Friday, April 10, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Apr 11 2015

Baby Massage Day

Every year the second Saturday in April is celebrated as Baby Massage Day to honor the growing trend of infant massage and educate parents (and parents-to-be) about the many benefits it can offer. The stimulation offered through massage can aid a baby’s physical and cognitive development, as well as improve sleep patterns, regulate stress hormones, and increase body weight and length. Some studies have even proven that mothers who participate in regimens of infant massage may reduce their own postnatal depression. The practice of infant massage is both old and natural — it was taught in some ancient Chinese and Indian traditions and can also be witnessed in the animal kingdom through licking and grooming.

Massage is a lovely way for you to express your love and care for your baby. Massage can soothe your baby and help her to sleep. 

Massage has many added benefits for your baby, including improving weight gain, aiding digestion, improving circulation, and easing teething pain. Massage is a great way for you and your partner to bond with your baby, and you may find it relaxing, too!

What is baby massage? Baby massage is gentle, rhythmic stroking of your baby's body with your hands. You can use oils or a moisturizer to help your hands to glide smoothly over your baby's skin. As part of your massage routine, you can gently manipulate your baby's ankles, wrists and fingers. You can talk softly, hum or sing to your baby while you are massaging, which may make it more reassuring for your baby.

The soothing strokes of your hands stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in you, your baby and even your partner, if he's watching. Oxytocin is the hormone that gives you that warm, loving feeling when you hold your baby close or breastfeed her.

What are the benefits of baby massage? There are lots of ways baby massage can benefit not just your baby, but you and your partner as well. Massage may help your baby to:
  • develop mentally, socially and physically
  • stay relaxed and not get upset
  • cry and fuss less
  • sleep better

One study found that massage in the early days could help newborns to recover from jaundice more quickly. 

You may find that giving your baby a massage lifts your mood and helps you to feel more empowered as a parent. The time you set aside for a massage can be your special time together. As you massage your baby, it comes naturally to chat to her and have plenty of eye contact with her. 

This is one reason why massage can help mums with postnatal depression, or who are at risk of depression, to interact with their babies. Find out about the other benefits of baby massage for mums with depression and their babies.

Baby massage can be great for dads, too. Some dads may miss out on a lot of the hands-on care of their babies, especially if they are at work and their baby is breastfed. 

A regular massage with dad can become a routine, perhaps at bedtime, that helps to bring your baby and partner closer together. It can also help your partner if he is feeling stressed. 

Massage may be particularly good for premature babies in special care, resulting in:
  • Improved weight gain, particularly if oils are used. Massage stimulates a key nerve, called the vagus nerve, which connects the brain with important parts of the body, including the stomach. Stimulating this nerve can improve digestion and bowel movement, helping your baby to gain weight.
  • A more stable heart rate. Massage improves the parts of the nervous system that regulate our organs. So massage can help to keep your premature baby's heart rate steady.
  • Calmer response to stress and pain.
  • More stable brain activity. Premature babies who are massaged tend to have brain activity that develops at a normal level. Premature babies who are not massaged have shown a decrease in brain activity development.

These benefits may contribute to the finding that massaged premature babies tend to be well enough to go home with their families sooner than babies who aren't massaged.

When is the best time to massage my baby? Try to pick a time when your baby is between feeds. Then she won't be too hungry or too full. It's also best not to start just before her nap. A good time to massage your baby is when she is awake, but settled. If your baby is quietly alert and interested in her environment, it means she'll be ready to interact with you. 

If your baby is sleeping and feeding often, you may wonder when this golden time for massage is going to come around! You'll get to know when your baby is most content to have a massage. You may like to make it part of your baby's bedtime routine, perhaps after a bath and before a bedtime feed. 

A massage before bedtime will help your baby to wind down after the stimulation of the day and become calm, ready for sleep. 

What do I need before I start a massage? It is important to find a good room for baby massage in your home where you and your baby will be comfortable and undisturbed. Make sure the room is warm (around 24 degrees C) with no draughts. Lay your baby down on a towel or folded sheet, perhaps with a changing mat underneath. You may prefer to keep your baby's vest on if it is a little cool. Or let her enjoy being completely naked for a change. 

As this is a special time for you and your baby, make sure there aren't any distractions in the room. If you have a pet, put it in another room, and turn off your mobile phone. You may even like to play some relaxing music, turned low enough so that your baby can hear your voice. 

Have everything that you'll need to hand, including:
  • massage oil or an emollient cream
  • towels or muslin squares to mop up any accidents
  • clothes to dress your baby in afterwards
  • your usual nappy-changing kit

Using oil or cream will make it easier for your hands to glide over your baby's skin and may be more relaxing for your baby. It's up to you whether you use a baby moisturizer or, if your baby has dry skin or eczema, a medical emollient, vegetable oil, or baby mineral oil for massage. 

Vegetable oils that are high in linoleic acid, such as safflower oil, are kinder to your baby's skin than oils high in oleic acid, such as olive oil. Read our expert question on oils for baby massage to find out more on which oils are kindest.

Whichever oil or cream you use, it's best to dab a little on your baby's skin first, just in case she has a reaction. Do this patch test the day before you intend to start massaging your baby.

However, there are some oils or creams that it's definitely best not to use. These are:
  • Mustard oil, because it has a toxic effect on the skin barrier, causing irritation and potential damage to delicate baby skin.
  • Unrefined peanut oil, because the proteins it contains may sensitive your baby to an allergic reaction to peanuts, or cause a reaction on your baby's skin. It's safest to avoid refined peanut oil, too. Although there's no evidence that it's likely to cause a problem, there is always the risk that it's been contaminated with unrefined peanut oil.
  • Aqueous cream, because it contains a harsh detergent called sodium lauryl sulfate, which may irritate your baby's skin and damage the skin barrier.

If your baby has eczema, it is best to use her prescribed cream or emollient during the massage.

How should I massage my baby? For the first few times, you may just want to massage your baby's legs until she gets used to the sensation. It's a good place to begin because your baby is used to having her legs touched during nappy changes. 

Then try to follow a routine pattern, perhaps massaging your baby's legs before her arms, hands and body. Your baby will appreciate a routine. She'll find it comforting to know what's coming next. 

To learn a massage routine, you could ask your health visitor whether there is a clinic or children's center near you that runs a baby massage course. 

If you want to get started sooner, look at our step-by-step guide, or follow this routine: 
  • Warm a tiny squirt of oil or cream in your hands by rubbing it between your palms.
  • Very gently rub it into your baby's skin, starting with her legs.
  • Work your way up her legs, lightly squeezing her calves and thighs.
  • For your baby's chest and tummy, gently place both hands flat against the center of her body. Spread your hands to the sides, as if flattening the pages of a book.
  • With your hands still flat, use your fingertips to stroke outward in small circles.
  • Keep going for as long as your baby seems to be enjoying it.

Reading your baby's cues is the most important aspect of massage. Your baby will tell you when the massage needs to end and which strokes she's likes or dislikes. If your baby starts to cry during the massage, she is telling you that she has had enough.

Check out our fabulous massage videos for even more great tips. We have step-by-step guides for massages specifically designed to help with calming, strengthening, digestion and stretching.

Barbershop Quartet Day

April 11 is Barbershop Quartet Day. It is the founding day of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. The SPEBQSA was founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Barbershop Quartet dates back to the early 1900s but it was the SPEBQSA who made it stay vital. Owen C. Cash, a tax attorney and Rupert I Hall, an investment banker met in Kansas City during a snow storm. The two decided to hold a songfest on the roof garden of the Tulsa Club. On April 11, 1938   Twenty six men met that night and by the third meeting 150 gathered to harmonize.   

What is a Barbershop Quartet?   A Barbershop Quartet is made up of four vocalists; one lead singer, one tenor, one bass and one baritone. The singers can harmonize using their vocals. The music is lighthearted   and allows for full range of the vocalists’ skills.  During the 1940’s the Barbershop Quartet was quite the rage.  Barbershop Quartets are part of American culture and considered an American Art form.

Today Barbershop Quartets still compete on the local and national level.  They perform at many different events. SPEBSQSA is the world’s largest all male singing organization with more than 800 chapters in America and Canada and more than 4000 barbershop members in other parts of the world. The SPEBSQSA’s headquarters was in Kenosha, Wisconsin before moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2007.The SPEBSQA is now known as the Barbershop Harmony Society and still keeps the Barbershop Quartet tradition alive.

International Louie Louie Day

Even if this man never wrote "LOUIE LOUIE," he should go down in history as one of the true pioneers in American rhythm & blues, as one of the great songwriters, singers, and "musical utility men." As a songwriter, he created some great hits for The Kingsmen, Etta James, Louis Prima, The Sonics, and many others. As a singer, often singing bass and tenor in the same song, he inspired many to emulate his style, including Barry White, who performed an incredible version of "LOUIE LOUIE" on his BEWARE album. He is listed as one of Frank Zappa's inspirations on the ground-breaking FREAK OUT debut album by the Mothers of Invention. He is one of the great underdogs in the American music story. He is Richard Berry, and he deserves your attention.

Richard Berry was born on April 11, 1935 in Extension, Louisiana. When he was one year old, he was brought to Los Angeles, where he lived most of his life. As a child, he had an injury to his hips, and used crutches until the age of six, when he had corrective surgery. His first musical venture was the ukulele, which he learned at a summer camp for crippled children. At Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California, Richard Berry was a respected member of the local doo-wop music community that included Jesse Belvin, Cornel Gunter, Young Jessie, Curtiss Williams and Gaynel Hodge, among others. One of the first groups he joined was harmony group known as the Flamingos. Later, Richard joined a group that became known as the Flairs, and was involved with a variety of different musical projects, recording for Dolphin's of Hollywood (unintentionally- but that's a story in itself), Modern Records, Flair Records, and Flip Records. He provided the uncredited lead vocal for the original recording of Leiber and Stoller's "Riot In Cell Block #9" with the Robins, which later evolved into the Coasters. He also contributed the male counterpart voice for Etta James' recording of "Roll With Me, Henry" (a song with its own share of controversial innuendoes), which was written as an answer to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie."

The original "LOUIE LOUIE" was written in 1955 by Richard Berry and released as a single in 1957 on Flip Records. Recorded with the Pharaohs, Richard created a catchy, somewhat calypso diddy that was originally intended as the B-side for his recording of "You Are My Sunshine." At the time that Richard Berry released "LOUIE LOUIE," he was ready to expand his musical horizons from his doo-wop musical roots. As a founding member of the Flairs, he had various degrees of success with his recordings on Modern Records. When he was offered the opportunity to record on Flip Records, he was trying out a new sound, playing with a local Latin rhythm and blues band known as (Rick Rillera &) The Rhythm Rockers. Inspired by certain Latin rhythms, Berry wrote his creation on a napkin backstage between musical sets, and waited a year before recording the song that would eventually become the world's greatest party song.

Although Berry's version was a moderate success in the Los Angeles area, he wound up selling the publishing rights before the song had run its course to pay for his wedding to Dorothy Adams. Yet somehow, instead of fading into obscurity, "LOUIE LOUIE" was adopted by countless American bar bands and became especially popular in the Pacific Northwest region. 

Years later, he discovered he made a mistake by prematurely selling the publishing rights for the song that would later be adopted as "the universal party song." With the help of an organization by the name of Artists Rights Enforcement, Richard Berry was able to recover some of his publishing rights in 1986. In 1992, "LOUIE LOUIE" was sold to Windswept Pacific, a publishing company based in Beverly Hills, and Richard Berry received a substantial payment.

In 1983, he traveled to KFJC, a college radio station based in Los Altos Hills, California, where a marathon took place to celebrate the massive impact of this song. Titled "Maximum Louie Louie," this event marked the first time Richard Berry had ever met any member of the Kingsmen, as Jack Ely, the original vocalist, flew down from Oregon for this special occasion. Heavily promoted by a very ambitious all-volunteer staff, this event was covered by national and international media, and lasted for 63 hours, with over 800 different versions of the song. 

Prior to this particular event, Richard Berry received very little acknowledgment for his musical legacy. Soon afterwards, he was bombarded with requests for interviews, and performances around the country. As Richard received recognition as an internationally renown musician, financially successful after many years of struggling in the music circuit, he continued to live in his old neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles, working within his community to make it a better place. He continued to perform shows around the country, but had cut back considerably after a heart aneurysm operation in December 1994.

For the first time in over thirty-five years, Richard Berry got together with his old band-mates The Pharaohs for a special benefit that also featured another one of his back-up bands, The Dreamers. The event was a benefit performance for the Doo Wop Society of Southern California, and took place on February 24, 1996 at the Petroleum Club in Long Beach. 

Richard Berry left this world on January 23, 1997. He died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles.

International TableTop Day

International TableTop Day was founded three years ago as a way for the world to celebrate tabletop gaming together. Every spring, fans host thousands of events all over the world  and every year, the event grows. TableTop Day 2014 was celebrated in 80 countries, over all 7 continents, and had over 3,000 events in total. 2015 is going to be even bigger!

International TableTop Day is this Saturday – April 11th and this year, we are upping the stakes with a pledge to donate a board game for every registered event on With the help of game publishers such as Looney Labs, AEG, Mayfair Games, Steve Jackson Games, and Calliope Games, Geek & Sundry will donate thousands of board games to Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and Big Brother Big Sister chapters across the realm.

Find an event near your or create one below and check out the gallery and download page for exclusive downloadable content.  Join in the conversation using #tabletopday on all the socials, we want to hear from you!  

National Cheese Fondue Day

It’s National Cheese Fondue Day! During the 18th century the origin of fondue began in Switzerland as a way to use aged cheeses and breads to feed families who had limited access to fresh foods during the winter time.  Producers of cheese and bread saw their busy season was during the warm months and that the food had to be saved by villagers to be used through the cold winter months.  As the cheese would age and the breads became stale it became more difficult to eat.  The local villagers found that if they heated the cheese with wines, garlic, and herbs they could dip their stale bread which would soften when dipped into the flavorful cheese mixture.  This way of cooking together over one pot and eating by a warm cozy fire became a Swiss winter tradition known as fondue.  The word fondue comes from the French word, ‘fondre’, which means ‘to melt’ and has since then been used to reference many other types of fondue for meats, chicken, seafood, and even chocolate.

A cheese fondue usually includes a blend of different cheeses like Gruyere, Emmental, Raclette, and cheddar. You can also add ingredients such as milk, spices, cream, wine, or brandy for additional flavor and to thicken the mixture. A traditional fondue pot is called a “caquelon.” The heavy earthenware vessel promotes even heat distribution and produces a delicious smooth fondue!

To celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day, invite some friends over for a fondue potluck. Ask everyone to bring dippers like bread, steamed vegetables, cured meats, and fresh fruit. Bon app├ętit!

National Eight-Track Tape Day

It’s time to take a trip down music’s memory lane and get "reel." Move over CDs and iPods, it’s 8-Track Tape Day, also known as National Eight Track Tape Day. Although the origins of this annual “holiday” are unknown, Eight Track Tape Day is observed every year on April 11.

While the younger generation has probably never heard of them much less ever used one, eight track tapes were the MP3s, CDs or records of the day – only bulkier and a whole lot more aggravating. “Invented” in 1964 by Bill Lear, RCA, Ford, Motorola and Ampex, these popular portable tapes could be played at home or on the go in the car. Once you popped that tape into the Learjet Stereo 8 player, it was time to rock on and get your groove or disco on!

While they were convenient and easy to use, the fragile magnetic tape inside that bulky plastic cartridge would inevitably snap, skip, crease or unwind by the mile at the most pivotal moment during your favorite song! And every once-in-a-while, the player would eat the tape! Now that was a real bummer especially when you were trying to get your groove on!

While extremely popular, the lifespan of the 8-track tape was a short one. They were pretty much a thing of the past by the early 80s but no worries. You still can find them at yard sales, flea markets and online.

While the medium has changed over the years, music continues to play a pivotal role in today’s culture. And just for the "record," there is a Vinyl Record Day too.

National Pet Day

Today is National Pet Day! This holiday is all about appreciating and celebrating the wonderful pets in your life. Did you know that there are approximately 86.4 million pet cats and 78.2 million pet dogs living in the United States today? Gerbils, birds, turtles, and fish are also very common. If you consider your pet a member of the family, you are by no means alone. Six out of ten pet owners feel the same way!

Celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige founded National Pet Day to raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption. The motto of the holiday is “Don’t shop! Adopt!” and it is sponsored by the Animal Miracle Foundation, whose mission is to help animals in shelters find forever homes.

To celebrate National Pet Day, take your dog on a long walk or give your cat a little extra catnip to show your love and appreciation. Not a pet owner? Consider making a donation or volunteering at your local pet shelter. Happy National Pet Day!

National Submarine Day

April 11 is commemorated by the United States submarine community as Submarine Day, the anniversary of April 11, 1900 when the American Government purchased its first commissioned submarine, the USS Holland.

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term submarine most commonly refers to a large crewed autonomous vessel. However, historically or colloquially, submarine can also refer to medium-sized or smaller vessels (midget submarines, wet subs), remotely operated vehicles or robots.

The adjective submarine, in terms such as submarine cable, means “under the sea”. The noun submarine evolved as a shortened form of submarine boat (and is often further shortened to sub). For reasons of naval tradition submarines are usually referred to as “boats” rather than as “ships”, regardless of their size.
Although experimental submarines had been built before, submarine design took off during the 19th century, and they were adopted by several navies. Submarines were first widely used during World War I (1914–1918) and now figure in many large navies. Military usage includes attacking enemy surface ships or submarines, aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force, reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection/maintenance. Submarines can also be modified to perform more specialized functions such as search-and-rescue missions or undersea cable repair. Submarines are also used in tourism, and for undersea archaeology.

Most large submarines consist of a cylindrical body with hemispherical (and/or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes. In modern submarines this structure is the “sail” in American usage, and “fin” in European usage. A “conning tower” was a feature of earlier designs: a separate pressure hull above the main body of the boat that allowed the use of shorter periscopes. There is a propeller (or pump jet) at the rear and various hydrodynamic control fins as well as ballast tanks. Smaller, deep diving and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional layout.

Submarines have one of the largest ranges of capabilities in any vessel, ranging from small autonomous examples to one- or two-person vessels operating for a few hours, to vessels which can remain submerged for 6 months such as the Russian Typhoon class – the biggest submarines ever built and in use. Submarines can work at greater depths than are survivable or practical for human divers. Modern deep diving submarines are derived from the bathyscaphe, which in turn was an evolution of the diving bell.

Slow Art Day

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Slow Art Day is the global all-volunteer event with a simple mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.

When people look slowly at a piece of art they make discoveries.

The most important discovery they make is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise).

And that’s an exciting discovery. It unlocks passion and creativity and helps to create more art fans.

One day each year – April 11 in 2015 – people all over the world visit local museums and galleries to look at art slowly. Participants look at five works of art for 10 minutes each and then meet together over lunch to talk about their experience. That’s it. Simple by design, the goal is to focus on the art and the art of seeing.

In fact, Slow Art Day works best when people look at the art on their own slowly and then meet up to discuss the experience (though some hosts decide to do the discussion right in the gallery).

This 2010 ARTNews feature article, Slow Down You Look Too Fast, provides an excellent overview of Slow Art Day.

Volunteers, as individuals or as museum staff, raise their hands (and register on this site) to host a group at a local museum or gallery. The host selects both the location and the art to view.  The global Slow Art Day team (also made up of volunteers) provides the tools and support for hosts to run their own events.

How do individuals volunteer or intern on the global team that runs Slow Art Day?

Slow Art Day is made up entirely of volunteers – including college and high school students who intern with us. Anyone can intern or volunteer from anywhere in the world – it’s a global movement and we work remotely using a variety of digital tools and old-fashioned technology like conference calls.

See more about our internship program here or contact us if you’d like to volunteer working on social media, our database, our outreach to museums and galleries or any of the other jobs.

We have a great team around the world and you’ll learn a lot and have fun working with the team behind Slow Art Day.

World Parkinson's Day

April 11 World Parkinson’s Day

World Parkinson’s Day is celebrated annually on April 11, Dr James Parkinson’s birthday. The day is dedicated to advocating for people with Parkinson’s disease. World Parkinson’s Day increases awareness of Parkinson’s and is intended to spur new research and treatment initiatives. 

Parkinson’s disease was first described by English physician Dr James Parkinson in his work entitled An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817).  In this short essay Parkinson wrote about ‘Involuntary tremulous motion, with lessened muscular power, in parts not in action and even when supported; with a propensity to bend the trunk forwards, and to pass from a walking to a running pace: the senses and intellect being uninjured.’ Four decades later, Dr Jean-Martin Charcot added rigidity to Parkinson’s clinical description and attached the name Parkinson’s disease to the syndrome.

Why is the tulip a symbol of Parkinson’s?
On April 11, 2005, the Red Tulip was launched as the Worldwide Symbol of Parkinson’s disease at the 9th World Parkinson’s disease Day Conference in Luxembourg. The story of the Parkinson Tulip began in 1980 in the Netherlands when J.W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch horticulturalist who had Parkinson’s disease, developed a red and white tulip. In 1981, Van der Wereld named his prized cultivar, the ‘Dr James Parkinson’ tulip, to honour the man who first described his medical condition and to honour the International Year of the Disabled.

The tulip received the Award of Merit that same year from the Royal Horticultural Society in London England, and also received the Trial Garden Award from the Royal General Bulb Growers of Holland.  It is described as a flower: ‘exterior, glowing cardinal red, small feathered white edge, outer base whitish; inside, currant-red to turkey-red, broad feathered white edge, anthers pale yellow’. 

What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder and affects nerve cells which are responsible for motor functions of the body. Parkinson’s patients have difficulty in carrying out movements at a normal speed. Hence, they take longer to perform even normal day-to-day activities. Apart from slowness in their body, Parkinson’s patients’ limbs tend to be either stiff or shake uncontrollably. Other non-motor symptoms like pain, sleep disturbances, irregular bowel movements, fainting spells, depression, anxiety, fatigue and memory problems also occur. There is no cure for the disease but medications and surgery can provide some relief.