Presidents, Hippos, Singles, St. Skeletor, Butterscotch, and Gumdrops

February 15, 2021 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

According to the National Day Calendar, there are more than 1500 national days every year – meaning that there is at least one holiday for every day in the calendar year. All you have to do is choose which holiday(s) you want to celebrate.
With that said, today’s holidays are listed below — so let today’s festivities begin.

Good morning 3-day-weekend warriors. Today is Monday, February 15, 2021. Today is the 46th day of the year, and 319 days remain.

President’s Day

Presidents Day is celebrated annually on the third Monday in February. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved the observance of a number of federal holidays to Mondays. During the debate on the bill, it was proposed to have George Washington’s birthday be renamed Presidents Day to honor the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – but Congress rejected the name change and that part of the bill never passed. However, after the bill went into effect in 1971, Presidents Day became the commonly accepted name and today, President’s Day has evolved into an occasion to commemorate all the Presidents – not just George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Beginning in the 1880s, the birthday of George Washington was celebrated as a federal holiday and until the 1960s, America celebrated the birthdays of two of its most historic figures, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, on their respective birthdays in February – Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. George Washington’s birthday was an actual federal holiday, but Lincoln’s birthday was not – although it was celebrated in a majority of states on his birthdate.
To celebrate President’s Day, reflect on all of the Presidents in your lifetime. Who was the best? Who was the worst? I like Ike and Ronald Reagan. Thinking back, JFK wasn’t bad either.

National Hippo Day

National Hippo Day is celebrated annually on February 15th. You can easily surmise that it celebrates some of the world’s largest, and most dangerous, herbivorous land mammals – hippopotamuses [or hippopotami] – either is correct. Experts believe that the modern-day hippo evolved in Africa around 8 million years ago.
Hippopotamus literally means “water horse” or “river horse” in Ancient Greek. While they bear a resemblance to horses and pigs, their closest relatives are actually whales, porpoises, and dolphins. They are the third-largest land mammal, only being surpassed by elephants and white rhinoceroses. On average, females weigh 3,000 pounds and males weigh 3,500 to 9,920 pounds. They range from 10.8 to 16.5 feet in length and stand about 5.2 feet in height at their shoulders.
Hippos are native to Sub-Saharan Africa. They spend about sixteen hours of their day in the water – despite the fact that they can neither swim nor float. The reason they spend so much time in the water is to prevent their skin from being damaged by the sun. However, they also secrete a red mucous known as “blood sweat” that protects them from the sun as well.
They spend most of their time wading in shallower water on the shoreline. When they are in deeper water, they need to push off the bottom to propel themselves up in order to stay above the waterline. They can stay underneath the water for about five minutes and can even sleep underneath the water and automatically resurface without having to wake up. At dusk, they come out of the water and feed on grass and may travel over five miles to graze. They eat 80 to 150 pounds of grass in a night. Water is also where hippos both reproduce and give birth. They can have one calf every two years, which weighs 50 – 100 pounds at birth. They become fully mature between the ages of five and seven, and their life expectancy is about 36 years. Hippos often travel together in groups of 10 to 30, but may also travel in groups as large as 200.
Hippos are among the most aggressive animals in the world and, in spite of their bulk, can run at speeds of almost 20 miles per hour. Human attacks are not unheard of and they are seen by some as being the most deadly large land animal to humans. They kill about 500 people each year in Africa.
However, humans are a threat to them as well. Hippos are poached for their meat and their canine teeth which are made of ivory. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified them as vulnerable – but not endangered. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, their population was declining due to habitat loss and poaching, but their numbers have now stabilized because of increased law enforcement. There are now between 125,000 and 148,000 wild hippos in the wild. These days only two types remain – the bog/standard hippopotamus and the smaller pygmy hippopotamus, but a few other now-extinct species could be found across Europe and in Madagascar as little as 1,000 years ago.
Believe it or not, in the 20th century, attempts were made to introduce hippos into the United States. The “American Hippo Bill” of 1910 proposed introducing hippo ranching in Louisiana, not only to help control a particular plant that was taking over the bayous but also to address the American meat crisis. However, the bill didn’t quite make it through Congress, and so hippos remained in their native Africa — until the 1980s, that is. That is when infamous drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar (illegally) imported four hippos and took them to his estate in Columbia. Since his arrest and the abandonment of his estate, their numbers have increased dramatically – perhaps to as many as 100. While the hippo has become a symbol of the area, their inability to be managed continues to cause significant issues for the local authorities there.
To celebrate National Hippo Day, learn more about these bulky, not so benevolent, beasts.

Singles Awareness Day  

In the wake of Valentine’s Day comes Singles Awareness Day. Celebrated annually on February 15th, this holiday acknowledges the fact that there is nothing wrong with being single. It is not a holiday about self-pity but rather a chance to announce to the world that you are single and happy to be so. It is believed to have been started by Mississippi State University student, Dustin Barnes.
There is no reason to bemoan that you are independent and unattached. On the contrary, there are quite a few benefits to being unattached. Singles can come and go as they please with no regard to a partner’s schedule, wants, or needs. Singles also tend to be more self-reliant. There are more people in relationships than you might think who wish they were in your shoes, with nobody to answer to but themselves.
Singles Awareness Day is a day to get together and do exactly what those with a “significant other” did yesterday. If you are “between relationships”, celebrate this holiday and enjoy the fact that you are unattached. Get together with other singles, or go out and meet some new people.  Who knows, you might be celebrating Valentine’s Day next year with a special someone you meet tonight.

St. Skeletor’s Day

St. Skeletor’s Day is celebrated annually on February 15th. It is another holiday for single people, but with a different twist. St. Skeletor was created in 1998 by British comedian Richard Herring Skeletor and is the antithesis of St. Valentine. St. Skeletor is dedicated to the destruction of love, cheesy greeting cards, and people with “significant others.”
Valentine’s Day is for lovers but many people don’t have anyone special to send them cards, flowers, or take them out – and they resent it. St. Skeletor’s Day was created with them in mind.
To celebrate St. Skeletor’s Day, do not buy any greeting cards today, no gifts, do nothing special.

National I Want Butterscotch Day

National I Want Butterscotch Day is observed annually on the day after Valentine’s Day. It draws attention to the people who, for some unfathomable reason, dislike chocolate and wish they received some other type of candy on Valentine’s Day.
It is thought that butterscotch was created by Samuel Parkinson in 1817 in Doncaster, England. He went on to supply it to the British royal family, and the rest, as they say, is history. An early recipe for making butterscotch confections appears in an 1848 issue of Liverpool Mercury, where butter, sugar, and treacle are boiled together. [It is unknown what connection, if any, butterscotch has to Scotland].
Butterscotch is a confection made of butter and brown sugar, but may also refer to other food items with a similar flavor, made with similar ingredients. When made into a confection, other ingredients like lemon juice, cream, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and water are added to the butter and brown sugar, and it is boiled to between 270°F to 289°F, which is the “soft crack” stage. It is similar to caramel, but caramel usually uses white sugar and does not have butter. It is also similar to toffee, but toffee is boiled longer so it reaches a higher temperature, and also does not usually have butter. The butterscotch flavor is also ( which is used in butterscotch topping or sauce for sundaes and some cakes). The flavor is also used in fudge, brownies, icings, pudding, and cookies.
To celebrate National I Want Butterscotch Day, simply have some butterscotch – whether or not you like chocolate

Gumdrop Day

Gumdrop Day is celebrated annually on February 15th. As you might suspect, it honors the popular, gelatin-based candy – gumdrops.
Although disputed by some food experts, credit for the modern gumdrop goes to chemist and candy manufacturer Percy S. Truesdell. According to articles published after his death in 1948, he was the man responsible for taking what was once a hard, poorly flavored glob of sugar and turning it into the smooth, chewy delight we enjoy today. While at the University of Ohio, Truesdell altered the consistency of the candy by experimenting with the amount of starch used.
Gumdrops have been a favorite candy for many decades. They are colorful, tasty, chewy candies made with gelatin and then coated with sugar. They come in a variety of flavors and can either be fruity or spicy. Besides enjoying them by the handful, there are many other ways to use gumdrops:

  • In cookies
  • Decorate cakes or cupcakes, or the ever-popular Gingerbread House.
  • In popcorn cake
  • For crafts
  • For gifts

Nowadays, the shaped “Gummi” candies, which are the same gelatin base, are the most popular form of gumdrop type of candy. Since gumdrops are probably all that you can afford after straining your budget on Valentine’s Day yesterday, celebrate Gumdrop Day by treating yourself to a few today. Be sure to have an ample supply of toothpicks close at hand if you choose the popular ‘gummy bear’ type. If you’re the “Suzie Homemaker” type, you can also make gumdrops yourself. All you need vegetable oil, sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, powdered fruit pectin, baking soda, and food coloring. You can search online for recipes.

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

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