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International Hair Freezing Day

February 25, 2016, marks the sixth annual International Hair Freezing Day, a relatively new highlight of Canada’s Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. The festival, in its 52nd year, runs from Friday, February 19th through Sunday, February 28th in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. At least 20,000 people are expected to attend.

Today’s festivities include the International Ice Carving Competition, Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament, a pop-up casino at the Yukon Inn, sponsored by the Lion’s Club of Whitehorse, a fiddle show, a professional burlesque show with proceeds to raise funds for Rendezvous’ Kidsfest. (It’s all about the kids, of course.)

The Queen’s Luncheon takes place today at the Yukon College cafeteria. Those competing for the title of 2016 Rendezvous Queen will mingle with guests and be questioned as part of the judging process. The festival’s website is vague about pageant requirements, other than the ability to keep a straight face while having their photos taken in costumes straight from the rack of a vintage novelty photography studio.

Whatever talent portions lie in store for the ladies cannot possibly compare to what the gentlemen vying for 2016 Sourdough Sam must endure. (Seriously, there would be lawsuits.) Competitions include lip-synching, performing a dance floor striptease and—our favorite—a kielbasa-eating contest done while in drag.

This year’s entrants made a promotional video!

Getting back to the International Hair Freezing Contest: the event has been sponsored since 2011 by Takhani Hot Pools. Fed by hot springs flowing continuously at a rate of 385 liters (86 gallons) per minute, the pool area nearest the source is about 42° C (107.6° F). The far side of the pool drops to about 36° C (96.8° F). It doesn’t smell like rotten eggs as sulfurous springs do.Takhini Hot Springs is fortunate to contain no sulphurous odour as is common to most hot springs.

The contest rewards the participant who engineers the most creative frozen hairstyle while soaking in the pool. As the steam accumulates on your hair, the cold air freezes it, allowing you to shape it. When it’s finished, document it with a photo and submit it to Takhini’s Facebook page or email it to its website. Winners will be announced in March.

International Freeze Your Hair Day

After the above photo of the winners of the 2015 International Freeze Your Hair Day became popular worldwide, Takhini owner Andrew Umbrich has raised first prize from $150 to $750 CAD for 2016. Before you book the next flight, check out Umbrich’s competition guidelines. They may give you a headache.

Step 1: Come to the hot springs when it is cold. Preferably -20 or colder. If it is warmer than that it may take longer for desired frozen results.
Step 2: Dip your head in the hot springs and wet your hair.
Step 3: Take your head out of the water and allow the cold air to slowly freeze your hair. All wet hair will eventually freeze, this includes eyebrows and even eyelashes.
If you have very long hair, a good method to freeze it is to lay it down on the sides of the pool so it may freeze in single, long strands. Later, it can be propped up and it will stick straight up.
Step 4: Keep your ears warm. Periodically dip each ear into the hot springs water and be careful not to let your hair touch the water. If that cannot be done, then be tough.
Step 5: Wait.
Step 6: Wait some more.
Step 7: When the hair begins to freeze, slowly mold the hair into the desired shape. For example, one could gather all their hair into a point.
Step 8: Let the hair completely freeze. It will become pure white with frost and ice. Don’t worry, your hair won’t break or snap off.
Step 9: Take a picture and send it to the front desk, our Facebook page, or our email.
Step 10: Dunk your head in the water. Your hair will instantly unfreeze and your head will be nice and warm again.

Still thinking about it? Frozen eyelashes sound good to you? Have you always associated your sense of personal toughness with your ears’ endurance to bitter cold? (Umbrich told an interviewer that -20° C works for hair sculpting, but -30° C is ideal. Ideal. To literally spell it out, that is twenty-two degrees below zero Fahrenheit. We’ve seen documentaries of penguins suffering in warmer temperatures!)International Freeze Your Hair Day

If the image above doesn’t send you running for a cup of hot cocoa and an electric blanket or three, this may be the perfect holiday for you!

Brrr! Have a happy International Hair Freezing Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Inconvenience Yourself Day

inconvenience yourself dayInconvenience Yourself Day has been celebrated on the fourth Wednesday in February since 2006. Julie Thompson, president of Environmental Resources Network in Fort Lauderdale, FL, created the holiday to encourage us all to recognize how our actions impact the lives of those around us.

It’s easy to become so focused on our own crazy to-do lists that we forget to hold open a door, let a customer with only a few items get ahead of us in line, thank someone who has helped us or just be kind to others when there is no tangible benefit to us.

We’d like to add a few suggestions to slow the pace of our hectic lives, if only for today. Call a friend instead of texting. Write a letter instead of a Facebook message. Cook a favorite meal instead of throwing something together. (Get the “good” china out of storage, if you have it; what are you saving it for?) Take a walk without any mobile devices and look around at your neighborhood, not just the view of the sidewalk you see past your cell phone.

The secret payoff of inconveniencing ourselves: it makes us feel good. Who knows? It could become a habit. Slow down, say thanks and have a happy Inconvenience Yourself Day!

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International Pancake Day

Today is International Pancake Day, but it’s not about eating pancakes. It celebrates a race that was first run in 1445 by housewives in Olney, England. Since 1950, the townsfolk compete against each other and the women of Liberal, Kansas.

According to legend, the tradition dates back to 1445 in Olney. A housewife was making pancakes, hurrying to use up the cooking fat forbidden during Lent. When she heard the church bells ring calling the townspeople to the Shrove Tuesday service, she donned the headscarf required in church and ran there, carrying the pan and wearing her apron.international pancake day

It made such an impression that other women in the congregation duplicated her run the following year, turning it into a race. The person who made it to the church steps first would flip her pancake and receive a blessing and a “Kiss of Peace” from the bell-ringer. Falling as it did on the day before Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and prayer, the race gave rise to a full day of celebration.

The local tradition has continued ever since. There have been lapses in its observance through the centuries, but the race has never been completely forgotten. One of those lapses occurred during World War II. Reverend Canon Ronald Collins, Vicar of Olney, revived the race in 1948. While tidying up a cupboard, he discovered photos taken in the 1920s and 1930s of women running with pans.

Excited to bring back the ancient custom, he asked for volunteers for the race. Thirteen runners participated that year. The townsfolk embraced the practice anew, happy to honor Olney’s colorful history and enjoy themselves with a day of festivities.

Pancake Day Jumps the Pond

In 1950, Liberal, Kansas Jaycee president R.J. Leete saw magazine photographs of Olney women racing each other to the church. He wanted to start a similar tradition, so he contacted Reverend Collins and challenged the women of Olney to race against the women of Liberal.

Olney accepted the challenge and the two towns have competed every year since, exchanging prizes and keeping score via a live Web link. (Headscarves and aprons are still required.)

In the time-honored American tradition of doing everything bigger, the holiday in Liberal has expanded into a four-day event, with pancake eating and flipping contests, a parade, a beauty pageant and a talent show.

As of 2015, Liberal has won 37 times; Olney, 28.  In 1980, the scores were thrown out because a media truck blocked the finish line in Olney. The results of today’s race will be available here later today. We wish good luck to all the runners and a happy International Pancake Day to us all.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

February 7 is Super Bowl Sunday

super bowl dayToday is the 50th annual Super Bowl Sunday. At 6:30 pm, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, the Carolina Panthers will battle the Denver Broncos for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the coach who won the first two Super Bowls. The trophy is 22 inches tall, made of sterling silver by jeweler Tiffany & Company, weighs nearly seven pounds and is worth more than $25,000.

A 50th wedding anniversary has long been identified as “golden.” (The 25th is “silver,” the 75th is “diamond” and so on.) The National Football League (NFL) has gone to great lengths to use the tradition in advertising and logos for Super Bowl 50.

This year, the NFL has suspended its use of Roman numerals to identify the game. (This year’s game would have been called “Super Bowl L.”) This has enabled it to prominently display “50” (Arabic numerals) on all logos. In addition to the Lombardi trophy, the winning team will receive an 18-karat gold-plated “50” trophy.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, water usage drops, especially in cities whose teams are playing, rises for a few minutes at halftime, and then peaks after the game as viewers relieve themselves and flush their toilets. 

Super Bowl 50 will be broadcast live in over 170 countries. Last year’s game had a record 114.4 million viewers in the U.S. Over the years, it has become famous for its commercials. CBS, broadcaster of this year’s telecast, is charging advertisers as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot. That’s over $166,666 per second. By contrast, winning players receive $97,000; losers, $49,000. (Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for them.)

Fans paid $6 for tickets to the first Super Bowl in 1967. This year, tickets purchased at face value cost $850 to $1,800 while “club seats” that include amenities such as cushioned seats and private bathrooms cost up to $3,000. Suites run from 150,000 to $400,000. According to tracking site SeatGeek, regular tickets to this year’s game have been selling on the secondary market for an average of $5,000.

Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving Day in consumption of food and drink. The National Chicken Council estimates 1.3 million chicken wings will be consumed in the U.S., up 3 percent from last year. Domino’s anticipates the sale of 12 million pizzas. The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend $15.5 billion on team apparel, decorations and food.

Of course, statistics compiled by companies, councils and federations that benefit from their own hype aren’t always reliable. We can’t track down the source, reported as fact by many news outlets, that states Americans will drink 325.5 million gallons of beer today. If 114.4 million people watch the game, every viewer—man, woman and child—will have to consume 2.85 gallons of beer.

According to a recent Nielsen Media survey, only 53% of U.S. adults polled said they planned to drink beer during the game. If that’s true, then tomorrow should be called World Hangover Day. We predict sales of aspirin will spike.

Happy Super Bowl Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays