June 14th Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

Also known as the Duanu Fewstival or Tuen Ng Festival today celebrates patriotism and sacrifice in China. It is based around Qu Yuan, a poet who lived from 343 – 278 BC. The dates do change from year to year, obiously today is the day for 2021 but in 2022 it will be held on June 3rd. Chinese celebrations include the eating of a “Zongzi” dumpling, going on long walks, hanging Mugworts and Calmus (Whatever they are), drinking Realgar wine, writing spells and wearing perfume pouches. I’m sure we’ll all get right on that!

How to celebrate – Visit China. Build your own Chinese Dragon boat. Hang your Mugworts and Calmus. (Both are plants)

April 21st National Tea Day

April 21st National Tea Day

Did you know that Catherine of Braganza, Portugal, introduced tea to the British in 1662 when she married King Charles II? Tea, of course, got its start in China and people in the UK may have used tea prior to Catherine but Royalty would wait until 1662.  In 2016 the UK named April 21st National Tea Day to honor Queen Elizabeth’s birthday.

How to celebrate – Send the Queen a birthday card. Have some tea. Throw a tea party.

March 16th National Panda Day

March 16th National Panda Day

Who doesn’t love a panda? It is probably one of the world’s most favorite, and gentle creatures. For quite sometime it was on the endangered species list as its natural habitat was disappearing. In 1961 the World Wildlife Fund/World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) made the panda it’s logo to bring awareness about of the plight of the panda. It is nice to know that the attempt to save the panda has worked, they are no longer on the endangered list, but they are considered vulnerable.

How to celebrate – Visit China. Buy some bamboo to feed to the pandas. See if your local zoo has any pandas.

September 29th Confucius Day

Confucius was born on October 18th, 551 BC. So what does that have to do with September 29th? I have no idea… in fact I found nothing that should make September 29th special for Confucius at all. That said, today is the day we celebrate his life, teachings and philosophy. Maybe the reason is found in one of his 499 famous sayings. (Why not do 1 more to have 500!?!) Anyway, he was clearly a very smart man and I assume had a lot of time on his hands to think all these things up. That doesn’t mean he actually practiced what he preached, but his ideas are considered valid even today.

How to celebrate – Read Confucius’ 499 sayings. Become a philosopher yourself. Compare Confucius to Ben Franklin.

June 7th National Frozen Yogurt Day

Yogurt has been around nearly as long as history has been recorded. Yogurt is the bacterial fermentation of milk, yum! Good thing we call it yogurt because I think a lot of us might not eat it otherwise! Though many enjoy it as is, others prefer to add fruit or flavoring to it for a better taste. I am among the latter. Someone got the great idea of freezing it and treating it as ice cream, great on these coming hot days of summer. The day was created by The Country’s Best Yogurt (TCBY) in 1993 on the first Sunday in June. It is a healthier choice, though maybe not as healthy as originally thought.

How to celebrate – Have some bacterial fermented milk on a stick! Add your favorite fruit to your yogurt. Make yogurt a part of your summer.

June 6th National Yo-Yo Day

The Yo-Yo has been a popular toys since BC Greece. Some think it was originally designed as a weapon but that is somewhat unlikely. China also claims having given the yo-yo to the world but evidence suggests it was a Greek invention. The yo-yo was made popular in the United States by Donald F. Duncan Sr in the early 1900’s. In fact we celebrate today on Duncan’s birthday, June 6th. So get out and “Walk the dog” or “Shoot the moon” showing off your yo-yo skills.

How to celebrate – Go buy a yo-yo. Start developing your skills with the yo-yo. Invent your own yo-yo tricks.

January 4th National Spaghetti Day

When we think of spaghetti we think Italian. Well, we think wrong, though it is a staple of the diets in Italy. Spaghetti recipes date back to the 1200’s in Europe when pasta was commonly used in open market recipes. The Chinese have been known to use pasta perhaps dating back to 5,000 BCE. However, spaghetti did grow in popularity when the Italians began to add sauces, meatballs and cheese to it. Spaghetti in Italian translates to thin string or twine. I would not suggest making your spaghetti dishes with string or twine but I do see how the Italians might call it that.

How to celebrate – Enjoy a nice plate of spaghetti! Make up your own sauce to flavor the spaghetti. See how many different types of pasta you can name.

Dec. 21st National Kiwi Day

December 21st National Kiwi Day

Here is a fruit that is native to China and had a certain popularity in the Far East prior to World War 2 but never really caught on until soldiers fighting in New Zealand tried the fruit, liked it and brought it back to the west with them. Originally known as “Yang Tao”, the Chinese gooseberry, it eventually was named Kiwi. Sounds Hawaiian! It is often mixed with strawberries as they seem to compliment each other. Interesting, at least to me, is the fact that though it is native to China, the number one producing country for Kiwi today is Italy.

How to celebrate – Have some Kiwi today. Visit China and see Kiwi in the wild. Make your own recipe using Kiwi.  

September 29th Confucius Day

Born on Oct. 18th, 551 B.C. Confucius was probably the the biggest talker in history. A lot of his ideas are remembered and serve us well even today. Most of his “Sayings” were humorous, some thoughtful, and nearly all of them applied to times well beyond those he lived in. He was a great thinker, a man of deep thoughts, and perhaps a stand-up comedian who sat down. We may never know if he took himself seriously or not, but since his time, many others have. It’s odd to think that sound thinking is always thought of as brilliance… what does that say about the rest of us? Today has been celebrated for thousands of years, I wonder if he knew what he was saying would affect so many people?

How to celebrate – Get a book of Confucius sayings. Visit China. Come up with your own book of sayings that can be attributed to you.

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