February 22 is World Thinking Day

world thinking dayToday is World Thinking Day. It doesn’t mean we get to lay off thinking the rest of the year. It doesn’t mean the Earth is a sentient being. What is it? Read six (very short) paragraphs to find out.

In 1899, Robert Baden-Powell wrote a field manual for fellow British soldiers called Aids to Scouting. The following year, he was declared a war hero for his bravery in conflict and the book became well-known. It was especially popular with boys, who staged elaborate games based on his instructions about observation and tracking.

After learning of this, Baden-Powell formed the Boy Scouts in 1907. The next year, he published Scouting for Boys, a guide stressing the importance of good deeds and morality. He set up a central office, which registered new Scouts and designed a uniform. By the end of 1908, there were 60,000 Boy Scouts.

In September 1909, 10,000 Scouts attended the first national Boy Scout rally at Crystal Palace in London. Many girls showed up, claiming to be members. Baden-Powell founded the Girl Guides, also known as Girl Scouts in many countries, as a separate entity in 1910, eventually appointing his wife Olave to run it.

The Girl Scouts held its first conference in Oxford, England in 1920. It was held every two years until 1954 and every three years since. The 36th World Conference is scheduled to take place in Tunisia in 2017.

At the fourth World Conference in 1926, delegates met at Camp Edith Macy in Briarcliff Manor, NY, a facility owned by the Girls Scouts of the USA. Participants decided to dedicate a day to thinking of their counterparts around the world and expressing thanks to the organization that brought them all together.

They called it Thinking Day and chose February 22 as the date for its annual observance because it was the birthday of both Robert Baden-Powell and his wife, Olave Baden-Powell. It’s since become known as World Thinking Day and millions of girls celebrate it.

Is all this new knowledge making you crave some cookies? There’s an app for that. The Girl Scout Cookie Finder is available on iOS and Android. Who says history can’t be delicious?

Happy World Thinking Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

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February 5 is World Nutella Day

world nutella dayToday is World Nutella Day. It seems pretty straightforward, right? In 2007,  fangirl Sara Rosso declared February 5th a holiday to honor the delicious chocolate hazelnut spread. became a place for people to celebrate, swap recipes and share tales of devotion.

As of May 2013, the World Nutella Day Facebook page had 40,000 likes. That’s when Ferrero, maker of Nutella, sent Rosso a letter demanding she shut down and cease all activities relating to the product.

Rosso had been careful to stress that she had no affiliation with the manufacturer. Earlier that year, the site had noted. “Ferrero S.p.A. is not officially involved with World Nutella Day, nor are the organizers compensated by Ferrero in any way for organizing it; World Nutella Day is truly a labor of love for the tasty treat.”

Apparently, Ferrero didn’t appreciate the free publicity. It ending up receiving much, much more: the story was covered by Bloomberg Business, Time, Adweek, Huffington Post, Observer and Gawker, among many others. The company scrambled to retract its demand and make nice with Russo, asking her to continue running the site.

All’s well that ends well—for a while. Ferrero quietly took control of Today the site thanks her for starting the holiday and building a global fanbase, then states “In 2015, Sara transferred World Nutella Day to Ferrero (the makers of Nutella) to help it live on and grow for years to come.

“So for 2016, we searched for a new Chief Nutella Ambassador—someone with Sara’s delicious devotion—to help us lead the fans for this upcoming World Nutella Day.” They chose a 21-year-old college junior who bought her first jar of  Nutella when she was a freshman. So she’s fairly new to the love of Nutella. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Tio de Nadal

Some homes hang stockings from the mantelpiece. Families in Catalonia, Spain, celebrate the run-up to Christmas by placing a Tió de Nadal in front of the fireplace. Although Tió de Nadal translates most wholesomely to “Christmas log,” it is better known by the name Caja Tió, which we’re going to refer to as “Poop Log” in order to avoid offending any delicate sensibilities. Feel free to fill in the appropriate four-letter word as needed.

Tio de Nadal

Originally a simple rough-hewn piece of wood, the tió’s appearance has been upgraded in recent years. Modern iterations stand on two or even four stick legs, have a smiling face painted on the upper end and often sport a red hat.

Beginning on December 8th to coincide with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, children must “feed” the tió bits of fruits, nuts and water, draping it in a blanket to keep it warm, in the hope that their care will awaken its spirit of generosity so it will poop out many gifts on Christmas Day.

The children’s kindness ends there. They must go into another room to pray for the poop log to deliver lots of goodies while the adults surreptitiously place gifts under the blanket. (We’re assuming the log doesn’t have magical powers.) Then the children reenter and beat on the log with sticks to make it defecate while they sing various versions of the Caga Tió song.

“Caga tió, caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
caga tió!”

S***, log, s*** nougats,
hazelnuts and mató cheese,
if you don’t s*** well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
s*** log!

After each verse, a child reaches under the blanket and takes a gift. After opening it, the song begins again. The tió gives candies, nuts and dried fruits; larger items are believed to be delivered but the Three Wise Men. (Duh!) The log drops a herring, head of garlic or onion to indicate there is no more poop to be had. (That part may be magic. We’re not sure of logistics involved.) At that point, the beatings cease and the tió is thrown into the fire and burned.

You can’t make this s*** up.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

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December 5 is Krampus

KrampusOn Santa’s List Day, we suggested that children who learn the list of who’s naughty and nice has been finalized might be tempted to misbehave in the remaining days before Christmas, with no fear of reprisal. Krampus, today’s holiday, should thoroughly dispel that idea.

Krampus may have originated as a pagan figure in Europe’s Alpine regions, becoming associated with St. Nicholas in the 17th century. The word Krampus is derived from the Old High German word for “claw”(Krampen). He is a goat-headed devil with fangs, a pointed tongue and two cloven hooves or one hoof and one human foot.

Unlike the Santa Claus of North American tradition, St. Nicholas only pays attention to the good children. He brings Krampus along on his rounds to deal with little miscreants for whom receiving a lump of coal is the least of their worries. He carries chains, birch branches or a whip to mete out punishment and sometimes a sack or basket to capture bad children so he can drown them, eat them or deliver them to Hell.

Europeans have been exchanging greeting cards featuring Krampus for two centuries. Greetings from the Krampus (Gruß vom Krampus) cards feature humorous verse and depict the devil looming over children or pursuing buxom women. Modern cards tend to have a cuter, less menacing version of Krampus.

Although its tastefulness and propriety have been questioned during the past century, the holiday’s popularity has grown; celebrations have cropped up all over North America, including Toronto, Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. We assume that the successful completion of chores has skyrocketed in those towns.

Happy Krampus!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

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