Pennies, Turtles, Gastrointestinal Diseases, and Taffy

May 23, 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 holidays 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 fans of charmed, copper-coated zinc coinage. Today is Sunday, May 23, 2021. Today is the 143rd day of the year, and 222 days remain.

Lucky Penny Day 

Lucky Penny Day is celebrated annually on May 23rd. You don’t need to be living a ‘charmed life’ to ascertain that this holiday was created for people who believe that inanimate objects such as coins can influence one’s life.
No one knows exactly when pennies came to be seen as harbingers of good fortune is unknown, however, this is thought to have been the case for hundreds of years. Superstition says that unless the ‘heads’ side is facing up, picking up a penny isn’t ‘lucky’. Since I’m not superstitious, I pick up all pennies – strictly in an effort to combat litter of course.
The penny and all other coinage date back to the Ancient Roman Empire. Today’s penny was modeled on the ancient Roman denarius. When the Ancient Romans invaded the part of Europe known today as England, they brought their monetary system with them. Even when the Romans departed the region several hundred years later, the idea remained, and later English coins were made to be similar to those used by the ancient Romans. The penny was officially introduced into England in 757 A.D., and they traveled to America with the first settlers.
The penny, or 1¢ coin, has existed since 1793 as a United States coin, as a result of the Coinage Act of 1792; signed into law by President George Washington. Before that, each colony issued its own coinage. The composition of the U.S. penny has varied throughout its history. From 1793 until 1837, it was 100% copper, as copper was plentiful at the time. From 1837 until 1857, it was made of bronze (95% copper and 5% tin and zinc). From 1857 until 1864, the penny was 88% copper and 12% nickel, which gave the coin a whitish patina. From 1864 until 1962, the penny was again made of bronze; with the exception of 1943, when the penny was composed of zinc-coated steel to conserve copper for the war effort. (Note: a limited number of pennies in 1943 were made from copper; making them the rarest of pennies and highly valued by collectors). In 1962, the composition was changed again, removing the small amount of tin, and making the composition of the penny 95% copper and 5% zinc. In 1982, the penny’s composition changed one last time to its current composition of  97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. As of 2020, each penny costs 1.76¢ to make, making their manufacture economically unfeasible, and there were about 8.17 billion pennies were minted last year.
Personally, I am among the growing number of people who believe that we should stop minting pennies and that the penny should be taken out of circulation, and used only for accounting purposes. There, now you have my 2¢ worth about pennies. Let’s petition our senseless government officials to pass laws that make America a ‘centsless’ society. A penny for your thoughts about discontinuing pennies.
I can offer no guidance regarding how [or if] you should celebrate Lucky Penny Day. How many pennies do you have right now? Are any of them ‘lucky’ pennies?

World Turtle Day 

World Turtle Day was created in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue and is celebrated annually on May 23rd. As you can easily surmise, this holiday’s purpose is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive.
Turtles and tortoises are among the world’s oldest creatures and have been around for more than 200 million years. These ancient creatures evolved before mammals, birds, snakes, or even lizards. Biologists believe that turtles have managed to outlive many other species due to the unique protection provided by their shells.
Turtles come in all different shapes and sizes and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. The smallest turtle is the Bog Turtle, which usually measures just four inches in length, and the largest turtle is the Leathery Turtle, which can weigh up to 1500 pounds.
Some larger species of turtles can live for centuries under the right conditions. Isolated species, such as Galapagos turtles, have no natural predators and scientists believe that some of them are 400+ years old. However, even some smaller species of turtles can live for 50 to 100 years.
Many species are now endangered due to loss of habitat and pollution. You can celebrate World Turtle Day by learning more about turtles and tortoises today and/or by donating to a local turtle rescue organization.

World Crohn’s and Colitis Day 

World Crohn’s and Colitis Day was created in 2007 by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and is celebrated annually on May 23rd. You don’t need to have digestive tract issues to conclude that this holiday seeks to raise awareness about these two gastrointestinal diseases. The symptoms of these two illnesses are quite similar, but the areas affected in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) are different.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus.
Ulcerative Colitis is also a disease of the gastrointestinal tract. However, Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, also called the large intestine.
While having either of these two diseases is no cause for celebration, you can still observe World Crohn’s and Colitis Day by learning more about both of them. A simple Google search of either or both of them will yield all the information you need. If you think you have symptoms of either one, consult your gastroenterologist immediately.

National Taffy Day 

National Taffy Day is celebrated annually on May 23rd. As you might suspect, this holiday celebrates taffy – a world-renowned chewy, sweet confection.
Taffy is a sweet treat made from boiling together sugar, corn syrup, water, butter, with flavorings and colorings. The mixture is then pulled and stretched and folded back over itself, and then re-stretched again until it is fluffy. The pulling and stretching of taffy aerate it and this process incorporates many tiny air bubbles throughout the candy giving it a smooth, chewy consistency. Saltwater taffy, which originated in Atlantic City, is the most common taffy. It is called such because it originally contained a small amount of saltwater in the mixture.
Today, there are myriad flavors of taffy available. The most common taffy flavors are fruit-based, but minty flavors are also quite common.
To celebrate National Taffy Day, simply enjoy some taffy today.
Author’s Note:
My mother used to make taffy using vinegar. I know it sounds yucky but it was delicious. I remember buttering my hands and “pulling the taffy” with my brothers after it was cool enough to handle – but before it became a hard granular lump of vinegar-flavored sugar.

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

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