February 8th National Kite Flying Day

This could be a wonderful day to go kite flying! Never mind the snow, or rain, it’s not important, make Ben proud and fly that kite! Remember to put a key on it so that if lightening strikes you can learn the same lesson he did! Mainly, don’t fly kites in electrical storms!

Kites have been in use since the Chinese military flew them some 3,000 years ago. I’m not exactly sure why they flew them but historical records show they did. It was probably to scare their enemies or maybe while their enemies were looking up admiring the kites the Chinese attacked on the ground.

Either way, kite flying has stuck around and brings hours and hours of fun, and a little frustration. Just remember if it happens to be snowing, or raining, you just have to run a little faster to get them started. (And I suppose keep them flying)

How to celebrate – Go pick out a really cool kite. Enter a kite combat competition. Make sure you are in a field with no overhanging wires

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December 28th National Card Playing Day

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire insides delightful. And since we’ve no place to go…” let’s play cards! Actually cards are pretty cool any time of the year, but there is just something about playing cards when it’s nasty outside that really helps to pass time.

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The whole family can get involved or it could be just the kids, or just the parents! There are so many variations of cards that’s you can find something for nearly everyone. They don’t get in the way of your snacks or drink, you can carry on a conversation and still play the game.. maybe not very well, but that’s not the important part!

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Often playing cards is just an excuse to get your friends or family together when you really don’t have a reason otherwise. You can make the games as complicated or as simple as you want. The games can be short or long and you can play them alone or with an entire crowd of people.

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Cards were supposedly invented in 9th century China during the Tang Dynasty. It seems like nearly everything came from China (Just like today)! So, where did the Kings, Queens and Jacks come from? Shouldn’t they be Emperors, Empress and a Prince? Maybe they were changed when they got to Europe.

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At any rate, if you do play cards today and happen to get a Royal Flush, play the lotto tonight.

How to celebrate – Play cards! Make up your own new card game! Design your own cards.

October 25th World Pasta Day

October 25th World Pasta Day

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Though many attribute pasta to Italy, it was brought back from China to Europe in the 13th Century by Marco Polo.

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Pasta had been a staple of the Chinese diet for probably centuries before Marco Polo visited, it had been in use for so long no one really remembered when the Chinese first started using in their dishes. Italy certainly gives China a run for the money these days though and we are all the better for it!

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How to celebrate – Have some Italian pasta today. Have some Chinese pasta today. Read about Marco Polo’s exploration of Asia.

September 29th Confucius Day

Confucius is one of the best known philosophers of all time. He was also a teacher, editor and politician during his time in China. Born October 18th, 551 BC, lu he was China’s Ben Franklin before Ben Franklin was born! His real name was Kong Qiu and lived during the Summer and Autumn periods in China. He dies in 479 BC, lu but not before leaving behind numerous words of wisdom.

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Among his famous quotes are: “Your life is what your thoughts make it” and “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” Definitely words to live by. There are literally hundreds of quotes to live your life by. Most are common sense, but it surprising how litte common sense there was back then which seems to have carried over to today.

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Since his time he has also been credited with some he probably never actually spoke, like… “Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.” There are more but they should not be repeated in mixed company!

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There are few subjects Confucius didn’t touch. Obviously they were intended for people who lived in his day but most carry over to today as well. I’ll bet Confucius and Ben would have been best of friends, or the worst of enemies. Either way, we can learn a lot from both of them.

How to celebrate – Study Confucius’ writings. Visit China. Create your own words to live by.

 

January 4th National Spaghetti Day

Can you say, “Marco Polo”? Well if you can, put him out of your mind because he did not bring spaghetti back to Italy from China as legend claims. Though pasta had been in use since before 5,000 B.C. in China, it probably came to Italy from the Arab countries in the 1200’s.

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The actual word, “spaghetti” does come from Italy though and it means thin string or twine. Which really makes me wonder about what the original Italians were eating. Pasta comes in some 600 shapes. It is all basically the same no matter how you cut it, though you can put different seasonings on it to mix it up some.

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Thomas Jefferson, serving in Europe as an American Ambassador after the Revolution, learned about the use of pasta and brought it back to America in 1789. (probably with the tomato). Since then, it has become a staple of American cuisine. Americans eat over 20 pounds of pasta a year alone. When you figure how much a pound of pasta is before cooking it, that’s a lot of spaghetti!

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And, of course, it has warmed our hearts as well as our bellies over the years. Can you imagine life without pasta? I can’t.

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How to celebrate – Serve up a steaming hot plate of spaghetti tonight for a hearty dinner. If you don’t like pasta does that make you anti-pasta!?! (Think about it) See if you can come up with a new shape for your spaghetti.

 

October 17th National Pasta Day

It’s just water and flour mixed together but oh what you can do with it. Basically, the only difference from one pasta to the next is how you cut it and what flavors you add to it. Pasta, in Italian, means dough.

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It is believed Marco Polo brought back the idea of pasta to Italy from his travels to China. No one seems to know how long it had been in use in China but evidentially it had been use for quite some time (Some think as far back as 5,000 BC.) Apparently, it changed life in Italy from there on out! His travels would have been in the mi 1200’s but there is also evidence that pasta was in use in the Arabic nations in the 1200’s as well.

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Thomas Jefferson, serving the US after the revolution, spent a great deal of time in Europe and brought back pasta to the US from his time spent in Naples. He also determined that tomatoes were not poisonous as originally thought and probably started the tomato sauce craze.

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Pasta makes up a tremendous amount of our diet in the US, and across the world. Mac & Cheese, Spaghetti, ravioli, it’s actually hard to think of a meal where we don’t use some sort of pasta whether as a main dish or a side dish.

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In fact Americans eat over 20 pounds of pasta a year. That’s a lot of dough!

How to celebrate – Use pasta in your meal tonight! See if you can make the world’s longest strand of spaghetti! Invent a new shape of pasta to entertain your friends and family.

September 29th Confucius Day

Today is the day we celebrate the great philosopher, Confucius. Born in China, September 28, 551 B.C. . So why do we celebrate on September 29th? Well your guess is as good as mine. Does it matter? You’d have to ask Confucius!

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He was a teacher, scholar, and politician. Many of his thoughts have been repeated in the Bible. There is no doubt he was a very smart man. I am curious though whether he was well known in his time or not, who knows.

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He was a favorite in China until suppressed by the Qin Dynasty. His real name was Kong Qiu. It is surprising his works were not destroyed but supposedly he wrote everything down in chapters and they survived.

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Many of his teachings seem obvious to us today, they may not have been back during his life. Particularly in China where the Emperor could do no wrong. Logic in a world filled with people who believed they were gods often do not match up well. The funny thing about it is, Confucius was right and they were wrong.

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How to celebrate – Study Confucius’ writings. Practice Confucius’ teachings. Try coming up with your own life affirming statements.