Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve and Onwards

It’s nearly goodbye to 2017, so let’s have a look at the last special day of the year and the first batch of special days for the new year, courtesy of Brett B who sends me his list of the coming month’s special days . . .

As always, thanks Brett.


 

NEW YEAR’S EVE
Date:
31 December
Origin:
The earliest known New Year celebrations were in Mesopotamia and date back to 2000 BC.  The early Romans used March 1 as New Year's Day. Other cultures used the autumn equinox or the winter solstice to mark the new year.  In 1582 the Gregorian calendar, which marks January 1 as the new year, was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.
Comments:
No explanation needed as to what this day is, but here are some interesting items:
·       The order in which the new year takes place:
Samoa and Christmas Island/Kiribati
New Zealand          
Australia
Japan
South Korea
North Korea
China
Philippines
Hong Kong
Singapore
Indonesia
Thailand
India and Sri Lanka
Pakistan
Dubai (Happy New Year to my daughter, Acacia)
Abu Dhabi
Russia
Greece, Egypt, South Africa
Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy
Argentina, Brazil
USA
·       "Auld Lang Syne" is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year's Eve. It was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, the year of the First Settlement of Oz, and he may have based it on a folk song.  The words auld lang syne mean "times gone by".
·       The first ball dropping celebration atop One Times Square in New York was held on December 31, 1907.  In 1942 and 1943 the ball lowering was suspended due to the wartime blackout. The crowds who still gathered in Times Square celebrated with a minute of silence followed by chimes ringing out from an amplifier truck parked at One Times Square.
·       Internationally, one of the biggest celebrations is in Sydney, Australia. More than 80,000 fireworks are set off from Sydney Harbour Bridge.
·       In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck all year long.
·       In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico, some families stuff a large doll, which is called Mr. Old Year, with memories from the past year. They also dress him in clothes from the outgoing year. At midnight, he is set ablaze, thus burning away the bad memories.

NAtional hangover day
Date:
1 January
Origin:
Unknown, nor is there any evidence that it is a “National” day, although generally referred as such.
Comments:
The aftermath of hard drinking and partying on New Year's Eve. 



new year’s day
Date:
1 January
Origin:
See below.
Comments:
You don’t need me to tell you what New Year’s Day is either, but here are a couple on interesting facts:
·       Mesopotamia (Iraq) instituted the concept of celebrating the new year in 2000 BC, celebrated new year around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March.
·       The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the new year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. That the new year once began with the month of March is still reflected in some of the names of the months. September through December, the ninth through twelfth months, were originally positioned as the seventh through tenth months. (Septem is Latin for "seven"; octo, "eight"; novem, "nine"; and decem, "ten".)
·       Roman legend usually credited their second king Numa with the establishment of the months of January and February. These were first placed at the end of the year, but at some point came to be considered the first two months instead.
·       Janus, after whom January is named, is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.



Run up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day
Date:
2 January
Origin:
Unknown
Comments:
January is the month of new beginnings, so it is fitting that January 2 is Run It Up The Flagpole And See If Anyone Salutes It Day.  The name of the special day comes from the English language expression, run it up a flagpole and see if anyone salutes it, which means putting new ideas and ventures to test and to see if they gain acceptance and popularity, just like a flag would have respect by people saluting it.  It is commonly used in advertising and is a popular phrase in the United States. The day encourages people to be creative and to implement their ideas.
Suggestions for celebrating the day:  Have a great idea? Run it by your friends and family to hear what they think.  Want a style makeover? This may be the day to do it - ask your closest friends what you think of your new style.

"It looks great to me.  Let's run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes."

BTW: 
The world’s highest free-standing flagpole is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, standing at 170 metres:



FESTIVAL OF SLEEP DAY
Date:
3 January
Origin:
Unkown
Comments:
The Festival of Sleep Day was created to catch up on sleep after Christmas And New Year:   all day, a full 8 hours or a power nap, enjoy the day sleeping. Cozy up in bed on the couch, or any other comfortable place. But not at my office, which reopens on 3 January.

FRUITCAKE TOSS DAY
Date:
3 January
Origin:
The first Great Fruitcake Toss was held in Manitou Springs, Colorado on January 3, 1996. Each year the entrants compete to see who can hurl or toss their fruitcakes the furthest.
Comments:
The day was created in order to help people get rid of unwanted fruitcake after Christmas.  Giving fruitcakes during the holiday season has remained a tradition in many parts of the world. Manitou Springs has hosted the Fruitcake Toss tournament every year since 1995. During the competition, fruitcakes are thrown, hurled, catapulted and cannoned into the air using a range of inventive devices.  Participants are expected to bring their own fruitcakes which should contain candied fruits, nuts and flour, and not any inedible substances. The fruitcakes are inspected by the “Fruitcake Toss Tech Inspectors” before they are allowed to be used for competition to make sure they do not contain any substances hard enough to hurt a person that may get hit in the head with a flying fruitcake. However, if you happen to forget your fruitcake, you may rent one.  Competitions are held in Distance, Catching and Accuracy.
I confess, however, that I am never comfortable with events that waste and destroy food.  

HUMILIATION DAY
Date:
3 January
Origin:
Unknown
Comments:
Humiliation Day is not a day to humiliate someone. Instead it is a time to recognize the negativity of humiliating someone, or a group of people.  It can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment if a person is revealed to have committed a socially or legally unacceptable act.  None of it is acceptable.

NATIONAL SPAGHETTI DAY
Date:
4 January
Origin:
Unknown, nor is there any proclamation etc to make this a “National” day.
Comments:
National Spaghetti Day on January 4 recognises  . . . spaghetti.  The word spaghetti is plural for the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning “thin string” or “twine.”
Spaghetti is one of over 600 shapes of pasta. It is by far, the most popular shape. Many people think of Italy and Italian cuisine, as the birthplace of spaghetti. In reality pasta, or macaroni, dates back to ancient times. Ancient cultures were cooking pasta noodles well before they were introduced to Italy and other parts of Europe. Marco Polo has been erroneously credited with bringing spaghetti and pastas to Europe. But, records show Europeans cooking pasta well before Marco Polo began his travels. Peering even farther back in time, Arab cultures were selling dried spaghetti-like noodles in open markets in the early 1200's. The Chinese were cooking pasta noodles as far back as 5,000 B.C.
American restaurants offered spaghetti around the end of the 19th century as Spaghetti Italienne (which is believed to have consisted of noodles cooked past al dente and a mild tomato sauce flavored with easily found spices and vegetables such as cloves, bay leaves and garlic). Decades later, oregano and basil were added to many recipes.



TRIVIA DAY
Date:
4 January
Origin:
Robert Louis Birch (1925-2005) was a linguist, punster, librarian, puzzle creator and memory expert was also the creator of various unofficial holidays, including Swap Ideas Day, Lumpy Rug Day, Nothing Day and Trivia Day.  Birch established Trivia Day to raise awareness about the importance of trivia in the progress of human curiosity, science, and fun.
Comments:
BTW:
The answers to the questions at the head of this item are:
·       What is the only mandmade object observable from the Moon?
      The claim that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from the moon or outer space has been debunked many times, but remains a common misconception in popular culture. According to astronauts Eugene Cernan and Ed Lu, the Great Wall is visible from the lower part of low Earth orbit, but only under very favorable conditions.  Man-made structures visible from earth orbit without magnification (by mechanical aids such as a camera or binoculars) include highways, dams, and cities.
·       What is the capital of Australia?
      The capital of Australia is Canberra.
·       What common word changes its pronunciation when the first letter is capitalised?
      Some words that change pronunciation when the first letter is capitalised include polish/Polish, job/Job, august/August, nice/Nice, slough/Slough (place in Ireland, pronounced "Slow"), reading/Reading (place in England, pronounced "Redding").  The term “capitonym” means a word that changes its meaning (and sometimes pronunciation) when it is capitalised; the capitalisation usually applies due to one form being a proper noun or eponym.

In this my last post of the year, let me say that it's been enjoyable presenting another year of Bytes.  My journey of discovery of facts, matters of interest and humour has been as great and enjoyable as, hopefully, your reading it. It has been a delight to receive interaction from Byters all over the world as well as contributions and input, and I look forward to another year of byting.  A happy and safe 2018 to you all.



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