weird and wacky holidays happening in May

May 27 is National Grape Popsicle Day

grape popsicle dayToday is National Grape Popsicle Day. In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson was sitting on his porch, stirring powdered drink mix into water, when he was called inside and forgot to bring the cup with him.

His hometown of San Francisco, CA, was hit with record low temperatures that night. When Epperson ventured outside the next morning, he discovered that the drink had frozen to the stick, creating a tasty ice pop.

In 1923, Epperson began to sell the treat he called “a frozen drink on a stick” at Neptune Beach Amusement Park in Alameda, CA. Children loved them and parents were happy that the stick helped prevent messes and gooey hands.

In 1924, Epperson applied for and was granted a patent for the frozen confectionery, which he called the “Epsicle.” His children called it “Pop’s sicle, ” which inspired him to change the name to “Popsicle.”

Not long afterward, Epperson sold the patent to pay debts and regretfully missed out on the financial success of his creation. “I was flat and had to liquidate all my assets,” he later said. “I haven’t been the same since.”

We’re not sure why this holiday occurs on May 27th, a date that doesn’t correspond to Epperson’s birthday or the day the patent was filed or granted. Nor can we explain today is devoted to the grape variety alone. (Of more than two billion Popsicles sold each year, cherry is the most popular flavor.) We did uncover an interesting fact:

Do you remember the Popsicle with two sticks? It was introduced during the Great Depression so two children could split it for 5¢, the same price as a single stick. It was discontinued in 1987 because parents complained it was hard to break and too messy for one child to eat without dripping.

All this time, we’ve been thinking it was just out of stock….

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 26 is Sally Ride Day

sally ride day

Ride monitors control panels from pilot’s chair on the flight deck.

Today is Sally Ride Day. It celebrates the achievements of the astronaut, astrophysicist, engineer, philanthropist and author best known as the first American woman to travel to space. Today’s date honors her birthday on May 26, 1951.

Women weren’t considered for America’s space program until 1978. Ride was selected from the first group to apply after NASA announced it had changed its policy. Her training included learning to parachute jump, fly a jet plane, survive a water landing and handle extreme G-forces and weightlessness.

She was picked as a member of the space shuttle Challenger’s STS-7 crew, scheduled for liftoff on June 18, 1983. Commander Robert Crippen chose her in part because the mission required the use of a robotic arm that Ride had helped to develop.

At pre-flight news conferences, she was asked if spaceflight would affect her reproductive organs, if she planned to have children, how she would handle menstruation in space, if she would wear a bra and apply makeup. Asked if she cried on the job when under stress, Ride laughed and said, “Why don’t people ask (pilot) Rick (Hauck) these questions?”

Diane Sawyer of CBS News asked Ride to demonstrate how she would utilize the shuttle toilet’s new privacy curtain. On The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson joked that the flight would be delayed while she found a purse to match her shoes. At one NASA news conference, Ride said, “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It’s too bad our society isn’t further along.”

On launch day, she focused on the task ahead. In an interview on the 25th anniversary of the flight, Ride recalled, “I didn’t really think about it that much at the time, but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first (American woman) to go into space.”

After its successful mission to deploy two communications satellites, Challenger landed at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, on June 24, 1983. At the time, Ride told reporters, “The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”

She returned to space on October 5, 1984. (Kathy Sullivan, a fellow member of the STS-41G crew, became the first American woman to walk in space.) Ride’s third flight was canceled after the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff on January 28, 1986. She served on the Presidential Commission that investigated the accident and returned in 2003 after the loss of the STS-107 crew to serve on NASA’a Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

Ride left NASA in 1987 to become a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University. Two years later, she became a physics professor and director of the University of California’s California Space Institute.

In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, which provides programs, materials and teacher training to schools in order to motivate students—especially girls and minorities—to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She wrote six science books for children. Intensely private about her personal life, she requested that NASA keep her health issues out of the press. She died of pancreatic cancer on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61.

“As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released shortly after her death.  “She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools.”

Ride was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S., which was presented to her life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy at a ceremony at the White House on November 20, 2013.

“Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve,” said Obama, “and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”

American Woman Who Shattered Space Ceiling, New York Times
Sally Ride Remembered as an Inspiration to Others, NASA

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 25 is Towel Day

Today is Towel Day, created to honor Douglas Adams, author of the beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, after he passed away on May 11, 2001, at the age of 49. It took fans two weeks to organize a worldwide tribute to Adams. May 25th has remained Towel Day ever since.

towel day

Happy Towel Day from the International Space Station!

Why is it called Towel Day? The towel is an indispensable part of a hitchhiker’s kit. Here is a portion of the explanation in Chapter 3 of the first novel:

A towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch-hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini-raft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

What is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (third in the Hitchhiker’s series)? Plug this into Google Search to find the answer….

towel day

Happy Towel Day!


Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 24 is International Tiara Day

international tiara dayToday is International Tiara Day, created in 2005 by Barbara Bellissimo as a one-time accompaniment to her self-improvement program Seasons of Success.

In 2008, Lynanne White of American Rose Bridal asked for and received Barbara’s permission to make International Tiara Day an annual tradition. When she discovered May 24, 1819, had been Queen Victoria’s birthday, she decided to keep the date as is.

Since 2009, May 24th has given every woman in the world who secretly dreams of being a princess the opportunity to don an obviously fake, bedazzled headband–or, in the case of Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth, a priceless, jewel-encrusted symbol of divine rule.

Why not go gender-neutral? Princes wear crowns, too! So put on your physical or metaphorical tiaras, everybody and have a happy International Tiara Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays