June 28th Paul Bunyan Day

Paul Bunyan was created during the Papineau rebellion in 1837 in Canada. He is a French Canadian creation though most people in the Untied States feel he is a part of their history as well. Accompanied by “Babe” he roamed North America forming the Great Lakes and provided leadership for the logging industry which suffered from overwork and unsafe conditions. Louis Papineau was a political figure in Canada at the time and is now a political party in Canada. With someone like Paul Bunyan, and Babe, on your side it was hard to ignore the demands loggers required to make their lives better.

How to celebrate – Read the stories about Paul Bunyan. Become a logger. Visit the Great Lakes.

June 28th National Paul Bunyan Day

Most of us have heard the story of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Blue. Did you know they were created by Canadians sitting around campfires normally in logging areas? The stories cannot be attributed to one source, since the story was handed down over the years and obviously altered by those telling the story. According to legend, the Great Lakes were created by Paul for drinking holes for Babe. That he cleared the land in North and South Dakota so that farmers had fields to plant it. He trained Carpenter Ants to help haul the timber for the logging industry. and that Babe created the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota as it’s footsteps. Now none of it is true, but it’s fun to think of things that way.

How to celebrate – Visit some of the many Paul Bunyan sites in the northern mid-west. Visit the Great Lakes. Start you own legends by sitting around a campfire with your family.

June 6th D-Day

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156,000 soldiers landed on Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword and Juno beaches to reclaim Europe from Nazi Germany on June 6th, 1944. Thousands would give their all on this day, Canadians, British, French and Americans. It was the one day in the early part of June that had clear enough weather the Allies could actually attempt the landing, and an attempt it was. The Germans had built up the beach defenses to an extreme and though the Allies were fairly sure they could hold some of the beaches it really was done on a hope and a prayer. The landings were preceded by parachute drops and the resistance causing as much havoc as they could. The landing, requested by the Russian, did succeed however and it was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.

How to celebrate – Remember all those who served in World War 2 (there aren’t many left). Visit the beaches where many of the wrecks have been left reminding us of the day. Read a book written from those who survived the day.

February 25th National Cupcake Day

Today is national Cupcake Day… in Canada. So why not celebrate our northern neighbor’s holiday!?! And I particularly like this one because it is used to help the SPCA and Humane Organizations in Canada. It helps our friends the animals we all love.

It always falls on the last Monday of February so the date does change but the intent does not. I have been wondering if dogs know how happy they generally make us. They certainly make us better people. Cats, horses, rabbits… whatever the animal we have as friends do make us better than we would be without them.

And better yet, we get to eat cupcakes to show our support for them. How sweet is that! And maybe we can even find an animal healthy cupcake for them to enjoy with us! Just make sure you don’t mix them up!

How to celebrate – Help out our pets today whether they are Canadian or in the United States. Make some pet friendly cupcakes. Visit Canada.

December 26th Boxing Day

Most people do not understand or even comprehend what Boxing Day is, that is unless they live in Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand or any f the former British commonwealths. That’s because it is primarily a British holiday… but maybe one the rest of us should share as well.

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Boxing Day started somewhere in the Middle Ages when local merchants would “box” up food and fruit to give to their servants as a reward for their service over the year. It was also a time to give thanks for the bounty one had received and to share some of that with those in need.

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It even included friendly games between those who held a station in life and those who did not. There is no written record of who won but I would hope the royalty and wealthy let the less fortunate win for a change.

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So as we receive our fair share, and over, of Christmas gifts maybe we should “box” up those items we no longer need or use and give them to those less fortunate that ourselves. Even if we don’t feel charitable we can look at it as getting rid of the clutter in our homes!

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It is what Jesus would have done after-all. So if you are celebrating his birth over Christmas, why not give as He would have afterwards.

How to celebrate – Celebrate Boxing Day. Box up those items you no longer use or want. Have left-overs for your Boxing Day meal.

May 7th Great Lakes Awareness Day

Unless you live in northern United States or southern Canada you may not be aware of today, it’s Great Lakes Awareness Day. It always comes on the first Monday of the first full week of May. In other words, the first of something which happens to be the 7th this month. Got it? Okay, so we can go on.

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They are known as the Great Lakes because they are the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth! Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. They are also known as the inland seas since they act just as though they were oceans with rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, great depths and distant horizons.

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Lake Superior is the second largest lake in the world. All of the lakes were cut by glaciers long, long ago. Some of the depths get a little scary and numerous ships have been lost, never to be seen again.

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The lakes have always served as a great source of trade between Canada and the United States.  Huge tankers and liners fill the lakes for both business and tourism. The Americans, Canadians, French and British have fought over the lakes, often having to drag warships from the ocean to the lakes in order to defend, or fight, on the waters.

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And sadly, like where most humans get mixed with nature, the lakes are turning into a dumping ground for unwanted articles that no longer serve a purpose. This is what the Awareness Day is all about. Keeping the lakes clean and making people aware of just how important they are.

How to celebrate – Learn more about the Great Lakes. Make the lakes something we can all be proud of. Take a trip on a ship sailing around the lakes.

April 25th National East Meets West Day

There has always been a difference in culture between the East and the West. Look at Japan and Canada, Russia and America, Indian and Mexico. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other or that one is right and one is wrong, it just means… well… there is the east and there is the west!

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If you go far enough east you will eventually end up in the west and vise-versa. There are football games and other sporting events that tries to prove which is better but in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Take a football game many of the players that play for a western team came from the east, and many playing in the east came from the west.

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During World War 2 a big drive was for the Americans to meet up with the Russian to end the war. the Russians were considered the Eastern troops, the Americans the Western. In fact when the two sides decided they could not get along they separated Germany into East Germany and West Germany.

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Even in America the life styles were different. The above photo is of an 1800’s street in Philadelphia. Well established by the mid 1800’s, Philadelphia became a point of culture and refinement. It had been around longer, gone through more was a permanent fixture.

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An old west town of the same era was a little cruder and contained a not so refined culture and citizens. The buildings were smaller and less secure because frankly, the owners didn’t know if they were going to stay there or not. One was not better than the other, they just served different needs and purposes.

How to celebrate – Try and determine where east meets west where you live. If you live in the East take a trip West. If you live in the West take a trip East. (Note what difference you see, and don;t see, on your trip)

December 26th National Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day. For years I thought it was a day that people got rid of all the boxes of stuff they got during Christmas day. I was wrong. It always falls of the first weekday after Christmas. Today it is easy because it is a Tuesday, but if Christmas falls on Friday, Boxing Day will come on the following Monday.

It’s also not the day the reindeer beat up Santa for his abuse on Christmas Eve (Though they may well be within their rights!). In fact, it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing either. Celebrated in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and any of the British Commonwealth, this traditionally is a European holiday.

It started in the Middle Ages when the nobility would reward their servants and those that served them with a box full of gifts, normally of food and fruit. It was a way of giving back for what had been done for those more affluent. It is also known as St. Stephens Day.

We at Unboxing the Bizarre welcome all unusual holidays, as well as those that are widely recognized. Life is worth celebrating, everyday, for some reason or the other. We try to show you different reasons to celebrate though you really should celebrate every day anyway. We owe each other to find happiness, we owe each other to find love, when we accomplish that then we can truly celebrate the future and the lives we live and com in contact with.

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How to celebrate – Celebrate something every day! Create days to celebrate in your own lives. Take a box of food and fruit, and clothing or anything else you can give to someone in need.

July 27th National Scotch Day

Scotch is one of many items the Scots can claim as their own. The best in the world according to the Scots, although the Australians and Canadians make versions of their own they are very proud of too. The Irish claim theirs is just as good, if not better.

Scotch was originally made from fermented malted barley. It is aged for at least 3 years in an oak wooden barrel, called a cask. It must have an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) less than 94.8%.  Most scotch has an ABV of 40-46% unless it is straight from the cask and then it is 60-63%. Undiluted scotch coming out of the cask may be labeled “Cask Strength” and is among the highest sought of all whiskeys.

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Scotch comes in five different varieties. The first is just scotch, made from malted barley.  Single Grain scotch means it was made from a different grain such as Rye or Wheat.  There is blended malt scotch, made from at at least one, malted barley and one other grain, also malted. Blended grain scotch comes from two or more grains, like rye and wheat, mixed together. And last but not least is blended scotch which comes from several grains mixed with barley, all malted.

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The first mention of Scotch came in 1495 in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. It apparently was distilled by a Friar John Cor at the Lindores Abbey in the Kingdom of Fife. It was only available in malted barley but that changed in the 18th century when it began to be produced commercially where wheat and rye were added. It was called “Ulsge Beatha” or “Water of Life”.

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Today one of the most respected and top awarded scotches is made by Old Pulteney. Some bottles sell for over $800.00. The most expensive I found was Yamazaki which sold for $13,430.00 a bottle.

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Of course there are many choices and even the American brands sell well. It is really up to you which you prefer.

I am told of a tradition that occurred in Scotland for years that I believe is now banned – Partners would team up and have a drink at a pub before moving on to the next, which wasn’t all that far away. The trick was, one partner had to ride in a wheel-barrow while the other pushed it to the next tavern. Upon having a drink there, the partners would reverse rolls and continue on to the their next destination. It would be funny to see this race after the teams had stopped at ten or eleven taverns! (I think it was a wheel-barrow, but it may have been a bathtub).

How to celebrate – Enjoy a shot of scotch, straight up! Taste the difference in the way scotch is made and see which you prefer. Have your own wheel-barrow race, but make sure you get police approval first.