Category: April 08



    Each year on April 8th, National Empanada Day recognizes a delicious pastry that comes in several different forms. The name empanada comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb em pandar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.


    Empanadas are made by folding the dough or bread around a seasoned stuffing. The stuffed dough is then baked or fried. Very much like hand pies, these delicious pastries offer a variety of choices. You can make your empanadas with meat, cheese, vegetables or fruit fillings. However, they may be made with other ingredients, too.

    A cookbook published in 1520 in Catalan, the Libre del Coch by Ruperto de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood.

    If you’ve never had an empanada, you might be surprised just how versatile they are. Different parts of the United States make them with their own style and flavors. Starting in the Southern and Southwestern United States where an empanada is called a Creole empanada, the dish becomes a savory meal. There, they fill the half-circle flaky crust with seasoned pork, beef or chicken, and cheese.

    Head to the Southeastern part of the country and empanadas transform. A little more on the sweeter side, they fill these pastries with fresh or reconstituted dry fruit. Some choices include apples, apricots, peaches or sweet potatoes. Once fried, the pies have a crispy outer shell with piping hot fruit inside.

    Further west in New Mexico, making empanadas for Christmas is a winter tradition. They make sweetmeats, similar to mincemeat, using ground pork, sugar, pinon nuts, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Everything is then sealed in a tortilla-like dough and deep-fried in lard.


    • Make your favorite version of empanadas. You can choose from a variety of fillings and make one for everyone in the family. Have everyone try their hand at making the dough and filling them. 
    • Share your favorite empanada recipes.
    • If you’re doubting your dough-making skills, try frozen or canned dough. While you’re cooking, be sure to share your recipes, too!
    • Use #NationalEmpanadaDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues researching this delicious food celebration. 

    Empanada FAQ

    Q. Are empanadas and handpies the same thing?
    A. They are similar in that they are pie-like pastries that contain fillings and fit in the hand.

    Q. Can I use an egg wash on empanadas?
    A. Yes. And egg wash will give the empanada a crispy crust.

    April 8th Celebrated History


    SS Great Western sets off on its maiden voyage from Bristol, England to New York City. The steamship was the first of its kind built for transatlantic service. It completed its maiden voyage on April 23, 1838.


    The states ratify the 17th Amendment giving the people the right to directly vote for their senators creating a direct election. Before the 17th amendment, each state’s legislature elected the senators.


    Hank Aaron hits his 715th career home run. The Atlanta Brave was playing at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he hit Al Downing’s 1-0 fastball.

    April 8th Celebrated Birthdays

    Mary Pickford – 1892

    The American actress co-founded United Artists and helped establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts. Pickford made her mark on the film industry when it was in its infancy and watched it transform into the world of talking movies.

    Melvin Calvin – 1911

    In 1961, the American biochemist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Andrew Benson and James Bassham for his discovery of the Calvin cycle.

    Winifred Asprey – 1917

    Mathematician and computer scientist, Winifred Asprey earned her Ph.D. in mathematics at a time when very few women did. Asprey established the first computer lab at Vassar College in 1967. Vassar soon became the second college to acquire an IBM System/360 computer.

    Betty Ford – 1918

    In 1974, the Fords were suddenly thrust into the roles of President and First Lady upon the resignation of Richard Nixon. The 40th First Lady took on many roles, including equal rights advocate and she spoke openly about breast cancer awareness and drug and alcohol. In 1982, following her own treatment for alcoholism, the former First Lady established the Betty Ford Center.



    Each year on April 8th, National Zoo Lovers Day encourages us to explore our local zoos. Each year millions of people visit zoos and learn about the many animals that live there. Also known as zoological parks, many of them serve as breeding centers. These facilities are relied upon when species are endangered or at risk of becoming endangered. They also provide education to the public about a broad variety of animals and their habitats. 


    Enjoy seeing your favorite animals swinging from the trees or splashing in the water and have a fun-filled day.

    A few zoo facts:

    • The Vienna Zoo is the oldest existing zoo and was opened to the public in 1765.
    • The United State’s first zoo open to the public, Central Park Zoo, opened in 1864 in New York.
    • Philadelphia Zoo holds the oldest zoo charter, formed in 1859. It officially opened to the public in 1874.
    • There are 350 zoos in the United States
    • Approximately 175 million people visit a zoo each year.
    • Disney’s Animal Kingdom has had more than 9.8 million annual visitors.
    • More than 3.2 million people visit the San Diego Zoo each year.


    • Visit your local zoo.
    • Make a donation to a zoo program.
    • Share your zoo experiences with others.
    • Use #NationalZooLoversDay to post on social media.
    • Take a virtual tour of a zoo. There are many different kinds of zoos. Take a virtual tour of this reptile zoo and learn about the reptiles that live there.
    • You can also download the zoo coloring page for another fun activity at home.


    National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this National Day.



    Observed each year on April 8th, National All Is Ours Day takes us along three views of appreciation. Celebrate each of the approaches to the day or pick the one that best suits you. 


    The first approach to the day can be looked at as a time to reflect on all of the beauty of nature and all the wonderful things in life. Rarely do we have the time to explore all that nature offers us. Something as simple as the variety of birds that inhabit a local park or backyard can surprise us. Venturing further out, we can discover our National Parks or trail system. Whether we look up to the skies or closer at the new spring blooms, taking in our surroundings is a spectacular gift to enjoy. 

    The second way to celebrate the day is by appreciating everything we have. Even when we don’t have much, what we do have is a blessing. This approach encourages counting those blessings and avoiding thinking about the things we do not have.  

    A third way to view the day is by sharing all that we have. Regardless of what we have, sharing it seems to make tough times easier when we all work together. The greatest times and the greatest things in life are those that are shared.


    • Explore the world around you and find something to appreciate in the world beyond your front door.
    • Express thankfulness for what you have. It may be the people in your life, your health, or another blessing you cherish.
    • Share your bounty with others.
    • Focus on positive thoughts and actions.
    • Use #NationalAllIsOursDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this day dedicated to appreciation.

    All Is Ours FAQ

    Q. What are some ways to express gratitude to someone?
    A. A simple thank you is often sufficient. However, sometimes we’re compelled to express our gratitude in other ways. Some ideas include:

    • Write a heartfelt thank you card.
    • Make a homemade treat.
    • Sing the person’s praises to others.

    Q. What are some things to appreciate about nature?
    A. Whether you’re an outdoor person or not, there is much to be appreciated about nature.

    • Fresh air
    • Clean water
    • Majestic landscapes
    • Changing seasons
    • Colorful vistas
    • Rich soil
    • Bountiful crops
    • Bird song

    Q. Can anyone celebrate All Is Ours Day?
    A. Yes. Even in our darkest moments, there is something to be thankful for.  We only need to look for it to find it.