Where the World Gathers to Celebrate Every Day

FEBRUARY 25, 2020 | NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY – IHOP | FAT TUESDAY | PACZKI DAY | FASTNACHT DAY | NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED NUT DAY | NATIONAL CLAM CHOWDER DAY | WORLD SPAY DAY

National Pancake Day - IHOP - Changes Annually (1)

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.

 

Fat Tuesday - Tuesday before Ash Wednesday - king cake, purple, coins, beads

FAT TUESDAY

The last day of Carnival and the day before for Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is the intertwining of a period 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.

PACZKI DAY – Day Before Ash Wednesday

PACZKI DAY

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.

FASTNACHT DAY – Day Before Ash Wednesday

FASTNACHT DAY

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

Fastnacht Day is entwined with other similar pre-Lenten holidays such as Fat Tuesday and Paczki Day.

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED NUT DAY – February 25

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED NUT DAY

National Chocolate Covered Nut Day on February 25th recognizes the delicious and crunchy snack drizzle, covered, dunked or smothered in chocolate.  The possibilities are endless with so many different types of nuts and chocolate combinations.

For thousands of years, nuts have been a staple of the human diet. The walnut was a favorite of the ancient Greeks and Romans, while Native Americans favored pecans.

Both chocolate and nuts can be good for you. Dark chocolate seems to possess a substantial amount of antioxidants, while the nuts contain the essential fatty acids and linolenic acids. The fats in nuts, for the most part, are unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fats. Nuts also provide arginine, a substance that may help make the walls of the arteries more flexible and less prone to blockage from blood clot formation. Many nuts are good sources of vitamins E and B2 and are rich in protein, folate, fiber and essential minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium.

The first chocolate-covered peanut candy was Goobers, originally sold in 1925.  The word “Goober” was a common slang word for peanut. 

One of the more recognized chocolate-covered nuts is the M & M. These chocolate-covered peanuts or chocolate covered almonds have become a favorite of many.  The peanut M & M was introduced in 1954.  They were tan until 1960 when the colors red, yellow and green were added to production.

HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateCoveredNutDay

Whether it be unsweetened chocolate, sweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate, white chocolate or dark chocolate mixed with peanuts, cashews, almonds, macadamias, pecans, or any other nut, enjoy your favorite combination!! Use #ChocolateCoveredNutDay to post on social media.

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED NUT DAY HISTORY

While we continue to seek the origins of this day, we’re not withholding any reward. Chocolate, with or without nuts, is a staple snack in the National Day Calendar offices. That doesn’t mean we won’t stop looking for the founder of the day. It just means, it might be helpful if the answer was at the bottom of a bag of Brach’s chocolate-covered peanuts. 

NATIONAL CLAM CHOWDER DAY – February 25

NATIONAL CLAM CHOWDER DAY

Each year on February 25th people across the nation have a bowl and spoon ready to be filled with clam chowder as they prepare to participate in National Clam Chowder Day.

A clam chowder in its simplest form is a soup or stew containing clams or fish. The most common type of chowder includes milk or cream as well as potatoes, though the Manhattan clam chowder has tomatoes.

The origin of the word “chowder” is up for a little bit of debate.  The French word for cauldron is “chaudiere.”  The English word “jowter” means fish peddler.  Both are on the hook for possible origins.

 In chowder, along with the clams, it is common to find diced potatoes, onions (often sautéed with pork or bacon drippings) and celery.

Following is a list of the basic clam chowder variants:

  • New England clam chowder
  • Manhattan clam chowder
  • Rhode Island clam chowder
  • Delaware clam chowder
  • New Jersey clam chowder
  • Hatteras clam chowder
  • Minorcan clam chowder
  • Long Island clam chowder
  • Puget Sound clam chowder

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalClamChowderDay

Make your region’s best clam chowder. Better yet, have a clam chowder taste-off! Invite friends and family to cook up a variety of chowders from all over the country and try them all. Let us know which one you liked best. Maybe you’ll find a new appreciation for chowders. And it’s an excellent way to #CelebrateEveryDay, too!

My Best Clam Chowder
Manhattan Clam Chowder
St. Augustine Minorcan Style Clam Chowder
Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

Use #NationalClamChowderDay to post on social media.

NATIONAL CLAM CHOWDER DAY HISTORY

While we dig for the origins of this piping hot holiday, we don’t mind if we have another serving or two to keep us warm. How about you?

World Spay Day - Last Tuesday in February

WORLD SPAY DAY

World Spay Day annually aims to decrease stray pet populations by increasing awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering programs. Around the world, a variety of effective programs reduce stray populations. These programs target both strays in neighborhoods and in shelters. 

Through education, spay and neuter programs in shelters raise awareness prior to adoption of cats and dogs. In neighborhood programs, spay and neuter programs effectively reduce stray populations over the long term with the help of the community. These types of programs are especially effective where feral cat populations exist. Since feral cats cannot be domesticated, spaying and neutering in the communities where they live offers the most humane way to reduce the population. 

Other programs may be offered through veterinarian clinics and communities, too.  The observance offers an opportunity for programs to highlight the benefits of spaying and neutering and increase support for their individual programs.

HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldSpayDay

Support a spay and neuter program in your area. Host a fundraiser or approach your community leaders to create a program in your town. Learn more about the importance of spaying and neutering. Ask your veterinarian questions or volunteer at your local shelter. 

Use #SpayDayUSA to post on social media.

WORLD SPAY DAY HISTORY

Doris Day Animal League founded Spay Day USA in 1994 as a day to bring attention to the pet overpopulation problem in the United States and also to encourage animal population control by neutering pets. The movement later spread globally and is now known as World Spay Day. 

On Deck for February 26, 2020

Recipe of the Day

Caramel Popcorn
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves 8

Ingredients:

8 cups popped popcorn
6 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 heaping teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Prepare popcorn according to instructions.

Place popcorn in two large, shallow baking dishes or jelly roll pans.

Over medium heat in a medium saucepan, melt butter.

Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

Stirring constantly bring to a boil.

Allow to boil without stirring for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla.

Pour caramel over popcorn and mix until evenly coated.

Place in oven and stir every 15 minutes.

Bake for 1 hour.

Store in an air-tight container.

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.

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!

Be sure to stay in the know by signing up for our e-mail updates. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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.

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