Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Many Names Can One Day Have?

Tomorrow starts the church season of Lent, a time of fasting, penitence, and reflection. In years past, the days before this season were spent using up the last of the foods that would be forbidden during the fast.

The fast season coincides with what British gardeners and farmers called the "hungry gap" -- the time when favored foods stored from the previous harvest are becoming scarce or must be used before they go bad, and no new crops are expected for a while.

The pre-Lent feasting grew over the years into the many celebrations around the world that we hear about.

Some names for today's celebrations:

Portuguese, Terça-feira Gorda; French, Mardi Gras;
Italian, Martedì Grasso; Swedish, Fettisdagen; Danish Fastelavn;
Norwegian, Fastelavens; Estonian, Vastlapäev. Other countries called it
the Tuesday of Carnival, referring to the popular celebration of Carnival
that became associated with the feasting: Spanish, Martes de Carnaval;
Portuguese, Terça-feira de Carnaval; and German, Faschingsdienstag).
Also Malasada Day in Hawaii, Uzgavenes in Lithuania.

Whatever you choose to call it, have a blessed Tuesday!


Today is:

Bumper Car Day

Carnaval/Carnival (How you spell it depends on where you live.)

Do a Grouch a Favor Day

Feast of Sticky Buns

Independence Day, Lithuania

International Pancake Day

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday)

Mule Day

National Almond Day

Panczki Day

Respectable Tales of Kelp-Koli -- Fairy Calendar (5 minutes only)

Shrove Tuesday -- Christian, also called Fastnachts Day by the Pennsylvania Dutch

Sprengidagur, Iceland (bursting day -- feast before Lent on a traditional meat and pea dish until you think you will burst!)


Birthdays Today:

John McEnroe, 1959
LeVar Burton, 1957
Sonny Bono, 1935
Vera-Ellen, 1921
Patty Andrews, 1920
Jimmy Wakely, 1914
Hugh Beaumont, 1909
Richard McDonald, 1909
Edgar Bergan, 1903
Johann Strauss, 1866
Emperor Yingzong of China, 1032


Today in History:

9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, 374
Pope Gregory the Great issues a decree saying that "God bless you" is the correct response to a sneeze, 600
English king Charles I accepts Triennial Act, requiring the king to assemble Parliament at least once every 3 years, 1641
The first known check (cheque) is written, for 400 English Pounds Sterling (currently on display at Westminster Abbey), 1659
Kentucky passes a law permitting women to attend school under certain conditions, 1838*
Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulus, 1838
American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica, 1840
The Battle of Sobraon ends the First Sikh War in India, 1846
Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established, 1852
The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch, 1859
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks forms, 1868
The "Ladies Home Journal" begins publishing, 1883
The first Chinese daily newspaper in the US, Chung Sai Yat Po, begins publication in San Francisco, 1900
The first US Esperanto Club organizes in Boston, 1905
The first synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid, Spain, 1917
The first patent is issued for a tree, to James Markham for a peach tree, 1932
Britain abolishes the death penalty, 1956




*This is the same US state that still has a law on its books requiring
every resident to take a bath at least once a year, whether the person
needs it or not!

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