The Thing About Today – December 23

December 23, 2020
Day 358 of 366

December 23rd is the 358th day of the year. It is HumanLight, a Humanist holiday that focuses on the positive, secular human values of reason, compassion, humanity, and hope. The New Jersey Humanist Network founded the holiday in 2001 to aid secular people in commemorating the December holiday season without encroaching on other adjacent holidays, both religious ones such as Christmas and secular ones such as Solstice.

There are eight days remaining in the year.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Pfeffernusse Day, National Roots Day, and Festivus. I really didn’t like Seinfeld at all, so the whole Festivus thing is an odd concept to me.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1815, the novel Emma by Jane Austen was first published.
  • In 1893, the opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck was first performed.
  • In 1919, the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 became law in the United Kingdom. The act enabled women to join the professions and professional bodies, to sit on juries and be awarded degrees. It was a government compromise, a replacement for a more radical private members’ bill, the Women’s Emancipation Bill.
  • In 1928, NBC set up a permanent, coast-to-coast radio network.
  • In 1943, actor, voice artist, and comedian Harry Shearer was born.
  • In 1947, the transistor was first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.
  • In 1954, the first successful kidney transplant was performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray.
  • In 1978, Canadian swimmer, model, and actress Estella Warren was born.
  • In 1986, Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. It was the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.
  • In 2002, Canadian actor and musician Finn Wolfhard was born.

December 23rd is the Night of the Radishes.

La Noche de Los Rábanos is an annual event held in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is dedicated to the carving of oversized radishes to create scenes that compete for prizes in various categories.

The event has origins in the colonial period when radishes were introduced by the Spanish. Oaxaca has a long wood carving tradition and farmers began carving radishes into figures as a way to attract customers’ attention at the Christmas market, which was held in the main square on December 23rd. In 1897, the city created the formal competition, and as the city has grown, the city has had to dedicate land to the growing of the radishes used for the event, supervising their growth and distribution to competitors.

The event has become very popular, attracting hundreds of contestants and thousands of visitors. The event also has display and competitions for works made with corn husks and dried flowers, which are created with the same themes as those with radishes.

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.


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