December 22nd – Forefather’s Day

December 22, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning American history buffs. Today is Friday, December 22, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Forefather’s Day

Forefather’s Day commemorates the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock on December 21st in 1620. Evidently, there was an error in adjusting the date to the Gregorian calendar, and the anniversary of their landing was erroneously established on December 22 instead of the actual landing date of December 21. This holiday was established in 1769 by the Old Colony Club and is celebrated annually on December 22nd – except when it falls on a Sunday, in which case, it is celebrated on the following Monday.
The pilgrims left for the New World to escape religious persecution. After a late fall start, the Mayflower set sail from England and landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts just before Christmas. They originally set sail from England in two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. However, the Speedwell leaked so badly, that they were forced to return to England, Ultimately, they all crammed into the Mayflower and set sail from Plymouth, England. It was much later than they had planned. Strong fall west winds also delayed their arrival in the New World. Finally, on December 21, 1620, they landed.
Celebrated mainly in New England, Forefather’s Day was first celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1769. A group of descendants gathered to have a feast in honor of the pilgrims. This group shared a meal together, which included many native American delicacies, including sauquetash. At the time, sauquetash was a meal served as a broth containing a variety of vegetables and large pieces of fowl and meat which were sliced at the table. It is the forerunner to our modern-day succotash – though somewhere along the line, the fowl and meat were omitted and it became more of a vegetable side dish. 

Abilities Day

Abilities Day is the celebration of disabled people and their caregivers. I could find no information regarding the origins of this holiday, but from what I can glean from the text of the article, you are supposed to wear a white ribbon on this date to show your support for people with disabilities. Other ways of celebrating Abilities Day are putting white ribbons on Christmas trees or putting white ribbons around a wreath.
According to the article, about fifteen million people and a number of organizations celebrate Abilities Day annually, mostly at Independent Living Centers. About 60 percent of hospitals in the United States will celebrate this holiday as well.

National Date Nut Bread Day:

Date nut bread is the perfect treat for the holiday season. It is delicious, healthy, and easy to make.
The first date nut bread recipe appeared in print in 1939, but dates are one of the world’s oldest fruits. Date seeds have been found in archaeology excavations of sub-tropical areas around the world. Historians believe that the ancient Moors brought the date to Spain; who later introduced it to America. Dates are notorious for their high sugar content, so it is no surprise that most date nut bread recipes do not call for any additional sweeteners.
To celebrate National Date Nut Bread Day, try your hand at baking a homemade loaf of this festive treat. Enjoy it plain, or if you prefer, top it off with a little cream cheese frosting.

National Cookie Exchange Day

With Christmas just a few days away, most of us probably have already baked our Christmas cookies — but what good are cookies if we don’t get the chance to share them and their recipes? National Cookie Exchange Day was created so that cookies and recipes could be shared and swapped at home and office parties. The day was created by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, “the Queen of Holidays” in 2015.
Christmas cookies date back to Europe in the Middle Ages, when biscuits with ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, and dried fruit were made. By the seventeenth century, different types of Christmas biscuits were popular in different European countries. The Dutch brought Christmas cookies to the United States in the seventeenth century. Many cookie cutters were being imported from Germany by the end of the nineteenth century, which led to the proliferation of cookie recipes in cookbooks. Christmas cookies made with cookie cutters often depict candy canes, angels, stars, Santa, and Christmas trees.
If you want to host a cookie exchange event, here are some guidelines to follow: According to Jace-Shoemaker Galloway, the creator of this holiday, a few rules should be followed when planning for and celebrating National Cookie Exchange Day:

  • A guest list should be made, and invitations sent out.
  • Cookies should be homemade, and the recipes should be brought to the party.
  • Packaging materials should be brought by guests so that cookies can be shared with other guests.
  • Bake your own cookies if you haven’t yet done so; use an old cherished family recipe or try a new one.
  • During the party: play holiday music, have something to drink available, and encourage guests to wear ugly Christmas sweaters to add to the festivity of the occasion.
  • Have a sampling, swapping, and cookie packaging area at the party.
  • When guests arrive, have them put folding cards that list their name and the name of the cookie in front of each cookie platter, and have them place a stack of their recipes next to their cookies as well.

Historical Events

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

  • In 1775 – The first Continental naval fleet was organized in America under the command of Ezek Hopkins.
  • In 1807 – Congress passed the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.
  • In 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln from Georgia. The message read, “I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah.”
  • In 1877 – The “American Bicycling Journal” went on sale for the first time.
  • In 1882 – The first Christmas tree to be illuminated by electric lights was displayed. Edward H. Johnson, an associate of inventor Thomas Edison and the Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company, became the first person to decorate a Christmas tree with electric lights at his home in New York City.
  • In 1891 – The first asteroid using astrophotography was discovered. Asteroid 323 Brucia was discovered by Max Wolf and was named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patron of astronomy.
  • In 1894 – The United States Golf Association was formed in New York City.
  • In 1894 – French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.
  • In 1910 – U.S. Postal savings stamps were issued for the first time. They were discontinued in 1914.
  • In 1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opened. The 1.5-mile-long tunnel passes under the Hudson River and connects New Jersey to New York City.
  • In 1939 – Gloria Jacobs became the first girl to hold a world pistol record when she shot 299 out of a possible 300 points. She was 17 years old at the time.
  • In 1943 – Sporting goods manufacturers received permission to use synthetic rubber for the core of baseballs.
  • In 1941 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington D.C. for a wartime conference with President Franklin Roosevelt.
  • In 1956 – Colo, the first gorilla to be born in captivity, was born at the Columbus, Ohio zoo.
  • In 1956 – The last British and French forces evacuated Egypt.
  • In 1961 – James Davis became the first United States soldier to die in Vietnam, while U.S. involvement was still limited to the provision of military advisers.
  • In 1984 – New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot four black youths on a Manhattan subway. Goetz claimed they were about to rob him.
  • In 1989 – Romania’s hard-line Communist ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown in a popular uprising. The Communist President was ousted after widespread demonstrations in the country. Ceausescu and his wife Elena tried to flee the country but were captured, tried and executed by a firing squad. The Romanian Revolution was the only violent overthrow of a communist government in the 1980’s.
  • In 1990 – Lech Walesa was sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president.
  • In 1991 – The body of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage murdered by his captors, was found along a highway in Lebanon.
  • In 1996 – A car bomb exploded in Belfast, injuring a known IRA supporter. Police suspected that Protestant loyalists were responsible for the attack.
  • In 1998 – A unit of RJR Nabisco pled guilty to attempting to smuggle cigarettes into Canada.
  • In 2001 – Thirty Afghans, including two women, were sworn in as part of the new interim government in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai was the head of the post-Taliban government.
  • In 2010 – President Obama signed the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that governed the recruitment and service of LGBTQ members in the United States military. The policy had been put in place by President Clinton in 1994.

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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