boundaries and provides opportunities to share monkey stories and contemplate our simian relatives. Other Monkey Day activities include going on shopping sprees for Paul Frank "Julius the Monkey" fashions, eating Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream, and spending the day at the zoo.

In 2005, Peter Jackson's King Kong was released on the fifth anniversary of Monkey Day. King Kong and Planet of the Apes films are popular at Monkey Day parties. Monkey-themed songs, such as Major Lance's "The Monkey Time", are also part of Monkey Day festivities.

Often, celebrations involve raising money for primate-related issues. In 2008, the official Monkey Day celebrations included an art show and silent auction to benefit the Chimps Inc. animal sanctuary; the show and auction included art by human artists as well as paintings from chimps Jackson and Kimie, residents of the sanctuary. The Biddle Gallery in Detroit also celebrated Monkey Day in 2008 with an annual Monkey Day art sale that included a free banana with each purchase. For 2013, the International Primate Protection League is celebrating Monkey Day and raising money for conservation by offering life-drawing classes where people can learn to draw portraits of Gary the gibbon.

Prominent webcomic artists like Sorrow, Millikin, Rob Balder, and David Malki have created Monkey Day themed comics and artwork.

For Monkey Day 2013, Eric Millikin created a mail art series where he mailed Monkey Day cards to strangers, including Koko the sign-language gorilla and President Barack Obama. In 2012, USA Weekend published The 12 Stars of Monkey Day, a series of paintings by Millikin that were "in part inspired by the many pioneering space monkeys who rode into the stars on rockets, leading the way for human space flight."

Sorrow also maintains a comprehensive "Monkeys in the News" blog with stories on topics like monkey attacks, monkey smuggling, and monkey science. Every Monkey Day, Sorrow's "Monkeys in the News" blog counts down the previous year's "top 10 Monkey and Primate News highlights".

National Biscuits and Gravy Day

Today’s food holiday celebrates a hearty breakfast duo. Bacon and eggs? Nah. Pancakes and sausage? Guess again. December 14 is National Biscuits & Gravy Day!

Biscuits and gravy are two distinct foods that are delicious on their own. But together, they take on splendid new flavors! Kind of like what happens when you mix peanut butter and chocolate…only much more savory. They consist of soft dough biscuits covered in a thick “country” or “white” gravy that usually includes pan drippings, flour, milk, and crumbled sausage. It is often seasoned with black pepper and sometimes called “sawmill” gravy. The dish originated in the American South following the Revolutionary War. At that time food was in short supply, and breakfast was usually the most substantial meal of the day, providing energy for a long, hard day of work on the plantations. Because pigs were a popular and cheap source of livestock, sausage became a key ingredient. This filling morning meal was enough to get people ready for a busy day ahead.

We stopped by our favorite neighborhood mom ‘n pop restaurant for breakfast this morning, and shared some biscuits and gravy. Bonus points for this meal: it’s perfect hangover food!

National Bouillabaisse Day

Mon Dieu! December 14 is National Bouillabaisse Day.

According to tradition, the origins of the dish date back to the time of the Phoceans, an Ancient Greek people who founded Marseille in 600 BC. Then, the population ate a simple fish stew known in Greek as "kakavia". A dish similar to bouillabaisse also appears in Roman mythology: it is the soup that Venus fed to Vulcan.

The dish known today as bouillabaisse was created by Marseille fishermen who wanted to make a meal when they returned to port. Rather than using the more expensive fish, they cooked the common rockfish and shellfish that they pulled up with their nets and lines, usually fish that were too bony to serve in restaurants, cooking them in a cauldron of sea water on a wood fire and seasoning them with garlic and fennel. Tomatoes were added to the recipe in the 17th century, after their introduction from America.

In the 19th century, as Marseille became more prosperous, restaurants and hotels began to serve bouillabaisse to upper class patrons. The recipe of bouillabaisse became more refined, with the substitution of fish stock for boiling water and the addition of saffron. Bouillabaisse spread from Marseille to Paris, and then gradually around the world, adapted to local ingredients and tastes.

The name bouillabaisse comes from the method of the preparation — the ingredients are not added all at once. The broth is first boiled (bolh) then the different kinds of fish are added one by one, and each time the broth comes to a boil, the heat is lowered (abaissa).

Generally similar dishes are found in Greece, Italy (zuppa di pesce), Portugal (caldeirada), Spain (sopa de pescado y marisco, suquet de peix (es)), and all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. What makes a bouillabaisse different from these other dishes are the local Proven├žal herbs and spices, the particular selection of bony Mediterranean coastal fish, and the way the broth is served separately from the fish and vegetables.

While bouillabaisse is one of the cornerstones of Proven├žal cuisine, there are plenty of recipe variations in the sea.

The traditional version of the fisherman's stew from Marseille contains fish and shellfish, along with olive oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, saffron, fennel and potatoes. Purists will argue true bouillabaisse must include rascasse, a bony scorpion fish found in the dish's native Mediterranean region.

Whether you stew up one fish, two fish, red fish or blue fish, just don't forget to serve bouillabaisse with rouille (a peppery saffron mayonnaise) and a crusty baguette to sop up every last inch of the broth.

World Choral Day

The World Choral Day  An international choral event to extol the values of solidarity, peace and understanding! 

Thousands of choirs have joined in the celebration of World Choral Day on or around the 2nd Sunday in December in the past twenty years. Millions of singers across the globe have been involved in World Choral Day concerts, festivals, sing-alongs, choral seminars, Days of Friendship and other events. 

The World Choral Day is an initiative of Alberto Grau from the Latin American Vice-Presidency of the International Federation for Choral Music, proposed and approved by the General Assembly of IFCM held in Helsinki in August, 1990, within the framework of the 2nd World Symposium on Choral Music: 
"“The world is living through severe and continuous crisis of self destruction. There are no possible reasons that can justify these actions. The majority of the human race wants to live in peace with dignity. It is time to show, with more power and strength, that our choral family contributes, through music to break down the artificial barriers product of politics, different ideologies, religious differences, and racial hatred that separate human beings. We must be able to show that MUSIC, the divine art, is more than the mere search of formal perfection and interpretative beauty, music should serve to extol the values of solidarity, peace, and understanding . We cannot work isolated, we have to make all possible efforts to have our voices heard and to let music work its own paths of communication.” "
These are the main goals of the World Choral Day!

Sing Choirs of the World!
May your voices take springs
there where fire burns.
May your songs put roses
there where battlefields lay.
Open furrow and sow love
to harvest fruits of hope.
Sing to liberty where despot rule,
Sing to equality where poverty nests,
Sing to love where hate prevails.
May your singing direct the world
so that peace takes over wars,
so that all will cherishes earth,
so that all race or color discrimination is banished
so that we will be together as sisters and brothers
so that this planet rejoices with your voices.

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day

The initiative Worldwide Candle Lighting celebrated on the second Sunday of December an annual World Day of Remembrance for all deceased children. The initiators and supporters invite people all over the world to commemorate this special occasion of their deceased children, grandchildren and siblings in particular.

In Germany, the initiative is from before all Federal Association of orphaned parents support, an association of self-help groups grieving parents. The association describes the proposed perpetration and the meaning and symbolism of the same as follows:
Every year on the second Sunday in December filters for many years sufferers around the world at 19.00 clock lighted candles in the windows. While the candles go out in one time zone, they are lit in the next, so that a light wave 24 hours circling the globe. Every light in the window is the knowledge that these children have brightened the lives and that they will never forget. The light is also hoped that the grief can not stay dark forever the lives of loved ones. The light builds bridges of an affected individual to another, from one family to another, from one house to another, from one city to another, from one country to another.There insured person concerned solidarity. It warms a little life has become cold and will spread as it does a first ray of sunshine in the morning.
Facilities also include self-help groups for joint commemoration and mourning events and it will be accessible small text entered about remembrance and mourning of condolence.

The idea goes back to an association of orphan parents and their relatives in the United States, the "Compassionate Friends" back that this initiative called in 1996 to life. The Compassionate Friends The initiative is a self-help organization. It was over forty years ago in England , founded as a chaplain noticed by chance that the grieving parents could help each other a lot better than he as pastor could. The common experience was so combining that other methods were left behind. The US's name Remembrance Day has since been protected by trademark law against abuse, however, the association wants to be expressly public dissemination of information , posters, and the official logo for the purposes of the children.