Rabbit Rabbit – June 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
June 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is June.

History

June, known as Junius in Latin, originates from multiple places. One of Ovid’s origins is an ode to the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter. The second is the Latin word iuniores, meaning “younger ones”, which contrasts with maiores (“elders”), a potential origin for May. The third is Lucius Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic and ancestor of the Roman family gens Junia.

In ancient Rome, mid-May through mid-June was considered unlucky and unpromising for marriage. Ovid relates a consultation with Flaminica Dialis (the high priestess of Jupiter) about setting a date for his daughter’s wedding during which he was advised to wait till after June 15. On the other hand, Plutarch implies that the entire month of June was more favorable for weddings than May.

On the ancient Roman calendar, the festival of Ludi Fabarici spanned May 29 to June 1, Kalendae Fabariae took place on June 1, the Festival to Bellona took place on June 3, Ludi Piscatorii took place on June 7, and Vestalia took place between June 7 and June 15. A Rosalia was held on June 20, and the Secular Games were held roughly every 100 years in either May or June. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

June also contains certain meteor showers, including the Arietids (May 22 to July 2 with a peak on June 7), the Beta Taurids (June 5 to July 18), and the June Bootids (June 26 to July 2).

Observances

Further observances in June include African-American Music Appreciation Month, Pride Month, Caribbean American Heritage Month, Great Outdoors Month, National Oceans Month, and PTSD Awareness Month.

Canada adds in ALS Awareness Month. Barbados includes Crop Over (through the first Monday in August) and the Season of Emancipation (spanning April 14 to August 23). The United Kingdom celebrates National Smile Month in June.

In the Catholic tradition, June is the Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

June also contains Juneteenth, a celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the United States. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger. That announcement proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas, the last state in the Union to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Finally, June contains the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere – the day with the most daylight hours – and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere – the day with the fewest daylight hours – although the polar regions are exempted.

Trivia

  • June’s birthstones are the pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. Pearls are emblematic of perfection, incorruptibility, long life, and fertility. Green alexandrite represents growth, peace, hope, calm and fertility, whereas red alexandrite represents conflicting characteristics such as energy, power, passion and aggression. Moonstone represents hope, sensitivity, and abundance.
  • The western zodiac signs of June are Gemini (until June 20) and Cancer (June 21 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the rose and honeysuckle.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

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

Rabbit Rabbit – May 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
May 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is May.

History

May was named for the Greek goddess Maia, identified with the Roman goddess of fertility Bona Dea. The festival celebrating the Roman goddess was held in the same month. The late Russian Empire also used the term for a picnic held early in the month. This picnic, mayovka, evolved into an illegal celebration of May 1st (a day of worker revolution).

In the ancient Roman calendar, the month is a big one for festivals. Bona Dea fell on May 1, Argei fell on May 14 or May 15, Agonalia fell on May 21, and Ambarvalia on May 29. Floralia, which began on April 27, carried on until May 3. Lemuria (festival) fell on 9,11, and 13 May under the Julian calendar. The College of Aesculapius and Hygia celebrated two festivals of Rosalia on May 11 and May 22. Rosalia was also celebrated at Pergamon on May 24–26. A military Rosalia festival, Rosaliae signorum, also occurred on May 31. 

Ludi Fabarici was celebrated between May 29 and June 1. Mercury would receive a sacrifice on the Ides of May (May 15). Tubilustrium took place on May 23 as well as in March. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

May also holds several special devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Catholic circles.

Observances

Further observances are plentiful, including Celiac Awareness Month, Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month, International Mediterranean Diet Month, the Season of Emancipation (spanning April 14 to August 23 in Barbados), Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Kaamatan harvest festival in Labuan and Sabah, Flores de Mayo in the Philippines, Garden for Wildlife month, New Zealand Music Month, National Pet Month in the United Kingdom, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, National Smile Month in the UK, South Asian Heritage Month, World Trade Month, and Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month.

The United States adds another batch, including Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, National ALS Awareness Month, Bicycle Month, National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, National Burger Month, Community Action Awareness Month (in North Dakota), National Electrical Safety Month, National Foster Care Month, National Golf Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Haitian Heritage Month, Hepatitis Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Military Appreciation Month, National Moving Month, Older Americans Month, National Osteoporosis Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, and National Water Safety Month.

It makes a lot of sense in the Northern Hemisphere since May is the gateway to the summer months.

Trivia

  • May’s birthstone is the emerald. It is emblematic of love and success.
  • The western zodiac signs of May are Taurus (until May 19) and Gemini (May 20 and beyond).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna. They are both native the cool and temperate climates of Asia and Europe, as well as the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States.
  • Another significant flower is the Mayflower (Epigaea repens), a North American harbinger of the month and the floral emblem of both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

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

Rabbit Rabbit – April 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
April 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is April.

History

April started as a Roman month with the Latin name Aprilis. The origin of the name is uncertain, but the Romans believed that it derived from the verbs aperio, aperire, and/or apertus, which each mean “to open”. In modern day, that’s where we get the word aperture. The the famous grammarian Verrius Flaccus expanded on these thoughts, writing that “fruits and flowers and animals and seas and lands do open” in this season.

Ironically, my sinuses close up as the pollen starts flying.

Since the Romans had a tradition of tying months to honor of divinities, and since April was sacred to the goddess Venus – her Veneralia festival was held on the first day – some have suggested that Aprilis was originally the goddess’s month of Aphrilis, stemming from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite of the Etruscan equivalent Apru.

April was originally the second month of the earliest Roman calendar, but the addition of Ianuarius and Februarius by King Numa Pompilius circa 700 BC knocked it to third. It became the fourth month of the calendar year during the time of the decemvirs circa 450 BC. Julius Caesar gave the month 30 days during his reforms in the 40s BC.

The Anglo-Saxons called April ēastre-monaþ, which led the Venerable Bede to conclude in The Reckoning of Time that the month was the root of the word Easter. He also believed that the month was named after a goddess Eostre, a Western Germanic spring goddess whose feast was in that month.

In China, the third month brought the symbolic ploughing of the earth by the emperor and princes of the blood, and that month frequently corresponds to April. In Finnish, April is huhtikuu, meaning slash-and-burn moon, when gymnosperms (seed-producing plants) for beat and burn clearing of farmland were felled. Equivalently in Slovene, the most established traditional name is mali traven, meaning the month when plants start growing.

Observances

In Ancient Rome, the festival of Cerealia was held for seven days from mid-to-late April, but exact dates are uncertain. Feriae Latinae was also held in April with the varying dates. The Romans also observed Veneralia (April 1), Megalesia (April 10–16), Fordicidia (April 15), Parilia (April 21), and Vinalia Urbana, Robigalia, and Serapia, which were celebrated on April 25. Floralia was held April 27 during the Republican era, or April 28 on the Julian calendar, and lasted until May 3. However, these dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

The Lyrids meteor shower appears on April 16 – April 26 each year, with the peak generally occurring on April 22. The Eta Aquariids meteor shower also appears in April, typically between April 21 and May 20 each year with peak activity on or around May 6. The Pi Puppids appear on April 23, but only in years around the parent comet’s perihelion date. The Virginids also shower at various dates in April.

In Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox traditions, April is the Month of the Resurrection of the Lord. April and March are the months in which is celebrated the moveable feast of Easter Sunday. In the Jewish faith, Passover tends to fall around the same time.

In the United Kingdom, April is National Pet Month. The United States once again takes the lion’s share of observances, including Arab American Heritage Month, Autism Awareness Month, Cancer Control Month, Community College Awareness Month, Donate Life Month (which boosts awareness for organ donation), Financial Literacy Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, National Poetry Month, National Poetry Writing Month, Occupational Therapy Month, National Prevent Child Abuse Month, National Volunteer Month, Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Considering food, April is also Fresh Florida Tomato Month, National Food Month, National Grilled Cheese Month, National Pecan Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, and National Soyfoods Month.

It sounds like a great month for a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo.

Trivia

  • April’s birthstone is the diamond, which comes with a boatload of mythology, symbolism, and lore.
  • The western zodiac signs of April are Aries (until April 19) and Taurus (April 20 and beyond).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

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

Rabbit Rabbit – March 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
March 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is March.

History

March comes from the Roman month Martius, the first month of the Roman calendar. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war, and an ancestor of the Roman people through his sons Romulus and Remus. Thus, the month of Martius was known as the beginning of the season of warfare.

Martius remained the first month of the year until 153 BC, and many of the religious observances in the month doubled as celebrations of the new year. Martius observances included Agonium Martiale (March 1st, 14th, and 17th), Matronalia (March 1st), Junonalia (March 7th), Equirria (March 14th), Mamuralia (March 14th or 15th), Hilaria (March 15th and 22nd-28th), Argei (March 16th and 17th), Liberalia and Bacchanalia (March 17th), Quinquatria (March 19th-23rd), and Tubilustrium (March 23rd). These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

In Finnish, the month is called maaliskuu, believed to originate from maallinen kuu. During March, the earth finally becomes visible under the snow, quite literally “a month with ground”. In Ukrainian, the month is called березень/berezenʹ, meaning birch tree. Similary, it is known as březen in Czech.

Historical names for March include the Saxon Lentmonat, named after the March equinox and gradual lengthening of days, and the eventual namesake of Lent. Saxons also called March Rhed-monat or Hreth-monath (deriving from their goddess Rhedam/Hreth), and Angles called it Hyld-monath.

In Slovene, the traditional name is sušec, meaning the month when the earth becomes dry enough so that it is possible to cultivate it. That mouthful was was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript. The Turkish word Mart is given after the name of the god Mars.

Observances

The Catholic faith observes March as the Month of Saint Joseph, the believed human father of Jesus. In Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, it is Women’s History Month. On the international stage, it is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

In Canada, March is National Nutrition Month. The United States, on the other hand, floods the market with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, Irish-American Heritage Month, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, Music in our Schools Month, National Athletic Training Month, National Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Kidney Month, National Nutrition Month, National Professional Social Work Month, National Reading Awareness Month, Youth Art Month, and National Ladder Safety Month.

The March Equinox occurs this month, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Trivia

  • March’s birthstones are the aquamarine and bloodstone, both symbolizing courage.
  • The western zodiac signs of March were Pisces (until March 19, 2020) and Aries (March 20, 2020 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flower is the daffodil.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

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

The Thing About Today – December 31

December 31, 2020
Day 366 of 366

December 31st is the 366th day of the year. It is New Year’s Eve, celebrated alongside other events like First Night in the United States, Last Day of the Year (Bisperás ng Bagong Taón) in the Philippines, Novy God Eve in Russia, Ōmisoka in Japan, and the first day of Hogmanay or “Auld Year’s Night” in Scotland.

This is the final day of 2020.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Champagne Day, No Interruptions Day (typically observed on the last work day of the year), Make Up Your Mind Day, and the Universal Hour of Peace.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.
  • In 1790, Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived to this day, was published for the first time.
  • In 1831, Gramercy Park was deeded to New York City.
  • In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of the Province of Canada.
  • In 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed an act that admitted West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two.
  • In 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
  • In 1907, the first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in Manhattan.
  • In 1937, Welsh actor, director, and composer Anthony Hopkins was born.
  • In 1943, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor John Denver was born.
  • Also in 1943, English actor Ben Kingsley was born.
  • In 1958, actress and dancer Bebe Neuwirth was born.
  • In 1959, actor Val Kilmer was born.
  • In 1983, the AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.
  • In 1991, all official Soviet Union institutions were to have ceased operations by this date, five days after the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.
  • In 1994, this date was skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands changed time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.
  • In 2009, a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occurred simultaneously.
  • In 2011, NASA succeeded in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon.

December 31st marks the last day of 2020, and thus the last day of The Thing About Today on this blog.

When I conceived the feature last December, it was a challenge to write one post per day on this site, as well as an opportunity to look at each day of both a leap year and a personal milestone year with respect to historical context. Who could have known what this year would bring with the COVID-19 pandemic and such significant changes to each of our lives and the world at large?

My hope for this feature is that it brought both knowledge and entertainment to you this year. I’m grateful and thankful for your attention and endurance over the last 366 days.

I hope that we all have a prosperous, safe, and healthy year ahead of us.

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.

The Thing About Today – December 30

December 30, 2020
Day 365 of 366

December 30th is the 365th day of the year. It is the anniversary of the Day of the Declaration of Slovakia as an Independent Ecclesiastic Province.

There are two days remaining in the year.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, and Bacon Day.

Mmmm… bacon…

Historical items of note:

  • In 1851, businessman and politician Asa Griggs Candler was born. In 1888, he purchased the Coca-Cola recipe for $1,750 from chemist John Stith Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. He founded The Coca-Cola Company in 1892 and developed it as a major company. He served as the 41st Mayor of Atlanta from 1916 to 1919.
  • In 1865, Indian-English author and poet Rudyard Kipling was born. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
  • In 1896, Canadian ice hockey player Ernie McLea scored the first hat-trick in Stanley Cup play, and the Cup-winning goal, as the Montreal Victorias defeated the Winnipeg Victorias by a score of 6-5. The hat-trick is accomplished when a single player scores three goals in a single game.
  • Also in 1896, Filipino patriot and reform advocate José Rizal was executed by a Spanish firing squad in Manila.
  • In 1916, the last coronation in Hungary was performed for King Charles IV and Queen Zita.
  • In 1920, actor Jack Lord was born.
  • In 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed.
  • In 1924, Canadian-American propulsion engineer Yvonne Brill was born.
  • In 1927, the Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opened in Tokyo, Japan.
  • In 1945, English singer-songwriter and actor Davy Jones was born. He was a member of The Monkees.
  • In 1947, author, screenwriter, and producer James Kahn was born.
  • In 1953, journalist and game show host Meredith Vieira was born.
  • Also in 1953, the first-ever NTSC color television sets went on sale. They were sold for about $1,175 each by RCA.
  • In 1963, Let’s Make a Deal debuted on NBC.
  • In 1972, actress Maureen Flannigan was born. I was introduced to her on Out of this World, a little low-budget family sitcom that I still would love to see on TV again someday.
  • In 1980, actress and producer Eliza Dushku was born.
  • In 1982, Canadian actress Kristin Kreuk was born.
  • In 1986, actress Caity Lotz was born.
  • In 2006, former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein was executed.

December 30th is Falling Needles Family Fest Day.

What is that? Well, it’s a day to remind everyone to clean up and recycle that rapidly decaying live Christmas tree. Instead of putting it in the garbage, the tree can be reused in many ways. It can be mulched down for use in your garden or donated to mulching programs. According to Purdue University, it can be anchored in your yard to serve as a temporary winter home for birds. It can also be donated to programs that place trees in waterways to act as homes for fish. It can also be used as a soil erosion block for hills, lakes, rivers, and dunes.

It can also be cut and dried for later use in fire pits. Of course, you should never burn it indoors due to the oils found in firs and evergreens.

Check with your local municipality to see what options are available to recycle your used tree.

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.

The Thing About Today – December 29

December 29, 2020
Day 364 of 366

December 29th is the 364th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Mongolia (Монгол Улсын тусгаар тогтнол) as they commemorate their separation from the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

There are three days remaining in the year.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Hero Day, National Pepper Pot Day, and Tick Tock Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1800, self-taught chemist and engineer Charles Goodyear was born. He developed vulcanized rubber, a process for which he received the patent. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is named after him.
  • In 1860, the launch of the ironclad HMS Warrior, with her combination of screw propeller, iron hull, and iron armor, rendered all previous warships obsolete.
  • In 1916, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel by James Joyce, was first published as a book after it had been serialized in The Egoist.
  • In 1928, British actor Bernard Cribbins was born.
  • In 1936, actress and producer Mary Tyler Moore was born.
  • In 1947, actor and producer Ted Danson was born.
  • In 1965, the fourth James Bond film, Thunderball, premiered.
  • In 1967, director, screenwriter and producer Lilly Wachowski was born.
  • In 1972, actor Jude Law was born.
  • In 1979, Mexican actor, director and producer Diego Luna was born.
  • In 1987, Scottish actor Iain De Caestecker was born.
  • In 1998, the leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologized for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over one million lives.

December 29th is Constitution Day in Ireland.

The Constitution of Ireland, Bunreacht na hÉireann, asserts the national sovereignty of the Irish people in the tradition of liberal and representative democracy. It guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected non-executive president, a bicameral parliament, a separation of powers, and judicial review.

It is the second constitution of the Irish state since independence, replacing the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State. It came into force on December 29, 1937 following a statewide plebiscite. It is the republican constitution that has been the longest continuously in operation within the European Union.

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.

The Thing About Today – December 28

December 28, 2020
Day 363 of 366

December 28th is the 363rd day of the year. It is King Taksin Memorial Day (วันที่ระลึกสมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสินมหาราช) in Thailand.

There are three days remaining in the year.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Short Film Day, National Chocolate Candy Day, National Card Playing Day, Holy Innocents Day, and Pledge of Allegiance Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first Vice President of the United States to resign.
  • In 1895, the Lumière brothers performed for their first paying audience at the Grand Café in Boulevard des Capucines.
  • Also in 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen published a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation. It would later be known as x-rays.
  • In 1912, the first municipally owned streetcars began operation in San Francisco.
  • In 1918, Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected MP to the British House of Commons.
  • In 1932, actress Nichelle Nichols was born.
  • In 1934, English actress Maggie Smith was born.
  • In 1954, actor, director, and producer Denzel Washington was born.
  • In 1973, the United States Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
  • In 1979, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace was born.
  • In 1981, British actress and fashion designer Sienna Miller was born.
  • In 1987, actor Thomas Dekker was born.

December 28th is Proclamation Day in South Australia.

Proclamation Day celebrates the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. The province itself was officially created and proclaimed in 1834 when the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act, which empowered King William IV to create South Australia as a British province and to provide for its colonization and government. It was ratified on February 19, 1836 when King William issued Letters Patent establishing the province, and the proclamation announcing the establishment of Government was made by Captain John Hindmarsh beside The Old Gum Tree at the present-day suburb of Glenelg North on December 28, 1836.

The proclamation specified the same protection under the law for the local native population as for the settlers. It was drafted aboard HMS Buffalo by Captain Hindmarsh’s private secretary, George Stevenson, and printed by Robert Thomas.

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.

The Thing About Today – December 27

December 27, 2020
Day 362 of 366

December 27th is the 362nd day of the year. It is Emergency Rescuer’s Day in Russia.

There are four days remaining in the year.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Fruitcake Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1571, German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer Johannes Kepler was born.
  • In 1657, the Flushing Remonstrance articulated for the first time in North American history that freedom of religion is a fundamental right.
  • In 1822, French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur was born.
  • In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on his journey aboard HMS Beagle, during which he would begin to formulate his theory of evolution.
  • In 1901, actress and humanitarian Marlene Dietrich was born.
  • In 1922, the Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.
  • In 1927, Kern and Hammerstein’s musical play Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical play, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.
  • In 1932, Radio City Music Hall, the “Showplace of the Nation”, opened in New York City.
  • In 1943, journalist and author Cokie Roberts was born.
  • In 1945, the International Monetary Fund was created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.
  • In 1960, English actress Maryam d’Abo was born.
  • In 1973, actor Wilson Cruz was born.
  • In 1974, Japanese-American actor and visual effects designer Masi Oka was born.
  • In 1981, Australian actress Emilie de Ravin was born.
  • In 1993, English actress Olivia Cooke was born.
  • In 2004, radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reached Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.
  • In 2016, we lost Carrie Fisher. An award-winning actress, screenwriter, author, producer, speaker, comedian, and mental health advocate, she died at the age of 60. She wanted it reported that she “drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

December 27th is Saint Stephen’s Day in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is also a public holiday in Romania.

Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr, or protomartyr. According to the Acts of the Apostles, he was a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who aroused the enmity of members of various synagogues by his teachings. He was a Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jew and one of seven deacons appointed by the Apostles to distribute food and charitable aid to poorer members and widows of the community, and he was the eldest deacon (called “archdeacon”).

He was accused of blasphemy and put on trial, during which he made a speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him. He was subsequently stoned to death. His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, also known as Paul, a Pharisee and Roman citizen who would later become a Christian apostle.

The only source for information about Stephen is the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles.

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.

The Thing About Today – December 26

December 26, 2020
Day 361 of 366

December 26th is the 361st day of the year. It is Boxing Day in the Commonwealth nations and the first day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American culture that runs until January 1st.

There are five days remaining in the year.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Candy Cane Day, National Thank-you Note Day, and National Whiner’s Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1791, English mathematician and engineer Charles Babbage was born. He invented the Difference Engine.
  • In 1862, four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover were the first female nurses on a United States Navy hospital ship. The Red Rover was a 650-ton Confederate States of America steamer was captured and repurposed by the United States Navy during the American Civil War.
  • In 1871, Thespis, the first Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration, debuted. It did modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for four years and the score has been subsequently lost.
  • In 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie announced the isolation of radium.
  • In 1921, comedian Steve Allen was born.
  • In 1922, British actor Richard Mayes was born.
  • In 1924, Judy Garland, billed at Baby Frances, made her show business debut at 2½ years old.
  • In 1930, British actor Donald Moffat was born.
  • In 1933, puppeteer and voice actor Caroll Spinney was born.
  • In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
  • In 1960, New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison was born. He has played Jango Fett, Boba Fett, and the clone army in the Star Wars franchise.
  • In 1963, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles were released in the United States, marking the beginning of Beatlemania on an international level.
  • In 1966, the first Kwanzaa was celebrated by Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
  • In 1973, The Exorcist, based on the book by and written by William Peter Blatty, premiered. It was the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture.
  • In 1975, Tu-144, the world’s first commercial supersonic aircraft surpassing Mach 2, went into service.
  • In 1986, English actor Kit Harington was born.
  • In 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union, thereby ending the Cold War.

December 26th is the first day of Junkanoo, a street parade in The Bahamas.

The event contains music, dance, and costumes of mixed African origin in many islands across the English speaking Caribbean, and takes place on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. They are predominantly showcased in the Bahamas, but also in Miami in June and Key West in October among the local black populations have their roots in the Caribbean.

The festival may have origins among slaves on plantations in the Bahamas who celebrated the holidays around Christmas with dance, music, and costumes centuries ago. After emancipation, the tradition continued and junkanoo evolved from simple origins to a formal, organized parade with intricate costumes, themed music and official prizes within various categories.

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.