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FEBRUARY 26, 2021 | NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY | NATIONAL SKIP THE STRAW DAY | NATIONAL PISTACHIO DAY

NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY – February 26

NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY

On February 26, have a happily ever after kind of day. It’s National Tell A Fairy Tale Day!

Click the play button below to hear why we celebrate National Tell A Fairy Tale Day.

What were once oral histories, myths, and legends retold around the fire or by traveling storytellers, have been written down and become known the world over as fairy tales.

Origins of Fairy Tales

The origins of most fairy tales would fail today’s standards of the Association of Fairy Tales. They told unseemlily tales and would be rated as inappropriate for children. Most traveling storytellers told fairy tales with dramatic detail to make children behave, teach a lesson or pass the time much like ghost stories around a campfire today.

Many of the stories have some basis in truth. For example, some believe Margarete von Waldeck, the daughter of the 16th century Count of Waldeck, inspired the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The area of Germany where the family lived was known for mining. Some of the tunnels were so tight they had to use children – or small people such as dwarfs – to work the mines.

Margarete’s beauty is well documented, and her stepmother sent her away. Margarete also fell in love with a prince but mysteriously died before she could have her happily ever after.

As the stories evolved, they took on a more magical quality with fictional characters such as fairies, giants, mermaids and gnomes, and sometimes gruesome story plots.

Toes cut off to fit into a slipper, a wooden boy killing his cricket, or instead of kissing that frog prince his head must be cut off, but those are the unrated versions.

Brothers Grimm, Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen

The brothers Grimm collected and published some of the more well-known tales we are familiar with today. Jakob and his brother Wilhelm set out on a quest to preserve these tales at a time in history when a tradition of oral storytelling was fading. In 1812, they published their first volume of stories titled Household Tales. Their stories’ darker qualities were clearly meant for an adult audience.

Rumpelstiltskin is one of the tales they collected. Several other versions exist and the little man claimed many different names across Europe. From Trit-a-trot in Ireland to Whuppity Stoorie in Scotland,  Rumplestiltskin makes it difficult for historians to identify him.

While some storytellers have a long and sometimes ancient history such as Aesop (The Fox and the Goose, The Ant and the Grasshopper), others are more recent like the Grimm brothers.

Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1829, brought to us written versions of the Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, and many more. Where Grimm’s tales could take on a darker cast and unmistakably written with adults in mind, Andersen’s stories are sweet and warm.

HOW TO OBSERVE #TellAFairyTaleDay

National Tell A Fairy Tale Day encourages you to tell a fairy tale or two. If you think you don’t have a fair tale to tell, you might be wrong. We’ve told a few in our day, so we have a few tips to share with you.

  • Engage your audience. Children like to participate. Have them quack every time you mention the Ugly Duckling or make the motions of climbing Jack’s beanstalk.
  • Use repetition. Repeated stanzas, syllables, or movements will keep the kids engaged. It not only helps them to remember the story but sets them up for the next round of the repeated phrase or stanza.
  • Give your characters a voice. Nobody likes a monotone storyteller. Buehler, Buehler, Buehler. No, not even children like the monotone. Varying your voice for each character and inflecting excitement, sadness and disappointment will create drama and stimulate the imaginations of the little minds listening to you.
  • Ask questions as you go. It’s an excellent way to keep your story flowing and to gauge the children’s listening skills.
  • Find out if someone has a story of their own. You might be in the presence of a great storyteller!

Share your favorite fairy tale with friends and family. Try relating them from memory as this has long been a tradition.  Visit a library or local bookstore for storytime.  Use #TellAFairyTaleDay to post on social media.

You can also learn more about your favorite fairy tales in 5 World-Favorite Fairy Tales and the Stories Behind them.

NATIONAL TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY HISTORY

Within our research, we were unable to find the creator or the origin of National Tell A Fairy Tale Day.

NATIONAL SKIP THE STRAW DAY – Fourth Friday in February

NATIONAL SKIP THE STRAW DAY

On the fourth Friday in February, The Coral Keepers ask you to consider a different way on National Skip the Straw Day! For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed slurping a refreshing beverage through a cylindrical tube. If Marvin Stone (the inventor of the first paper straw in 1888) were alive today, he might be shocked to know of the five large areas of the ocean, called gyres, where plastic garbage collects. The sea’s currents create vortexes trapping plastics, and in the collection are plastic drinking straws.

Straws and other plastics cause harm to marine life in many ways.  Birds, fish and other sea life consume plastics accidentally or when they mistake it for food. Plastics don’t biodegrade.  They break down into smaller and finer, microscopic pieces. When plastics break down, they produce bisphenol A (BPA) which interferes with reproductive systems in marine life. It also produces styrene monomer which is a suspected carcinogen.

According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws daily! So, on National Skip the Straw Day that’s potentially 500 million fewer straws that don’t end up in landfills or the ocean.

We can give you all sorts of other statistics to convince you to Skip the Straw on National Skip the Straw Day (and on other days), but we would rather show you how.

HOW TO OBSERVE #SkipTheStrawDay

For most of us, the easiest way is to pick up the glass and tip it back like our parents taught us to do when we four or five. It may take some practice and maybe both hands.  There are other fun, eco-friendly, healthy options.

  • Bamboo straws are a renewable, reusable and biodegradable.
  • Paper straws, while still disposable, are biodegradable and from a renewable source.
  • Glass straws are coming in durable, colorful designs fit for a variety of beverages.
  • Stainless steel straws are an option for those of us who like our cold drinks really cold!

Other Ways to Observe:

  • Volunteer to help clean up your local beaches, parks or neighborhoods.  Take note of how many straws are included in all the litter.
  • Plan ahead. Do you frequent fast-food restaurants or get beverages to go?  You will often receive the straw before you have the chance to say no.  Be prepared when you order to request your drink without a straw.

Share your solutions and use #SkipTheStrawDay on social media.

NATIONAL SKIP THE STRAW DAY HISTORY

The Coral Keepers, students at Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, MI, along with their advisor, Susan Tate, founded National Skip the Straw Day in 2017 to encourage Americans to give up the straw habit and help spread awareness about the damage caused by disposable plastics.  The Registrar at National Day Calendar® declared the day to be observed annually on the fourth Friday in February.

National Pistachio Day - February 26

NATIONAL PISTACHIO DAY

February 26th recognizes all things pistachio and National Pistachio Day is the day to celebrate! The day is set aside for all pistachio lovers to eat their favorite nut all day long. For those who do not eat pistachios, buy some and give them to someone who does. Crack them open and eat them up or enjoy them in ice cream or your favorite pistachio dessert!

Click the play button below to hear why we celebrate National Pistachio Day.

Pistachios arrived in the United States sometime in the 1880s, but they have been cultivated in the Middle East since Biblical times.

The pistachio tree grows to about 20 feet tall needing little or no rain and must have high heat.  Amazingly, in Iran, they claim to have 700-year-old pistachio trees!  A new tree takes between 7 and 10 years to mature and bear fruit.

Pistachio Facts:

  •  All pistachio shells are naturally beige in color.  Some companies dye nuts red or green if nuts are inferior or for consumer demand.
  • California produces about 300 million pounds of pistachios each year, accounting for 98 percent of America’s production.
  • Pistachio shells typically split naturally when ripe.
  • The kernels are often eaten whole, either fresh or roasted and either salted or unsalted.
  • In the Middle East, people call the pistachio the smiling nut.
  • In China, people call the pistachio the happy nut.
Health Benefits

“Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of protein, fiber, thiamine and phosphorus.  Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (42.5g) per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”  US Food and Drug Administration, July 2003

A Great Thing To Do — Recycle the Pistachio Shells!

The empty pistachio shells are useful for recycling in several ways.  If unsalted, the shells need not be washed and dried before reuse, but washing is simple if that is not the case.  Practical uses include as a fire starter; kindling to be used with crumpled paper; to line the bottom of pots containing houseplants for drainage and retention of soil for up to two years; as a mulch for shrubs and plants that require acid soils, as a medium for orchids; and as an addition to a compost pile designed for wood items that take longer to decompose than leafy materials (it can take up to a year for pistachio shells to decompose unless soil is added to the mix).  

Shells from salted pistachios can also be placed around the base of plants to deter slugs and snails.  Many craft uses for the shells include holiday tree ornaments, jewelry, mosaics and rattles.  Research indicates that pistachio shells may be helpful in cleaning up pollution created by mercury emissions. 

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPistachioDay

Eat some pistachios! Eat a bunch of pistachios. How else can you celebrate?

  • Start the day with a pistachio biscotti. We even have a Cranberry Pistachio recipe for you to try. It will be the perfect addition to your morning coffee. 
  • Do you know someone who loves pistachios? Pick them up a bagful or stop by the baker and buy a pistachio treat. How about Pistachio Lemon Truffles?
  • Add pistachios to a salad or soup. They’ll add a nice crunch and amazing flavor, too.
  • Crushed pistachios create a delicious crust on fish and other proteins. Look for recipes for pork and chicken, too.
  • Add pistachios to your baked goods. Like other nuts, pistachios add a crunchy texture but they also bring their own flavor to the mix.
  • Don’t forget your oatmeal and yogurt. Pistachios will make your healthy snack or breakfast even better.

NATIONAL PISTACHIO DAY HISTORY

Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Pistachio Day.


February 26th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History

1970

National Public Radio files articles of incorporation with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds. The organization’s membership is comprised of independent, private, public U.S. radio stations.

1903

The U.S. Patent Office issued patent no. 534,840 to Michael Joseph Owens for a glass-blowing machine. Later that same year, Owens would co-found the Owens Bottle Machine Company in Toledo, Ohio. He also filed several other patents for bottle making.

1909

The Palace Theatre in London introduced the public to Kinemacolor with a showing of 21 short films. George Albert Smith created the process for adding color filters to film.

1986

Congress established the title of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on December 20, 1985. On February 26, 1986, Robert Pen Warren was named the nation’s first Poet Laureate.

Recipe of the Day

Strawberry Shortcake
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total Prep: 40 minutes
Serves 8-9

Ingredients:

6 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup sugar + 3 tablespoons
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
16 ounces whipped cream

Instructions:

Placed sliced strawberries in a bowl with 1/2 cup of sugar.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until dough forms small pea-sized pieces. Add milk, cream, and vanilla. Stir until just blended.

Heat oven to 425°F. Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the shortcakes are golden brown.

Let cool slightly. Place each shortcake onto a serving plate. Slice the top off of each shortcake, dividing the cake in half. Place spoonfuls of strawberries on the bottom layer and top with whipped cream. Add the second layer of shortcake and top with remaining strawberries. Add a final dollop of whipped cream and serve.

Next Week

Week Observances

In the Classroom

February 26th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

Victor Hugo – 1802

As imaginative and romantic as Victor Hugo was, he probably never conjured up any of the cinematic productions of his novels and plays. What might the French author of sweeping epics like Les Misérable and gothic works like The Hunchback of Notre Dame have thought of the modern interpretations?

Levi Strauss – 1829

Today, they are probably more fashion statements than workwear. They come in more styles and colors than Starbucks can come up with for coffee choices. In 1873, tailor Jacob Davis approached Levi Strauss with a proposal after creating a pair of reinforced waist-length overalls from the fabric Strauss had sold him. Less than a century later, they became the stylish wardrobe necessity every teenager required. Fashion designers elevated the humble blue jean to haute couture while the rest of us wrote love letters to our favorite old pair of jeans that fit perfectly.

Antoine “Fats” Domino – 1928

Anyone who loves Rock ‘n’ Roll needs to thank the man who bellied up to the piano and called himself “The Fat Man” in 1949. He’s also known for the songs “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Blue Berry Hill.” Fats Domino’s unique rhythm and enthusiastic personality drove an entirely new genre of music.

Johnny Cash – 1932

If an artist ever sang about who he was, Johnny Cash did. He sang about sinners and redemption, soldiers and drifters, and country boys. If Cash didn’t speak to you through his music, you’ve not found the right song yet.

Karen Berger – 1958

The award-winning comic book editor helped create DC Comic’s Vertigo imprint in 1993.

Susan Helms -1958

In 2001, the first military woman in space performed the longest spacewalk with astronaut James Voss. She began her distinguished career in the Air Force and became an astronaut in 1991.

Ja Rule – 1976

Born Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, the American rapper and songwriter rose to popularity during the 2000s with hits like “Between Me and You” and “It Ain’t Funny.” He’s earned several Grammy nods including one with his wife Ashanti for “Always on Time.”

Notable Mentions

Buffalo Bill Cody – 1846
John Harvey Kellogg – 1852
Herbert Henry Dow – 1866
Rudolph Dirks – 1877
Michael Bolton – 1954

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!

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