October 18 is World Menopause Day

For women dealing with menopause, every day is World Menopause Day. The International Menopause Society (IMS), creator of the holiday, attempts to make it fun by choosing a new theme each year. It’s a little like the prom: full of sweaty, uncomfortable seniors driven crazy by hormones.

world menopause day

“What Comes to Mind: Menopause and the Aging Brain?” is a theme used recently. Is that a trick question to give English majors around the globe a collective hot flash/hissy fit? Does it mean that if it doesn’t come to mind, it’s already too late? Does it mean menopause and aging have nothing to do with each other? IMS has this to say:

During the menopause transition, there may…be modest reductions in aspects of attention, but natural menopause does not appear to lead to persistently poorer memory.

Okay, we’re done here, right?

There’s no definitive list of actions to take to help reduce memory loss but evidence does support some approaches over others. Brain health can be improved through mentally stimulating activities, such as work or leisure.

So, anything we do when we’re awake–got it.

Top 10 prevention tips

Oh no, here we go.

1.Nutrition: an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet with olive oil may help
2.Vitamin D and B-Vitamins: may improve brain health alongside other activities
3.Other dietary supplements: Soy isoflavones helping to improve memory
4.Physical activity: brisk walking and other forms of aerobic exercise are linked to a lower dementia risk 5.Mindfulness: Tai chi studies show positive outcomes for improving memory
6.Control alcohol consumption: moderating alcohol intake can help maintain brain health
7.Smoking cessation: reducing the intake of toxins can help boost brain health
8.Mental activity: important for boosting brain stimulation
9.Social interaction: engaging, challenging and creative communication
10.MHT: helping to alleviate distressful vasomotor menopausal symptoms

First, let us point out that #3 and #10 involve raising estrogenic activity, which can be a big no-no for anyone at risk of breast cancer. As the site states, its tips do not replace advice from your doctor.

We have a suggestion: why not integrate this holiday with two others taking place today? First, grab a razor, guys, for National No Beard Day, and shave off that chin Brillo. Skin gets delicate after menopause. No one needs the constant exfoliation your whiskers provide. Second, and most important, it’s National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Stress and hormonal changes can cause intense cravings for sugary treats. Buy a baker’s dozen for your menopausal loved ones. Don’t expect to get a cupcake for yourself unless you hide one in your car.

Have a happy World Menopause Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 22 is Hobbit Day

Today is Hobbit Day, the longest-runniHobbit Dayng holiday celebrated by fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth Cycle books, The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings. It originated in 1973 after Tolkien’s death on September 2 of that year.

It honors the birthdays of characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, which occurred on the same date in 2890 and 2968, respectively. There is some disagreement among readers about the specific date.

The Gregorian calendar would place it on September 14, but Tolkien once stated that the Shire calendar is ahead by about ten days, depending on the month.

In 1978, the official date of the Long Awaited Party was fixed as September 22 by the Tolkien Society, which also happens to fall one day after  was published on September 21, 1937.

It is part of Tolkien Week, observed on the calendar week containing Hobbit Day. Festivities around the globe include feasts, costume parties, reenactments, exchange of gifts and cards and fireworks.

Happy Hobbit Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays


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July 9 is Flitch Day

flitch day

Flitch bearers, 2016

Today is Flitch Day, a custom dating back to 1104 in Little Dunmow, a village in Essex, England.

First, a little background is in order. A flitch is half a pig, cut lengthwise, salted and cured, also known as a full side of bacon. The story goes that a year and a day after their nuptials, Lord Reginald Fitzwater and his wife disguised themselves as peasants and traveled to the local monastery to beg blessings for their happy marriage.

The monk who received them was so impressed by their devotion that he gave them a flitch. In what could be called the first episode of Undercover Boss, Lord Fitzwater revealed his identity and promised his land to the monastery. He had one condition: the monks must award a flitch to any couple who could prove their love after a year and a day. (Who better to judge marital bliss than men who’ve taken a vow of chastity?)

Word of the tradition called the Dunmow Flitch Trials spread. Author William Langland referred to it in his 1362 book, The Vision of Piers Plowman. In the early 15th century, Geoffrey Chaucer alluded to it in The Canterbury Tales.

Records weren’t kept until 1445, when Richard Wright of Norwich was victorious, according to documents preserved in the British Museum. One hundred years later, King Henry VIII closed the monasteries, but the trials endured, overseen by the current Lord of the Manor.

In 1832, George Wade, Steward of Little Dunmow, declared the contest “an idle custom bringing people of indifferent character into the neighborhood.” The Dunmow Flitch Trials moved to Great Dunmow but declined in popularity, then lapsed entirely.

The custom was revived after the success of Harrison Ainsworth’s  novel, The Custom of Dunmow, published in 1855. In it, he told the tale of a man so desperate to win the flitch that he married a succession of wives to find his perfect match.

The event has been held in Great Dunmow ever since. After World War II, it was decided that the trials would take place only in leap years. Luckily, 2016 is such a year. If you can’t make it there today, you have four more years to perfect your marriage. Who knows? In 2020, they might allow same-sex couples!

Did the phrase “bring home the bacon” originate with this contest? Though many believe so, we may never be certain. By the way, losers aren’t sent home empty-handed. They receive a consolation prize of gammon, the hind leg of a pig. The one thing we know for sure is that this is no fun for the pigs.

Happy Flitch Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Fill Our Staplers Day

fill our staplers dayMarch 14, 2016, is Fill Our Staplers Day, a holiday that occurs twice a year on the day after the shift from Standard Time to Daylight Savings and vice versa, better known as “Spring Forward, Fall Back.”

Many people believe Daylight Savings Time was invented by Benjamin Franklin because of his 1784 essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” In it, he described being shocked upon accidentally awakening early in the morning to see that the sun was already up.

After painstaking analysis, he concluded that changing the hour, resetting all clocks, rationing candle wax, enforcing a mandatory curfew and firing cannons at sunup would encourage the citizenry, who would otherwise fail to realize they could simply rise earlier, to take full advantage of daylight.  One wonders if Franklin had to endure the utter lack of understanding of satire so commonplace since the invention of the Internet.

What has that got to do with office supplies? Not much, unless you work by lamplight or in a post-apocalyptic hellscape without electricity, which sounds like the saddest Dilbert cartoon ever. A nice bit of Benjamin Franklin trivia may not get you far at a cocktail party, but it could be the secret handshake that gains you entry into the Dull Men’s Club (DMC), originators of the biannual Fill Our Staplers Day.

In 2010, the DMC announced its establishment 0f biannual Fill Your Staplers Days to help spare its members the mild annoyance of discovering they have run out of staples at the last minute before a presentation to their boss, who might have a thing against paperclips. (They know who they are.)

Why has the club designated the day after the time change? “The day clocks change in the spring has been designated as Check Your Batteries Day, ” the DMC website explains. “We could designate Fill Your Staplers Day to be that day as well but, when added to changing clocks and checking on batteries — too much to do all in one day. So we’ll do it the next day.”

That sounds perfectly reasonable to us. Have a happy Fill Our Staplers Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays