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August 28 is National Bow Tie Day

Today is National Bow Tie Day, inaugurated on August 28, 2012, to celebrate the quirky neck accessory.

Croatian mercenaries of the 17th century tied scarves around their necks to hold their shirt tops together. French soldiers brought the style home after the end of the Thirty Years’ War. They called it the cravat, derived from the French word for “Croat.”

It was fashionable throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s unknown when the scarf evolved into the bow tie. One unlikely legend states that tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard introduced it in the U.S. when he wore one to his Tuxedo Club.  We’d like to think he looked like this guy:

national bow tie day

There are three types of bow ties: pre-tied, clip-on and traditional “self-tie.” The first is popular these days for its ease of use and uniformity coupled with myriad fabric and pattern options. A clip-on conjures the idea of waiters and prom dates. A traditional tie takes more work  but begs to be casually untied like this:

national bow tie day

Admittedly, there aren’t many people who can pull off the bow tie. It takes the attitude and confidence of a woman like Marlene Dietrich or the devil-may-care rebellion of someone like Pee Wee Herman:

national bow tie day

While few of us live up to these cool images, we can all bring our own style to the bow tie. Check out the holiday’s official website for more ways to proclaim your love, read media articles from the last four years, get information on tying tips, and participate in its Twitter campaign.

Have a Happy National Bow Tie Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

August 27 is National Petroleum Day

national petroleum dayToday is National Petroleum Day, also known as Oil and Gas Industry Appreciation Day.

Crude oil was first pumped from the ground in China’s Sichuan Province 2,500 years ago. Its discovery in the U.S. is credited to Edwin L. Drake who, on August 27, 1859, struck oil 70 feet below the surface of Titusville, PA.

The word “petroleum” translates as “rock oil,” derived from the Greek word petra (rock) and oleum (oil). The combination of liquid crude oil and natural gas is called a fossil fuel because it has been created by the decomposition of organic matter over millions of years, formed in sedimentary rock under intense heat and pressure.

Petroleum is an integral part of modern life. Some of the world’s largest businesses extract and process it while others create products that use hydrocarbons or are petroleum-based: asphalt, plastics, fertilizers, car tires, candles, ammonia, CDs, crayons, perfumes, deodorant, heart valves, pharmaceuticals, synthetic fabrics and bubble gum, to name a few.

Saudi Arabia produces 8.1 million barrels of oil per day and has the largest amount of reserves at 267 billion barrels. The U.S. consumes 19.4 million barrels per day, more than any other country. It has the 11th largest reserve at 21 billion barrels—enough to last for up to eight years at current consumption levels.

The U.S. has 4 percent of the world’s population but uses 25 percent of the world’s oil. Approximately half of that is utilized by the transportation industry. U.S. drivers use almost twice as much oil as drivers in China and India combined.

Because fossil fuels have taken millions of years to form, they are a non-renewable resource. Eventually, we will run out. Petroleum use has had a negative impact on the environment as carbon is released into the atmosphere, increasing temperatures and accelerating global warming. Many products made with petroleum derivatives don’t biodegrade quickly, while fertilizer runoff can damage the water table.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the largest in history, spilled 4.2 million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico. But spills account for only about 5 percent of the oil that enters the world’s oceans. According to the Coast Guard, sewage treatment plants discharge twice as much oil into U.S. waters each year as tanker spills.

On National Petroleum Day, let’s consider all the ways petroleum has enhanced our lives while coming to terms with the fact that it won’t last forever. The strides we make now toward finding alternatives will make a better world for our children, their children and their children’s children.

Happy National Petroleum Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

August 26 is Women’s Equality Day

women's equality dayToday is Women’s Equality Day, created in 1972 to commemorate the date in 1920 whenafter decades of effort by activists across the country, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.

Fifty years later, on August 26, 1970, feminist Betty Friedan led a nationwide protest called the Women’s Strike for Equality to demand the fair treatment of women in the workplace, in school and at home.

U.S. Representative Bella Abzug championed the establishment of a day to symbolize the rights that women (and men) had struggled to make a reality.

On August 26, 1972, the first Women’s Equality Day took place. The Joint Resolution of Congress reads:

Designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and
WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

In 1981, Congress enacted Public Law 97-28, designating the week beginning March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week. President Ronald Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 4903 stating, in part:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week. Recognizing that the many contributions of American women have at times been overlooked in the annals of American history, I encourage all citizens to observe this important week by participating in appropriate ceremonies and activities planned by individuals, governmental agencies, and private institutions and associations throughout the country.

The practice continued until 1987 when, in response to petitioning by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 declaring March Women’s History Month. It passed a new resolution each year asking the president to authorize the observance. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and *cough* Trump have issued annual proclamations renewing Women’s History Month.

The month was chosen because International Women’s Day falls on March 8th, despite the fact that the 1908 garment workers’ strike it was meant to memorialize didn’t happen on that date. The first known International Women’s Day gathering in the U.S. took place at New York’s Carnegie Hall on February 27, 1910.

In 2011, Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced a bill calling for the establishment of Susan B. Anthony Day honoring the birthday on February 15, 1820, of the abolitionist and suffragette. Thus far, it is observed in only five states. No national holiday honors any woman’s birthday.

Equal Pay

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. Its stated purpose: “to prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.”

In 1963, women made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men, based on Census figures of median wages of full-time, year-round workers.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, after pushing it through Congress to fulfill the plan Kennedy made before he was assassinated. It outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin or gender.

In April 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) originated National Equal Pay Day to promote public awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages. Each year, a date is chosen in April to illustrate how far into the new year women have to work to earn the same wages that men make in the previous year. In 2016, April 16 was chosen.

According to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid for the same job. This statistic doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Black women make an average of 62 cents and Latinas earn 54 cents for every dollar paid to a white, non-Hispanic man. At this rate, the pay gap won’t close until 2059, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Happy Women’s Equality Day! Perhaps when we’re equal every day of the year we won’t need to create any more holidays to celebrate it.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

August 14 is Navajo Code Talkers Day

Navajo Code Talkers Day

Solomon Islands, WWII

Today is Navajo Code Talkers Day, a holiday that honors the distinguished record of soldiers who transmitted military messages in the Navajo language during World War II. The Axis powers were unable to break the code, which helped safeguard U.S. military communications and may have hastened the end of the war.

In May of 1942, 29 Navajo recruits graduated boot camp at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA, and subsequently developed a dictionary that translated U.S. military terminology. They kept no written records, memorizing each word during their training.

Navajos were able to encrypt, transmit, receive and decode a three-line English message in 20 seconds. By contrast, devices of the era such as the German Enigma machine required an average of 30 minutes to perform the same task.

Code talkers participated in every operation conducted by the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theater. In February of 1945, during the first two days of the battle of Iwo Jima, six of them worked around the clock to send and receive more than 800 messages in Navajo.

Their service went unrecognized for decades due to the language’s continued use by the military.  After it was declassified in 1968, Major Howard Connor, signal officer of  the 5th U.S. Marine Division during World War II, stated, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”

President Ronald Reagan declared August 14, 1982, National Navaho Code Talkers Day. (He preferred Americanized spelling.) The last of the original 29 Navajo code talkers, Chester Nez, died on June 11, 2014, at the age of 93. Due to the program’s secrecy, the total number can only be estimated, at 400.

Let’s remember them now and every day. Happy Navajo Code Talker Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays