Life Day 24270: Roots Day

December 23, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Today is Monday, December 23, 2013. Good morning fans of genealogy. Today’s holidays are:

Roots Day:

Although the reasons for Roots Day are obvious, the “roots” of Roots Day remain a mystery. No information is available in any of my sources regarding who created this holiday, or when it was created.

The holiday season is full of family functions and gatherings, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate your roots. Many people take their family history and ancestry for granted, and/or never take the time to learn about the struggles and triumphs of their ancestors and the history of their family name.

It is our genealogy that makes us who we are today, so take the time to sit down with your older relatives and talk to them about the past. You may hear some funny stories and learn a few things about your family that you never knew before. You may discover a few skeletons hidden in the family closet as well.

To celebrate this holiday, start a family tree. There are several free websites that can assist you in starting your journey through the branches.


If you were/are a regular viewer of “Seinfeld” you probably think that Festivus is a contrived holiday created by one of the writers of the show; and you would be partially correct. In fact, Festivus is a contrived holiday, but it was created around 1966 by Daniel O’Keefe; over three decades before that “Seinfeld” episode, (titled “The Strike”), aired on December 18, 1997. Dan O’Keefe, Daniel’s son, wrote the script for that episode.

Mr. O’Keefe created Festivus as a way to celebrate the holiday season without buying into its commercialism. A traditional Festivus celebration includes a plain aluminum pole in lieu of a Christmas tree, the annual “Airing of Grievances,” the Festivus dinner, and “Feats of Strength.” The traditional Festivus greeting is “Happy Festivus” and the slogan of the holiday is “A Festivus for the rest of us!” For the complete details of this holiday, click this link.

National Pfeffernuesse Day:

Pfeffernuesse cookies are a traditional cookie in Central Europe. According to Wikipedia, the name Pfeffernuesse “translates to “pepper nuts” in German, Danish and Dutch. The “pepper” part comes from the small amount of pepper used to make them spicy. The “nuts” part comes from their texture; which is hard and crunchy like a nut. There are no actual nuts in the recipe; which includes gingerbread spices (anise, cloves, nutmeg), pepper and citron. The small amount of black pepper adds to the spiciness without adding heat.

From what I can glean from my sources, these cookies are often dunked in wine when eaten. However, if allowed to sit for a few days, they do become softer. 

To celebrate this holiday, try baking a batch of these unique cookies. Recipes are all over the internet.

On this date in:

1783 – George Washington returned to his home in Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army following the Revolutionary War.

1788 – Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.

1823 – The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore (” ‘Twas the night before Christmas…”) was published.

1834 – English architect Joseph Hansom patented his ‘safety cab’, better known as the Hansom cab.

1852 – The Theatre of Celestial John opened on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, CA. It was the first Chinese theatre in the U.S.

1888 – Following a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his own earlobe.

1893 – The Engelbert Humperdinck opera “Hansel und Gretel” was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.

1913 – The Federal Reserve Bill was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. The act established 12 Federal Reserve Banks.

1919 – The first ship designed to be used as an ambulance for the transport patients was launched. The hospital ship was named USS Relief and had 515 beds.

1922 – The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts.

1930 – Ruth Elizabeth Davis, an unknown actress, arrived in Hollywood, under contract to Universal Studios. Universal changed her name to Bette Davis for the movies.

1941 – During World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.

1942 – Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of the traditional USO Christmas shows.

1943 – “Hansel and Gretel,” the opera, was televised on New York’s WRBG. It was the first complete opera to be televised.

1947 – John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invented the transistor.

1948 – Former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo. They had been found guilty of crimes against humanity.

1951 – A National Football League championship game was televised nationally for the first time. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17. The DuMont Network had paid $75,000 for the rights to the game.

1957 – Dan Blocker made his acting debut on television in the “Restless Gun.”

1965 – A 70-mph speed limit was introduced in Britain.

1968 – Eighty-two crewmembers of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.

1972 – The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders 13-7 in an NFL playoff game on a last-second play that was dubbed the “Immaculate Reception.” Pittsburgh’s Franco Harris caught a deflected pass and ran it in for the winning touchdown.

1986 – The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

1987 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.

1990 – Elections in Yugoslavia ended, leaving four of its six republics with non-Communist governments.

1995 – A fire in Dabwali, India, killed 540 people, including 170 children, during a year-end party being held near the children’s school.

1997 – Terry Nichols was convicted by a Denver jury on charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. The bomb killed 168 people.

Noteworthy Birthdays:

Joseph Smith 1805 – Founder of the Mormon Church.

Samuel Smiles 1812 – Author.

Fredi Washington 1903 – Actress.

Don McNeill 1907 – Radio personality.

Yousuf Karsh 1908 -Photographer.

Maurice Denham 1909 – Actor.

James Gregory 1911 – Actor.

Jose Greco 1918 – Flamenco dancer, choreographer.

Gerald O’Loughlin 1921 – Actor.

Ruth Roman 1923 – Actress.

Harry Guardino 1925 – Actor.

Robert Bly 1926 – Author, poet.

Dick Weber 1929 – Professional bowler.

Akihito 1933 – Reining Emperor of Japan.

‘Little’ Esther Phillips 1935 – Singer.

James Stacy 1936 – Actor.

Frederic Forrest 1936 – Actor.

Tim Hardin 1940 – Singer, songwriter.

Eugene Record 1940 – Musician. (The Chi-Lites)

Jorma Kaukonen 1940 – Musician. (Jefferson Airplane)

Elizabeth Hartman 1943 – Actress.

Harry Shearer 1943 – Actor.

Ron Bushy 1945 – Musician. (Iron Butterfly)

Susan Lucci 1946 – Actress.

Johnny Contardo 1951 – Singer. (Sha Na Na)

Dave Murray 1958 – Musician. (Iron Maiden)

Eddie Vedder 1964 – Musician. (Pearl Jam)

Corey Haim 1972 – Actor.


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