The last day of Carnival and the day before for Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is the intertwining of a period festivals and feasts that lead to a time of fasting and reflection. Also known as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, this enduring celebration has many traditions and deep roots around the world.
Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) dates back to an ancient Roman festival honoring the deities Lupercalia and Saturnalia which took place in mid-February. When Christians arrived in Rome, they incorporated the festival into Lenten preparations.
For centuries, this solemn feast prepared Christians for the season of Lent and used up valuable meat and supplies they would be abstaining from in the days to come. Traditions surrounding the day have changed through the ages. Through time and culture, the practices of Lent and Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Shrove Tuesday have varied and become incorporated into regional customs.
In the United Kingdom, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day. Pancakes are the perfect menu item when the future includes abstaining from fats, eggs, and sweets! In Russia, they celebrate the entire week during Shrovetide as Pancake Week.
Carnival & Mardi Gras
While the French didn’t originate the medieval feast, they did put their stamp on it. From parades to beignets and colorful masks, the last day of Carnival is full of elaborate costumes and lavish food sure to hold the revelers over through a long fast. During the 16th century, their ancestors celebrated Boeuf Gras (fatted calf) which included a tradition of parading a bull decorated with flowers through the city. The decorated animal is followed through the streets by a retinue of colorfully dressed attendants and bands playing unusual instruments. There was even a Boeuf Gras Society in Mobile, Alabama at one time. (See history below for more information.)
New Orleans holds the crown for Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. While the city is filled with French flavor and style, its culture is an eclectic infusion of many cultures. Colorful King Cake and thick, savory muffuletta sandwiches only suggest the indulgence possible on Fat Tuesday. Regional specialties like Etouffee, Po’boys, and jambalaya all add to the atmosphere of the day.
And while we satisfy our cravings, let’s not forget our beverages. Signature creations from New Orleans hit the spot. Be sure to try the Sazerac made with absinthe or the citrus cocktail Arnaud’s Special. For a smooth drink with some punch mix up a Vieux Carré made with whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth. But you don’t have to have a cocktail to enjoy the feast! Fat Tuesday has plenty of beverages full of refreshing flavor. Coffees, sodas, and shakes of every flavor can be found.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FatTuesday
Join in festivals around the country or have your own Fat Tuesday feast! Share your favorite traditions by using #FatTuesday, #MardiGras, #ShroveTuesday
In Pensacola as we are so close to both Mobile, AL and New Orleans, there are lots of pardades, parties, balls, and more. Get ready for beads, dancing, and King Cake.
At the end of the fun try coming home to my Crockpot New England Calm Chowder. As today this dish is celebrated nationwide today too.
FAT TUESDAY HISTORY
The roots of the celebration have been woven together for centuries from medieval spring festivals and feasts that were based on the Christian calendar. Fat Tuesday is celebrated around the world in its various forms all of which harken back to these roots of spring festivals and religious fasting in preparation for the Holy day of Easter.
Credit for bringing Mardi Gras to America goes to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. In 1699, d’Iberville reached the mouth of the river on Shrove Tuesday near what is now Louisiana and named it Pointe du Mardi Gras.
Thanks to their establishment of Fort Louis de la Mobile, modern-day Mobile, Alabama lays claim to the first Mardi Gras celebration on American soil in 1703.
When de Bienville established Nouvelle Orleans in 1788, Mardi Gras celebrations reportedly began immediately. In 1875, Louisiana declared Fat Tuesday an official holiday
On February 15, National Wisconsin Day recognizes The Badger State.
Rich in copper, lead, forest and fertile farmland, Wisconsin became the 30th state. In 1634, French explorer Jean Nicolet was the first European to reach Wisconsin while seeking a Northwest passage to China.
A mining boom, not fur trading, led to the nickname The Badger State. According to oral history, the miners burrowed into the hillsides much like badgers for shelter instead of setting up more permanent homesteads. The first wave of settlers to the area also began the uprooting of the Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Chippewa and other indigenous people.
Early in Wisconsin’s settlement, dairy production began to take root. By the turn of the century, the state became known for its dairy farms and synonymous with cheese.
Mining, dairies, and breweries grew one after the other. An influx of German immigrants in the 1850s brought a new brand of dreamers. Brewers cropped up across Wisconsin satisfying the thirst of The Badger State. As with brewers in other regions of the country, the 18th Amendment of 1919 prohibiting alcohol drowned out much of the competition leaving only a handful after the legislation was repealed in 1933.
From Lake Michigan to Superior and numerous river and lakes in between, Wisconsin offers ample opportunity for water recreation and sport. There are also year-round trails perfect for summer hiking or substantial snow for winter activities.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalWisconsinDay
“Discover a taste of Wisconsin. Join National Day Calendar as we explore the 30th state’s history, people, and culture. Uncover and Travel Wisconsin with all her hidden treasures and amazing landscapes!” Use #NationalWisconsinDay to share on social media.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail – Madison
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway – Saint Croix Falls
Big Foot Beach State Park – Lake Geneva
Copper Falls State Park – Mellen
High Cliff State Park – Sherwood
Natural Bridge State Park – North Freedom
Whitefish Dunes State Park – Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo State Forest – Crivitz
Friendship State Trail – Hilbert
Circus World Museum – Baraboo
Wisconsin Maritime Museum – Manitowoc
Wisconsin Historical Museum – Madison
Madeline Island Museum – La Pointe
Wisconsin Automotive Museum – Hartford
National Railroad Museum – Green Bay
Door County Maritime Museum – Sturgeon Bay
Milwaukee Art Museum – Milwaukee
Stonefield – Cassville
Ripley’s Believe It or Not – Wisconsin Dells
Yerkes Observatory – Williams Bay
Glory of the Morning – Chief – (c. 1709 – c. 1832)
Arthur Davidson – Businessman – (February 11, 1881 – December 30, 1950)
Les Paul – Musician – (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)
The entire month of February is dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying and otherwise loving books. It’every s National Library Lover’s Month!
Check out some of these fantastic Authors and their books. I’ve said for years “Hollywood needs a library card. Guess someone finally heard me. ” They currently have Movies or series based on the books.
There are lots of great authors and books I cannot begin to list them all here. Make sure you bookmark and like our site for more.
Libraries provide so much more than a place for us to enjoy great novels or to discover amazing adventures and untold history. Yes, they help us ace our research papers and provide a quiet space to study, but they do so much more.
For preschoolers, libraries entertain them with theater and hands-on activities exposing them to music, art and their first friendships. Many communities rely on their libraries for meeting space for public forums, socials, fundraisers and classes.
Libraries lend not only books but music and movies. Rotating art displays give local artists exposure to the community. Larger libraries provide preservation services, preserving some of the most treasured books, periodicals and documents for future generations.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Continue enjoying your library, but consider volunteering your time, too. If you don’t have a library card, it’s never too late! Visit your library to get one! Use #NationalLibraryLoversDay to share on social media.
Of course, if you’re even a fraction addicted to books as I am you may have to start your own library. Mine is currently occupying four bookshelves with some still boxed. Since I like to reread mine I use them frequently. As I usually read a full novel in about two days I have to carry a small ton from my local library or draw from my own. I wish ereaders had been around when I started.
If you want to pass this gift to others February 14th is also International Book Giving Day.
On February 8, National Iowa Day recognizes The Hawkeye State.
The 29th state to join the United States is known for fertile prairie, rolling hills, raising innovative people and some nostalgic movie moments. From the Mississippi River to the harvests in Plymouth, Harrison or Fremont counties, Iowa’s history, beauty and hospitality flourish.
The state was named for Iowa Native Americans who populated the area when European settlement forced Eastern tribes westward.
Acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Iowa Territory settlement didn’t start to take place until around the 1830s.
Other Fascinating Faces and Places
One of the later settlements that remain today is the Amana Colony. A congregation of the Community of True Inspiration, their faith and persecution in Germany led them to immigrate to America for religious freedom. Iowa supplied fertile farmland and a home for them to practice their skills and their beliefs. Today, they open their community to the public. Shop for handmade gifts, homemade baked goods, wine and stay for a home-cooked meal.
In the southwestern part of the state, Madison County boasts beautiful covered bridges which were featured in the movie by a similar name. While touring the bridges, be sure to stop by Winterset and take in the birthplace of John Wayne.
Not far from the Mississippi River, The Field of Dreams home is just outside Dyersville. They built it so that you would come.
For fantastic performances in a historic rock and roll venue, check out the events at the Surf Ballroom. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper played their last concerts at the Surf Ballroom the night they perished in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.
Nature lovers will find plenty of adventure in Iowa. Effigy Mounds National Park will satisfy those with a mystical and historical curiosity. Rockhounds should seek out Geode State Park. The Corps of Discovery’s Louis and Clark Trail come through Iowa, too.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalIowaDay
From the Quad Cities to Shimek Forest, Iowa offers city and country to explore. Join National Day Calendar as we examine the 29th state’s dynamic people and pioneering history. Travel byways and discovery Iowa’s stunning scenery! Use #NationalIowaDay to share on social media.
For a complete list of Texas State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks and www.nps.gov. Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.
Dolliver Memorial State Park – Lehigh
Geode State Park – Danville
McIntosh Woods State Park – Ventura
Shimek State Forest – Farmington
Viking Lake State Park – Stanton
Iowa Old Capitol Building – Iowa City
Salisbury House – Des Moines
Effigy Mounds National Monument – Harpers Ferry
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum – Decorah
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library – Cedar Rapids
Union Pacific Railroad Museum – Council Bluffs
MacNider Art Museum – Mason City
American Gothic House – Eldon
Living History Farms – Urbandale
Sergeant Floyd – Iowa
Museum of Danish America – Elk Horn
Western Historic Trails Center – Council Bluffs
Little Brown Church – Nashua
Historic Squirrel Cage Jail – Council Bluffs
Bentonsport National Historic District – Bentonsport
Beedle Park Heritage Train – Cresco
Amana Heritage Museum – Amana
Antonine Barada – Folk Hero – (August 22, 1807 – March 30 1885)
George Gallup – Statistician – (November 18, 1901 – July 26, 1984)
Winifred Asprey – Mathematician – (April 8, 1917 – October 19, 2007)
National Florida Day on January 25 recognizes the 27th state to join the United States.
The Sunshine State is home to the oldest established city in the country. With over 400 years of history, St. Augustine’s streets and colonial architecture have stories to tell. Founded by Spanish explorers in 1565, visit the city and walk in the same footsteps as 16th-century bishops, ponder the escapades of pirates and the whereabouts of lost gold and learn about the lives of European settlers.
East and West Florida became the 14th and 15th British Colonies after the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. However, in 1783, after the end of the American Revolutionary War, The Treaty of Paris returned Florida to Spain.
The present-day borders of Florida were absorbed through two transactions: The Louisianna Purchase in 1803 brought East Florida with it (but not without dispute from the French) and through a U.S. intervention in an uprising in West Florida in 1812 causing West Florida to join the Mississippi Territory.
With an average high temperature of 79.5°F, it should be no surprise that Floridian John Gorrie brought refrigeration and air conditioning to the world in 1851.
Add to that, more than half the year with partly cloudy to sunny days, the invention of sunblock would be a necessity, too. Hungary born pharmacist, Benjamin Green, invented a sunscreen in 1944 which later became a tanning lotion known as Coppertone.
Launching astronauts into space, Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard Country, is a fun and unique visit. While Disney, Universal, and others have rides, themes, and shows. This place makes both history and the future a tangible experience. We just happened to be there on a day they launched a new satellite!
Cape Canaveral and the home of the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County has come a long way from its first launch in 1950. From Appollo missions to Hubble Telescopes and Mars Rovers, Cape Canaveral continues missions well into the future. Missions include commercial ventures including SpaceX launches.
Florida offers more than enough to do and see. From man-made worlds and relaxing beaches to long, colorful and intricate history, the Sunshine State’s open spaces and sunny faces require more than one visit.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Join National Day Calendar as we dig into Florida’s sunny beaches and rich history. Seek buried treasures and explore all Florida’s fascinating culture! Look to the past or look to the future and use #NationalFloridaDay to share on social media.
In 2017, National Day Calendar began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. There’s so much more to explore!
Florida is also home of the oldest noncontinuous settlement in America. The City of five flags know as Pensacola is actually older than St Augustine. The original settlement was wiped out by a hurricane. So St Augustine claims the oldest continuous city.
Pensacola has a long Naval Tradition and is The Cradle of Naval Aviation. Every year both resident and visiting pilots, take training at one of our local bases. While NAS Pensacola is home to The Famous Blue Angels Squadron that Flew over The White House recently, we made national news for a tragic event just a short time ago.
We had an active shooter who infiltrated and murdered students at the flight school here. While we deeply morn those lost in this tragedy, we are grateful to the brave who helped our sheriff’s officers put an early end to this shooter. Before more could be harmed these warriors risked life and injury to subdue the shooter. Since this event the bases have gone to restricted access to keep others and the community safe.
For more information about us ask a local. Here are some of my picks, and I haven’t even come close to listing them all.
T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park – St. Joseph Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center – Mayo Manatee Springs State Park – Chiefland Colt Creek State Park – Lakeland Highlands Hammock State Park – Sebring Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park – Okeechobee Don Pedro Island State Park – Cape Haze Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park – Naples Hugh Taylor Birch State Park – Ft. Lauderdale Big Cypress National Preserve – Ochopee Canaveral National Seashore – Titusville & New Smyrna Beach Everglades National Park – Miami, Naples & Homestead MUSEUMS Salvador Dali Museum – St. Petersburg Museum of Florida History – Tallahassee John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine Bok Tower Gardens – Lake Wales Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse – Ponce Inlet Villa Vizcaya – Miami
A civil rights activist and composer, James Weldon Johnson became United States consul to Puerto Cabello in Venezuela under President Theodore Roosevelt. He is also noted for composing the song Lift Every Voice and Sing.
On January 23rd we celebrate! National Handwriting Day was started to re-introduce one’s self to a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. According to the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, it is a chance for all to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.
A handwritten letter, card, or note will still mean more than an email. What do I mean by that? When you get a handwritten note you get a tangible expression of someone’s thoughts and time. While the argument can be made that an email also takes time to write, you very seldom see a packet of old letters preserved in a trunk or attic that date back 20, 50, or even 100 years or more.
One day our handwritten works will become as precious as the hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt. Okay, the hieroglyphs will still be even more rare but you get my point.
Things like calligraphy will influence your handwriting. I like most my age were taught cursive or script. I get the most compliments on my handwriting when I started adding calligraphy elements to it. My handwriting and indeed my signature remains one of a kind, without being a doctor…lol.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Work on your handwriting and use #NationalHandwritingDay to post on social media.
National Handwriting Day was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association in 1977. Their motive is to promote the consumption of pens, pencils and writing paper. January 23rd was chosen as this is the birthday of John Hancock. John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Martin Luther King Jr Day, on the third Monday in January, honors the American clergyman, activist, Civil Rights Movement leader. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.(January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor.
A gifted and friendly student, King attended Morehouse College, where he earned a BA in sociology. Combining a passion for racial equality with a rediscovered spirituality, King then attended Crozer Theological Seminary following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps earning a Bachelors of Divinity.
Shortly after he completed his Ph.D. in theology at Boston University in 1955, a 42-year-old Rosa Parks (See Rosa Parks Day, which is observed December 1) refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The opportunity for the NAACP to bring their civil rights efforts to the forefront was before them, and they chose King to lead the successful city-wide boycott of the Montgomery transit system.
Young Civil Rights Movement
Just over a year later, King, along with over 60 other ministers and activists, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Together they coordinated non-violent protests and gave a voice to the young civil rights movement.
Through the next twelve years, King would be influential in organizing marches, sit-ins, and political rallies for civil rights. During a 1963 March on Washington, D.C. for Jobs and Freedom, King spoke before more than 200,000 regarding the challenges African Americans face. His “I Have a Dream” speech has gone down in many history books as one of the greatest speeches ever given. Brutally honest, a call to action, and a vision of hope, King’s speech resonated throughout the nation.
In early 1964, during a march outside Selma, 1,500 men and women met a wall of state troopers. There, King led the marchers in prayer and successfully avoided any confrontation with authorities. On July 2, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. That same year, King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his unswerving work in the Civil Rights Movement.
In early 1965, Selma, Alabama, became the center of the Civil Rights movement. A new voting rights legislation was introduced in Congress. It proposed banning literacy tests and mandating federal oversight where tests were administered. Additionally, it gave the U.S. attorney general the duty of challenging the use of poll taxes for state and local elections. Televised violence in February of that year resulted in the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. King’s presence and President Johnson’s support of the marchers helped bring peace. Throughout the next month, marchers continued between Selma and Montgomery. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in August of that year.
Author, speaker, father, theologian, activist. King died on April 4, 1968, when James Earl Ray assassinated him in Memphis, Tennessee. King arrived in Memphis with other SCLC members in support of a sanitation workers’ strike. They were staying at the Lorraine Motel when Ray’s bullet struck King on the balcony. Riots and violence would follow, and President Johnson would call for peace, referring to King as the “apostle of nonviolence.”
HOW TO OBSERVE #MartinLutherKingJrDay
Many schools, businesses, and government offices are closed during Martin Luther King Jr Day. Schools hold programs or teach curricula engaging students in Civil Rights history and lessons throughout the week. Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch one of the documentaries or read one of the books listed below:
Use #MartinLutherKingJrDay to post on social media.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY HISTORY
While President Ronald Reagan signed the established observance into law in 1983, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.
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