Category: January 16



    Each year on January 16th, International Hot and Spicy Food Day celebrates all the delicious hot and spicy foods around the world.

    Most people know that chili peppers are one of the hottest foods on the planet. But did you know that the hottest chili pepper in the world is always changing? This is because chili peppers are constantly evolving. But how is the hottest chili pepper determined? Chili peppers contain capsaicinoid. This is the active compound in chili pepper that’s responsible for its spicy sensation. Capsaicinoids are measured by the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU).

    Recently, the Carolina Reaper was named hottest chili pepper. This super spicy chili pepper has an SHU of 2,200,000. This is 200 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper! Can you imagine popping a Carolina Reaper into your mouth? If that’s way too hot, here are some other chili peppers that are a little less spicy:

    • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU)
    • 7 Pot Douglah (1,853,936 SHU)
    • Naga Viper (1,349,000 SHU)
    • Ghost Pepper (1,041,427 SHU)
    • Red Savina Habanero (500,000 SHU)

    By comparison, the SHU of a jalapeno pepper is only between 2,500 and 8,000. Besides chili peppers, some other hot and spicy foods around the world include vindaloo, jerk chicken, Sichuan hot pot, and griot. Hot and spicy foods come from countries all around the world. There are some countries, however, that are famous for spicy foods. These countries include Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, Korea, Jamaica, Indian, and China.

    No matter what kind of spicy food you eat, be sure to have a glass of milk or a container of cold yogurt handy. Dairy products like milk and yogurt ease the fiery feeling in your mouth. Whatever you do, don’t drink water, as this can actually make it worse. If you live where it’s cold outside, eating hot and spicy foods is a great way to warm up.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalHotAndSpicyFoodDay

    Many restaurants offer specials on their hottest and spiciest dishes. Other events include habanero-eating challenges, costume contests, and cook-offs. To participate:

    • Try a spicy dish that you have never eaten before
    • Dine at a Thai, Korean, or Indian restaurant where they service spicy food
    • Learn about the different kinds of chili peppers
    • Make a recipe with a spice you’ve never used before
    • Host a chili cook-off with your friends or co-workers

    Don’t forget to share a picture of your favorite spicy food on social media with #InternationalHotAndSpicyFoodDay.


    National Day Calendar was unable to identify the founder of this hot and spicy food observance.




    Each year on National Without a Scalpel Day January 16th recognizes the opportunities to treat disease without a scalpel. On this day in 1964, pioneering physician Charles Dotter performed the first angioplasty. The ground-breaking procedure to open a blocked blood vessel took place in Portland, Oregon. Not only did the angioplasty allow the patient to avoid leg amputation surgery, but she left the hospital days later with only a Band-Aid.


    No surgery, no stitches, no scars…

    In doing so, Dr. Dotter created a cutting-edge medical specialty called Interventional Radiology, where doctors treat disease through a tiny pinhole instead of open surgery. These doctors use x-rays and other medical imaging to see inside the body while they treat disease. These advances changed all of medicine.

    Today, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures (MIIP) can treat a broad range of diseases throughout the body, in adults and children:

    • cancer
    • heart disease
    • stroke
    • aneurysms
    • life-threatening bleeding
    • infertility
    • fibroids
    • kidney stones
    • back pain
    • infections
    • blocked blood vessels
    • many other conditions

    Even though trained specialists perform MIIP throughout the world, many people do not know about MIIP or if they could benefit from these life-changing treatments. The Interventional Initiative was established to raise awareness and educate the public about MIIP.

    The Interventional Initiative just completed the pilot episode of the documentary series Without a Scalpel, to be aired on a national network in 2016. Without a Scalpel features real patient stories and their doctors who treat them with life-changing MIIP.


    Take some time to learn more about MIIP and share this valuable, life-saving information with someone you love. Post on social media using #WithoutAScalpelDay.


    The Interventional Initiative submitted National Without a Scalpel Day in 2015. If you or someone you know could benefit from MIIP, visit or follow on Twitter @interventional2.

    The Registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed the day to be observed on January 16th, annually

    January 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


    President Chester Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, creating the U.S. civil service system. The act established a merit basis for federal jobs and promotions and made it illegal to fire or demote government employees for political reasons.


    The states ratify the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. A year later, the amendment goes into effect on January 17th. It prohibited “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…” In between, Congress passed the Volstead Act providing the means to enforce the 18th Amendment. The “noble experiment” ended on December 5, 1933, when the states ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition.


    On October 15, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Department of Transportation. A few months later, on January 16, 1968, Johnson appointed the first Secretary of Transportation, Alan Boyd.


    The Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 completed the first docking mission while in orbit above the Earth. Each spacecraft were crewed by two cosmonauts, and while docked, they performed a spacewalk and switched spacecraft for the return flight home.

    January 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

    Sarah Rosetta Wakeman – 1843

    During the American Civil War, Sarah Wakeman disguised herself as a man to earn more money. Using either the name Lyons or Edwin Wakeman to find work, she eventually enlisted in the Union Army under the name Lyons. She served until 1864 when she died of dysentery. Only Wakeman’s letters home revealed her true identity.

    André Michelin – 1853

    The French industrialist and his brother Édouard Michelin transformed their grandfather’s business in 1888, renaming it Michelin and Company. A year later, their detachable-pneumatic tires would revolutionize transportation.

    Ethel Merman – 1909

    The comedic actress and singer rose to stardom on the Broadway stage in shows like Hello, Dolly, Girl Crazy, and Gypsy. Her talent translated to the silver screen, earning her a Golden Globe for 1954’s Call Me Madam.

    Dian Fossey – 1932

    It only took one experience with mountain gorillas to convince the American zoologist to return and establish the Karisoke Research Centre. From then on, Fossey dedicated and gave her life to studying gorillas and developing conservation efforts. Her efforts drew unwanted attention from smugglers and poachers in Rwanda. On December 26, 1985, Fossey was murdered in her bed, and the crime has never been solved.

    Ronnie Milsap – 1944

    One of country music’s most popular performers rose to the top of the charts during the 1970s. Some of the Grammy-winning singer and pianist’s best-known songs include “Stranger in My House,” “Any Day Now,” and “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning.”

    Debbie Allen – 1950

    The talented performer’s long career of successful television shows includes Fame and Grey’s Anatomy. She also appeared in one episode of The Cosby Show with her real-life sister Phylicia Rashad

  • MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY – Third Monday in January


    On the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King Jr Day honors the American clergyman, activist, Civil Rights Movement leader. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.(January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) is best known for his role in advancing civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism. 



    A gifted and friendly student, King attended Morehouse College, earning a B.A. in sociology. Combining a passion for racial equality with a rediscovered spirituality, King then attended Crozer Theological Seminary, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps earning a Bachelors of Divinity.

    Shortly after completing his Ph.D. in theology at Boston University in 1955, a 42-year-old Rosa Parks (See Rosa Parks Day observed December 1st) refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The opportunity for the NAACP to bring their civil rights efforts to the forefront was before them, and they chose King to lead the successful city-wide boycott of the Montgomery transit system.

    Young Civil Rights Movement

    Just over a year later, King and over 60 other ministers and activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Together, they coordinated nonviolent protests and gave the young civil rights movement a voice.

    Through the next twelve years, King would be influential in organizing marches, sit-ins, and political rallies for civil rights. For example, during a 1963 March on Washington, D.C. for Jobs and Freedom, King spoke before more than 200,000 regarding the challenges African Americans face. His “I Have a Dream” speech has gone down in many history books as one of the greatest speeches ever given. Brutally honest, with a call to action and a vision of hope, King’s speech resonated throughout the nation.  


    In early 1964, 1,500 men and women met a wall of state troopers during a march outside Selma. There, King led the marchers in prayer and avoided any confrontation with authorities. On July 2, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. That same year, King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his unswerving work in the Civil Rights Movement.

    In early 1965, Selma, Alabama, became the center of the Civil Rights movement. Congress introduced new voting rights legislation. It proposed banning literacy tests and mandating federal oversight where tests were administered. Additionally, it gave the U.S. attorney general the duty of challenging the use of poll taxes for state and local elections. Televised violence in February of that year resulted in the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. King’s presence and President Johnson’s support of the marchers helped bring peace. Throughout the next month, marchers continued between Selma and Montgomery. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in August of that year.

    Author, speaker, father, theologian, activist, King died on April 4, 1968, when James Earl Ray assassinated him in Memphis, Tennessee. King arrived in Memphis with other SCLC members supporting a sanitation workers’ strike. They stayed at the Lorraine Motel, and  Ray’s bullet struck King on the balcony. Riots and violence would follow, and President Johnson would call for peace, referring to King as the “apostle of nonviolence.”


    Many schools, businesses, and government offices are closed during Martin Luther King Jr Day. However, schools hold programs or teach curricula engaging students in Civil Rights history and lessons throughout the week. Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch one of the documentaries or read one of the books listed below:

    • King: A Filmed Record – Montgomery to Memphis.  
    • The Children’s March
    • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson
    • Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference By David Garrow
    • Freedom’s Daughters by Lynne Olson

    Use #MartinLutherKingJrDay to post on social media.


    While President Ronald Reagan signed the observance into law in 1983, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

    Martin Luther King Jr. FAQ

    Q. Is Martin Luther King Jr. the only American honored with a federal holiday?
    A. No, but Martin Luther King Jr. is part of a select group of three men who have been honored with federal holidays. The other two are Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

    Q. Was Martin Luther King Jr. awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
    A. Yes. Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

    Q. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a Freedom Rider?
    A. No, but King did show his support for the Freedom Riders in several ways. In 1961 during the Civil Rights Movement, a group of young Black and White college students took to riding interstate busses to force the issue of desegregation. Angry crowds often met these busses, attacking the Freedom Riders. At least 60 Freedom Rides were conducted throughout the South, affecting change that caused the Interstate Commerce Committee to enforce its ruling six years prior that denounced the separate but equal doctrine.



    National Fig Newton Day on January 16th annually recognizes a tasty pastry enjoyed across the country. 


    A Nabisco’s trademarked version of the fig roll, Newtons are a pastry filled with fig paste. Fig Newtons have an unusual and characteristic shape that has been adopted by many competitors, including generic fig bars.

    Up until the 19th century, many physicians believed most illnesses were related to digestion problems. As a remedy, they recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. Fig rolls served as an ideal solution to their advice, which remained a locally produced handmade product. 

    In 1891, Philadelphia baker and fig-lover Charles Roser invented and patented the machine, which inserted fig paste into a thick pastry dough. The Cambridgeport, MA-based Kennedy Biscuit Company then purchased Roser’s recipe. They began mass production after purchasing the recipe. In 1891, they produced the first Fig Newtons baked at the F.A. Kennedy Steam Bakery. The company named the pastries after the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

    After recently becoming associated, the Kennedy Biscuit Company and the New York Biscuit company merged to form Nabisco. The new company trademarked the fig rolls as Fig Newtons.


    Enjoy a Fig Newton, fig roll, or make your own. People of all ages enjoy this tasty bar. It comes in various flavors, but fig seems to be the most popular. Enjoy it with coffee, tea, or juice. 

    Use #NationalFigNewtonDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues to seek the origins of this figurative food holiday. Unfortunately, while we may not figure it out, we sometimes get out of a jam. Oh well, we’ll follow the crumbs.

    Fig Newton FAQ

    Q. Is a Fig Newton a cookie?
    A. In the U.S., the package is labeled a cookie. In the U.K., they are labeled a biscuit. But that’s less about the Fig Newton and more about language. However, some people call them fruit-filled cakes. So even though a biscuit company originally made the trademarked fig rolls, you can call them a cookie.

    Q. Do Fig Newtons come in other flavors?
    A. Funny you should ask. In 2012, Nabisco dropped the word “Fig” from the product’s name. Since then, new flavors have hit the shelves, including strawberry, peach, and apple.



    Each year, National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the day the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was signed on January 16, 1786. Each year, by Presidential Proclamation, January 16th is declared Religious Freedom Day. 


    Thomas Jefferson’s landmark statute became the basis for Congressman Fisher Ames’ establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Consitution.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    The First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia, commemorates this day by holding an annual First Freedom Award banquet.

    The statute guarantees the fundamental freedom to openly practice one’s faith without fear of being harassed, jailed, or killed. Additionally, under the statute, each person may freely change their religion without retribution. In the United States, people of different faiths have equal rights to practice their religion.

    Around the world, religious restrictions continue to rise. According to Pew research, legislation, attitudes, and policies are rising globally in the last decade. Even those countries usually considered restrictive are increasing their limitations. When looking at countries with the most equality, they too show a change in policies and attitudes toward religious freedom. Religious freedom is a global concern, not only a national one. 


    While recognizing the U.S. commemoration, take a broader look. Learn more about religious freedom in the United States and around the world. 

    • Watch First Freedom on PBS.
    • Learn about other faiths.
    • Practice your own faith.
    • Participate in an interfaith event such as the one mentioned on Share America.
    • Read about other faiths and their experiences in the United States.

    Use #ReligiousFreedomDay to post on social media.


    Every year since 1993, the President of the United States proclaims January 16th National Religious Freedom Day



    Each year on January 16th, people across the nation recognize National Nothing Day.


    The observance was created as a day to provide Americans with one National Day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything.  (National Day Calendar only reports the Days, sometimes they may contradict themselves.)

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on the third Monday of January which means that one-in-seven January 16th’s will fall on the same day as Nothing Day, effectively usurping the nature of Nothing Day.

    While it may be a good day to celebrate nothing at all, we suppose putting nothing in a glass and setting it on a table might suffice for celebration. You might leave your diary page blank every January 16th. Don’t mark anything on the calendar on the 16th, either. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you sent a blank email dated January 16th. How many replies would you get saying, “There’s nothing here.”

    For people whose birthday lands on January 16th, wrap an empty box. That should elicit a nothing response appropriate for the celebration.

    When asked, “What are your plans, today?” your response should definitely be, “Nothing.” What else would your answer be on a day like today? Now that we think about it, “Nothing” works well as an answer when recognizing the day.

    Q: What’s for supper?

    A: Nothing

    Q: What are you reading?

    A. Nothing. (Even though you’re clearly reading something.)

    Q. What’s your homework assignment?

    A. Nothing. (As you’re working on your homework.)

    Q. What are you drinking?

    A. Nothing. (As you sip on the best non-fat latte ever.)



    In 1972, columnist Harold Pullman Coffin proposed National Nothing Day. The day has been observed in all its nothingness since 1973. The observance is sponsored by Coffin’s National Nothing Foundation, registered in Capitola, California.

    Nothing FAQ

    Q. Who should celebrate National Nothing Day?

    Q. What does National Day Calendar do on this day?

    Q. What should I give my brother for his birthday?