Thursday, February 19, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Feb 19 2015

Chinese New Year

Many people in countries such as the United States celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. It marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar.

Many individuals and communities, particularly Chinese communities, in the United States take part in the Chinese New Year celebrations, which can last for days. Chinese New Year celebrations in the United States have, over the years, included activities and events such as:
  • Chinese New Year parades featuring colorful costumes, floats, firecrackers and other attractions.
  • Various dances, including lion and dragon dances.
  • Chinatown fun runs or walks.
  • Balls and pageants.
  • Street fairs.
  • Firework displays.
Some organizations may hold special contests or make announcements to coincide with Chinese New Year. For example, some newspapers or magazines may announce the top 10 Chinese restaurants in a city or town on Chinese New Year. It is customary for many Chinese-American families to spend time together and exchange gifts, including money wrapped in red and gold packages that are usually given to children.

Chinese New Year is not a federal public holiday in the United States. It is a legal observance in California as of 2015. However, some Chinese businesses may be closed on the day or amend their business hours to take part in the Chinese New Year festivities. There may be heavy traffic and some streets may be closed in towns or cities where Chinese New Year celebrations are held.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (Census 2000: Chinese Largest Asian Group in the United States; March 4, 2002), the Chinese comprised more than 20 percent of the 11.9 million people who identified themselves as Asians in the United States’ Census 2000. That translates into 2.7 million reporting as Chinese – the largest Asian group in the United States.

Chinese historical organizations in the United States can trace the arrival of the Chinese in North, Central and South America as far back as the 1600s. Many Chinese immigrants settled in the United States during the 19th century. With immigration, came Chinese traditions and events such as Chinese New Year, which is now largely celebrated in many communities across the United States.

Chinese New Year has various symbols and traditions. For example, flowers are an important part of New Year decorations. Writings that refer to good luck are often seen in homes and business environments. They are usually written by brush on a diamond-shaped piece of red paper. Tangerines and oranges are also displayed in many homes and stores as a sign of luck and wealth.

Envelopes with money (Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See) often come in the color red, which symbolizes happiness, good luck, success and good fortune. These envelopes are mainly given as presents to children. Each Chinese New Year is associated with an animal name for one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

Engineering is typically a male-dominated arena – but beyond simply tinkering with and repairing equipment, engineering requires a flare for creativity and intelligence which the industry often misses out on due to so few women considering the career path. Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day is all about encouraging girls to consider a route into engineering, and inspiring a generation who might grow up to be the great innovators and problem solvers of the next generation!

Engineering (from Latin ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise") is the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain, research, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes.

The discipline of engineering is extremely broad, and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied science, technology and types of application.

Engineering has existed since ancient times as humans devised fundamental inventions such as the wedge, lever, wheel, and pulley. Each of these inventions is consistent with the modern definition of engineering, exploiting basic mechanical principles to develop useful tools and objects.

The term engineering itself has a much more recent etymology, deriving from the word engineer, which itself dates back to 1300, when an engine'er (literally, one who operates an engine) originally referred to "a constructor of military engines." In this context, now obsolete, an "engine" referred to a military machine, i.e., a mechanical contraption used in war (for example, a catapult). Notable examples of the obsolete usage which have survived to the present day are military engineering corps, e.g., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The word "engine" itself is of even older origin, ultimately deriving from the Latin ingenium (c. 1250), meaning "innate quality, especially mental power, hence a clever invention."

Later, as the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings matured as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the older discipline of military engineering.

Iwo Jima Day

On this day, Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines' invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan, only 660 miles away.

The Americans began applying pressure to the Japanese defense of the island in February 1944, when B-24 and B-25 bombers raided the island for 74 days. It was the longest pre-invasion bombardment of the war, necessary because of the extent to which the Japanese--21,000 strong--fortified the island, above and below ground, including a network of caves. Underwater demolition teams ("frogmen") were dispatched by the Americans just before the actual invasion. When the Japanese fired on the frogmen, they gave away many of their "secret" gun positions.

The amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19 as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore. As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on them. By evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded. The capture of Mount Suribachi, the highest point of the island and bastion of the Japanese defense, took four more days and many more casualties. When the American flag was finally raised on Iwo Jima, the memorable image was captured in a famous photograph that later won the Pulitzer Prize.

National Chocolate Mint Day

The National Confectioners Association has declared Feb. 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day. In celebration of this day, you can explore with various chocolate mint recipes that suit your taste buds and needs.

The combination of chocolate and mint came about in the early 1900's when patrons were given dark chocolate and mint leaf after dessert to cleanse their palates and freshen their breathes.

Mint is not just there to garnish your meal or dessert plate. The benefits to eating mint leaves or drinking the tea, is that it not only aid your digestive system but it helps calm a headache and ease heartburn.

The health benefits to eating mint leaves are its rich in vitamin C which helps your immune system. Also consuming fresh mint gives you some of the daily requirement needed for iron and potassium.

The health benefits to eating dark chocolate are it helps decrease blood pressure and increase blood flow. Also it may help in preventing plague from forming in the arteries.

Chocolate and mint are a lovely marriage of sweet and refreshing, so today on National Chocolate Mint Day it’s a wonderful day to give it a try if you have never had it before.

For those who love chocolate and mint they have a choice of getting this treat in either milk or dark chocolate, although it is commonly sold with dark chocolate.

On National Chocolate Mint Day try variety of these flavors in a scoop of ice cream, a piece of cake, some cookies, a shake or smoothie.

Chocolate mint is similar to chocolate peppermint except the inside of the mint candies are green representing the color of mint leaves. However peppermint and mint both help aid in digestion and calm stomach discomfort.

The Great American Spit Out

Each year on February 19, smokeless tobacco users join together and quit for a day or longer as part of the Great American Spit Out disclaimer icon .
Smokeless tobacco is still tobacco: it’s addictive and causes cancer.  Make a plan to quit today or encourage smokeless tobacco users you know to quit.
Consider these statistics about smokeless tobacco:  nearly 8.9 million Americans aged 12 and older are current users of smokeless tobacco and 8.9 percent of American high school students report current use of smokeless tobacco.

Using smokeless tobacco products can cause mouth cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss.  It is also addictive.  Smokeless tobacco products now contain warning labels on packaging.

Imagine this: 75 degrees, clear skies, blue water and your toes in the sand. It may be hard to picture your summer vacation in the middle of winter, but now is the time to begin saving your money, time and health. When you set your quit date for the Great American Spit Out, February 19, you can Ditch the Snuff for Better Stuff.

You may think that smokeless tobacco is harmless. But, do you really want to be sitting at the beach with a wad in your mouth and a spit bottle by your beach chair? And, what happens when you smile for the camera and capture a wonderful memory? You expose your lip full of dip, stained teeth, mouth sores and maybe even tooth loss from gum disease.

Not only is smokeless tobacco harmful to your mouth, but it actually contains 3 to 4 times more nicotine than a cigarette, making it even tougher to quit for good. By quitting in February, you'll have plenty of time to completely ditch the snuff and enjoy summer, instead of battling the nicotine cravings.

During the Great American Spit Out, plan to make your beach fantasy a reality by quitting smokeless tobacco. It’s time to spend time with your family, friends and the sun; not your dip can. On February 19, Ditch the Snuff for Better Stuff.