Category: October 25



    October 25 celebrates National Merri Music Day to honor an innovative sound system and a music concept that began post World War II in Jamaica.


    On National Merri Music Day, we are celebrating the Merritone Sound System as the oldest sound system on the planet. Merritone is the only sound system founded in the original sound system era of the 1940s and 1950s that is still in operation. As the last sound standing, Merritone Music encourages music lovers around the globe to learn about the historical movement that has influenced musical genres in Jamaica and the world.

    What is a Sound System? 

    A sound system of the late 1940s and 50s is a public address apparatus with turntables attached to it for sound reinforcement and the amplification of music. Today, sound systems are still a big part of the Jamaica musical scene with many famous selectors, aka DJs.

    The original sound systems were born out of a need to bring music and entertainment to Jamaica’s working class. Before the sound systems, musical entertainment in Jamaica came from live bands. The cost associated with these events limited attendees to upper class Jamaicans and tourists. Thus, with the introduction of the sound system, contemporary music was brought to the masses. Sound systems played at house parties, lawns, and dancehalls.

    How old is Merritone Music? Originating over 55 years ago, Merritone Music turns 72 years old in 2022. Merritone sound system hails from Morant Bay, which is the capital of the parish of St. Thomas in southeastern Jamaica. Merritone’s founder, Val Blake loved Latin music and dances, such as cha cha cha, waltz, and slow love songs, which gave this sound system its distinctly identifiable music formula.

    Iconic Influence

    Merritone Music is credited for directly influencing the rise of ska, reggae, rock steady, and the present-day dancehall music culture. In fact, unlike live music where a single or a few genres of music are played, Merritone offers a variety of Jamaican mento, calypso, American R&B, and country during a session or party.

    Many musicians and producers sought out Merritone Music to play their records, such as Bob Marley and producers Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Winston ‘Niney’ Holness, and Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, to name a few. Often, they would play songs not found on the radio. In fact, they were famous for making B-side records instant hits. This was one of the main reasons local artists flocked to Merritone Music performances. If they could  get their song played at a Merritone session, it was going to be a hit. Their influence made local artists highly successful.


    • Learn the complete history of the Merritone Sound System.
    • Attend Merritone Sound System sessions.
    • Research Jamaican culture and history.
    • Make plans to attend a future Merritone Reunion.
    • Share and post your Merritone Music stories using #NationalMerriMusicDay.


    National Day Calendar gives credit to Monique Blake of Merritone Music Inc. as the founder of National Merri Music Day. The day honors her grandfather Val Blake’s birthday, October 25th. Val died in 1956, leaving behind four sons, Trevor, Winston, Tyrone, and Monte. His 2 oldest sons, Trevor, and Winston took charge of the sound system after his death.

    Trevor would eventually migrate to the U.S leaving Winston and his 2 younger brothers to continue Merritone. The Blake brothers stood out as the only sound that would feature a family of DJs. While all brothers played, Winston and Monte are the two most recognized selectors. Winston was instrumental in making the Merritone sound a Jamaican national treasure and a global phenomenon.

    National Merritone Music Memories

    Winston Blake was born on November 19, 1940, to Ruthlyn and Winston St. Valentine “Val” Blake. Ruthlyn died shortly after the birth of Monte, the youngest Merritone brother. Val was left to care for his 4 sons. As a Public Works accountant and a part time Philips Electronics salesman, he searched for additional ways to support his family.

    Trevor and Winston attended school in Kingston. One day after school, while waiting at a bus stop, they heard music pumping from Mr. Chin’s Sky Rocket Sound System. They came home and urged their father to start a sound system as a means to generate extra income. In the beginning, Val resisted because sound systems were not considered socially acceptable for the middle class. Eventually, he gave in and Merritone Music was born. The sound system went on to break down the stigma of sound systems and brought music to both working and middle class people, national and international politicians, Jamaican prime ministers, world renowned musicians, and music lovers from around the world.

    Facts and Tidbits

    Merritone Music is the last ‘sound’ standing. It is the only sound system that began in the original sound system era of the 1940s and 1950s that continues to play today. In addition, it is the only sound system to play on all modern musical formats, including shellac 78 RPM, vinyl records, 8 track, cassette, CDs, and digital music.

    As many firsts in sound system, music, and Jamaican history, Merritone Music stands out as a historic presence. Always using music to unite the people of the world, Merritone has been breaking down social barriers since its creation. In the 1960s the Merritone brothers played at the University of West Indies, exposing students from middle-class families to a sound system. In the 1970s, Merritone became the first sound system to play at a world class hotel, the Sheraton in New Kingston.

    Winston sought to showcase Jamaican talent and started the Merritone VIP Talent Exposure. This show discovered some of Jamaica’s most prominent singers including the following:

    • Cynthia ‘Songbird’ Schloss
    • Beresford Hammond
    • The Tamlins
    • Jacob Miller
    • Ruddy Thomas
    • The Mighty Diamonds.

    Merritone Music began playing in New York in the late 60s, but it was not until the 70s that international tours became a mainstay. They played in US cities like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, as well as Toronto and London where Merritone fans moved to during the Great Migration. It was the first Jamaican based sound system to play internationally.

    In 1972, Winston opened the Turntable Club. It became the home of Merritone Music for the next 29 years. It was the site of the first live recording session at a night club in Jamaica featuring Dennis Brown. Entertainers like Marvin Gaye, Keith Richards, Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, and Jimmy Cliff frequented the club.

    Turntable Club is Jamaica’s longest running nightclub. In fact, in honor of its contribution to Jamaica’s musical culture, Turntable Club was designated a National Heritage site in 2018 by the Government of Jamaica.

    Awards & Commendations

    1997: The Government of Jamaica awarded Winston Blake with the Order of Distinction (OD), the highest civilian recognition, in honor of his contributions to Jamaican music.

    2000: St Thomas Municipal Council renamed Bay Mount (the original Merritone Music home site) to Blake Hill in recognition of Merritone Music’s 50th anniversary.

    2000: Reggae Canada honored Winston Blake with the Icons Award.

    2008: The United States House of Representatives 11th Congressional district honored Winston Blake for his contribution to Brooklyn, NY and its citizens.

    2008: University of West Indies, Mona School of Business held a Symposium on Merritone Sound System as one of Jamaica’s longest running family-owned businesses.

    2012: Nassau County New York honored Winston Blake for his dedicated service to the community.

    2015: International Reggae Day honors Merritone Music with a Pioneer Sound Award

    2017: JARIA (Jamaica Reggae Industry Association) posthumously honors Winston Blake for exceptional contribution to the reggae industry.


    National Greasy Foods Day | October 25
    National Greasy Foods Day | October 25


    Those watching the scale beware. Augment the diet for National Greasy Foods Day on October 25th.


    Although not the healthiest of choices, every once in a while, it is okay to enjoy some greasy food.  From fried chicken, pizza, nachos, and french fries to bacon and hash brown potatoes, we all like a treat in our regular diet.

    Cooking oil types include:

    Olive oil – Palm oil – Soybean oil – Canola oil – Pumpkin oil – Corn oil – Sunflower oil – Safflower oil – Peanut oil – Grapeseed oil – Sesame oil – Agran oil – Rice bran oil – Other vegetable oils – Butter and lard.

    Oil may be flavored with aromatic flavorings such as herbs, chilies, or garlic.

    Greasy foods can be prepared with healthier oils and with much less than average amounts of oil used when cooking, making them much healthier choices.

    For the educators and homeschoolers, National Day Calendar tested an assignment in our own classroom and made the material ready for you to use.


    There are so many greasy foods to try! Which will you try first? French fries come to mind. So do onion rings. However, mozzarella sticks sound good, too. Don’t forget the dipping sauces! Indulge yourself with some greasy foods and use #GreasyFoodsDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this food holiday.

    Greasy Foods FAQ

    Q. How can I make the fried foods I love healthier?
    A. There is no denying it. Fried foods are loaded with unhealthy fats and calories. However, there are a few ways to enjoy those same foods without doing so much damage to your health.

    • Limit your intake of the real deal. Those onion rings from your favorite restaurant? Cut down the number of times you order them by half and they will seem even tastier when you do enjoy them.
    • Bake instead of fry. Many fried foods have tasty and healthy counterparts. If you love French fries, baking them on a lightly oiled baking sheet will crisp them right up and reduce the number of calories and fat they contain. Choose russet potatoes and add a little garlic and herbs to season them.
    • Air fry by using a convection oven. These handy little ovens have the ability to crisp up our favorite fried foods using a fraction of the oil they typically require when deep frying.

    Q. Can I re-use the oil in my deep fryer?
    A. Yes, but monitor its appearance and smell. Strain the oil into a glass or stainless steel container and store the oil in a cool place between uses. If you frequently fry foods, the oil will accumulate flavor. You will also want to avoid frying donuts in the same oil you fried fish in last week.


  • SOUREST DAY – October 25



    Sourest Day follows on the heels of Sweetest Day. This sourest day of the year is observed annually on October 25th. 


    If life is giving you lemons or you feel like a grumpy Gus, this day is for you. Take your glass-half-full attitude and spread the joy -er- gloom. Smiles be banished! Replace them all with pouts and terrible frowns.  

    Wallow in your petulant mood. Take sulking to new lows. Frown like a clown catching the midnight train outta town. Develop a harrumph worth trademarking. Scowl so foul that people will catch a whiff of it before they even see you. When walking by a skein of yarn, it should leap onto your brow already knitted. That’s just how sour you need to be on this day.


    Have a sour day, all day. Bet you can’t stay sour ALL day! Use #SourestDay to post on social media.


    Richard Ankli of Ann Arbor, Michigan, created this counterpoint holiday in 1977 to honor a friend with a Sauer last name and a birthday landing on October 25th.  

    Sour FAQ

    Q. What are the five basic tastes?
    A. Many experts agree that we taste five basic tastes on our tongues. Those five basic tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, also known as savory. However, we also perceive two other tastes – astringent and pungent. While we may recognize the first five, astringent and pungent become more familiar to us when they are described.

    • Astringent -Tannins stored in the bark, skin, and other parts of some foods we eat make our tongues pucker or feel dry. For example, dry wine has more tannins from contact with the grape skins and when we drink it, the wine feels dry on our tongues even though it’s a liquid. Fresh grapes, apples, and teas will cause this sensation, too.
    • Pungent – This sensation creates heat on our tongues and lips. Jalapenos, peppermint, and mustard can all cause a pungent sensation.

    Q. My friend is in a sour mood. How can I cheer her up?
    A. Trying to cheer up a petulant friend can take some doing, depending on the circumstances. Besides showering her with a completely opposite attitude (sweet, that is), you can try these tips:

    • Tell a joke or funny story.
    • Try listening to them. Sometimes just being able to express how we feel makes us feel better.
    • Offer to watch a sitcom or funny movie with them.
    • Go for a walk with them. Exercise produces endorphins which are one of the happy hormones in our bodies.



    International Artist's Day - October 25


    International Artist’s Day on October 25th honors artists and all the contributions they make. The day also celebrates one of the most famous artists, Pablo Picasso. The Spanish artist was born on October 25th, 1881.

    Artists work hard to create their work. They add beauty to the world around us. Most artists work with many different mediums. Not only that, but the word artist encompasses painters, photographers, sculptors, musicians, dancers, writers, actors, digital artists, and more. When one is born with a creative gift, that creativity flows into many different areas. For example, Picasso was a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, poet, and playwright.

    Art came about long before written works. Since the beginning of time, art has communicated ideas and kept records of important events. Art offers a connection to the past. Artists record our history, indelibly. They also unearth truths. Through their work, they tell stories and pass on traditions. Artists have a unique way of connecting to the people around them. In a world full of bad news, one of their most important roles is to offer messages of hope.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalArtistsDay

    Several organizations around the world support international Artist’s Day. Some of these include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, National Galleries of Scotland, Jerusalem Foundation, and several others. To celebrate local artists, many cities, such as White Rock, British Columbia, and San Miguel, Spain, host fine arts festivals. Galleries around the world host open houses and invite the public to view their art for free or at a discounted price.

    To participate in International Artist’s Day:

    • Do an online quiz to determine what kind of artist you are
    • Take a starving artist out for lunch
    • Buy a new painting for your home
    • Visit an art gallery
    • Attend the symphony
    • Sign up for art classes
    • Start writing that book
    • Learn how to play a musical instrument
    • Enter a talent show competition
    • Support your local artists
    • Encourage a child who has the gift of creativity
    • Put together a scrapbook

    Creativity is all around you, which means this is a day you can Celebrate Every Day®. Just taking a photograph with your phone is a form of art. No matter what you do to celebrate, share this day on social media with #InternationalArtistsDay.


    Canadian artist, Chris MacClure started International Artist’s Day in 2004. Since then, October 25th has been a day dedicated to celebrating all the contributions artists have given to society.





    Chucky, the Notorious Killer Doll Day is observed annually on October 25th. 


    For those who aren’t Chucky fans, you have a pass. All others, get your popcorn and beverages of choice and hit play! Some who celebrate, dress up as Chucky. Those who collect Chucky merchandise add to their collection. Others, take a thrill in learning new behind-the-scene facts or reading up on Chucky fan pages. 

    This creepy horror flick staple of the 1980s has a full name – Charles Lee Ray. And he gets it from three real-life and notorious killers. Can you guess who they are?

    Horror films often have a crossover interest. Whether an actor, character or element bleeds over into another film, fans love to pick up on the nuances. This time of year, film buffs and Halloween fans meet. This holiday brings them together under one banner of fear, thrills, and trivia. 


    Test your movie knowledge. While you’re at it, watch the various Chucky movies. Invite friends to join you and get them hooked, too. Play Chucky trivia or visit a haunted house dressed as Chucky. Host a Chucky themed pumpkin carving contest or a costume contest. Give prizes to the guest who can name the most number of actors in each of the films. 

    Make your favorite movie-watching treats and turn into a party. Name the foods after the movies. Here are some suggestions:

    • Child’s Play Popcorn
    • Bride of Chucky Wedding Cake
    • Pumpkin Spawn of Chucky Seeds
    • Curse of Chucky Chicken Wings
    • Cult of Chucky Dipping Sauces

    If you’re looking to add a little more fright to this holiday season, check out 8 Freaky Faces of Horror Movies.

    Be sure to use #ChuckyTheNotoriousKillerDollDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this frightening holiday.

    Chucky FAQ

    Q. Besides Chucky, what other creep dolls have been featured in films?
    A. Like clowns, dolls find a way to send chills up our spines. Their staring eyes ever watchful put us on edge. Chucky doesn’t dominate the screen alone. Oh, no. Filmdom loves to freak us out with possessed dolls. Check these out:

    • Corky – In 1978, Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret Olsson star in Magic about a disturbing ventriloquist dummy named Corky.
    • Benson – Even children’s movies embellish their stories with a little bit of chill-factor. Another ventriloquist dummy, Benson joins the Toy Story 4 cast alongside voiceless Gabby.
    • Annabelle – In the film, Annabelle, The Conjuring series centers around a doll whose frozen smile redefines fear factor.
    • Brahms – Babysitting is challenging enough. But Brahms ups the ante in the 2016 film The Boy when an old couple leaves for a trip and leaves Brahms in the care of a younger couple. He seems innocent and sweet in his grey sweater and neatly combed hair. They soon learn just how demanding a job it really is.


    October 25th Celebrated History


    During the Crimean War, Allied troops met the Imperial Russian Army in the Battle of Balaclava. Alfred, Lord Tennyson would immortalize the 600 plus troops who fought in the failed battle in his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade.


    DuPont sold the first nylon stockings to its employees in Wilmington, DE before they were sold to consumers.


    Davis entered the military in 1898. During his career, he became the first African-American to earn the rank of Brigadier General.


    For the first time, home cooks could prepare a meal in a microwave oven designed for home use. At a cost of $1,295, Tappan brought the domestic microwave oven to the market.


    At the Rig Technical University of Latvia, 2,208 dancers set a record for the longest contra line.

    October 25th Celebrated Birthdays

    Helen Blanchard – 1840 

    The prolific inventor achieved her greatest success with the invention of a zig-zag machine.

    Pablo Picasso – 1881

    The artist exerted an immense influence on 20th-century art. In a variety of media, Picasso produced more than 20,000 pieces.

    Bobby Knight – 1940

    The notorious basketball coach started his coaching career in 1964 at West Point. He ultimately coached for Indiana University bringing home 11 Big Ten Conference titles and 3 NCAA championships as well as coaching the 1984 Olympic basketball team to gold. Knight wrapped up his coaching career with Texas Tech University and retired in 2008.

    Speech – 1968

    Born Todd Thomas, the rapper is a member of the hip-hop group Arrested Development.

    Katy Perry – 1984

    The award-winning singer-songwriter rose to prominence with hits like “I Kissed a Girl” and “Dark Horse.” In 2017, she joined judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie in the re-launch of the singing competition show American Idol.