Groundhogs, Marmots, Sled Dogs, Ukuleles, Tater Tots, Heavenly Hash, and Kiwifruit

February 2, 2021 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Every day is a holiday. Therefore, there is at least one holiday for every day in the calendar year. All you have to do is choose to celebrate. With that said, today’s holidays are listed below — so let today’s festivities begin.

Good morning fans of weather prognosticating vermin. Today is Tuesday, February 2, 2021. It is the 33rd day of the year and 332 days remain.

Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Groundhog Day 

Groundhog Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. I’m sure that many of you are glued to your TV sets this morning anxiously awaiting the news from Punxsutawney, PA about the impending onset of Spring. According to folklore, if the groundhog emerges from hibernation and does not see his shadow, he will leave his burrow. This signifies that the end of winter is near. On the other hand, if the groundhog sees his shadow, he will retreat back into his burrow and winter will continue for at least another six weeks. [So, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow it means that there will be about 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, it means that spring will arrive in about a month and a half].
Early settlers brought the Groundhog Day tradition across the Atlantic, except in Europe, it was Hedgehog Day instead. As it turns out, there were no hedgehogs in America, so they had to settle on the lowly groundhog. To make matters worse, our native groundhogs apparently sleep later than the European hedgehogs, so when it comes time for the big day in Punxsutawney we have to nudge poor Phil to awaken him so he can tell us whether we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter. Statistically, Phil sees his shadow about 9 out of 10 times, but the accuracy rate of his predictions is only around 37 percent.
Personally, I place little veracity in the ability of burrowing vermin to accurately predict future climatological conditions. However, you can celebrate Groundhog Day in whatever manner you deem appropriate.

Marmot Day

Marmot Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. It is an Alaskan holiday established to celebrate marmots and Alaskan culture.
Although local festivals have been part and parcel of frontier life for centuries, Marmot Day didn’t become an official holiday until April 18, 2009, when the 26th Alaska State Legislature officially passed Senate Bill 58, designating February 2 for the date of celebration – replacing Groundhog Day with a celebration honoring Alaska’s marmots. From Juneau to Anchorage to Fairbanks, and all the cities in between, Marmot Day has become an Alaskan institution.
Author’s Note:
Marmot Day is also the name of a community celebration in Owosso, Michigan, occurring on July 25 (or on the following Monday if the 25th falls on a weekend. It is a celebration of all marmots, which include groundhogs, woodchucks, and ground squirrels. Marmot Day was first celebrated in Owosso in 2002 as a day celebrating all marmots. A luncheon is traditional as part of the celebration, marmot jokes are shared, among other festivities typical of party celebrations. In a sort of reverse Groundhog Day, at 12:45 PM, a marmot is positioned outside its hole, and if it goes into its hole, legend has it that summer is over; if it does not go into its hole, there will be one more month of summer.

Sled Dog Day

Well, this is certainly a date that celebrates animals – and Alaska. Sled Dog Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. As you can easily infer, it honors those rugged working canines of the North – sled dogs.
One of sled dogs’ most impressive achievements occurred in 1925. With diphtheria threatening the lives of people in Nome and the serum needed being 700 miles away in the town of Nenana, sled dogs came to the rescue. They carried the much-needed serum from Nenana to Nome. Hundreds of people may have died if not for the 20 dogsled teams that worked together to relay the serum to Nome. In the end, the serum reached Nome in only 6 days, saving the lives of many. Sled Dog Day commemorates the date the serum run arrived in Nome – as well as all other sled dog heroes, both known and unsung.
Author’s Note:
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race, held annually in Alaska, covers 1161 miles from Willow, AK (outside of Anchorage) to Nome. Teams are typically composed of 16 dogs who work in partnership with their musher. Sled dogs are typically Alaskan Malamutes, West Greenland Huskies, East Greenland Huskies, Mackenzie River Huskies, and Greenland Dogs, although a wide range of dogs has been used in sled races, from poodles to mixed breeds. Also, sled dogs have been a part of human society since the 10th-century and are an indelible part of history in both North American and European culture. 

Play Your Ukulele Day

Play Your Ukulele Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. It was first celebrated in 2011, and obviously, urges us to play our ukuleles today. Since its creation, this holiday is celebrated all around the world under the slogan “bring the world together, four strings at a time”.
The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument that was first popularized in Hawaii in the late 19th century. The instrument was a version of the machete, a four-stringed instrument native to the Madeira region of Portugal. It is thought that the ukulele was created by Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii. The ukulele found its way to mainland United States in the early 20th century, where it became an important instrument in the jazz music and dance scene during the 1920s. It fell out of favor as the instrument of choice for musicians until the early 2000s, when the proliferation of online music and instructional videos made the ukulele a popular musical instrument again.
If you already know how to play the ukulele celebrate Play Your Ukulele Day by entertaining your friends and family. If you don’t already know how to play the ukulele, what better day to make the commitment to learn.
Author’s Note:
The word ukulele in Hawaiian means jumping flea. It is thought that the instrument was so named because of the way the player’s fingers jumped around the strings. 

National Tater Tot Day

National Tater Tot Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. As inferred by this holiday’s name, it celebrates tater tots – a frozen potato side-dish product loved throughout America.
Tater tots were originally created from the remnants of potatoes used to make French fries. Two brothers, Nephi and Golden Grigg started dabbling in frozen food when they rented a plant on the Oregon and Idaho borders in 1934. They focused on making French fries, but the waste (which was fed to cattle) seemed excessive. Efforts to find ways to reduce the waste proved fruitless, so instead, they decided to try to create a new product from the excess. They chopped them up and added flour and seasoning, and then pushed them through an extruder and cut them to create the size we know today – and voila! – tater tots were created. They began selling them in stores in 1956. Not only did these scrapped and shredded bits form into tasty bites when blanched and fried, but they also fit into their product line, too. They froze well, could be baked, and were delicious. In 1952, they purchased the plant, forming the Oregon Frozen Foods Company which later became Ore-Ida. These days, the name “tater tots” is also generically applied to any similar brands of potato products. “Tater” is an abbreviation for potato, and “tots” refers to their small size. In some places, they are simply called “tots.”
Today, tater tots are not only a staple in many homes across the “fruited plain” – but they are also a staple in school lunchrooms everywhere. They are even becoming more popular in some fast-food restaurant chains.
You don’t need to be an agronomist to figure out how to celebrate National Tater Tot Day. Simply enjoy some tater tots as a side-dish today. To make them even more festive, try topping them with some cheese and/or chili.

Heavenly Hash Day 

When I think about “hash” my mind automatically fast-forwards to savory versions, such as corned beef hash or roast beef hash – which in my humble opinion are “Heavenly.” However, apparently, there are also sweet versions of “hash” as well.
Heavenly Hash Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. As you might suspect, it celebrates Heavenly Hash – but which Heavenly Hash? There are five different variations of Heavenly Hash of which I’m aware – but the common denominator seems to be marshmallows and nuts.
There is a fruit salad version that is popular in the south around Christmas. The recipe consists of red maraschino cherries, green grapes, pecans, and marshmallows folded into whipped cream, but you can use almost any fruits and nuts you want to “make it your own.
There are also “sweet treat” versions of Heavenly Hash in the form of candy/fudge, cookies, cake, and even ice cream – again having the common denominator of marshmallows and nuts…but with the addition of chocolate.
The “sweet treat” versions are as follows:

  • A sweet, fudgy chocolate candy, made of marshmallows, evaporated milk and chocolate chips (which are melted to form the candy base), chopped nuts, corn syrup, and sugar.
  • A cookie version, folding miniature marshmallows, chopped nuts, and coconut in a chocolate cookie dough.
  • A chocolate cake version similar to the cookie version, but in cake form.
  • An ice cream version: chocolate ice cream with a marshmallow swirl, chopped nuts, and chocolate chunks (or, layer the ingredients with chocolate ice cream, parfait-style).

So celebrate Heavenly Hash Day your own style, with one of the ideas above – or freestyle it to create something new.

California Kiwifruit Day 

California Kiwifruit Day is celebrated annually on February 2nd. Obviously, this holiday celebrates California kiwifruit – one of the world’s healthiest and tastiest fruits.
This time of year, decent oranges and bananas are hard to find, and a bit pricey – but kiwifruit is in season and plentiful.
A serving of two medium kiwifruits has about twice the vitamin C of oranges and more potassium than a banana. In fact, a recent study by Rutgers University found kiwi to be the most nutrient-dense of the 27 most popular fruits. Bite for bite, it provides the greatest concentration of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Kiwifruit’s also a good source of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, which is hard to find without fat.
Kiwifruit originated in China as Chinese gooseberries. In the mid-1800s, New Zealand began importing them because they discovered that they thrived in that climate. In the 1940s, New Zealand rebranded them as “kiwifruit” and began exporting them worldwide – and, the rest, as they say, is history. Shortly thereafter, California got into the act and began growing them as a cash crop. Today, there are more than 400 kiwifruit growers in California, and their kiwifruit production represents about one-third of all the fresh kiwifruit supplies in America.
You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to ascertain how to celebrate California Kiwifruit Day – simply enjoy some California kiwifruit! Just make sure that your kiwifruit is actually grown in California.

Below are some other holidays celebrated on this date that are worthy of mention.

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