New Years’, Medals of Honor, Maryland, Tolkien, Pecans, Waffles, and Lobster Newburg

March 25, 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 the festivities begin. 

Good morning New Year celebrants. Today is Thursday, March 25, 2021. Today is the 84th day of the year, and 281 days remain.

(Old) New Years Day

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are all recovering nicely from your New Years’ Eve festivities last night. What? Wait? You didn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve last night? Oh, you must be using that new-fangled Gregorian Calendar then. (Old) New Years’ Day is celebrated annually on March 25th. You don’t need to be a ‘whiz kid’ to determine that this holiday celebrates the old Julian Calendar and most other calendars before that.
Although the Gregorian calendar was created in 1582, many countries chose to ignore it for several hundred years. Instead, they used “Annunciation Style dating,” which recognized the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) as New Year’s Day. England, and all of its dominions (including that upstart colony to the west,  America), didn’t adopt the modern-day Gregorian calendar until 1751. Russia held out even longer, until 1918. In fact, people in parts of Russia, Switzerland, Macedonia, Georgia ( the country, not the state), Belarus, and Serbia still celebrate the Old New Year.
If you choose to celebrate (Old) New Years’ Day, just do it in the same way you celebrated New Years’ Day on January 1st.

National Medal of Honor Day 

National Medal of Honor Day is celebrated annually on March 25th. You needn’t be a decorated soldier to conclude that this holiday commemorates those servicemen and servicewomen who have received the nation’s highest military honor. Recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. On this date in 1863, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presented the first Medals of Honor to six of the surviving members of Andrew’s Raiders. They were the first Medals of Honor ever presented. In 1990, the United States Congress designated March 25th of each year as National Medal of Honor Day to commemorate the awarding of the first Medals of Honor.
Due to the nature of this medal, it is most commonly presented posthumously, however, currently, there is still 103 living Medal of Honor recipients. According to the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, there have been 3,526 Medals of Honor awarded to 3,507 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen since the decoration’s creation – with over 40% awarded for actions during the American Civil War. The oldest recipient of the Medal of Honor was Robert D. Maxwell, aged 96, whereas the youngest is Kyle Carpenter, aged 27. Two medal holders are still on active duty in the U.S. military, War in Afghanistan soldier William D. Swenson of the U.S. Army and Edward Byers of the U.S. Navy. Among the recipients are former Senator Bob Kerrey and three retired generals: Patrick Henry Brady and Robert F. Foley of the Army and James E. Livingston of the Marine Corps.
To celebrate National Medal of Honor Day, thank every serviceman/servicewoman you encounter today for their service.

Maryland Day 

Maryland Day is celebrated annually on March 25th. You don’t need an advanced degree in American History to deduce that this holiday celebrates one of the 13 original colonies and the 7th state admitted to the Union – Maryland. It commemorates the landing of Lord Baltimore and the first colonists on St Clement’s Island (in Maryland) in 1634. The Maryland colonists held a special ceremony to give thanks for their safe arrival on March 25, 1634. The celebration to commemorate Maryland Day began in Maryland schools in 1903, and it was made an official state holiday in 1916, but it is not a day off for most workers or students.
The Maryland colonists came to America aboard two ships, the Ark and the Dove. Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, founded the colony under a charter that British King Charles I granted on June 20, 1632. They wanted to establish a colony where Roman Catholics, as well as everyone else, could practice their religion. The king gave the colony to the Calvert family as a gift, on the condition that the king was paid an annual rent of two arrowheads and that the colony must be named after his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. For that reason, it was called “Mary-Land” or Maryland, as it is known today.
If you can trace your lineage back to Maryland, then Maryland Day is a legal holiday, so celebrate it in whatever manner you deem appropriate.

Tolkien Reading Day

Tolkien Reading Day is celebrated worldwide on March 25th. You don’t need to be a published author to ascertain that this holiday is a favorite among fans of the world-renowned author. J.R.R. Tolkien (Jan. 3, 1892 – Sept. 2, 1973). This holiday was created in 2003 by the Tolkien Society to encourage the reading of J.R.R. Tolkien works. This date marks neither the anniversary of Mr. Tolkien’s birth nor the anniversary of his death. The Tolkien Society chose this date because of a date mentioned in a passage from Lord of the Rings; March 25th,  the Downfall of Sauron.
Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor. He was best known as the author of the classic works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion as well as Roverandom and Farmer Giles of Ham.
To celebrate Tolkien Reading Day, simply begin reading some of his published works today.

Pecan Day

Pecan Day is celebrated annually on March 25th. You don’t need to be ‘nutty’ to infer that this holiday celebrates the planting (by George Washington) of pecan trees (some of which still survive) at Mount Vernon, his family home, on this date in 1775. The trees were a gift to Washington from Thomas Jefferson, who had planted a few pecan trees from the southern United States at Monticello, VA.
The pecan, the only nut tree native to North America, is sometimes called “America’s own nut.” First cultivated by Native Americans, pecans have been transplanted to other continents but have failed to achieve the same success, wide use, and popularity outside of the United States.
To celebrate Pecan Day, simply enjoy some of these delicious nuts today – as a stand-alone snack, or mixed into some cookies or cake, or, of course, made into a pie.
Author’s Note:
There is another pecan-related holiday which I will cover next month – National Pecan Day, celebrated April 14 as part of National Pecan Month.
Addendum:
I grew up at the dead-end of Fairhaven Drive outside Bakersfield. We had 2 pecan trees on our property. One tree was a ‘soft shell’ pecan tree, [the oblong ones most commonly sold commercially]. The other tree was a ‘hard shell’ pecan tree, which bears smaller rounder pecans. However, both taste about the same, though. We used to spend fall evenings sitting around the table shelling pecans drying over our gas heater since harvest, diligently trying to keep as many pecans halves as possible intact so we could give them as Christmas presents to family and a few friends. Mom would pack the pecans in coffee cans wrapped in Christmas paper, then a few days before Christmas, we would deliver them. We were friends with the Bennetts, who owned the little green “honey house” that used to be on the corner of Henry Lane and Rosedale Highway, about 2 blocks west of Fruitvale Elementary. The Bennetts were beekeepers and showed their appreciation for the pecans by giving us a couple of quarts of honey – which we enjoyed immensely. Win! Win! Sadly, both the house I grew up in on Fairhaven Drive, and the Bennett’s “honey house” are gone now.

International Waffle Day (aka Vaffeldagen)

International Waffle Day Is celebrated annually on March 25th. It began in Sweden as Våffeldagen – which also happens to coincide with the similar-sounding “vårfrudagen” – the Feast of the Annunciation, known in Sweden as “Our Lady’s Day”. This date historically marked the beginning of Spring in Sweden and Europe. It became a custom for Swedish families to celebrate the two events by making waffles on this day.
Waffles date back to the 1300s in Greece. The Greeks cooked flat cakes between two metal pans. At the time, they topped them with cheeses and herbs. Waffles are most commonly eaten as breakfast or as a snack but are also an occasional dinner meal for some people.
Waffles are delicious, so there is no reason to ‘waffle’ on your decision to celebrate International Waffle Day – but you can feel free to ‘waffle’ on any other decisions you might have to make today.
Author’s Note: There is another waffle-related holiday which I will cover later this year on August 24th – National Waffle Day, which celebrates the patenting of the waffle iron in 1869.

National Lobster Newburg Day 

National Lobster Newburg Day is celebrated annually on March 25th. You don’t need to be an expert in crustaceans to glean that this holiday celebrates one of the world’s most-prized seafood dishes – Lobster Newburg.
Lobster Newberg is an American seafood dish made from lobster, butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs, and Cayenne pepper. It is traditionally served over buttered toast. It was invented at New York culinary institution Delmonico’s during the height of its heyday in the late 1800s.
Lobster Newburg was initially named Lobster a la Wenburg after Ben Wenburg, a wealthy sea captain who created the dish and frequented Delmonico’s quite often. However, when a dispute arose between Wenburg and the Management of Delmonico’s, the restaurant made the decision to rename the dish lobster Newburg (they anagrammed the first three letters of Weinburg’s name to make it “Newburg”).
Lobsters were once so plentiful that they were considered the “cockroaches” of the sea. They were often used by rich people to feed their servants. What a difference a couple of centuries makes. Today, lobsters are one of the most costly types of seafood.
To celebrate National Lobster Newburg Day, simply enjoy some of this delicious, creamy dish today. The easiest way is to just find a seafood restaurant in your area that has Lobster Newburg on the menu. However, if you’re feeling culinarily adventurous, you could make some at home. It seems fairly easy, as this recipe indicates. If lobster isn’t in your budget, then this recipe for “Poor Man’s Lobster Newburg” might be a more affordable alternative.

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

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