weird and wacky holidays happening in November

November 27 is Pins and Needles Day

Pins and Needles DayToday is Pins and Needles Day but it has nothing to do with anxiety, diabetic neuropathy or the creepy sensation you get after sleeping all night on your arm. On November 27, 1937, musical revue Pins and Needles opened on Broadway in New York City.

Comprised of skits lampooning fascist dictators and their sympathizers, bigoted Daughters of the American Revolution, anti-labor groups and advertising agencies among many others, the play was performed by members of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which was on strike at the time.

It became such a hit that the schedule was expanded and the players quit their day jobs to act in it full-time. New skits and songs were added periodically to keep the show topical. It closed on June 22, 1940, after 1,108 performances.

A revival ran for 225 shows in 1978. London’s Cock Tavern Theater mounted a production in November and December of 2010. In 2016, New York University staged an updated Pins and Needles, casting students who would’ve been roughly the same age as the original performers had been.

This play, which first entertained audiences in 1937, has reappeared many times, perhaps to remind us of the enduring spirit of satire and its important role in society. Have a fun-filled and happy Pins and Needles Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

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 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