John Chapman was born September 26th, 1774. He began building a network of apple orchards in New York and Pennsylvania, eventually moving west to Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Some say he was a champion of man, very religious and a friend to every animal he met. Others say he built a network of orchards that he came back and claimed later taking land away from farmers he had helped to plant orchards. There is probably some element of truth to both legends but either way, he was responsible for an apple boom in America in the early 1800’s that is well remembered over 200 years later.
How to celebrate – Have an apple. Read about Johnny Appleseed. Wear a frying pan for a hat.
So I keep telling this story and some people say it’s right, and some say it’s wrong but I am sticking with it. The day began as a mistake by a German News TV company, N24, in 2005. Via a translation mistake they took “May the force be with you” as “May the 4th be with you” and hence “Stars War Day” was created on May the 4th. Right or not it’s a good story and at least sort of makes sense. Or at least just as much sense as “May the force be with you” because isn’t the source already something with you whether you want it or not?
How to celebrate – Watch Star Wars. Visit Germany. Learn to become a translator.
Kids love to hear stories, adults love to hear stories… even some animals love to hear stories. I think it may have to do with the fact we are actually spending time with someone (Or something) rather than being off doing our own thing. This is one tradition that has been handed down over the years that machines can really replace. Yes, machines can tell a story but it really needs the human element to be appreciated. If the story has pictures, all the better. Remember those ghost stories you use to tell out by a campfire? Well, many of them have been turned into movies and television shows. Some get turned into novels and others are just retold and retold until the children they are being old to have them memorized. Now the US and he UK have a difference of opinion when today is to be celebrated. We here in the US celebrate in April while the UK chooses October for their day. Exactly 6 months from each other. I wonder if there is a story to be told there.
How to celebrate – Tell someone a story today. Research stories that you believe your family members will be interested in. Learn to use different voices for the different characters.
Jan. 16th Appreciate A Dragon Day
Today was created by Donita K. Paul who believed we did not celebrate our dragons enough. Never mind that they never really existed. Knights fought them to save maidens, magical ones appeared in little boys dreams and then Puff, they were gone!
It’s sort of funny that so many dragons live in our lore but not in our real lives. They truly are under-appreciated.
How to celebrate – Read a book about dragons. Fight that make-believe dragon in your dreams. Invent your own dragon.
Well, we all know about apples. All the varieties, sizes and uses of them. I guess Adam and Eve got us kicked off but no one is better known for their apple adventures than Johnny Appleseed!
Now Johnny Appleseed was a real character, not a made up comic book one. His real name was John Chapman and he was born on September 26th, 1774. His legend was not as big as the Lone Ranger or the Incredible Hulk but at least he was real. In his lifetime he spread the planting of apple tress across America starting an industry that continues to grow today.
Now a little of what he did may be somewhat shady. Apparently he planted the trees for free but later came back to claim them after they had grown. Since the owners could not possibly return his trees, he ended up acquiring their land. I am not sure any of that is true, there are always haters out there, but it does sort of make you wonder.
And there are those who celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day on March 11th, the day it is believed he died in 1845. I guess it sort of depends on whether you see John Chapman as a good guy or a bad guy, If you like him, you probably celebrate his birthday today, September 26th. If you are not too fond of what he did, then maybe you celebrate March 11th.
Either way, Johnny Appleseed will long be remembered. He did start something, good or bad, letting us enjoy apples every day if we want.
How to celebrate – Have an apple today. Read more about John Chapman. Plant your own apple tree.
National Tell a Fairy Tale Day – February 26th
Fairy Tales are created from myths or legends. Most think they were created for children but they weren’t. In fact some are rather gruesome in their original form, cutting off toes to fit in shoes, chopping off the heads of frogs and many included gnomes, mermaids and giants.
The Grimm Brothers, perhaps the most famous fairy tale authors hated children and wanted to scare them by their tales, “Household Tales”.
How to celebrate – Join the Association of Fairy Tales. Check into Count Margarete von Waldeck, the Legend Snow White was created from. Host a Fairy Tale Murder Mystery party.
Whenever somebody tells me that Santa isn’t really I remind them that he was. No, not exactly as we portray him today, but he was real. Like nearly every other legend in history, we tend to make them bigger than they really were and we have sort of done the same thing with St. Nick.
St. Nicholas started out Priest in Greece several hundred years after Jesus was placed on the cross. He eventually became a Bishop in the Catholic Church. Of course a great deal of a Bishops wardrobe is lined with red so red became a Christmas color. (The other color is black, not exactly festive) He did hand out presents to people during his life, children were among his favorite.
Legend has it that he is responsible for the Christmas stocking as well. One day he was throwing out coins to the poor and some ended up in a child’s shoe or stocking (There is some question about which it was) Since then, children would hang stocking in hopes that St, Nicholas would fill them up.
St. Nicholas died in either 345 or 352 A.D. but his tradition,and legend, continued on. In the 1800’s he became Santa Claus in the eyes of Americans. Originally St. Nicholas was pretty skinny too, we Americans fattened him up.
So the next time someone tells you Santa isn’t real, tell them the truth. You can leave out the part about the North Pole and flying through the sky on Christmas Eve, that really isn’t important and who knows, now that Nicholas is a Saint, maybe he really can fly!
How to celebrate – Let some legends live on. Study the real history of Saint Nicholas. Let the magic of Christmas lead you to a more joyful and meaningful holiday.
They say any day you find money laying on the ground is a lucky day. I suppose it is, however, to be truly lucky you need to find a penny, face up and by tradition, you must not ever spend it.
Of course it is probably a myth like all the other things that are supposed to bring you luck, like a rabbit’s foot or a four leaf clover. It wasn’t particularly lucky for the rabbit and the clover won’t last to long once you’ve picked it.
But penny won’t buy you too much either so you might as well save it. If you find the right penny it could be worth a small fortune too. Pennies that are double stamped or have something unusual about them can be worth a lot of money. That would make you very, very lucky.
But then, those coins are usually only worth a lot if they have never been touched. (circulated) Naturally if you found it on the ground, dropped by someone else it has been touched twice. Once by them and once by you, at least. So that makes you unlucky since it’s not worth as much as it could have been.
Or maybe it will be a Canadian penny on tails and even bring you bad luck. (I have no idea whether that is true or not.) So my suggestion is just put the penny in your pocket and consider yourself a little richer than you were before you found it.
How to celebrate – Walk around with your head down to see if you can find a lucky penny. Take care not to walk into something though, that wouldn’t be too lucky. Just rely on yourself for all the luck you need and don’t worry about finding a penny.
It seems only appropriate now that baseball season is back in full swing that we should celebrate one of the men who made the game what it is – Babe Ruth. Baseball has been popular since the Civil War when soldiers use to play their version of the game when in camp (this included hitting the runner with the ball, often knocking them out), but its popularity hit its zenith during Ruth’s days at “The House That Ruth Built” – Yankee Stadium.
This date is remembered as the next to last time Ruth visited the stadium was on April 27th, 1947. He would die of throat cancer soon after and a legend would pass from the game leaving behind fans that still speak of him today.
For years he would hold the home run record at 60, which is odd for a man that started his career as a pitcher. Since then, many have passed his record, namely Roger Maris (also a Yankee), with 61. No one will ever forget his famous gesture of pointing to where he would hit a home run for a young boy who he had visited in the hospital. He proceeded to hit it exactly where he aimed. There seems to be some controversy as to whether this actually happened or not but what harm is there in believing it?
“The Bambino” helped make baseball what it is today and should always be remembered. He wasn’t perfect but he was a hero to so many.
How to celebrate – Visit Yankee Stadium and enjoy a baseball game today. Cheer on your favorite baseball team today. Go to a little league game and cheer the children, even if you don’t know any of them.
It got very cold and boring in the north for the brave men, and sometimes women, that worked as lumberjacks. There was little available to entertain these hard working woodsmen. They frequently sat around their campfires making up stories to tell one another. And so, Paul Bunyan was born, perhaps dating back as far as 1837 during the Papineau Rebellion.
Though the legend of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe had been told for years around the logging camps, he appears to be first mentioned to the public in the Duluth News Tribune in 1904. William P. Laughead (1882-1958) is the first recorded author who wrote down these stories as promotional materials for the Red River Lumber Company in 1916.
As a baby, it is said it took 5 storks to carry Paul to his parents (I found no reference to his parents). When he clapped and laughed as a youth he would break windows in neighboring communities. His heritage was French-Canadian American.
As a young man he is said to have gone for a walk with Babe, dragging his huge axe behind him, forming the Grand Canyon. It was also reported that he created the Great Lakes when Babe needed a water bowl.
In 1958, Walt Disney Studios created an animated short musical to celebrate Paul Bunyan. His popularity spread quickly.
To give you some idea how big Paul Bunyan was said to be look at the photo above. Focus in on the adults standing at the end of Paul’s axe and Babe’s front left leg. In the minds of those who created him, sitting around a campfire in the frozen north, he had to have been even bigger, if you consider cutting the Grand Canyon with his axe.
As with so many legends, they are created larger than life because those dreaming them up need heroes bigger than themselves to make the world seem right.
How to celebrate: Watch the Disney video about Paul Bunyan. Try and come up with a few places you think Paul could have created. Make up a legend of your own.