Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Holidays and Observances for May 13 2015

Donate a Day's Wages to Charity Day

Many people choose to increase their charitable giving on Donate A Day’s Wages to Charity Day, which is usually celebrated on the second Wednesday of May. Anyone can get involved, either by making a financial donation or taking part in one of the many whacky activities which are organised each year to raise money for charity on this day.

Rather than giving cash to charity, some individuals prefer to give an in-kind contribution instead, perhaps by volunteering at a local charity or offering their professional expertise for free to a suitable project.

Although Donate A Day’s Wages to Charity Day has a serious message, there’s no reason why it can’t be made into a fantastic celebration of generosity and giving; helping others always feels good and there’s the opportunity to express your silly side through a light hearted sponsored activity or similar money raising venture.

Frog Jumping Day

Frog Jumping Day is celebrated on May 13th of each year. Frog jumping is a competitive pastime in which frogs compete to jump certain distances. Frog jumping contests are held in small communities scattered around the United States, as part of the folk culture.

The origin of Frog Jumping Day may be the frog jumping contest held in Calaveras County.  Nowadays, people in Calaveras County still annually celebrate this day at the Calaveras County Fair and Frog Jumping Jubilee. This is actually a great occasion for people there to enjoy delicious food and many forms of entertainment including taking part in the frog jumping competition to see whose frog jump the farthest. In some other states of the US, the same contest is also held.

Frog jumping was made famous in a short story by Mark Twain, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” An event has been held annually in Calaveras County since 1928, with other events held in Indiana, Ohio, Washington, Maine, Missouri, Louisiana, New York, and also in Manitoba, Canada. With 4,000 contestants in 2007, the Calaveras County contest has strict rules regulating the frogs’ welfare, including limiting the daily number of a frog’s jumps, and mandating the playing of calming music in their enclosures. The endangered California Red-legged Frog may not be entered in the competition. Participants entering the longest jumping frog were to win a $750 prize or $5,000 if their frog breaks the 1986 record of 21 feet, 5¾ inches set by Rosie the Ribeter.

National Apple Pie Day

The National Apple Pie Day is in 2014 on May 13. An apple pie is a fruit pie in which the principal filling ingredient is apples. It is the quintessential American dessert. In countless surveys it has been chosen as the favorite dessert in the United States.

Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonization of the Americas, "as American as apple pie" is a saying in the United States, meaning "typically American". The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.

Advertisers exploited the patriotic connection in the 1970's with the commercial jingle "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet". There are claims that the Apple Marketing Board of New York State used such slogans as "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" and "as American as apple pie!", and thus "was able to successfully 'rehabilitate' the apple as a popular comestible" in the early twentieth century when prohibition outlawed the production of cider.

Apple pie is sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream on top. Pastry is generally used top-and-bottom, making it a double-crust pie, the upper crust of which may be a disk shaped crust or a pastry lattice woven of strips; exceptions are deep-dish apple pie with a top crust only, and open-face Tarte Tatin. 

National Fruit Cocktail Day

National Fruit Cocktail Day occurs every May 13 in the United States of America. This holiday celebrates fruits that have been chopped and made into a cocktail (typically with some sort of juice or syrup. Fruit cocktail may be eaten as a snack or as a dessert. Although fruit cocktail is generally healthy, those made with heavy syrups can contain high amounts of sugar and calories.1

Fruit, along with vegetables, is a main part of a healthy diet. Fruits contain vitamins and minerals that help combat illnesses, and those who incorporate produce into their diets are less likely to develop some serious diseases. In addition, the majority of fruits have low amounts of sodium, fat or calories, making them logical choices for those who seek to lose weight.2

There is little documentation available about National Fruit Cocktail Day, and thus it is difficult to determine how, when or why it was started. It may have been created by a company that makes fruit cocktails, or by another group with ties to the fruit industry. Industry organizations are often responsible for food holidays.3

National Fruit Cocktail Day may be honored by making some fruit cocktail at home. By making it at home, it is possible to choose exactly what fruits and flavorings will go into the creation. There may also be some specials and promotions for the holiday at grocery stores or restaurants.

National Leprechaun Day

If you’re in the mood to get lucky and have a fondness for men in designer, haute couture uniforms, it may be your lucky day! On the heels of National Twilight Zone Day and National Limerick Day, May 13 is dedicated to those elusive Irish men dressed in green. Hold on to your pot of gold, it’s National Leprechaun Day! While the origins of this annual holiday are unknown, chances are pretty good a diminutive leprechaun created the day in his honor.

Who are Leprechauns?
Leprechauns are sly and sneaky fairies dressed in shades of green that lead solitary yet busy lives. These spiffy dressers typically don waist coats, buckled shoes and hats. Many little leprechauns are hard-working shoemakers (like the author of this article!) They are talented musicians and love to dance. In fact, they love dancing so much, they wear out their shoes and constantly have to make new ones.

While they may be small in stature, they are quick as a whip. While seeing one from time-to-time is not all that unusual, catching one of these mischievous pranksters is another matter entirely! If you happen to catch a leprechaun, and good luck with that, the leprechaun will use his magical powers to grant you three wishes in return for his freedom. Or will he?

How to Celebrate Leprechaun Day
  • Get lucky today and learn the right way to catch a Leprechaun!
  • Need a wee bit more help? Make this colorful Leprechaun Trap out of colored craft sticks!
  • Be sure to stop by Leprechaun Days later this year in Rosemount, MN.
  • Lucky Leprechaun Cocktail - Feeling a little parched after all that Leprechaun hunting? Check out this pretty green concoction made with melon liqueur, pineapple juice, Malibu Rum and mint.
  • Ugly Leprechaun – This interesting drink calls for vodka, Irish whiskey, melon liqueur, kiwi puree and a lime wedge.
  • Frosty Leprechaun Cocktail - Speaking of quenching your thirst, run, don’t walk, to your kitchen to whip up this fabulous drink. You’ll need Irish whiskey, coffee liqueur, Irish cream, simple syrup, cold espresso and vanilla ice cream for this one!
National Night/Third Shift Workers Day

National Night/Third Shift Workers Day is annually celebrated on the second Wednesday in May.

This day was created to honor all workers, who work hard through the night (night after night), for the necessity and benefit of the company of which they are employed.

The third shift. Unavoidable for some. Dreaded by many. At a time when it’s difficult just to stay awake, you are expected to function at a reasonable level. Unfortunately, laboring through the night can wreak havoc on your body, weakening your immune systemand causing a destructive decrease in energy. It’s difficult for the body’s internal clock to adapt to shift work, and laboring through the night often causes insomnia and indigestion. It becomes even trickier if you have to switch between day and night shifts. So, if you are one of the millions of people that work the third shift, check out our healthy tips to combat the damage it can do to your body.

It’s often the hardest element to "get right" if you are working late. Your body is ready to crash halfway through the shift, but when you return home your family is up and about. Spending quality time with them often stands in the way of enough sleep, and it’s almost impossible to choose between the two. What can you do?

Sleep is one of the most important gifts you can give your body. But you are fighting your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle by staying up through the night, and sleep loss can be dangerous. Even if you are sleeping during the day instead of the night, you still need an average of eight hours to keep your body functioning properly. It’s important to make this a continuous eight hours, too.

Often, third shift workers break up their sleep in order to spend more time with loved ones and do activities that they enjoy. Of course, this is key to a happy life and positive relationships, but it keeps your body from going through the proper sleep cycles, rotating from light to deep sleep. If you are sleeping for a few hours in the morning and then an hour or so before work, your body will not be rested enough and ready for the next shift.

Sure, it’s easy to talk about being well rested, but when it comes down to actually doing it, it's easier said than done. Even if you are good about laying down into bed to catch some zzz’s, your environment, from your kids are bouncing around outside your door to your neighbor cutting grass might stand in the way.

Here are some ideas on how to fall asleep quickly and soundly:
  • Have a sleep ritual. Go to sleep as soon as you can after work. Don't get caught up in chores, errands, and scheduling. Save this for later when you can devote your full attention to them. Come home from work, relax in the bath with a book, and then hit the hay.
  • If you are exposed to a lot of sunlight right after work, your body will perk up and make sleep difficult. Don’t stay outside longer than necessary before bed and make your room as dark as possible, even if you must resort to blinds, curtains, or a sleep mask.
  • To keep disturbing noise to a minimum, invest in a good set of ear plugs. Unplug the phone in your room. Talk to your family members about taking extra care to be quiet.
  • Avoid the overuse of sleep aids. Sure, they can be a temporary solution, but in the long run they could cover up a larger problem. They are not actually helping your body clock to adjust, so talk to your doctor before using these. (Same goes for alcohol. It might make you sleep faster, but you won’t sleep as soundly.)
  • Avoid caffeine. It might help you make it through your shift, but if you drink coffee too close to bedtime, you’ll have a terrible time trying to fall asleep.
Eating healthy when your timetable seems so backwards is difficult. To maintain a nourishing diet, it’s vital to adjust your meal routine around your schedule. Do not skip meals. To avoid pumping in empty calories from vending machines or fast food, plan ahead. It is easy to eat to pass the time, but you’ll gain weight this way. Bring a healthy meal with you to work.

Here are more nutritional tips:
  • Don’t eat a huge meal right at the end of your shift. It will just sit in your stomach as you try to sleep, leading to trouble digesting as well as disrupted slumber. Your body will have difficulty burning these extra calories and they can turn to fat.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout your shift. Dehydration can cause cramps and headaches, which can make your shift very unpleasant.
  • Fuel up on complex carbs; these will release energy slowly over a long period of time, versus quick sugar bursts that won't last too long. Also, protein will fuel your muscles throughout the night.
  • Time your meals and activities to match your "day."
It might seem like survival of the fittest. You are falling asleep standing one night, while your co-worker trots cheerily along. What gives? What is he doing that’s making him better equipped to handle the third shift? It probably has less to do with superhuman powers than you might think.

Here are some tricks that will make the time go by more easily:
  • On-the-job exercise can boost your alertness. If you have an extra break where you can get in a few minutes of a good workout, take advantage! If you can’t exercise at work, try doing it at other times. This will create better daytime sleep. A word of caution: Don’t work out right after you get home, before going to sleep. It will wake you up and make snoozing difficult. Try working out before you go to work instead.
  • Exposure to bright light will also improve your alertness. Obviously, if it’s dark out, this can’t come from a natural source. Turn on the lights!
  • Music helps to break up the monotony of a long shift. If you are allowed, bring in your own music. Use fast-paced sounds to pump you up when you are dragging towards the end of the shift.
  • Missing your family? Include scheduled time when you can call them, maybe right when they get up in the morning or before their bedtimes. Also, try keeping a bulletin board in your house where you can leave or receive messages. Write them notes, and they’ll return the favor.
National Receptionists' Day

Each year this day is celebrated on the second Wednesday in May. National Receptionists' Day is a day that was created to give recognition to receptionists and the valuable contribution they make to the company they work for.  They are responsible for providing a good first impression to all customers, in person and on the telephone.   Their customer service skills play a vital role in each company’s image. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than a million receptionists in the United States. 

National Receptionists’ Day was first launched in 1991 in the US to celebrate the role of professional receptionists and is a special day to recognize and appreciate all the things that receptionists do for an organisation.
The purpose of National Receptionists’ Day is to:
  • Foster a recognition of the importance of the receptionists role. They are usually the first person a customer or client meets when they visit a company.
  • Promote pride and professionalism amongst receptionists for the important role they play within an organisation.
  • Give receptionists an opportunity to share stories and link up with other colleagues. Each year National Receptionists’ Day grows bigger and is now celebrated on the second Wednesday in May by companies across the globe including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
We are proud to have joined forces across the globe with our partners The National Reception Association in the US and Australia.

Top Gun Day

In 1986 the movie Top Gun came roared into theaters like an F-14 Tomcat. It got a missile lock on the box office and shot down just over $356 million, making it the 11th highest grossing movie of Tome Cruise’s career. The movie centers on Maverick, a hot shot pilot, who is sent to the US Navy’s Fighter Weapons school.

The actual school was formed in 1969 by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas Hinmman Moorer, at the recommendation of Captain Frank Ault. During Operation Rolling Thunder, the United States lost nearly 1,000 aircraft over North Vietnamese skies. The USAF and Navy both sought the causes, but came to two divergent conclusions. The Air Force believed that the fault was mechanical: that MiG pilots caught American pilots in a rear blind spot. The Navy decided that the failure was in training. The Air Force responded by developing new technology, while the Navy started the Top Gun school, paving the way for 110 minutes of heart pounding action, backed by a roaring theme song.

Top Gun Day celebrates the movie, but at its core is all about attitude. It teaches about the importance of teamwork…and shirtless volleyball. So how do you take the highway to the danger zone? Start by reliving the adventures of Goose, Maverick and the Iceman. Go to a karaoke bar and sing “She’s Lost that Loving Feeling” and “Take My Breath Away.” Why not try to play a little volleyball yourself. Shirtlessness is optional, of course. Download some Kenny Loggins and blast “Danger Zone” out of your car windows as loud as you can.

Maybe karaoke isn’t your thing and the weather isn’t good enough for sports. You can still find other ways to enjoy the holiday. There are a ton of quotable lines you can use. For instance, you can ask your friends for permission to buzz the tower. If they say no, do it anyway. If they ask YOU to buzz the tower, be sure to say “Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full,” just be prepared for them to buzz you anyway. Tell everyone you see that you have the need, the need for speed.

Host a Top Gun party. Invite people to dress up like the characters and play Top Gun trivia games before settling in to watch the movie. Grab a pair of dark aviator glasses and an old leather jacket. For an added challenge, try to find a pair of overalls to convert into a flight suit! You could even make it a double feature with some other jet-fighter movies of the era, like the lesser known Iron Eagle, which actually came out a few months BEFORE Top Gun.

There are also two Top Gun video games currently available. The first is simply called Top Gun and was released for iOS devices by Freeverse Software. The second is called Top Gun: Hardlock. It comes from 505 Games, and is playable on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

There are many ways one could enjoy and relieve the excitement of the movie, but perhaps one of the more meaningful things you could do is to find a member of the armed forces, particularly an aviator, and thank them for keeping the skies safe. Ultimately, without someone up there, we might not have the movie, or the day, down here.

However you choose to celebrate, be sure to raise a glass for Goose, Maverick, Iceman and the rest of Top Gun class of 1986. Let the world know that you haven’t lost that loving feeling, even after all this time.

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