Category: December 12

  • INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE DAY – December 12

    INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE DAY

    Every year December 12th marks International Universal Health Coverage Day as a way to urge countries to accelerate progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The day also seeks to promote the idea that access to affordable quality health care is a human right.

    Universal health coverage is a system that provides quality medical care to all of its citizens. The federal government offers health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Out of 33 developed countries, only the United States is without universal health coverage. In 2010, President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This, however, is not considered universal health care.

    Of all the developed countries, Americans are most familiar with Canada’s universal health care system. Canada has a single-payer system where free care is provided for all, regardless of who can pay. Vision, dental, and prescription drugs are paid for by private supplemental insurance. Some of the advantages of universal health coverage include:

    • Lowers the overall cost of health care
    • Lowers administrative costs
    • Standardizes services
    • Prevents future social costs

    There are some disadvantages as well. These include long wait times for medical services, health care costs overwhelming government budgets, and healthy people paying for the sickest.
    Despite these cons, the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO strongly advocates for universal health coverage. WHO states that UHC means that all people and communities can use the health services they need without the threat of financial hardship. UHC is based on the WHO constitution of 1948 that declares health a fundamental human right. WHO believes that UHC also brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalUniversalHealthCoverageDay

    Events on this day are held to raise awareness of the need to have a strong health system and universal health coverage. Many people around the world share their stories on what it’s like to go without health care coverage. To participate:

    • Write to government officials encouraging them to push for universal health coverage
    • Write an op-ed in your local paper that states the advantages of having universal health coverage
    • If you have ever gone without health insurance when you have needed it, share your story
    • Watch a healthcare documentary that discusses the cost of health care. A few include Money-Driven Medicine, The Waiting Room, and Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
    • Share this day on social media with #InternationalUniversalHealthCoverageDay

    INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE DAY HISTORY

    On December 12th, 2012 the UN General Assembly made it a priority to accelerate the progress toward Universal Health Coverage. In 2015, the UN adopted a target of universal health coverage by 2030. This included access to quality essential health care services and safe and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. On December 12th, 2017 the UN passed a resolution on global health and foreign policy that addressed the health of the most vulnerable populations. On that same day, the UN proclaimed December 12th as International Universal Health Coverage Day. Recent themes for this day have included:

    • 2019: Keep the Promise
    • 2018: Unite for Universal Health Coverage: Now is the Time for Collective Action
    • 2017: Health for All – Rise for Our Right

     

  • INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NEUTRALITY – December 12

    INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NEUTRALITY

    Every year on December 12th, the International Day of Neutrality promotes the importance of peaceful, friendly, and mutually beneficial relations between countries.

    When a country is neutral, it means they are not taking a side in times of war or conflict. One of the best-known examples of neutrality is the country of Switzerland. During both World Wars, Switzerland remained neutral. Their neutrality goes back as far as 1815. As a result of their permanent neutral status, Switzerland has become a safe haven for thousands of refugees over the years.

    Other countries that have remained neutral during times of armed conflict include:

    • Austria
    • Costa Rica
    • Finland
    • Ireland
    • Liechtenstein
    • Sweden
    • Turkmenistan

    Even though these countries do not get involved in a conflict, some of them still have large armies and a military presence.

    Preventative diplomacy, early warnings of conflict, mediation, and fact-finding missions all help these countries maintain their neutrality. Some neutral countries might also utilize special envoys, informal consultations, and negotiations. Maintaining neutrality is not an easy feat. This is especially true in a world that is never void of conflict. In fact, dozens of new conflicts occur each year.

    Some of the most recent conflicts involve the countries of Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Venezuela. There have also been tensions between the United States and China, as well as between the U.S. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Many people around the world live in fear each day that there will someday be a World War III.

    With the increasing numbers of conflicts and rumors of war, neutrality is more important than ever.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalDayOfNeutrality

    Member states, organizations, educators, and concerned individuals hold events throughout the country to promote neutrality among countries. To participate:

    • Discuss with others the importance of peacekeeping, preventative diplomacy, and mediation when it comes to remaining neutral.
    • Think about what it would be like to live in a country that practiced neutrality in times of conflict. How would this change your view of the world?
    • Learn about the peacemaking missions the United Nations has been involved with since its formation in 1945.

    Spread awareness for this day on social media by using #InternationalDayOfNeutrality

    INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NEUTRALITY HISTORY

    On February 2, 2017, the UN General Assembly Declared December 12th as the International Day of Neutrality. The resolution was introduced by the country of Turkmenistan. This country had been recognized as a permanently neutral state since December 12th, 1995.

     

  • NATIONAL DING-A-LING DAY – December 12

    NATIONAL DING-A-LING DAY

    National Ding-a-Ling Day on December 12th encourages us to reconnect with people we once talked to often. 

    #DingALingDay

    Ding-a-Lings on this day call the people they haven’t heard from in a while. It may be an old classmate, co-worker, or neighbor from years ago. Or perhaps a call will go out to the child who used to mow the grass during the summer. How about that couple who carpooled for soccer?  What was their name? Many people slip out of our lives who would love to hear the ding-a-ling of a call from you. Why don’t you join the Ding-a-ling club and call someone this year?

    HOW TO OBSERVE DING-A-LING DAY

    Call someone you haven’t heard from in a long time and use #DingALingDay to post on social media.

    NATIONAL DING-A-LING DAY HISTORY

    In 1972, Franky Hyle placed a free ad in Chase’s Calendar of Events with his PO Box Number in Melrose Park, IL stating that for $1 you can join the National Ding-A-Ling club.  The club, with 871 original members, would call friends and relatives they haven’t heard from in a while every year on December 12. In a 1975 Lakeland Ledger article, the idea for the club developed during a discussion among friends about people being friendlier and led to the meaning of the term ding-a-ling.  After looking up the word, they found it meant “One who hears bells in his head.”

    From this evening discussion, Hyle created the National Ding-A-Ling club. The tradition grew, and on December 12th, millions of people will call those individuals dear to them.

  • NATIONAL AMBROSIA DAY – December 12

    NATIONAL AMBROSIA DAY

    Right in the middle of the holiday season, National Ambrosia Day brings a refreshing salad to the celebration table. On December 12th, bring ambrosia to your holiday dinner or celebration and go home with an empty bowl. 

    #NationalAmbrosiaDay

    Ambrosia, according to Greek mythology, is the nectar of the gods, endowing strength and immortality to those who eat it. The term itself can mean something especially delectable to taste or smell.

    The earliest recipes for ambrosia salad appeared around the 1800s. The recipes called for citrus fruit, coconut, and sugar. However, those who find coconut disagreeable leave it out of the recipe. We must note that if you omit coconut, a forceful objection could be heard from a true southerner.

    A genuine ambrosia salad is served the same day it is prepared. However, more modern recipes suggest overnight refrigeration of the dish. Other ingredients often added to the salad include pineapple, nuts, cherries, apples, bananas, whipped cream, or yogurt.

    HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL AMBROSIA DAY

    Ambrosia accompanies many family dinners and pot lucks. The dish’s light and fresh flavor offset some of the more heavy recipes we encounter over the holidays. Ambrosia adds just a little bit more flair than traditional fruit salad. Some hostesses even have trouble deciding whether to put it with the desserts or the side dishes. No matter how you choose to celebrate, be sure your ambrosia with others. We Celebrate Every Day better when there’s a crowd to ooh and ahh over this sweet dish!

    Need a recipe? Try these Ambrosia Salad recipes:

    Ambrosia Salad

    Mama’s Ambrosia

    Use #NationalAmbrosiaDay to post on social media.

    NATIONAL AMBROSIA DAY HISTORY

    National Day Calendar® continues researching this fresh and delightful food holiday. 

     

    December 12th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) History

    1899 

    George F. Grant, the second African American to earn a dental degree, also gained a love of golf. As a dentist, he also had to be inventive. His inventiveness carried to his love of golf, and in 1899, Grant obtained patent No. 638,920 for wooden golf tee dated December 12, 1899.

    1901 

    The inventor Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio signal to Percy Wright Paige. Marconi transmitted the Morse code for the letter S and sent from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to Page in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

    1953

    Flying the Bell X-1A, Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to exceed twice the speed of sound.

    1961

    On the anniversary of Marconi’s first transatlantic radio signal, the U.S. military launched the first privately built satellite into orbit around the Earth. OSCAR1 – short for Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio – hitched a ride aboard a Discoverer satellite that was launched into orbit by a U.S. military Thor-Agena rocket. The payload orbited the Earth for 22 days sending the message “Hi” by Morse code to approximately 300,000 amateur radio operators tracking OSCAR1.

    December 12th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

    Henry Wells – 1805

    In 1850, the American businessman established the American Express Company. Soon after, he also helped to establish Wells, Fargo & Company. He was also an advocate of higher education for women and due to his personal struggles with stuttering, opened schools with a focus on curing the affliction.

    Edvard Munch – 1863

    The expressionist painter is known for his dark and evocative art. One of his most recognized works of art, The Scream, is on display at National Museum in Oslo. Munch painted The Scream in 1893. He also created a lithograph of the piece which The Munch Museum holds.

    Kate Shelley – 1863

    A fierce storm blew through Des Moines River Valley on the night of July 6, 1881. The storm washed out the Honey Creek Bridge. That night, 15-year-old Kate Shelley who lived near the bridge heard the Chicago & Northwestern tumble into the creek. Raised by a railroad man, she attempted to rescue the crew. However, when her lantern blew out, she redirected her efforts to the Midnight Limited which was bound for Honey Creek. Racing to the depot, she alerted the agent of the bridge and he was able to flag down the train in time saving many lives.

    Frank Sinatra – 1915

    One of the most influential big band singers of the 1940s and 1950s, Frank Sinatra crooned his way into the limelight. A member of the Rat Pack, he not only dazzled on stage, but he was also equally at home on the big screen.

    Robert Noyce – 1927

    The physicist is one of the scientists who made significant contributions to the establishment of Silicon Valley. In 1957, he and 7 other engineers founded Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. There he developed one of the first integrated circuits. In 1968, he co-founded Intel Corporation and the company released the first microprocessor in 1971.

    Helen Frankenthaler – 1928

    The Abstract Expressionist painter is credited with developing a direct to raw canvas staining technique.

    Toshiko Akiyoshi – 1929

    The classically trained pianist discovered a love of jazz at a young age. During her six-decade career, Toshiko received 14 Grammy nominations and is the first Japanese musician to receive the NEA Jazz Master Award.

    Dionne Warwick – 1940

    The pop singer rose to fame in the 1970s with songs like “Walk on By” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”

  • NATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY – December 12

    NATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY

    Each year on the 12th of December, people across the United States celebrate one of the most recognizable plants of the holidays on National Poinsettia Day.

    #NationalPoinsettiaDay

    In 16th-century Mexico, the connection between the poinsettia plant and the Christmas season begins. According to legend, a girl wanted desperately to celebrate Jesus’s birthday. Worried, the girl feared she would have no gift to offer because she was so poor. An angel tells her to give any gift with love. After gathering weeds from alongside the road, the young girl placed them in the manger. Miraculously the weeds bloomed into beautiful red stars.

    The poinsettia initially came to the United States with Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist and the first U.S. Minister to Mexico. In 1825, he sent cuttings home to Charleston, South Carolina.

    However, it wasn’t until the early 1920s that the poinsettia started taking root in American culture. Paul Ecke, a second-generation farmer in California, discovered a grafting technique that caused the seedlings to branch. Hawking their Christmas flower at roadside stands, Paul Ecke Jr. later advanced sales of the poinsettia through shipping and marketing. 

    HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL POINSETTIA

    Check out your local greenhouse or florist and fill your home with the beautiful poinsettia. While you’re there, order one for your neighbor or co-worker. Brightening someone’s day is another way to #CelebrateEveryDay. Don’t forget to offer a shout-out to the florist for their outstanding service. Use #NationalPoinsettiaDay to post on social media.

    NATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY HISTORY

    The House of Representatives in 2002 created Poinsettia Day to honor the father of the poinsettia industry, Paul Ecke.  The date of December 12 marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the man responsible for bringing the plant to the United States.

    Poinsettia FAQ

    Q. Can I grow a poinsettia all year long?
    A. It’s possible to keep your poinsettia growing long past the holidays, though most people do not. The plant is a bit temperamental and more work than most people want to put into keeping.

    Q. Do poinsettias come in different colors?
    A. Poinsettias’ traditional blooms are white. However, the flower also comes in orange, pink, purple, red, salmon, and yellow.

  • GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY – December 12

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    GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY

    Gingerbread House Day on December 12th recognizes a family tradition for many around the country. 

    #GingerbreadHouseDay

    A favorite food of an Armenian monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD and taught French Christians to bake it. Since gingerbread was often used in religious ceremonies, monks baked to be sturdy to molded into images of saints.

    We can thank the Brothers’ Grimm for a gingerbread house, though. Through their tale of Hansel and Gretel, they introduce an evil witch who lives in a house made of gingerbread. It didn’t take long for the German gingerbread guilds to pick up the idea. Soon, they put gingerbread houses to a more festive use making snowy cottages made from the spicy-sweet treat.

    Today, we can spend the day baking, cutting, and building to our heart’s delight. Kits take some steps out of the process so we can get right down to constructing our winter wonderlands.

    HOW TO OBSERVE GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY

    Gather the family together, bake up some gingerbread, and start building and decorating your very own gingerbread house. Give the recipe below a try.

    Gingerbread House Recipe

    Other ways to celebrate include:

    • Reading Hansel and Gretel.
    • Hosting a house-building party.
    • Touring gingerbread displays.

    Use #GingerbreadHouseDay to post on social media.

    GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY HISTORY

    National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this cookie engineering day. 

    Gingerbread FAQ

    Q. How do I glue the walls of the house together?
    A. Use Royal Icing for the best results. This type of icing will dry and become hard ensuring your creation stands for the entire holiday season. (That is, if everyone in your household doesn’t gobble it up first.)

    Q. What is the world’s largest gingerbread house?
    A. According to Guinness World Records, the Texas A&M Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas built the world’s largest gingerbread house in 2013. The team raised money for charity by charging admission fees to tour the life-size house with working gingerbread doors. Another record-breaker in the category of gingerbread is Jon Lovitch of New York. Each year he builds a gingerbread village which is displayed at the New York Hall of Science. In 2017, Guinness World Records certified his village as the largest with 1,251 buildings.