strange, bizarre and kooky holidays in January

January 24 is Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day

Today is Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered gold while building a sawmill for John Sutter in Coloma, California. Those few nuggets ultimately led to the Gold Rush.

This holiday was introduced in 2010 by Chris Jepsen as a “fun way to commemorate an important moment in California history.” Need a quick lesson in Prospector-ese? Check out Gabby Hayes playing drunk in one of fifteen films he made with John Wayne.

Watch Jack Starrett speak frontier gibberish in Blazing Saddles.

Then kick up your heels and dance like Walter Huston in Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

We also highly recommend the Frontier Doctor skit on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour. There’s no useful jargon but Foster Brooks is the most convincing Old West drunk we’ve ever seen. We hope you’ll agree.

Congratulations. You’re ready to talk like a grizzled prospector, Get out there and give those dadblamed claim-jumpin’ varmints what for. Happy Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 23 is National Handwriting Day

national handwriting day

Today is National Handwriting Day, created in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association to remind us of the increasingly lost art of cursive writing and, we presume, to sell a few pens.

This unofficial holiday takes place on the birthday of John Hancock. Hancock (January 23, 1737 – October 8, 1793) served as president of the Second Continental Congress, a convention of delegates from the thirteen British colonies that began to meet in 1775 and declared the American Revolutionary War.

national handwriting day

He is remembered for his large, stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that his name has become a generic term, like Band-Aids, Scotch tape, Q-tips, or Frisbees. (“Put your John Hancock on this.”)

Put pen to paper today and rediscover the flow of writing longhand. Even if it’s just a grocery list, make it the most beautiful you’ve ever seen. Better yet, write a poem, love letter, story, script or that book you’ve had in your head for years.

Happy Handwriting Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 22 is National Hot Sauce Day

national hot sauce day

Today is National Hot Sauce Day. It celebrates the birthday in 1865 of Wilbur Scoville, who created a method to determine a pepper’s spiciness that is still in use today.

Scoville, an American chemist, devised the system in 1912. It measures the concentration of capsaicin, the active component that gives chilies their spicy taste, using Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Ratings range from 0 for a bell pepper to 16,000,000 for pure capsaicin.

Capsaicin content, which causes a burning sensation when it comes in contact with any tissue, is measured by dissolving a pepper in alcohol to extract its capsaicin oil, then diluting the oil in sugar water.

If a panel of five testers detects any spiciness, the mixture is diluted again until three of the five cannot discern any hotness. Heat level is measured by how many dilutions are necessary. Every instance increases the SHU, since hotter chillies must be weakened many times for no heat to be detected.

Since 2013, The Guinness World Record holder for hottest chili pepper is the Carolina Reaper, a cross between a ghost pepper and a red habanero. The Reaper’s official heat level is 1,569,300 SHU. (By comparison, Tabasco Sauce has a level 0f 2,500 to 5,000.)

Studies have shown that heat levels evoke the same pain response in spice lovers and haters and everyone in between. So why do so many of us like it? Could it predict other risk-taking behaviors? Check out this TED Ed lesson for answers.

Happy National Hot Sauce Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 21 is National Hugging Day

Today is National Hugging Day. The holiday was created in 1986 by Reverend Kevin Zaborney, whose National Whiner’s Day is a favorite here at Worldwide Weird Holidays.

Hugs make us happy, help relieve stress, and communicate affection without saying a word. National Hugging Day’s official website recommends asking for permission first.

National Hugging Day has gained worldwide popularity and is celebrated in countries including Canada, England, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Bulgaria and Guam. In light of this, many suggest changing the holiday’s name to International Hugging Day.

Each year, Reverend Zaborney singles out a champion hugger for praise. His award for the Most Huggable Person of 2016 went to Tim Harris.

national hugging day

Tim Harris is a Special Olympian with Down Syndrome. (He happened to turn 30 years old on January 21, 2016.) Until recently, he owned Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, NM where, he said, “The most sought after item is one that never gets cold, is sweet but not too sweet, guilt-free, calorie-free, and guaranteed to brighten your day…a free hug from Tim himself. Our concept is breakfast, lunch and hugs seven days a week!”

Tim hosted his first Hug-A-Thon in 2014. He hugged more than 1,000 people and raised $6,000 for non-profit Firefighters Random Acts. (He also hugged a certain world leader that year.)

national hugging day

In 2015, he hugged more than 2,000 people and raised $13,000 in donations. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and get hugging!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays