weird and wacky holidays happening in November

November 26 is National Cake Day

Today is National Cake Day. One of the most delicious things ever invented, cake has earned every one of the fifteen holidaysNational Cake Day dedicated to different variations. Whet your appetite with the story of how it all got started.

A Brief History of Cake

Cake dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was often flavored with nuts and honey. In Greece, it evolved into the pastry known as baklava. Ancient Romans added eggs and butter to honey-sweetened bread dough.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the term cake back to the 13th century Old Norse word kaka. Fruitcakes and gingerbread baked in medieval Europe were dense and remained edible for several months.

Early English cakes were round, flat and hardened on both sides from being turned over during baking. Icing made of boiled sugar and egg whites was poured onto a finished cake, forming a hard glossy coating as it cooled.

Baking changed as oven reliability improved and ingredients such as refined sugar became widely available in the mid-17th century. By the mid-19th century, the use of refined white flour and baking powder instead of yeast created cake as we know it. Frostings using butter, cream and confectioner’s sugar began to replace boiled icings in the first few decades of the 20th century.

During the Great Depression, the need for easy, relatively inexpensive foods spurred the introduction of boxed cake mix. It was a hit with millions of housewives in the U.S. and soon caught on around the globe. Its popularity has endured ever since.

How to Celebrate Cake Day

That’s easy: eat some cake! Angel food, babka, Black Forest, bundt, carrot, cheesecake, chocolate, Devil’s Food, German chocolate, kugelhopf, layer, marble, panettone, Pear William, pound, red velvet, sacher torte, sponge cake, stollen, streusel, trés lêches, upside-down—the choice is up to you. Or have one of each: we’ll never tell!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Tie One On Day

Tie One On Day takes place every year on the day before Thanksgiving. But it has nothing to do with Drinksgiving or Blackout Wednesday and doesn’t promote alcohol use or abuse.

Tie One On DayIt began on  Thanksgiving eve in 2003, when EllynAnne Geisel wrapped a pie in an apron, slipped a handwritten note of sympathy into its pocket and delivered it to a neighbor who was going through a difficult time. Her gesture was met with warmth and gratitude. EllynAnne was inspired to share the joyful connection she felt by creating Tie One On Day.

It’s easy to participate. On Thanksgiving Eve,

EllynAnne has collected over 600 vintage aprons, written three books and created an award-winning apron exhibit that has been traveling around the country since 2004. (You can book it for $500 per week plus shipping.)

She also designs and sells aprons, including one that appeared in Vogue magazine. She has been interviewed on CBS News Sunday Morning and NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered. She spoke at 2015’s Southwest Conference on Language Teaching, sharing aprons as a teaching tool in her presentation entitled “Global Apron: How Tying One On…(an Apron, of Course!) Unifies Through Remembrance, Art and Language.”

Tie One On Day is recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, the bible of unofficial holidays. Join EllynAnne and “give from the heart on Wednesday–then give thanks on Thursday.” You might discover a cottage industry while you’re at it.

Happy Tie One On Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

November 20 is National Absurdity Day

national absurdity day National Absurdity Day: is there any occasion that cries out more loudly to be taken seriously while simultaneously laughing at anyone who does? Of course not, silly. Holidays can’t talk.

Grab a copy of The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus or just about anything by Samuel Beckett. Add Pee Wee’s Big Adventure to your Netflix queue.

Meanwhile feast on this gem, courtesy of Anti-Joke:

A man walks into a bar and pauses: at the other end of the bar, there’s this guy with a big orange head. Just sitting there, looking into his drink. So the man asks the bartender, “Say, what’s up with the guy with the big orange head?” And the bartender says, “It’s an interesting story. Buy him a drink and maybe he’ll tell it to you.”

So the man walks over and introduces himself and offers to buy a round. The guy with the big orange head says, “Yeah, I’ll bet you want to know the story, huh?” To which the man replies, “Sure, if you don’t mind.”

The man with the big orange head sighs and says, “You know, I’ve gone over it in my mind a million times. Basically, it went like this: I was walking along the beach one day when I stubbed my toe on something. I looked down, and there was an antique brass lamp. I picked it up and dusted it off a little — when all of a sudden this enormous genie pops out!

“The genie thundered, ‘You have released me from my ten-thousand-year imprisonment, and I am in your debt. I will grant you three wishes as a token of my gratitude.'”

The man at the bar is agape. The guy with the big orange head continues: “So I said, ‘Wow, okay. Well, my first wish is to be fantastically wealthy.’

“The genie says, ‘Your wish is granted.’ And all of a sudden I have rings on my fingers and a crown on my head, and my wallet is full of money and a dozen ATM cards and the deed to a mansion in the hills — I mean, I was loaded!

“So I said, ‘Amazing! Okay, for my next wish, I want to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world.’

“The genie says, ‘Your wish is granted.’ And the ocean parts, and out walks this gorgeous woman in this beautiful dress. She takes my hand, and we fall in love and the genie marries us right there. It was incredible.

“The genie booms, ‘You have one wish remaining.'”

The man with the big orange head pauses and sips his beer. He says, “Now, you know, this may be where I went wrong. I wished for a big orange head.”

Happy National Absurdity Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

November 19 is World Toilet Day

world toilet dayWorld Toilet Day

World Toilet Day was established on November 19, 2001, by the World Toilet Organization to raise awareness of the global need for proper sanitation facilities. Since then, it has grown in scope and recognition. In 2013, the United Nations passed a resolution recognizing World Toilet Day as an official UN international day.

Each year, World Toilet Day has a different theme:

  • 2016’s observance centered on toilets and jobs, pointing out that disease transmission at work, primarily due to poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths. It represented several professions with a unique visual aid.

World Toilet Day

  • The focal points for 2015 were toilets and nutrition. Participants were urged to pose on their commodes like Rodin’s The Thinker, take selfies and post them on the World Toilet Day site. While we’re not sure how that relates to nutrition, we applaud the time-honored tradition of reducing this sculpture to a bathroom humor punchline. world toilet day 2015 thinker logo
  • The 2014 campaign emphasized equality and dignity. (In other words, no self-portraits straining on the john, thank you very much.)world toilet day
  • The slogan in 2012 was “I give a sh*t, do you?” Indonesian stars embraced it in this video.

Every year, World Toilet Day calls attention to the fact that more than 2.4 billion people–about one in three–don’t have access to a toilet. Over one billion must defecate in the open. To raise awareness of this harsh reality, a “see through loo” was set up at the September 2015 Global Citizen Festival in New York City.

What You Can Do:

  • Open your door and share your toilet. (The World Toilet Day site respectfully suggests you clean it first.)
  • Host a mass squat. “Stop, drop, squat and share!” Be advised that the World Toilet Organization will not post bail. Plan your plein-air dump locale accordingly.
  • Share informational tweets such as, “The world’s untreated poop would fill Cowboy Stadium in just two days.” (How can they know that? And why?)

No matter what you do today, doo today or number two today, take some time to celebrate World Toilet Day in your own way. Don’t forget to bring a magazine.

Happy World Toilet Day!

Global Handwashing Day (October 15)

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays