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Where the World Gathers to Celebrate Every Day

DECEMBER 21, 2018 | NATIONAL UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER DAY | YULE | WINTER SOLSTICE | HUMBUG DAY | CROSSWORD PUZZLE DAY | NATIONAL HOMELESS PERSONS’ REMEMBRANCE DAY | NATIONAL UNDERDOG DAY | PHILEAS FOGG WIN A WAGER DAY | NATIONAL FLASHLIGHT DAY | NATIONAL FRENCH FRIED SHRIMP DAY | NATIONAL MAINE DAY

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day - Third Friday in December

NATIONAL UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER DAY

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day has grown to be an international event. Now occurring on the third Friday of December, the celebration gives holiday lovers worldwide a chance to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters. In 2014, they partnered with Save the Children in their “Make the World Better with a Sweater” campaign. You can now help children across the world by wearing an ugly sweater on December 18th and encouraging others to go online and donate.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Try these tips to take the prize on National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day:

  • Animal or cartoon characters with a holiday theme are a great starting place. Think reindeer, snowmen, mice, kittens or elves.
  • Select ridiculous colors. The more they clash, the better.
  • Embellish. Scratch that. Over-embellish! Pom-poms, bells, felt, tinsle or any other glittery, jingly items laying around the house.
  • Add a collar, dickey or ruffle.
  • Electrify it! Put Rudolph to shame and go to the head of the team with bright, flashing lights!
  • Give it some 80s flair with shoulder pads.

Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater. Use #UglyChristmasSweaterDay or #ChristmasSweaterDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day was started in 2011 by ugly Christmas sweater lovers as a way to lighten up the busy holidays and to show off their absurdly, ugly sweaters.  The day has grown in popularity and is celebrated worldwide.

Yule - Day of Winter Solstice

YULE

Yule is observed on the day of the Winter Solstice.

Also known as Jul, Yule predates the Christmas holiday by thousands of years. There is some debate as to the origin of the word Yule. Some linguists suggest the word is derived from “Iul”, the Anglo-Saxon word for wheel. This makes a connection to a Celtic calendar, the Wheel of the Year. In the Norse culture, “Jul” refers to the god, Odin. Odin was celebrated during Yule as well.

Yule celebrations included bonfires, decorating with holly, mistletoe and the boughs of evergreen trees, ritual sacrifices, feasts and gift giving.

Do you recognize any Christmas traditions borrowed from Yule?

  • The Yule midwinter feast usually lasted 12 days.
  • Vikings would decorate evergreen trees with gifts such as food, carvings, and food for the tree spirits to encourage them to return in the spring.
  • Mistletoe combined with a mother’s tears resurrected her son, the God of Light and Goodness, in a Viking myth. The Celts believe Mistletoe possessed healing powers as well and would ward off evil spirits.
  • In Norse tradition, Old Man Winter visited homes to join the festivities. The Viking god, Odin was described as a wanderer with a long white beard and is considered the first Father Christmas.
  • Viking children would leave their shoes out by the hearth on the eve of the winter solstice with sugar and hay for Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.
  • Children would traipse from house to house with gifts of apples and oranges spiked with cloves and resting in baskets lined with evergreen boughs.
  • The Yule log was a whole tree meant to be burned for 12 days in the hearth. The Celts believed the sun stood still during the winter solstice. They thought by keeping the Yule log burning for these 12 days encouraged the sun to move, making the days longer. The largest end would be fed into the hearth, wine poured over it, and it would be lit with the remains of the previous year’s Yule log. Everyone would take turns feeding the length of timber into the fire as it burned. Letting it burn out would bring bad luck.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Use #Yule to post on social media.

HISTORY

While the winter solstice is observed around the world, Yule was celebrated primarily by Germanic cultures of northern and western Europe. The midpoint of winter was a time to celebrate the rebirth of the sun and the light it would bring to the earth.

WINTER SOLSTICE – Day Between December 20 and 23

WINTER SOLSTICE

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs annually between December 20 and December 23.

The winter solstice is marked by the point at which the North Pole is at its farthest from the sun during its yearly orbit around the sun. It will be approximately 23 degrees away from the sun.  Despite the temperature outside, the winter solstice is considered the astronomical beginning of winter.  Meteorological winter begins December 1 and lasts until the end of February and is marked by the coldest average temperatures during the year.

Depending on how far north a person is in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter solstice, their day can range from 9.5 hours to absolutely no sunrise at all.  On the bright side, the days will gradually become longer in the Northern Hemisphere until the summer solstice in June.  In the Southern Hemisphere, this same day marks the summer solstice and the Southern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year.

The vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox conventionally mark the beginning of spring and fall respectively and occur when night and day are approximately equal in length.

Around the world since ancient times to modern day, celebrations, festivals, rituals and holidays recognizing the winter solstice have varied from culture to culture.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Use #WinterSolstice to post on social media.

HISTORY

Since the marking of time and the earliest calendars, this day marked the hardest time of the year for early people.  Survival was paramount when food and heat are not reliable.  In all corners of the Earth, there are ancient remains that seem to have been built around marking the winter solstice.

  • Probably the most famous of these is Stonehenge, England. Every year when the sun sets on the winter solstice, the sun’s rays align with two of the giant stones known as the central Altar and the Slaughter stone.
  • As the sun rises the day of the winter solstice, its rays illuminate the main chambers of the monument dating back to 3200 B.C. at Newgrange, Ireland.
  • In Tulum, Mexico an ancient Mayan city stands deserted. At the top of one of these buildings, a small hole casts a starburst when the sun rises on the winter and summer solstices.
Humbug Day - December 21

HUMBUG DAY

When the stresses of the holiday season have piled up, many of us start to feel a bit like Scrooge.  This day was created to allow us an opportunity to express our frustrations.  Humbug Day is observed annually on December 21.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Use #HumbugDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

Humbug Day was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy at Wellcat.com.

Crossword Puzzle Day - December 21

CROSSWORD PUZZLE DAY

December 21 commemorates the birth of a challenging word game enjoyed by millions around the world.  It’s Crossword Puzzle Day!

The first crossword puzzles were published in England in children’s books and other publications. They were simple word games derived from the word squares where letters were arranged in a square so that the words read the same across and down.

The object of a crossword puzzle is to fill in the white spaces of a grid with the correct words from the hints provided alongside the grid. The black spaces separate individual words. The clues to more challenging puzzles are more like riddles, making the game more complex.

Many tout the benefits of crossword puzzles. Not only are they fun, but challenging crossword puzzles may help delay the effects of dementia or sharpen the brain for problem-solving. They can also increase vocabulary and even relieve the mind from the stress of the day by focusing on something other than worldly problems.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Buy a crossword book or find one online. Enjoy some popcorn while you puzzle your way through your favorite crossword! Use #CrosswordPuzzleDay to post on social media.

Educators, check out Week 15 of the National Day Calendar Classroom for a lesson designed for you. 

HISTORY

Journalist Arthur Wynne from Liverpool is credited as the inventor of word game we know today.  He created what is considered the first known published crossword puzzle.  The puzzle appeared in the December 21, 1913, edition of the New York World newspaper.

National Homeless Persons' Remembrance Day - First Day of Winter

NATIONAL HOMELESS PERSONS’ REMEMBRANCE DAY

National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day is observed annually on the first day of Winter.

Because of media attention to such issues increases during the holiday season in December,National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day was in part created to garner a public forum for thisissue, and local groups are encouraged to seek out and work with their local media outletsto publicize the event.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Local groups across the country are encouraged first to determine the number of homeless personsin their community who died in the previous year and then arrange a ceremony to remember them.Candlelight marches, vigils, graveside services, plays and performances, religious services, andpublic policy advocacy are the suggested ways of remembering.  Some groups have read publicly a list of names of the deceased. Use #HomelessPersons’RemembranceDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the HomelessCouncil have sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day to bring attention to theplight of the nation’s homeless population and to encourage the public to act on their behalf.

CONTACTS:
National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
202-462-4822; fax: 202-462-4823

National Underdog Day

NATIONAL UNDERDOG DAY

Underdog Day is observed annually on the third Friday in December.

America loves underdogs.  In sports, people tend to rally around the person or team that is not favored to win.

An underdog is a person or team in competition most likely expected to lose.  This expectation can be based on statistical data, opinion or overall standings. When the underdog wins, it’s called an upset.  

The first recorded uses of the term occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century; its initial meaning was “the beaten dog in a fight.”

Also known as a Cinderella story, the underdog has long piqued Americans’ interest.  Whether in a sporting event, business, education or arts, when success is a long shot and a struggle as well, Americans root and cheer for the underdog.  

HOW TO OBSERVE

Tell your underdog story. Use #NationalUnderdogDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

National Underdog Day was first observed in 1976.

Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day - December 21

PHILEAS FOGG WIN A WAGER DAY

Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day is observed annually on December 21.  Phileas Fogg is the illustrious main character in the classic novel Around the World In 80 Days by French Novelist, Jules Verne.

During an argument about the possibility of traveling around the world in 80 days, Fogg is challenged by fellow members of the Reform Club to do just that. He accepts the wager of £20,000 (equal to about £1.5 million today).

He departs on his with his newly hired valet, Passepartout at 8:45 P.M. on Wednesday, October 2, 1872. In order to win the wager, he must arrive back at the Reform Club at the same time on Saturday, December 21, 1872.

As you can imagine, Fogg and his valet encounter many trials, obstacles and adventures along the way.  Does Phileas Fogg win a wager?

HOW TO OBSERVE

Start reading Around the World in Eighty Days.  Use #PhileasFoggWinAWagerDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

December 21st is the anniversary of the day Phileas Fogg was due back at the Reform Club to win his wager.  Within our research, National Day Calendar has not identified the founder of Phileas Fog Win a Wager Day. 

National Flashlight Day - Day of Winter Solstice

NATIONAL FLASHLIGHT DAY

National Flashlight Day is on the same day as Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.

It was around 1899 that the invention of the dry cell and miniature incandescent electric light bulbs made the first battery-powered flashlights possible.

Today the flashlights that we use, are mostly incandescent lamps or light-emitting diodes and run on disposable or rechargeable batteries.  Some are powered by the user turning a crank or shaking the lamp and some have solar panels to recharge a battery.

In addition to the well known, general-purpose hand-held flashlight, other forms have been adapted for special uses.  Head or helmet-mounted flashlights designed for miners and campers leave the hands free.  There are special flashlights that can be used underwater or in flammable atmospheres.

January 10, 1899 – British Inventor David Misell obtained U.S. Patent No. 617,592, assigned to American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company.  This electric device designed by Misell was powered by “D” batteries laid front to back in a paper tube with the light bulb and a rough brass reflector at the end.  The company donated some of these devices to the New York City police, who responded well to them.

HOW OF OBSERVE

Use #NationalFlashlightDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

Our research was unable to find the creator and origin of National Flashlight Day.

National French Fried Shrimp Day - December 21

NATIONAL FRENCH FRIED SHRIMP DAY

National French Fried Shrimp Day is observed annually on December 21

Americans eat more shrimp than any other seafood.

The word prawn is used loosely to describe any large shrimp, sometimes known as jumbo shrimp.   Some countries use the word prawn exclusively for all shrimp.

Preparing the shrimp for consumption usually involves the removal of the head, shell, tail and sand vein.  There are many ways to cook shrimp. Common methods of preparation include baking, boiling, broiling, sauteing, frying and grilling.

Cooking time is delicate for shrimp and they are at their best when not over cooked.

A healthy food, shrimp is low in calories and high in levels of omega-3s, calcium, iodine, and protein.  Shrimp is also known to be considered good for the circulatory system.   *The preparation of the shrimp does impact the caloric count.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Enjoy one of the following recipes:

French Fried Shrimp
Fried Shrimp

Use #FrenchFriedShrimpDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

Within our research, we were unable to find the creator and the origin of National French Fried Shrimp Day.

National Maine Day - December 21

NATIONAL MAINE DAY

On December 21, National Maine Day recognizes the 23rd state to join the union and the most eastern one, too!

Populated by Wabanaki tribes when European explorers first arrived, Maine would later be colonized by French and English settlers, leaving Maine’s possession in constant debate. Fast forward to 1820; the state was carved out of Massachusetts as part of the Missouri Compromise.

Today, with her rocky shores and idyllic New England backdrop, Maine allows a moment to experience the light and sounds at a pace that’s more natural. Lobster, once so abundant it was served to prisoners and servants, is now a delicacy and just one of Maine’s many ocean delights.

Artists flourish in Maine. From fiction to landscapes, the state has inspired poets, writers, painters and more for centuries. From the Acadia to Kennebunk, from the highlands to the valleys, Maine is open all year round.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Join National Day Calendar as we recognize Maine’s breathtaking views and explore her history. Uncover hidden treasures and explore Maine’s mountains and shores! Use #NationalMaineDay to share on social media.

Each week following the week of Independence Day 2017, National Day Calendar will be announcing a National Day in honor of each state in the order they entered the union. We start with Delaware on July 13 and will complete the celebrations with Hawaii on June 27, 2018, allowing for some time off for the holidays.


On Deck for December 22, 2018

About National Day Calendar

National Day Calendar™ is the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique National Days! Since our humble beginnings on National Popcorn Day in 2013, we now track nearly 1,500 National Days, National Weeks and National Months.  In addition, our research team continues to uncover the origins of existing National Days as well as discover new, exciting days for everyone to celebrate.
 
Whether you want to celebrate your favorite mail carrier and flip flops, share your joy for bacon and chocolate cake or enjoy popcorn (our office favorite) on National Popcorn Day, stay in-the-know by signing-up for our e-mail updates, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t find yourself unprepared on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day – join us as we #CelebrateEveryDay!

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