November 22, 2012 12:44 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Happy Thanksgiving friends! I hope you're all stuffing your faces right now. I know I am! Before you carve up that turkey, here are some fun facts about that tasty sucker.
- Turkeys can drown if they look up while it's raining.
- Oddly enough, the best time to see a turkey is during a light rain or a warm clear day.
- Turkeys have excellent vision and hearing...not so good in the smelling department.
- They can run up to 20 mph and fly between 50-55 mph.
- Males "gobble" to attract females, but turkeys also "purr," "yelp," and "kee-kee."
- Males and females look different but you can also tell them apart by their poop. Males produce spiral-shaped poop and females’ poop is shaped like the letter J.
(Inspired by Aristotle's Thanksgiving on the Web and Smithsonian.com)
October 31, 2011 12:36 pm · Posted by Lauren G
It's time to get dressed up and go trick or treating! That's pretty much what Halloween has become. But why all the jack-o-lanterns and slutty costumes? Some people say the holiday dates all the way back to Ancient Rome, but it's more commonly linked to a Celtic festival named Samuin, which translates to "summer's end." There are some mentions of supernatural encounters in Scottish Folklore, but there isn't much evidence to support that. The name "Halloween" comes from "All-Hallows-Even" "Even" means "evening" so the original Halloween was the night before All Hallows Day which is also referred to as All Saints' Day.
Now instead of carving a pumpking, how about trying a turnip? Believe it or not, jack-o-lanterns originated from the tradition of carving turnips into lanterns to remember the souls held in purgatory. Pumpkins were much more available in North America than turnips, and they were bigger and easier to carve. Carving pumpkins wasn't associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century. Originally, it was associated with harvest time in general.
(Inspired by Wikipedia)
April 21, 2011 11:38 am · Posted by Lauren G
I can't wait for the Easter candy to go on sale! I love Peeps and chocolate covered marshmallows, and there's always so much candy leftover from the holiday. But why so much candy in the first place? Just to fill a bunch of Easter baskets and hide them in the yard?
The Easter bunny was brought to the US by German settlers in the 18th century, but the first use of Easter eggs was recorded as far back as the 15th century. According to tradition, children made a nest out of bonnets or caps in a secluded area of their house. If they were good, the "Oster Hawse" would lay colorful eggs in the nest. I'm not really sure where the idea that bunnies lay eggs came from, but building a nest in a secluded area became the tradition of hiding Easter baskets.
March 17, 2011 4:45 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Since my last fun fact was about St. Valentine, it would only be fitting to do a little research on St. Patrick too. Apparently he wasn't even Irish...he was born in Britain! When he was 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. Supposedly, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. In Britain, he quickly studied to be a priest. He later returned to Ireland as a bishop, and legend has it that he used the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. Orginially, the color blue was associated with St. Patrick, but it eventually evolved to green due to his use of shamrocks.
In 1903, Saint Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland. Later, a law was introduced that required that pubs and bars be closed on March 17th, after drinking got out of hand, but that was repealed in the 1970s. So, while you're out enjoying your green beer, I'll be eating sweet St. Patrick's Day Potato from See's Candies. These hand shaped pieces of divinity are loaded with California-grown walnuts, coated with milk chocolate, and rolled in a special blend of cinnamon and cocoa powder. Things that are unnaturally colored green kind of freak me out. Anyone remember Heinz green ketchup?
February 14, 2011 11:15 am · Posted by Lauren G
Happy Valentine's Day! The first commercial Valentine wasn't created until the 1840s, but how did Valentine's Day originate? According to one legend, it was illegal for young men to get married in third century Rome because single men supposedly made better soldiers. Valentine was a priest who performed secret marriages. After he was caught, he apparently sent the first "valentine" to a girl while he was in prison.
Valentine's Day is celebrated in mid-February most likely to commemorate Valentine's death, but others believe that it's centered around Lupercalia, an ancient fertility festival. To start the festival, an order of Roman priests went to a cave and sacrificed a goat. Boys would then slice the goat hide into strips, dip them in the sacrificial blood, and run around the streets slapping them on women to increase their fertility. So this Valentine's Day, you can either go with a box of chocolates or some blood soaked goat hide. Totally your call, but I'd go with the goat.