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February 2, 2017

Today we celebrate:

California Kiwifruit Day - Two Kiwifruits have the about the same amount of Vitamin C as one medium orange. I didn’t know that. They are green with little seeds inside. In my experience, you will have either a love or hate relationship with them.

Self Renewal Day - Today is a day to focus on  yourself. Do some activities that help lower your stress levels and bring yourself back to….yourself. You can add some time for deep breathing exercises where you focus only on your breath for a few minutes. Spend some time outside in a peaceful area breathing the cool air and listening to the quiet around you. Just a couple of suggestions, I’m sure you can come up with more if you think about it.

Candelmas – a Christian holiday that celebrates three events: the presentation of the child Jesus, Jesus' first entry into the temple, and the purification of the Virgin Mary.

Crepe Day or La Chandeleur – In France, crepes are traditionally served on Candelmas. While the French are making the crepes, they tell fortunes. You are supposed to hold a coin in your writing hand and the crepe pan in your other hand, flip the crepe into the air and catch it back in the pan. If you can do this, your family will prosper for the rest of that year. I'm not sure how many tries you get. I would probably need a lot.

Groundhog Day – On this day, the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, is woken up from his hibernation and forced to come outside into the cold. If it is cloudy and the groundhog cannot see its' shadow, then spring will come early this year. If it is sunny, the groundhog will see its' shadow and go back to bed and winter will continue for six more frigid weeks. In certain areas, like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the day is celebrated with food, speeches and possibly some plays.

Marmot Day – Alaska doesn't have many groundhogs so in 2009, the 26th Alaska State Legislature voted to have Marmot Day replace Groundhog Day. Marmot, in case you don't know, is the name of the larger family group that groundhogs are part of. There are actually 14 or 15 species of animals that fall into this family all over the world, so all of them are a part of this celebration. The one most commonly found in Alaska is the Alaska Marmot also known as Brower's Marmot or Brooks Range Marmot.

Groundhog Job Shadow Day – This is the 10th Annual day for young people to get an up close and personal look at various jobs so that they can see which ones would suit them better. So they shadow various professionals who sign up for the honor of being a mentor. I'm not sure why the word Groundhog is part of the name, but I am certain that shadowing groundhogs is not one of the options today.

Hedgehog Day – According to legend, hedgehogs were the original groundhogs. The Romans would watch the hedgehogs on February 2nd at night. If a hedgehog came out and saw his shadow in the moonlight, he would go back in and hibernate some more and winter was not easing up anytime soon. When people came to America, they switched to the groundhog because hedgehogs were hard to find in this country.

Imbolc – This is a Pagan holiday, which celebrates the first signs of spring. I don't see any first signs of spring yet, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough. It is the day when they celebrate the passing of winter and make way for the arrival of spring. The Fire Festival that usually occurs in Marsden has been cancelled and is going to be an every other year event because of the huge expense. So you can look forward to that happening next year.

Sled Dog Day – Sled dogs have been used in the upper regions of North America since the 10th century. This day is particularly important because it was on this day in 1925 that Gunnar Kaasen and his sled dog team led by Balto, arrived in Nome, Alaska with the medicine to save the town from the Diptheria epidemic. Of course, we all know about Balto, but it should be noted that Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog, Togo, had the longest and most dangerous leg of the relay. Balto just had the last leg, which does not in any way diminish his accomplishment but it should remind us that there were 20 men and about 150 sled dogs involved in that 674 mile relay to save a city and they all deserve to be celebrated.

World Play Your Ukulele Day – I'm not sure if this is today or May 2nd. I've seen both days talked about on the web. But if you know how to play one, go ahead and celebrate twice.

World Wetlands Day – On this day in 1971, the Ramsar Convention was signed. This raised public awareness of wetland values and benefits. The theme for this year's celebration is “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction” since the wetlands are very important to reducing the impact of natural disasters such as floods and droughts on the environment. Well managed wetlands absorb water in times of excess rainfall and release it in times of drought.

Heavenly Hash Day – This is a day to have some Heavenly Hash for dessert. Ingredients for this heavenly dish vary widely from region to region. It could have ice cream, brownies, cookies, rice, marshmallows, fruit or whipped cream or any combination of those items and others. Make your own favorite recipe and enjoy.

Ayn Rand Day – Born on this day in 1905, Ms. Rand was an American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter. Her most famous novels were, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. She came to America from her homeland of Russia when she was 21 years old. She was a big influence among Libertarians.

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