Category: February 01



    On February 1st, National Dark Chocolate Day reminds us to indulge a little. Many tout dark chocolate as the healthier chocolate. However, for some, it can be an acquired taste.


    Also known as bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate is different from milk chocolate. Candy makers add milk or butter to milk chocolate, giving it a creamier consistency. Dark chocolate includes no added milk or butter. Instead, the percentage of cocoa solids remaining in the chocolate determines how dark the chocolate is. The higher the ratio, the darker the chocolate. It may also have a slightly bitter taste.

    Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. We have been cultivating cacao for at least three millennia, and the plant grows in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. Our earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds dates to around 1100 BC.

    Fermentation helps develop the flavor of the cacao seeds. Otherwise, the seeds are too bitter to eat. Once fermented, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted. After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. Processors then ground the cocoa nips into cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Next, they usually liquefy the cocoa mass and mold it with or without other ingredients. At this point in the process, it is called chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor may then be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

    Besides being lower in calories and fat, dark chocolate has many other health benefits. It also serves as a decadent ingredient in many desserts and sauces.


    • Eat some dark chocolate.
    • Bake with dark chocolate.
    • Add dark chocolate to a savory dish.
    • Share dark chocolate recipes.
    • Host a dark chocolate tasting.
    • Learn about the health benefits of dark chocolate.
    • Use #NationalDarkChocolateDay on social media.


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

    Dark Chocolate FAQ

    Q. Can I add a little dark chocolate to my coffee?
    A. Yes. The simplest solution is to add a dark chocolate syrup or cocoa powder.

    Q. Can anyone eat dark chocolate?
    A. No. Some people are allergic to chocolate, and even small amounts will be harmful to them.

    Q. Can dark chocolate be a savory ingredient?
    A. Yes. Dark chocolate can be added to sauces and stews. Chili is one dish where some recipes call for dark chocolate.



    Around the country, National Girls and Women in Sports Day is recognized by schools, organizations, and teams during the first week of February.


    Athletics play an important role in girls’ lives. Besides helping to establish a routine for a healthy, active lifestyle, sports build confidence, leadership skills, and the ability to work with a team.

    But there is so much more to participating in sports. Women who participated in sports in school are more likely to graduate from college. According to an EY study, women increase their odds of landing leadership positions when they have a background in athletics.

    Girls develop lifelong valuable relationships during their sports careers, too. It’s not just serious business.

    It also doesn’t matter the sport. Whether girls choose to be a part of the volleyball team or prefer to aim for par or better in golf, the health, leadership, and academic benefits develop with each one.


    • Support women and girls in sports.
    • Share stories about female athletes.
    • Encourage a female athlete, coach or mentor.
    • Share how sports influenced your life.
    • Participate in women’s sports.
    • For more information visit Women Sports Foundation.
    • Share how sports influenced your life. Use #GirlsAndWomenInSportsDay to share on social media.
    • You can also learn more about the women who led the way in 6 Women From Sports History.


    On February 4, 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Women in Sports Day in recognition of the history of women’s athletics. It also recognized the progress made by the Title IX amendment passed in 1972.

  • NATIONAL TEXAS DAY – February 1


    On February 1st, National Texas Day recognizes the Lone Star State along with its fierce record of independent people and history. The 28th state may not be the only state with a record of being a republic, but their dramatic revolution and fight for independence keep Texas history alive.


    Legendary History and People

    On December 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state admitted to the Union, but its storied history stretched long before that date. From the dictatorship of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and the start of the Texas Revolution in 1835 to the Alamo in 1836, names like James Bowie, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Juan Seguin echo throughout the state.

    Many legends abound where Texas is concerned. According to the story, The Yellow Rose of Texas was a woman who distracted Santa Anna during the Battle of San Jacinto allowing victory for the republic. Many credit a woman by the name of Emily West, but historians find little to no evidence. A statue by Veryl Goodnight stands in Houston.

    During and after the Civil War, news traveled slowly. It took the arrival of Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, and his announcement with General Orders, Number 3 that the Civil War was over and all slaves were now freedmen for life to change in Galveston, Texas.  Whether it required the military to enforce the new federal law or if the news did truly travel slowly, June 19th became a celebration of culture and freedom called Juneteenth

    Technology and Landscape

    Texas loves technology. Home to Johnson Space Center and more than one computer company that began as a startup, the Lone Star State wears its boots and lab coat at the same time. They’ve brought us the handheld calculator and 3-D printing as well as many medical advancements. And let’s not forget, Dr. Pepper.

    Whether traveling to the Gulf Coast, staying close to the panhandle which includes a patch of Route 66, or wandering the Great Plains, there’s plenty of Texas to see. Take in some history or explore the cities. Take a hike along the Palo Duro Canyon on the Red River or in Big Bend National Park.


    • Visit Texas!
    • Share your favorite places in Texas.
    • Explore Texas history.
    • Read or watch movies about Texas.
    • Savor the foods of Texas, like the kolache.
    • Discover the people and places of Texas.
    • Use #NationalTexasDay to share on social media.

    For a complete list of Texas State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit and Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.

    Battleship Texas State Historic Site – LaPorte

    Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway – Quitaque

    Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area – Rocksprings

    Franklin Mountains State Park – El Paso

    Goose Island State Park – Rockport

    Indian Lodge – Fort Davis

    McKinney Falls State Park – Austin

    Big Thicket Gateway – Lumberton

    Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument – Fritch

    Big Bend National Park – Rio Grande

    Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi

    Bullock Texas State History Museum – Austin

    Texas Memorial Museum – Austin

    George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center – Austin

    Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Dallas

    African American Museum – Dallas

    Kimbell Art Museum – Fort Worth

    Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum – Canyon

    Houston Museum of Natural Science – Houston

    San Jacinto Museum – Houston

    Sri Meenakshi Devasthanam – Pearland

    Texas Ranger Hall of Fame – Waco

    Fort Concho – San Angelo

    Fort Griffin State Historic Site – Albany

    Gone with the Wind Museum – Cleburne

    Ms. Pearl the Squirrel – Cedar Creek

    Betrayal and humiliation defined Juan Seguin’s life. Despite his strong support of an independent Texas and his active role in the revolution, Sequin would be made to look like a traitor by the Mexican government. Even when allowed to return to his homeland in San Antonio, he would not remain long.

    Considered instrumental in the development of ragtime and jazz, Scott Joplin’s contributions to American music brought upbeat rhythms and memorable piano compositions. He was posthumously awarded a special Bicentennial Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his contributions to American music.

    In 1933, Wiley Post became the first man to fly around the world solo. He accomplished the feat in 7 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes. Post would also design a pressurized suit allowing him to fly his Lockheed Vega into the stratosphere. In 1935, his plane would crash in Alaska killing Post and his longtime friend, Will Rogers.

    During World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower led Allied forces in Western Europe. He then served two terms as president during a relatively peaceful and prosperous era in the United States.

    Bessie Coleman was restricted from learning to fly because of the color of her skin. To become the first African-American woman to earn her pilots license, Coleman learned French and moved to France. In 1922, she gained her license and began a career barnstorming and stunt flying.

    Howard Hughes became known for his aviation, manufacturing, movie production and investments. His success led to massive wealth and celebrity. While always eccentric, later in his life, Hughes became reclusive, never allowing anyone to see him.

    Caro Crawford Brown’s investigative reporting is credited with helping to end boss rule controlled by Archer Parr in Duval County and surrounding counties in Texas. In 1955, Caro earned a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

    Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president after the assignation of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Johnson’s administration pursued completion of the Civil Rights Act, declared “War on Poverty” and created the Medicare and Medicaid programs. U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War steadily increased under Johnsons watch.

    In 1968, Denton Cooley performed the first successful U.S. human heart transplant. Cooley also implanted the first artificial heart into a human.

    Otis Boykin’s interest in resistors helped to advance electronic components in many fields. His advancements found demands in both consumer and military applications. Boykin’s greatest innovation was the control unit for the pacemaker.

    In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman Chief Justice on the Supreme Court. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, O’Connor received unanimous approval.

    Willie Nelson’s music spans more than five decades. From Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys to well-received acting performances, Nelson had a reputation as an outlaw country musician while raising money for Farm Aid and other charitable causes.

    Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry’s works have been adapted to film. His gritty westerns weave lore, legend and history into vivid landscapes and colorful characters.

  • NATIONAL GET UP DAY – February 1


    National Get Up Day on February 1st offers an opportunity to share inspiring stories of perseverance. The day reminds us to pick ourselves up when we’ve fallen and giving it (whatever it may be) another go!


    February 1st marks the official end of National Skating Month (January) when rinks across the country bring communities together to experience skating’s joys and benefits. One of the first lessons every figure skater learns is how to fall and to get back up. This day is not just about skating, though. It is about celebrating that Get Up spirit that applies to every aspect of life. The day inspires others through stories, pictures, videos, and social media.  

    More importantly, February 1st reminds all of us to Get Up when we stumble. We never know when our efforts to seek a goal or overcome an obstacle will encourage another to do the same. Whether you find inspiration on or off the ice, in a classroom, through a co-worker, or in your own neighborhood, share your Get Up story on National Get Up Day!


    • Get Up! Get up in the morning, when you fail, when you struggle. Every single time, get up again!
    • Share stories about the times you kept getting up and trying again. How did that change you?
    • Give a shout-out to someone who perseveres because they Get Up!
    • Encourage someone to Get Up. Remind them it’s part of the learning process and the path to success.
    • Create an inspirational post as a reminder to Get Up when we fall.
    • Share what makes you Get Up and keep trying.
    • Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for projects and ideas to help you Celebrate Every Day!
    • Share your inspiration by using #GetUpDay on social media.


    U.S. Figure Skating founded National Get Up Day on February 1, 2017, to provide a platform to celebrate Get Up stories in communities around the country and urge others to Get Up. As part of the inaugural celebration, the world was encouraged to share Get Up stories one week before the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

    In 2017, the Registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed the observance to be celebrated on February 1st, annually.

    Get Up FAQ

    Q. Is National Get Up Day only for athletes?
    A. No. Everyone needs encouragement to “get up” when we fail. The day serves as a reminder to keep trying, keep learning, practicing, and to try again. We only fail when stop trying.

    Q. How can I motivate myself to Get Up when I fail?
    A. Give yourself permission to learn from your mistakes. No matter what you’re trying to achieve, there’s always something to learn from the previous attempt.



    Ice cream and cake come together on February 1st in a celebration called National Baked Alaska Day.


    An elaborate dessert that is also known as “Omelette Norvegienne,” Baked Alaska is made with hard ice cream on a base of sponge cake and covered in a shell of toasted meringue.

    In the United States in 1867, an earnest debate erupted over the potential purchase of Alaska from Russia. Secretary of State William Seward agreed to a purchase price of $7 million, and Alaska became a United States territory in 1868. Those of the opinion that the purchase was a giant mistake referred to the purchase as “Seward’s Folly.”

    Enter Charles Ranhofer, the chef at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City. He was notorious for naming new and renaming old dishes after famous people and events. Capitalizing on the heated controversy surrounding the purchase in the frozen north, Baked Alaska fit the bill. It was cold, nearly frozen, and quickly toasted in a hot oven before serving.

    He served as the chef at Delmonico’s from 1862 to 1896. During his tenure, he also created Lobster Newburg, another famous dish honored with a national food holiday.


    • Order Baked Alaska for dessert.
    • Make a Baked Alaska at home.
    • Invite friends to enjoy this delicious dessert with you.
    • Host a Baked Alaska bake-off.
    • Use #NationalBakedAlaskaDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues researching this dessert holiday’s origins. However, we suspect we won’t find it anywhere near the Yukon.

    Baked Alaska FAQ

    Q. Can I make Baked Alaska at home?
    A. Yes. As complex as Baked Alaska seems to be, it’s a fairly uncomplicated dessert. If you can bake a cake and make a meringue, you can make Baked Alaska. The key is to prep each element separately and to work quickly when putting them all together.

    Q. Is Baked Alaska flambéed?
    A. No. The meringue on Baked Alaska is toasted. However, a similar dessert called the Bomb Alaska is flambéed.



    On February 1st, National Serpent Day gives snakes and serpents alike their slithering due. Across religions and cultures, the serpent has been used as a symbol of evil, medicine, fertility, and much more.


    Over 3,000 species of snakes populate the Earth. The world’s smallest snake is the Barbados thread snake. This serpent is smaller than a nightcrawler at about 4 inches. In comparison, the longest snake is the reticulated python and the heaviest is the green anaconda. What was the first snake you ever saw?

    • Only 1/8 of the known species are venomous.
    • While many snakes may be small, their upper and lower jaws separate. This ability allows snakes to consume prey up to three times larger than the diameter of their head.
    • Snakes eat their prey whole.
    • Most snakes are nocturnal.
    • As creepy as their flicking tongue seems, they use it to smell the air.
    • Snakes are cold-blooded, or ectotherms, and must sun themselves to regulate their body temperatures.
    • While most snakes lay eggs, some give live birth.
    • From anti-tumor treatments to antibacterial properties, snake venom has been studied for medical purposes for many years.


    • Visit a zoo or herpetarium to view snakes from a variety of locations.
    • Read about serpents, their habitats, and their life cycle.
    • Watch a documentary or movie featuring snakes.
    • Create a blog post or podcast about snakes.
    • Share your experiences with snakes.
    • Study the snakes in your area.
    • Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom pages for activities surrounding National Serpent Day.
    • Use #NationalSerpentDay to post on social media.


    While the creator of this day has slithered away, we continue seeking the origins of this fascinating holiday. 

    Serpent FAQ

    Q. Is there a difference between poisonous and venomous snakes?
    A. Yes. Poisonous snakes, while rare, deliver their poison through secretions in their skin or saliva. Venomous snakes use their fangs to inject their poison.

    Q. What other creatures are venomous?
    A. Besides snakes, other venomous creatures include:

    • Scorpions
    • Cone Snail
    • Box jellyfish
    • Stonefish
    • Brown recluse spider
    • Catfish
    • Male duck-billed platypus
    • Gila monster

    Q. Are the words viper and snake interchangeable?
    A. All vipers are snakes but not all snakes are vipers. Vipers are a specific subset of snakes and they are all venomous. They belong to the family Viperidae and have long, hinged fangs. Species included in the Viperidae family include the adder, water moccasin, rattlesnake, and mamba.




    National Freedom Day, always observed on February 1st, celebrates freedom from slavery. It also recognizes that America is a symbol of liberty. The day honors the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865. It was not ratified by the states, however, until later on December 18, 1865.


    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” ~ 13th Amendment


    • Reflect on the freedoms found in the United States.
    • Attend a National Freedom Day ceremony.
    • Read about or watch a documentary about the 13th Amendment.
    • Visit an art gallery or museum displaying pieces inspired by the 13th Amendment.
    • Attend a forum or lecture to discuss the 13th Amendment and its impact, then and now.
    • Read the 13th Amendment in its entirety.
    • Teach someone about the 13th Amendment.
    • Write about or discuss the 13th Amendment in a social media post, broadcast, or article.
    • Use #NationalFreedomDay to post on social media.


    A former slave by the name of Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr. created National Freedom Day. Major Wright was looked upon as a great leader in the community. It was believed by Major Wright, that this day needed to be celebrated.

    February 1st holds significance because that was the date Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery in 1865. On June 30, 1948, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming February 1st as the first official National Freedom Day in the United States.

    February 1st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


    The Philological Society of London and Oxford University Press publishes the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary. A-Ant consisted of 352 pages and took 5 years to complete. Scotchman James Murray undertook the enormous task as the primary editor. He would die in 1915 before the project was complete.


    Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème premieres in Turin, Italy. The tragic love story is one of Puccini’s greatest works.


    Hewlett-Packard introduced the first scientific hand-held calculator. It sold for $395 and was named the HP-35 – a nod to its 35 keys.


    David Letterman launches his first evening talk show, Late Night with David Letterman. His first guest on the comedy talk show was Bill Murray.

    February 1st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History

    Hattie Caraway – 1878

    In 1932, Caraway became the first woman elected to the Senate. She had been appointed the previous year to fill her husband’s seat due to his death.

    John Ford – 1895

    The American film director was most noted for his westerns starring John Wayne. He also adapted the John Steinbeck novel, Grapes of Wrath.

    Clark Gable – 1901

    One of Hollywood’s foremost leading men during the first half of the 20th century, Gable was known for films like Gone with the Wind, It Happened One Night, and The Misfits.

    Langston Hughes – 1902

    The American poet of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes also wrote several plays, novels, and essays. He’s most known for his poem “Harlem.”

    Vivian Maier – 1926

    For five decades the street photographer captured the world and then hid it away. Not until after her death was her historic collection revealed to the world.