April 10th Golfer's Day

Like to play golf? I like the game but am not very good at it. In fact, I think I am one of few who has been asked to leave the green because I took too long to play a hole. (I didn’t realize 100 strokes was over the limit per hole) Anyway, no one sees to know exactly how this holiday came to be but it probably has something to do with the Professional Golf Association (PGA) beginning on April 10th, 1916. That is when the first professional tournament was held and first score card was altered. I hear from friends that live in Scotland, where golf got it’s start, that the original golfer played for nearly 50 years… no one had invented the hole yet.

How to celebrate – Go play a round of golf. Join a golf club. Hang out at a club house and look cool.

April 6th National Tartan Day

Come from a Scottish or Irish background? Well today is the day to show your colors and be proud of it. I am sure there are other countries that wear the tartan too, but Scotland is the best known for it. In fact, today is a celebration of Scotland’s Declaration of Independence being signed. Fact is, the American Declaration was based on the one the Scots declared in 1320. Tartan colors designate the families that created them. Reds, greens, and blues, were all difficult colors to obtain in history, but the Scottish spent time and money getting the colors just right. To wear them is to show pride in your Scottish heritage.

How to celebrate – Research your family’s Tartan. Visit Scotland. When the lockdown is over, plan to attend one of the many parades all over the world to show off Tartan pride.

April 3rd National Tweed Day

It’s nice to have choices. Today we either celebrate tweed, the fabric, originating in Scotland that is popular in the north (Cause it’s just t hot to wear in the south) Or we can celebrate NYC’s famed mobster “Boss Tweed” who was born on April 3rd, 1823. He served as a U.S. House of Representatives and as a NY State Senator as well as serving himself in every corrupt form of government one can imagine! It’s your choice, maybe you can combine them though. Since Tweed lived in a northern climate, maybe he wore tweed! So this could then be Tweed wearing Tweed Day! It makes as much sense as a lot of the days do!?!

How to celebrate – Wear a tweed outfit today. Study “Boss Tweed” and his reign of terror. Visit Scotland!

November 29th Square Dance Day

Is there anything more American than the square dance!?! Well, yes because the square dance actually comes from the Irish, English and Scottish! However, they do not use a caller for those required directions are truly American.

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Allemande, Promenade, Courtesy, Circulate and Do Sa Do (Or Do Si Do) are all popular commands for the square dance. If they do not sound familiar to you, you probably do not square dance.

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You can see the origins in Medieval dance, though their squares were more rectangles. The way royals often showed their royalty by being the only ones who knew the steps to the dance. Since America has no royalty, we use the caller to tell us what to do.

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Generally accompanied by country or folk music with a quick beat, this dance style is both fun and rigorous. It can also be painful for those who do not know the steps. (Toes are likely to be stepped on)

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I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Claus square dance? Perhaps it could become the traditional Christmas dance! It generally is colorful enough and it is a celebration. An new invention, The Christmas Square Dance!

How to celebrate – Learn how to square dance. Learn how to become a caller. Invent a rock and roll square dance.

October 4th National Golf Day

It seems like you have to be a golfer these days to be president of the United States. It does sort of make you wonder, a grown man (Or Woman) chasing a little white ball around the hills, forests and ponds to make sure it falls into a hole, the one with a flag stuck in it.

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HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI – MAY 15: People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 15, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater ‘has raised the potential for explosive eruptions’ at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

They brave alligators, snakes, other golfers and even volcanoes just to get in 18 holes. There is something about the game that draws in the rich and powerful, not being among them.. I do not see it. I have been kicked off some of the finest golf course in America, so I should know.

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However, it is a good game to keep healthy, get in a little exercise and talk over matters of state while chasing after that elussive ball. The Scots invented the game, though I am not sure it wasn’t just a way to avoid the English soldiers that came after them.

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Entire communities have sprung up around golf courses, and with good reason (It’s where the rich people go!) But the game also serves that community, often raising funds for those in need while affording those contributors to do something they enjoy. That’s a win-win for everybody!

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Today was created by the PGA in 1952 which held it’s first event at Cog Hill Golf & Counry Club in Lemont, Il. The first event raised some $80,000.00, a lot of money now but even more so in the 1950’s. Golf is a good game, it requires skill and talent to play. Two really good qualities the successful normally pocess.

How to celebrate – Play a round of golf today. Contribute to the PGA. Learn about the game of golf.

April 6th National Tartan Day

It seems like most countries in the world celebrate some sort of contact with the Scottish. America is no different, in fact many of our forefathers came from Scotland in an effort to start a new life away from the royalty of England. Now Scotland declared it independence  from England in 1320.

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Though they have never actually left the United Kingdom they did win a great deal if independence and set the format for the American Declaration of Independence. When we think of Scotland we more than likely think of bagpipes and kilts. Well kilts are made up of wool and patterned with different colors to make up a type of Crest for the family.

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Those colors represent the family instantly identifying the clan. You might think of it as a family uniform. Most colors are bright, though not all, giving a certain flare and pride to those that wear the tartan.

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The Highlands created many characters we all know today, probably the best known is the Highlander. (Well duh!) His character made the kilt (tartan) popular world-wide. Though it never went out of popularity in Scotland.  It still represents the clans of Scotland, but now it also represents pride in Scotland.

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One of the most famed military units in history is the Untied Kingdom’s Black Watch. Most of the unit comes from Scotland and a part of the uniform, even today, is the tartan giving them a clear identity in the field. The world has gained a lot from the Scottish people, inventions, foods and work ethic are only a few of them. But we know the Tartan probably the best of all.

How to celebrate – Check into your Scottish heritage. Find out is you have tartan colors for your family. Visit Scotland.

December 22nd National Date Nut Bread Day

As it seems the majority of bizarre holidays in December are, it’s another food day. Today is National Date Nut Bread Day! If you like nuts and dates, today is your day! It is a tasty treat, normally served up for the holidays. Although, some say the actual date is September 8th, though I say they are nuts! Get it, date…nuts…!

Of course there are nuts in the loaf, normally walnuts, and dates along with treacle or tea to make it that dark, rich color. Scotland is credited with it’s creation, first appearing in recipe form in 1939.

While regularly serve in Scotland… America, Australia, Britain and New Zealand also make date nut bread a part of their diet. Of course since it is a part of the Christmas season it is available in nearly every country that celebrates Christ.

Add a little cream cheese and now you’re talking! A date nut bread sandwich. Though the first recipe is recorded in 1939 I can only guess that it has been around for centuries.  Try it coming fresh out of the oven when it is at it’s best.

How to celebrate – Make some date nut bread today. Create your own date nut bread recipe. Keep a loaf around for the rest of the holidays!

November 8th Dunce Day

Were you ever made to sit in a corner of your classroom wearing a Dunce Cap? If you were, you’re probably as old as me! But schools can’t do that anymore (though in some cases maybe we should)!

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The idea of wearing the dunce cap had nothing to do with being stupid, it was all about trying to get you to think. The teacher knew you could answer the question, you just weren’t using your head to figure out the answer. It’s sort of based on the idea of someone asking you your name and you give the wrong name out as your answer. Obviously you know your name, you just weren’t thinking.

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The idea of wearing a Dunce Cap comes from Duns Scotus of Dun, Scotland who died on November 8th, 1308. It was his idea that if one wore a Dunce Cap and sat in the corner of a room that somehow what they missed would be funneled into their heads through the cap.

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Over the years Dun’s theory has been dis-proven. The cap doesn’t direct thought back into your head. Sitting in the corner however might accomplish what is required because no one wants to look like a fool. The next time you are asked a simple question you just might think about coming up with a logical answer.

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So, leave that hat in the corner of the room sitting on the stool, and make sure you don’t have to wear it. It may even work effectively just by sitting there, thinking that it might actually be put to use if you tune out when you should be tuning in.

How to celebrate – Make a Dunce Cap for yourself and put yourself in the corner when you do something you should have known better than to do. Make a Dunce Cap and when you do something you didn’t think you could do paint a sign on it like the pilots did with enemy airplanes shot down. Make a personal Dunce Cap for every family member and let them figure out when they need to wear it for themselves.

April 6th National Tartan Day

Tartan Day is a celebration of the mixture of colors and lines that show the family heritage in Scotland. It was a sign of the clan that one came from and is still proudly shown today. It’s significance became so strong that at one point in the UK’s history the English created the Act of Proscription banning the use of tartans.

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The Scots did not take this Act all that well and went to a long war that finally ended in 1320 with the Scottish Declaration of Independence. (Though in many ways they are still fighting that war today.)

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Scotland has always had a place in the hearts of Americans. In fact, our Declaration of Independence was based on the Scottish Declaration. Many of our original colonist were of Scottish decent, our society owes a great deal to a country that is still trying to become an official country of it’s own. In 1982, Mayor Ed Koch declared Tartan Day in New York. In 1986 Canada’s government agreed with Koch and created Tartan Day for their entire country. In 1998, US made the same proclamation.

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The tartan has been a proud part of Scottish history, Canadian history and American history… anyplace freedom is cherished.  It equates to the flying of a flag with everyone in that country taking pride in their own clans flag.

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While the tartan is not limited to Scotland, it is best known in Scotland. Ireland comes to mind first since so much of their history is intertwined with Scotland’s but the tartan also is worn in Australia, Canada, France, Greece, New Zealand, Normandy and the United States.

How to celebrate – Research if your family has a tartan of it’s own. Proudly display your family tartan colors. Create your own tartan pattern and colors.

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.