The sweet holiday of Paczki Day takes place the day before Ash Wednesday. The Polish tradition of indulging in fried dough filled with jams, custards or other sweet surprises dates back to the Middle Ages.
A PUNCH-kee or POONCH-key or POOCH-key is traditionally a round Polish pastry filled with fruit and coated in sugar. Those who would be fasting during Lent needed to empty the pantry; this Polish pastry was an ideal way to use up what was in the larder. More modern versions fill the paczki with custard or cream and even cover the outside with a glaze and sprinkles.
The day is also full of music and entertainment much like Fat Tuesday and borrows many traditions from the French.
HOW TO OBSERVE #PaczkiDay
Order a paczki from your local bakery and enjoy it! What type of filling will you have? Traditional or will you be more modern? Join in the celebration and use #PaczkiDay to share on social media.
PACZKI DAY HISTORY
The celebration of Paczki Day dates back to the Middle Ages and is celebrated around the world.
The last day of Carnival and the day before for Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is the intertwining of a period of festivals and feasts that lead to a time of fasting and reflection. Also known as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, this enduring celebration has many traditions and deep roots around the world.
Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) dates back to an ancient Roman festival honoring the deities Lupercalia and Saturnalia which took place in mid-February. When Christians arrived in Rome, they incorporated the festival into Lenten preparations.
For centuries, this solemn feast prepared Christians for the season of Lent and used up valuable meat and supplies they would be abstaining from in the days to come. Traditions surrounding the day have changed through the ages. Through time and culture, the practices of Lent and Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Shrove Tuesday have varied and become incorporated into regional customs.
In the United Kingdom, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day. Pancakes are the perfect menu item when the future includes abstaining from fats, eggs, and sweets! In Russia, they celebrate the entire week during Shrovetide as Pancake Week.
Carnival & Mardi Gras
While the French didn’t originate the medieval feast, they did put their stamp on it. From parades to beignets and colorful masks, the last day of Carnival is full of elaborate costumes and lavish food sure to hold the revelers over through a long fast. During the 16th century, their ancestors celebrated Boeuf Gras (fatted calf) which included a tradition of parading a bull decorated with flowers through the city. The decorated animal is followed through the streets by a retinue of colorfully dressed attendants and bands playing unusual instruments. There was even a Boeuf Gras Society in Mobile, Alabama at one time. (See history below for more information.)
New Orleans holds the crown for Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. While the city is filled with French flavor and style, its culture is an eclectic infusion of many cultures. Colorful King Cake and thick, savory muffuletta sandwiches only suggest the indulgence possible on Fat Tuesday. Regional specialties like Etouffee, Po’boys, and jambalaya all add to the atmosphere of the day.
And while we satisfy our cravings, let’s not forget our beverages. Signature creations from New Orleans hit the spot. Be sure to try the Sazerac made with absinthe or the citrus cocktail Arnaud’s Special. For a smooth drink with some punch mix up a Vieux Carré made with whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth. But you don’t have to have a cocktail to enjoy the feast! Fat Tuesday has plenty of beverages full of refreshing flavor. Coffees, sodas, and shakes of every flavor can be found.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FatTuesday
Join in festivals around the country or have your own Fat Tuesday feast! Share your favorite traditions by using #FatTuesday, #MardiGras, #ShroveTuesday
Find your Fat Tuesday deals here.
FAT TUESDAY HISTORY
The roots of the celebration have been woven together for centuries from medieval spring festivals and feasts that were based on the Christian calendar. Fat Tuesday is celebrated around the world in its various forms all of which harken back to these roots of spring festivals and religious fasting in preparation for the Holy day of Easter.
Credit for bringing Mardi Gras to America goes to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. In 1699, d’Iberville reached the mouth of the river on Shrove Tuesday near what is now Louisiana and named it Pointe du Mardi Gras.
Thanks to their establishment of Fort Louis de la Mobile, modern-day Mobile, Alabama lays claim to the first Mardi Gras celebration on American soil in 1703.
When de Bienville established Nouvelle Orleans in 1788, Mardi Gras celebrations reportedly began immediately. In 1875, Louisiana declared Fat Tuesday an official holiday.
NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY – IHOP
IHOP restaurants began National Pancake Day in 2006. Since that day, they have raised close to $30 million for charities. On February 25, 2020, people from around the country will once again celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP restaurants and enjoy free pancakes. Guests are asked to consider leaving a donation.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NTLPanCakeDay
Visit IHOP and have pancakes for a good cause. Use #NTLPanCakeDay to share on social media.
From 7 AM to 7 PM, IHOP is offering one free short stack of their Original Buttermilk Pancakes. Donate to help children battling critical illnesses. Each year since 2006, IHOP National Pancake Day has raised nearly $30 million. Visit www.IHOP.com for more information on participating locations and charities.
NATIONAL DO A GROUCH A FAVOR DAY
National Do A Grouch A Favor Day is a call to kindness on February 16th. Everyone knows a grouch, and some of us may even be guilty of being one. On February 16th, maybe you can be the one to find the sweeter side of a grouch.
For some, it’s in their nature to be grouches all of the time; while others may just be having a rough day or two. On National Do a Grouch a Favor Day, we have an opportunity to turn the grouches frown upside down!
A grouch can be called by a number of names, some of which won’t be described here. However, a few that might come in handy are curmudgeon, crank, grump, sourpuss, bellyacher, grouse, crosspatch, malcontent, crab, and grumbler. If you manage to turn their mood around they might become known as the neighborhood idealist.
The grouch that you know might be a friend, relative, co-worker, boss, neighbor or that someone who lives in your house. The favor you do on National Do a Grouch a Favor Day can be simple or elaborate. Either way, doing them a favor is going to feel right for you!!
Maybe February 16th would be a fun day to watch the movies Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men.
Let’s make it a better day for your favorite grouch!
HOW TO OBSERVE #DoAGrouchAFavorDay
There may be ways to a grouches heart. We have a few ideas about that and so we’ve shared them.
- Find out their favorite baked good and surprise them with it.
- Listen to their grumblings and grumble along with them, just for the day. You might find out some of the reasons why they’re such a grump.
- Just visit with them.
- Offer to help with a difficult project.
Do something to make a grouch’s day better and Use #DoAGrouchAFavorDay to post on social media.
DO A GROUCH A FAVOR DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar, while using the sweetest of honey, has yet to find the origins of this fun holiday. No grouches have been harmed in our search and few may have been cheered in the process.
With deep roots in Germany, Fastnacht Day is a pre-Lenten celebration that takes place the day before Ash Wednesday.
Fastnacht means “fast” and “night” in German. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Fastnacht represents an entire season of festivities leading up to Shrove Tuesday. The traditions are rooted in the same pre-Lenten celebrations that have taken place for centuries. Those fasting for Lent used up the rich foods they would be giving up in a feast.
One of the traditional items to come out of the celebration was a pastry made from potatoes and yeast. This delicious doughnut known as fastnacht came the U.S. by way of the Pennsylvania Dutch. In their settlements, the pastry is one of the principal food traditions. The sweet treat is often cut into a triangle or square. Along with fastnacht, the celebration in Pennsylvania Dutch country includes a sumptuous feast before the long 40 days fast.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FastnachtDay
Make fastnacht to celebrate. Or, enjoy a fastnacht from a local baker and take part in fastnacht festivities. Share where you get your fastnacht and use #FastnachtDay to post on social media.
FASTNACHT DAY HISTORY
NATIONAL ALMOND DAY
On February 16th each year, National Almond Day recognizes the versatile and healthful almond.
Whether you are eating them by themselves, using almond milk, pasta, flour, butter, oil or meal, almonds offer a delicious flavor along with many health benefits. Almonds are one of the most heart-healthy foods on the market, packed with vitamin E, magnesium and fiber.
- According to a survey of 500 health professionals, almonds may be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle.
- According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
- Recent research from Purdue University suggests that eating almonds can help people feel satisfied for several hours, which can support weight management and counter weight gain.
- Eighty percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalAlmondDay
There are so many ways we can celebrate almonds. Whether we just snack on them or go all out and bake with them, it will be a worthy celebration. We also have several other suggestions for you to try:
- Collect a variety of seasoned, roasted almonds and enjoy a taste test. Which is your favorite? Toasted, smoked, spicy, or sweet?
- Step into the kitchen and add almonds to your savory cooking. They add flavor to your meats, sauces, and salads.
- Try almond butter for an alternative spread or mixed into dips.
- Create a sweet dessert or healthy substitute using almonds.
You may want to try one of the following almond recipes:
Use #NationalAlmondDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL ALMOND DAY HISTORY
Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Almond Day.
Recipe of the Day
WAFFLES FOR SNACKING
1 Cup Maida / All purpose flour
6 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Sugar
1 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Milk
6 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1. Mix Maida, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.
2. Add milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla essence.
3. Mix well without any lumps.
4. Preheat the waffle maker and pour the batter into it.
5. Cook it and take out the waffle when it is done,
6. Finally, serve the waffles as a perfect snack.
February 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
The English archaeologist Howard Carter opens King Tutankhamen’s ancient Egyptian burial chamber.
U.S. Patent Office issues patent no. 2,071,250 for nylon to E.I. du Pont De Nemours & Company.
Senator Rankin Fite of Alabama demonstrates the first 911 emergency telephone system in Haleyville.
Dr. Ruben Quintero performed the first endoscopic fetal surgery.
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.
There’s a celebration for everyone. While National Road Trip Day satisfies the itch to wander, many pet days let us share our love of animals. National 3-D Day and National Astronaut Day honor the advancement of technology, too. Every food day you can imagine (National Avocado Day, for example), will keep you celebrating, also!
Our Ambassador Program is another way #CelebrateEveryDay®! Whether you become an ambassador or follow one of the savvy ambassadors, their fun videos and posts will keep you prepared for every holiday.
February 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Edgar Bergen – 1903
The American comedian is best known for creating the puppet characters Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd through his ventriloquist comedy acts.
Vera Menchik – 1906
The world champion chess player became the first woman to compete against men during international tournament play.
LaVar Burton – 1957
The American actor and director is best known for hosting Reading Rainbow on PBS and starring as Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and films.
John McEnroe – 1959
During the 1980s, McEnroe stormed the courts against Björn Borg while building a dominating tennis career.
Elizabeth Craig – 1883
Richard M. McDonald – 1909
Sonny Bono – 1935
Margaux Hemingway- 1955
James Ingram – 1956
Ice-T – 1957
The Weekend – 1990