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.
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.
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.
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
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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
Though many attribute pasta to Italy, it was brought back from China to Europe in the 13th Century by Marco Polo.
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!
How to celebrate – Have some Italian pasta today. Have some Chinese pasta today. Read about Marco Polo’s exploration of Asia.
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.
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.
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!
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.