- March 16th 2012
March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day so we’ve collected 17 fun facts about the celebration. See how many of these fun facts you already know:
- St Patrick’s Day is one of the world’s biggest saint’s day celebrations, celebrated in 200 countries by about 80 million people. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)
- March 17 is the feast day of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. He’s believed to have died on that date in 461 AD.
- Green was not the color originally associated with St Patrick; it was blue. The switch happened in the 19th century.
- Boston, USA holds the honor of holding the first St Patrick’s Day parade in 1737.
- Some 23% of Boston’s population is of Irish descent – the largest ratio in America.
- New York is said to have the world’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parade and celebration, with 150,000 in the parade and an audience of about 3 million.
- Montreal has had an annual St Patrick’s Day parade since 1824 – the longest running such parade in Canada.
- Since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green in honor of the day.
- Shamrocks symbolize the day; St Patrick used them to explain how the father, son and holy spirit were connected. The are also Ireland’s national flower.
- In Ireland, people wear shamrocks on jackets and caps. Children may also wear badges in Ireland’s national colors of green, white and orange.
- St Patrick never chased snakes out of Ireland. The snakes of legend are actually pagans.
- Ironically, St Patrick wasn’t Irish, but of Scottish descent. He might even have been born in Wales.
- St Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, but was sold into slavery in Ireland. He took the name Patrick when he became a priest.
- If you have an Irish parent or grandparent, you are entitled to Irish citizenship.
- Among Americans, more than 9 times Ireland’s population say they have Irish ancestry – that’s 34.5 million people.
- Corned beef and cabbage are widely eaten in America on the day; that’s not the case in Ireland.
- In the US, St Patrick’s Day is a major card-giving occasion, with more than 8 million cards exchanged.
- February 27th 2012
After Christmas, the January observances and a bumper crop of February celebrations, March looks like it might be a bit quieter. But while there are no Leap Year traditions or Mardi Gras festivities to keep us on our toes, there’s still plenty to look forward to in March. Here’s a snapshot of observances during March.
Month Long March Celebrations
Let’s begin with a few of the month long observances. For a start March is National Women’s History Month, the result of a project started in 1980 to raise awareness of multicultural women’s role in history. This year’s theme is Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment. Find out more on the NWHP site.
Other month long March observances include National Nutrition Month, an annual education and information campaign from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Red Cross Month, which reminds us of the work of this historic organization. March is also Music in our Schools Month. Read more »
- February 21st 2012
Which is the biggest and best carnival in the world? If you’re heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras today, then you might have made your decision already, but there are quite a few other contenders. There are literally dozens of other carnivals on this date and at other times of the year and they all have their claim to fame.
Festival Pig has a top 10 list and interestingly, Mardi Gras only comes in at number 10. London’s Notting Hill is in at No. 5, while Rio is at number 3, beaten by Olinda in Brazil and the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, which featured in our last roundup of carnival celebrations around the world.
A 2006 article from Forbes lists some European contenders among the list, including carnivals in Binche, Belgium; Cologne, Germany and Venice, Italy. Unsurprisingly, a Trinidad vacations website claims that although that country’s carnival isn’t the biggest, it’s the most influential, because more countries around the world are using Trinidad-style carnival as their model. I guess the only way to find out is to to and see for yourself.
Krewe Central adds a few more carnivals to the list, including carnivals in Brabant and Limburg in the Netherlands which feature papier-mache heads and lots of beer; carnival in Slovenia, with a range of different masks; and Croatia’s carnival, which dates back to the early 1980s.
While you’re making your mind up and planning your carnival world tour, you’ll need this Mardi Gras survival guide.
And you might also be interested in some facts about last year’s Mardi Gras, prepared by Fast Company.
- February 20th 2012
Happy President’s Day! Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend. Last week we shared some fun facts about President’s Day, but to mark the day itself we’ve rounded up some presidential infographics to share with you.
First of all, from MyMove.com, an infographic on presidential moves and other home related facts, including the size of presidential homes, the birthplaces of presidents and where they moved to – fascinating stuff! Click on the screenshot for access to the full infographic.
Next, How to Become a Lawyer has an infographic on presidential lawyers. Looks like the legal profession is a good career move if you want to run the country.
Third, Love Infographics has data on the comparative length of inaugural addresses for all our former presidents.
Still want more? Check out this blast from the past – a post from Social Media Today last President’s Day showing changes in presidential language. And TimePlots has a visual history of the American Presidency, rich in data, which costs just under $30 for a 24×36 inch print. Fast Company provides some interesting snapshots of the data.
- February 14th 2012
Happy Valentine’s Day! We’ve been going big on romance this year, with our assessment of your Valentine’s travel style, a look at great Valentine’s Day proposal spots, and fun facts about this day. We’ve even laid on a sweetheart of an off airport parking deal. But what about those who take a less traditional approach to this romantic celebration? Today we look at the wackier side of Valentine’s Day.
My Furry Valentine
It’s hard to believe but man’s best friend, along with cats and all manner of pets, really clean up on Valentine’s Day. One estimate says that 3% of pet owners buy gifts for their companions, while an ABC report suggests that we will spend about $367 million on pet friendly Valentine’s gifts.
Is It Love?
We think of this day as a celebration for lovers, but many of us choose to celebrate ourselves. In 2008 it was estimated that some 8 million Americans sent themselves Valentine’s Day gifts, a way for them to feel special on this romantic day.