December 12th – National Ding-a-Ling Day

December 12, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning ding-a-lings. Today is Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Ding-a-Ling Day

In my research on this holiday, my sources offered two distinct interpretations of this holiday…and neither have anything to do with those Salvation Army bell ringers standing in front of retail establishments ringing bells and seeking donations.
The first interpretation has to do with reaching out to people with whom you have lost contact (give then a ding-a-ling on the telephone). This National Ding-a-Ling Day was created by Franky Hyle. Mr. placed a free ad in Chase’s Calendar of Events listing his PO Box Number in Melrose Park, IL in 1972 stating that for $1 you could join the National Ding-A-Ling club. The club, with 871 original members, would call friends and relatives they haven’t heard from for a while every year on this date. In a 1975 Lakeland Ledger article, the idea for the club developed during a discussion among friends about people being friendlier and led to the meaning of the term ding-a-ling. After looking up the word, they found it meant “One who hears bells in his head.” From this evening discussion, Hyle created the National Ding-A-Ling club. The tradition grew and now, on this date, millions of people call those individuals who are dear to them, but with whom they are out of touch.
On this day Ding-a-Lings call the people they haven’t heard from in a while. It may be an old classmate, co-worker or neighbor from years ago. Or perhaps they will the child who used to mow their grass during the summer. How about that couple who carpooled for soccer. What was their name?
There are all sorts of people in our lives who managed fall by the wayside because of our hectic lifestyles. Why not join the Ding-a-ling club and call one of these people today in celebration of National Ding-a-Ling Day. If you don’t have their current phone number, reach out to them on social media.

The other interpretation of National Ding-a-Ling Day has to do with those zany, quirky, off-center people we all know and love, who lack the ability to “color inside the lines” and, in fact, aren’t even aware that there are “lines”.
According to this source, you should be prepared to encounter all sorts of kooky characters today, including some from whom you normally wouldn’t expect this type of behavior. Ding-a-Lings will be everywhere: on the road, on the street, in stores, and even in your own home.
There is an old adage that says “If you can’t beat ’em, join em”. Perhaps you should celebrate National Ding-a-Ling Day by channeling your “inner ding-a-ling” today as well. That way, you don’t stand out from the crowd of ding-a-lings you’ll find everywhere you go.

Hanukkah (Chanukah)

Hanukkah, (also Romanized as Chanukah), is also known as the Festival of Lights. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Below is a brief history of the beginnings of Hanukkah:

During the time of Alexander the Great, Jewish culture began to blend with the Greek culture. Jews who accepted Greek culture at the expense of their religion became known as Hellenists. Alexander and the Jews had a mostly peaceful relationship; the Jews were loyal to his rule, and Alexander didn’t destroy and abuse them. Around 190 BC, Antiochus IV took over and most Jews who had assimilated into Greek culture continued to practice their faith. Antiochus wanted more control over the Jews and began to force the Greek culture on the devout Jewish people by placing Hellenistic priests in the Temple and desecrating it by sacrificing pigs at the altar, prohibiting Jews from practicing their faith, killing their faithful and levying heavy taxes upon them. Around the year 166 BCE, a rebel force of Jews was formed. They revolted against Antiochus’ government and took back the Temple. In order to rededicate the Temple, oil was needed for the menorah, but there was only enough undefiled oil to last one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days. Hanukkah is the eight-day Festival of Lights commemorating this miracle of the oil.

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Below are a few other facts about Hanukkah:

  • Hanukkah is not considered a significant religious holiday.
  • The menorah holds nine candles. The center candle is the shamus or servant. It is used to light the 8 Hanukkah candles.
  • The Hanukkah candles are strictly for pleasure. They are not to be utilized for any useful or productive purpose. The shamus is available, so the Hanukkah candles aren’t accidentally used to light a fire in the fireplace or another useful purpose.
  • Gift giving is not traditionally a part of the Hanukkah holiday.
  • Playing dreidel is a gambling game popular during the Hanukkah holiday.
  • Fried foods are traditional during the holiday, representing the oil used to light the lamps.

Poinsettia Day

The poinsettia is a blossoming plant with beautiful red and green foliage, which makes it a very popular decoration during the holiday season. Although it is native to Mexico, 90% of all poinsettias are exported from the United States. The Aztecs considered poinsettias a symbol of purity because of their brilliant red color.
Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, introduced these gorgeous flowers to the United States in the 1820’s. While visiting Taxco, Poinsett found the flowers growing on a hillside and sent some of them to his home in South Carolina. The flowers grew well in his greenhouse and Poinsett began distributing them. The name “poinsettia” soon became the accepted name of the flower in English-speaking countries, but botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia Pulcherrima. This holiday is celebrated annually on the anniversary of his death on December 12, 1851.
Although Mr. Poinsett is credited with bringing the poinsettia to North America and had the plant renamed after him, it is Paul Ecke Jr. who is considered the father of the poinsettia industry. It was Paul Ecke’s discovery of a technique which causes seedlings to branch that allowed the Poinsettia industry to flourish. It was his son, Paul Ecke Jr. however who advanced the sales of the poinsettia through shipping and marketing. The Ecke’s technique remained a secret until the 1990’s when a university researcher discovered and published the formula. Both Paul Ecke Sr. and Paul Ecke Jr. worked tirelessly to promote the plant and its association with Christmas. Today their ranch, in Encinitas, California is run by Paul Ecke lll.
In July of 2002, the House of Representatives passed a Resolution creating Poinsettia Day, honoring Paul Ecke Jr. for his contributions to the poinsettia industry. They also specified that the holiday will be celebrated on December 12th – the date that Joel Roberts Poinsett died. Below are a few Poinsettia Facts:

  • The poinsettia industry contributes over $250,000,000 annually to the United States economy – at the wholesale level.
  • Poinsettias are the best-selling potted plant in the United States and Canada.
  • The showy colored parts of Poinsettias are actually modified leaves. The actual flowers are the little yellow blooms in the center of those leaves.
  • It is a myth that Poinsettias are poisonous.
  • There are more than 100 varieties of Poinsettias commercially available.

Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts

Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts is another obscure holiday with no verifiable history. It was mentioned in only one of my sources and no credible link was provided. Apparently, the creators of this holiday thought that the information regarding this holiday was unmentionable.
I include it on this BLOG only because it sounds fascinating. Normally, I would include it in the “Other Holidays” portion, but, like I pointed out above, there was no credible link provided. You will have to be the arbiter of how, why, or if you celebrate Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts – just don’t mention it to anyone.

Gingerbread House Day

Making a gingerbread house with your children is a time-honored Christmas tradition in many households in America. Elaborate or simple, big or small, nothing gets the little ones into the holiday spirit like designing and building their very own homemade gingerbread house. Whether you make your gingerbread from scratch, cheat a little and use graham crackers, or buy one of the Gingerbread House Kits available at your local market, it’s all about the fun of making them with your children.
The art of gingerbread house making seems to have originated in Germany, where gingerbread tends to be a harder consistency, and it is the German fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, by the Brothers Grimm, that introduces the witch with a house made of gingerbread. German settlers brought gingerbread to America, where the construction of Gingerbread Houses continues to be popular today.

National Ambrosia Day

Although the recipe varies slightly from family to family, Ambrosia is a delightful fruit salad tossed with whipped topping, miniature marshmallows, and grated coconut.  Recipes for Ambrosia began to appear in American cookbooks in the late 1700’s. A simple ambrosia salad from the late 1700’s was made with citrus fruit, coconut, and sugar. A genuine ambrosia salad should be served the same day it is prepared, though, because of modern-day food preservation techniques, most modern recipes suggest overnight refrigeration so the flavors can mesh. Other ingredients often added to modern-day Ambrosia Salad include pineapple, nuts, cherries, apples, bananas, whipped cream or yogurt. No matter what ingredients your family recipe includes, no potluck or special family gathering would be complete without at least one version of this classic dessert.
According to Greek mythology, ambrosia is known as the “Nectar of the Gods”; which is from where this delightful salad derives its name. I don’t know if I would classify ambrosia as God-like, but it certainly is a Heavenly treat. Also according to Greek mythology, ambrosia endows strength and immortality to those who eat it, so make an Ambrosia Salad today and share it with your family in celebration of National Ambrosia Day. Feel the Power!

Another Holiday

Below is another holiday celebrated on this date and worthy of mention.

Historical Events

Below is a list of significant historical events that occurred on this date: 

  • In 1787 – Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the United States Constitution. It was the first of the larger states to vote to ratify the document.
  • In 1792 – In Vienna, 22-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven received one of his first lessons in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn.
  • In 1800 – Washington, DC, was established as the capital of the United States.
  • In 1870 – Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker to be sworn into the United States House of Representatives.
  • In 1897 – The comic strip”The Katzenjammer Kids” (Hans and Fritz), by Rudolph Dirks, appeared in the New York Journal for the first time.
  • In 1899 – George Grant patented the wooden golf tee.
  • In 1900 – Charles M. Schwab formed the United States Steel Corporation.
  • In 1901 – The first radio signal to cross the Atlantic was picked up near St. John’s Newfoundland, by inventor Guglielmo Marconi.
  • In 1915 – The first all-metal aircraft, the German Junkers J1, made its first flight.
  • In 1917 – Father Edward Flanagan opened Boys Town in Nebraska. The farm village was for wayward boys. In 1979 it was opened to girls.
  • In 1925 – The “Motel Inn,” the first motel in the world, opened in San Luis Obispo, CA.
  • In 1937 – Japanese aircraft sank the United States gunboat “Panay” on China’s Yangtze River. Japan apologized for the attack and paid $2.2 million in reparations.
  • In 1946 – A United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate to be the site of the UN’s headquarters. The land was offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • In 1951 – The Department of the Navy announced that the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine would become the sixth ship to bear the name Nautilus.
  • In 1955 – British engineer Christopher Cockerell patented the first hovercraft.
  • In 1963 – Kenya declared its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • In 1969 – The Piazza Fontana bombing occurred. The bomb exploded at the building of the National Agrarian Bank, Milan, Italy, killing 17 people and injuring 88.
  • In 1975 – Sara Jane Moore pled guilty to a charge of trying to kill President Ford in San Francisco the previous September.
  • In 1983 – Car bombs were set off in front of the French and U.S. embassies in Kuwait City. Shiite extremists were responsible for the five deaths and 86 wounded. Total of five bombs went off in different locations.
  • In 1984 – In a telephone conversation with President Reagan, William J. Schroeder complained of a delay in his Social Security benefits. Schroeder received a check the following day.
  • In 1985 – In Gander, Newfoundland, 248 American soldiers, and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter plane crashed after takeoff.
  • In 1989 – Britain forcibly removed 51 Vietnamese from Hong Kong and returned them to their homeland.
  • In 1989 – Leona Helmsley was fined $7 million and sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion.
  • In 1994 – IBM stopped shipments of personal computers with Intel’s flawed Pentium chip.
  • In 1995 – The Senate stopped a constitutional amendment giving Congress authority to outlaw flag burning and other forms of desecration against the American flag.
  • In 1995 – Two French airmen shot down over Bosnia arrived home after almost four months of being held captive by the Bosnian Serbs.
  • In 1997 – Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the international terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” went on trial in Paris on charges of killing two French investigators and a Lebanese national. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
  • In 1997 – The Justice Department ordered Microsoft to sell its Internet browser separately from its Windows operating system to prevent it from building a monopoly of Web access programs.
  • In 1998 – The House Judiciary Committee rejected censure and approved the final article of impeachment against President Clinton. The case was submitted to the full House for a verdict.
  • In 2000 – The Supreme Court found that the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in the 2000 Presidential election was unconstitutional. Vice President Al Gore conceded the election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush the next day.
  • In 2000 – Timothy McVeigh, over the objections of his lawyers, abandoned his final round of appeals and asked that his execution be set within 120 days. McVeigh was convicted of the April 1995 truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, that killed 168 and injured 500.
  • In 2000 – The Texas Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to a record-breaking 10-year, $252 million contract. The contract amount broke all major league baseball records and all professional sports records.
  • In 2001 – The House of Representatives passed legislation that would implement minimum federal election standards and provide funding to help states modernize their voting systems.
  • In 2001 – Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison for being the leader of a Cuban spy ring. His conviction was based on his role in the infiltration of United States military bases and in the deaths of four Cuban-Americans whose planes were shot down five years before.
  • In 2001 – In Beverly Hills, CA, actress Winona Ryder was arrested at Saks Fifth Avenue for shoplifting and possessing pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. The numerous items of clothing and hair accessories were valued at $4,760.
  • In 2002 – North Korea announced that it would reactivate a nuclear power plant that United States officials believed was being used to develop weapons.
  • In 2009 –  The city of Houston, Texas elected Anise Parker to become the largest city in the United States to have an openly gay mayor

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

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