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2013 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Calendar day; December 31, 2013

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New Year’s Eve
December 31, 2013 in the World

New Year’s Eve or Old Year’s Night is on 31 December, the final day of the Gregorian year, and the day before New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve is a separate observance from the observance of New Year’s Day. In modern Western practice, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with parties and social gatherings spanning the transition of the year at midnight.

Many cultures use fireworks and other forms of noise making in part of the celebration. New Year’s Eve is observed universally on 31 December according to the year numbering of the Common Era, or A.D. Anno Domini convention, even in non-Christian nations. New Year’s Eve is also the seventh day of Christmas in western Christianity. Traditional and religious celebrations for e.g. the Chinese, Muslim and Jewish new year, which occur on different dates, are still celebrated separately in the cultures that observe them, on the appropriate dates each year.

While many people go to parties to celebrate New Year’s Eve, according to a recent survey, 62% stay at home. Seven percent do not celebrate New Year’s Eve at all, though a proportion of those may well tune in to the live tv broadcasts from the comfort of their homes.

Where is New Year’s Eve 2014?
Worldwide

First Night 2013
December 31, 2013 in North America

First Night is observed on December 31, 2013. First Night is a North American artistic and cultural celebration on New Year’s Eve, taking place from afternoon until midnight. Some cities have all their events during the celebration outside, but some cities have events that are hosted indoors by organizations in the city, such as churches and theaters. Since it happens on New Year’s Eve, First Night celebrations are actually held on the last night of the old year. First Night celebrates a community’s local culture, often featuring music, dance, comedy, art, fireworks and, in some cities, ice sculptures and parades.

Where is First Night?
Nationwide North America

La Guiannee 2013
December 31, 2013 in the USA

La Guiannee takes place on December 31, 2013. La Guiannée or La Guignolée is a French medieval New Year’s Eve tradition that is still practiced in two towns in the United States. The tradition related to poor people being able to ask the more wealthy for food and drink at the celebrations of winter. Customarily a troupe of traveling male singers went from door to door to entertain and ring in the new year. Hosts were expected to give them food and drink. Other sources say the young men were seeking donations for Twelfth Night. Begun as a way for the poor to be given gratuities by the rich, it also became a community social event for young men to visit with the families of young women.

Where is La Guiannee?
Nationwide USA

Make Up Your Mind Day
December 31, 2013 in the World

Make Up Your Mind Day is a very decisive day. All during the year, you’ve put on hold, many issues and decisions. Eventually, they need to be resolved and decided upon. Well, today is the day. It’s not a day to procrastinate. It’s not a day to put off making a decision. If you are going to make up your mind this year, you’d better do it real soon. And, when you think about it, isn’t it a great idea to clean the slate in advance of the new year!?

You may want to begin, by making up your mind whether you will make New Year’s resolutions. Then, make up your mind just what those resolutions will be.

Where is Make Up Your Mind Day?
Worldwide

Historical Events:

765 – Coffin of Ho-tse Shen-hui interred in a stupa built in China

1564 – Willem van Orange demands freedom of conscience/religion

1600 – British East India Company chartered

1695 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1744 – James Bradley announces discovery of Earth’s nutation motion (wobble)

1776 – Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70 cents a day for carpenters, 42 cents for tailors

1783 – Import of African slaves banned by all of the Northern states

1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa as new capital of Canada

1879 – Edison gives 1st public demonstration of his incandescent lamp

1904 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square, then known as Longacre Square, in New York, New York.

1910 – US tobacco industry produced 9 billion cigarettes in 1910

1924 – Hubble announces existence of distant galaxies

1930 – US tobacco industry produced 123 billion cigarettes in 1930

1934 – Helen Richey becomes 1st woman to pilot an airmail transport

1945 – Ratification of UN Charter completed

1955 – The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1966 – Monkee’s “I’m a Believer” hits #1 & stays there for 7 weeks

1970 – Paul McCartney files a lawsuit to disolve the Beatles

1974 – Popular Electronics displays Altair 8800 computer

1990 – Sci-Fi Channel on cable TV begins transmitting

1991 – USSR, last day of existence

Calendar day; December 30, 2013

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Bicarbonate of Soda Day
December 30, 2013 in the USA

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day is celebrated on December 30, 2013. Sodium bicarbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda.

It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs. It is among the food additives encoded by European Union, identified by the initials E 500. Since it has long been known and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda.

In colloquial usage, its name is shortened to sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, or simply bicarb. The word saleratus, from Latin sal æratus meaning aerated salt, was widely used in the 19th century for both sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. The term has now fallen out of common usage.

Where is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day?
Nationwide USA

Historical Events:

1317 – Pontifical degree “Sancta Romania” against spiritualists

1703 – Tokyo hit by Earthquake; about 37,000 die

1809 – Wearing masks at balls forbidden in Boston

1817 – 1st coffee planted in Hawaii (Kona)

1835 – After gold discovery in Ga, Cherokees forced to move across Miss R

1853 – A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an Iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London.

1892 – Dr Miles V Lynk, physician, publishes 1st Black medical journal

1903 – Electric arc lamp sets fire to Iroquois theater in Chicago leaving 602 dead in one of the deadliest blazes in American history

1907 – Abraham Mills’ commission declares Abner Doubleday invented baseball

1911 – Sun Yat-sen elected 1st pres of Republic of China

1924 – Edwin Hubble announces existence of other galactic systems

1938 – Electronic television system patented (V K Zworykin)

1953 – The first ever NTSC color television sets go on sale for about USD at $1,175 each from RCA.

1959 – George Washington, 1st ballistic missile sub commissioned

1972 – Pres Nixon halts bombing of North Vietnam & announces peace talks

1973 – 1st picture of a comet from space (Comet Kohoutek-Skylab)

1985 – IBM-PC DOS Version 3.2 released

1988 – Canadian Senate OK’s free trade pact; with US

Sometimes …

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things don’t go as planned, but oops!

Sometimes, they turn out better! 🙂

I’m not the best to just go with the flow type of person, but I have learned to become less rigid and go with the flow, and woot! Sometimes that pays off in other ways. Not always what one can quantify, but in other ways. I don’t know, its a little difficult to explain in words. I’m just having a good moment, and it’s all because I’m going with the flow.

Anywho, I’m on call and at work. I had planned on having the car today after dropping hubs off at work, that didn’t happen. But I have placed an order for dinner from Jimmy John’s, and omg- they have delivered as I am typing this. I really thought the commercial was joking. But dudes that was kinda freaky fast. LOL 😀

So now to watch my dvd’s and play around with January’s calendar.

Calendar day; December 29, 2013

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National Pepper Pot Day
December 29, 2013 in the USA

Today is Pepper Pot Day! Pepper pot is a thick spicy soup first created on December 29, 1777. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army experienced an exceptionally harsh winter in Valley Forge. The soldiers were low on food because the farmers in the area sold all their supplies to the British Army for cash rather than the weak currency that the Continental soldiers could offer.

Christopher Ludwick, the baker general of the Continental Army, gathered whatever food he could find to feed the frail soldiers. The chef was able to find scraps of tripe, meat, and some peppercorn. He mixed the ingredients together with some other seasonings and created the hot spicy soup we now know as pepper pot. It became known as “the soup that won the war.”

To celebrate this historic dish, try making your own pepper pot soup today! It’s the perfect way to warm up on a chilly December day.

Where is Pepper Pot Day?
Nationwide USA

Historical Events:

1170 – Assassination inside Canterbury Cathedral of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

1782 – 1st nautical almanac in US published by Samuel Stearns, Boston

1786 – French Revolution: The Assembly of Notables is convoked

1835 – The Treaty of New Echota is signed, ceding all the lands of the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River to the United States.

1837 – Canadian militia destroy Caroline, a US steamboat docked at Buffalo

1837 – Steam-powered threshing machine patented, Winthrop, Maine

1852 – Emma Snodgrass arrested in Boston for wearing pants

1860 – The first British seagoing iron-clad warship, HMS Warrior is launched.

1862 – Bowling ball invented

1885 – Gottlieb Daimler patents 1st bike (Germany)

1890 – US 7th Cavalry massacre 200+ captive Sioux at Wounded Knee, SD

1891 – Edison patents “transmission of signals electrically” (radio)

1908 – Patent granted for a 4-wheel automobile brake, Clintonville, Wisc

1922 – Revised Netherlands Law proclaims suffrage

1948 – US State Dept announces work on placing objects into Earth orbit

1949 – 1st UHF television station operating regular basis (Bridgeport Ct)

1952 – 1st transistorized hearing aid offered for sale (Elmsford NY)

1967 – Star Trek’s “Trouble With Tribbles” 1st airs

1972 – Life magazine ceases publication

1997 – Hong Kong begins slaughtering all its chickens to prevent bird flu

<3 coffee =^.^=

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Do you love Coffee? We all love coffee its the number one drink in the world!

Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills — from the humorous “It will stunt your growth” to the not-so-humorous claim that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all. So which is it — good or bad? The best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.

Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time. However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And another study found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Newer studies have also shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants. But this doesn’t mean you should disregard the old maxim “Everything in moderation.” Although coffee may not be very harmful, other beverages such as milk and juice contain nutrients that coffee does not. Also, keep in mind that coffee accompaniments such as cream and sugar add fat and calories to your diet. Finally, heavy caffeine use — on the order of four to seven cups of coffee a day — can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness, particularly in susceptible individuals.

Coffee Contains Powerful Antioxidants; Antioxidants are compounds found in many plant-based foods, such as pomegranates, blueberries, and strawberries, that help the body fight damage from molecules that can harm the body’s cellular structures. These antioxidants help prevent diseases and slow the aging process of cells, which help them perform better within the body.

Results from long-term studies are showing that coffee may not increase the risk for high blood pressure over time, as previously thought. Study findings for other cardiovascular effects are a mixed bag.

Coffee might have anti-cancer properties. Last year, researchers found that coffee drinkers were 50% less likely to get liver cancer than nondrinkers. A few studies have found ties to lower rates of colon, breast, and rectal cancers. Two substances in coffee — kahweol and cafestol — raise cholesterol levels. Paper filters capture these substances, but that doesn’t help the many people who now drink non-filtered coffee drinks, such as lattes. Researchers have also found a link between cholesterol increases and decaffeinated coffee, possibly because of the type of bean used to make certain decaffeinated coffees.

Heavy coffee drinkers may be half as likely to get diabetes as light drinkers or nondrinkers. Coffee may contain chemicals that lower blood sugar. A coffee habit may also increase your resting metabolism rate, which could help keep diabetes at bay.Parkinson’s disease. Coffee seems to protect men, but not women, against Parkinson’s disease. One possible explanation for the sex difference may be that estrogen and caffeine need the same enzymes to be metabolized, and estrogen captures those enzymes.

So with these Health Benefits known, Coffee is actually good for you. Go ahead and go grab a cup of coffee and be sure to thank Ishtar, the Goddess of Coffee, who gave coffee beans to man and taught him to cultivate it.
Ishtar means Star of Heaven, and coffee was once known as the drink of the Gods. We Still see Ishtar today as she is the Woman Goddess on the Starbucks label.

source: sodahead

And for fun and some creativity, check out your zodiac sign and coffee here: http://creativemusingsbymchel.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/3-coffee/
***Mine is pretty accurate, except for the Berry Hibiscus Refresher-but now I want to try it. 😀 And the picture used is the Goddess Ishtar. 😀

Calendar day; December 28, 2013

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Els Enfarinats
December 28, 2013 in Alicante

Els Enfarinats is celebrated on December 28, 2013. The annual festival of Els Enfarinats takes place in the town of Ibi in Alicante, Spain, as part of celebrations related to the Day of the Innocents. In the day long festival, participants known as the Els Enfarinats dress in mock military dress and stage a mock coup d’état. Meanwhile, the Casats i Fadrins, accompanied by a band of street musicians called the Rondalla, known by the name of Sonet, Xirimita and Tabal, tour the city. At 8am, the Els Enfarinats take the city under the slogan “New Justice”, and at 9am the Race for Mayor will take place in which it will be decided who is to be Mayor of the Els Enfarinats. Then, the act of L’Aixavegó is carried out in the Plaça de l’Església (Church Square), where the Els Enfarinats reside. Here, it is decided that those who do not pay the fine will go to jail. At midday, a collection called the Arreplegada dels Enfarinats takes place through the streets of the old quarter and of the city centre of Ibi, terminating in the Sant Joaquim Sanctuary. They exercise their authority under a blaze of fireworks, flour bombs and eggs. At five o’clock in the afternoon the authority of Els Enfarinats comes to an end giving way to the celebration of the traditional Dansà.

Where is Els Enfarinats?
Nationwide Alicante

Card Playing Day
December 28, 2013 in the World

Card Playing Day is the perfect time to spend an hour or so playing cards with family and friends. And, it arrives at just the perfect time of year…….. a few days after Christmas. The holiday hustle and bustle is over. The kids are getting bored of their new toys. It’s time to turn to card games for a calmer, relaxing, and more slow-paced form of fun and entertainment.

Enter the world of card games. Cards have survived for centuries as a form of “play” and entertainment. Sure, there are a few serious gambling types among us, who view cards a serious “business”. To most of us, card games are just ….games.

Spend the day playing cards with family and friends. If you have kids, make sure to play some age appropriate card games with them. You’ll find its quality time with the kids that will create many warm memories.

Happy Card Playing Day. Now “go fish”, “hit me”, “double”, and “I’ll raise you two!”.

Where is Card Playing Day?
Worldwide

Innocents’ Day
December 28, 2013 in the World

Innocents’ Day is observed on December 28, 2013. The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical narrative of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman appointed King of the Jews. The number of infants killed is not stated, however the Holy Innocents have been claimed as the first Christian martyrs. The commemoration of the massacre of these “Holy Innocents” – considered by some Christians as the first martyrs for Christ – first appears as a feast of the western church in the Leonine Sacramentary, dating from about 485. Today, the date of Holy Innocents’ Day, also called The Innocents’ Day or Childermas or Children’s Mass, varies. The 27th of December is the date for West Syrians and East Syrians. 28th December is the date in the Church of England, the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church (in which, except on Sunday, violet vestments were worn before 1961, instead of red, the normal liturgical colour for celebrating martyrs). The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the feast on 29 December.

Where is Innocents’ Day?
Worldwide

Historical Events:

1065 – Westminister Abbey consecrated in London

1836 – Spain recognizes independence of Mexico

1849 – M Jolly-Bellin discovers dry-cleaning, he accidentally upset lamp containing turpentine & oil on his clothing & sees cleaning effect

1860 – Harriet Tubman arrives in Auburn NY, on her last mission to free slaves, evading capture for 8 years on the Underground Railroad
(1978-02-01 – Harriet Tubman is 1st black woman honored on a US postage stamp)

1867 – United States claims Midway Island, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits.

1869 – William Finley Semple of Mount Vernon, Ohio, patents chewing gum

1904 – 1st daily wireless weather forecasts published (London)

1943 – All inhabitants of Kalmukkie deported, about 70,000 killed

1950 – Chinese troops cross 38th Parallel, into South Korea

1956 – Miss Frances [Horwich], last Ding Dong School on NBC-TV

1981 – The first American test-tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, is born in Norfolk, Virginia.

1984 – TV soap “Edge of Night” ends 28 year run

Calendar day; December 27, 2013

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Fruitcake Day
December 27, 2013 in the USA

National Fruitcake Day is celebrated on December 27, 2013. Fruitcake is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and soaked in spirits. A cake that simply has fruit in it as an ingredient can also be colloquially called a fruit cake. Fruit cakes are often served in celebration of weddings and Christmas. Given their rich nature, fruit cake is most often consumed on its own, as opposed to with condiments (such as butter or cream).

Typical American fruit cakes are rich in fruit and nuts. In the United States, the fruit cake has been a ridiculed dessert. Some attribute the beginning of this trend with The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson. He would joke that there really is only one fruitcake in the world, passed from family to family. Commercial fruit cakes are often sold from catalogs by charities as a fund raiser.

Where is National Fruitcake Day?
Nationwide USA

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
December 27, 2013 in the World

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day is observed on December 27, 2013. The snowflake is often a traditional seasonal image or motif used around the Christmas period, especially in Europe and the United States. It represents the traditional White Christmas. During this period it is quite popular to make paper snowflakes by folding a piece of paper several times, cutting out a pattern with scissors and then unfolding it.

A snowflake is either a single ice crystal or an aggregation of ice crystals which falls through the Earth’s atmosphere. They begin as snow crystals which develop when microscopic supercooled cloud droplets freeze. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through differing temperature and humidity regimes, such that individual snowflakes are nearly unique in structure.

Where is Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day?
Worldwide

Historical Events:

1437 – Albrecht II von Habsburg becomes king of Bohemia

1512 – The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regards to native Indians in the New World.

1825 – 1st public railway using steam locomotive completed in England between Stockton and Darlington

1871 – World’s 1st cat show (Crystal Palace, London)

1900 – Carrie Nation’s 1st public smashing of a bar (Carey Hotel, Wichita KS)

1918 – The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins.

1932 – Radio City Music Hall opens (NYC)

1934 – Shah of Persia declares Persia now Iran

1937 – Mae West performs Adam & Eve skit that gets her banned from NBC radio

1942 – 1st Japanese women camp (Ambarawa) goes into use

1945 – International Monetary Fund established-World Bank founded

1945 – The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations.

1947 – 1st “Howdy Doody Show” (Puppet Playhouse), telecast on NBC

1978 – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

1979 – Soviet troops invade Afghanistan, Pres Hafizullah Amin overthrown

2001 – The People’s Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

Year of the Horse

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Charma24Which just happens to be my sign from the Chinese calendar!

yearOfTheHorse2

Horse is one of the Chinese favorite animals. Horse provided a good and quick transportation for people before automobiles. Horse can give people a ride to their destination. Therefore, horse is not only a symbol of traveling, but also a sign of speedy success.

Horses like to compete with others. They like the pursuit for their freedom, passion and leadership. Therefore, people will have a busy schedule for their goal in the year of Horse. Horse hour of Chinese Horoscopes is from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. Sunshine generates lots of heat during Horse hour. Therefore, horse is connected to heat, hot, fire and red. Horses like the social activities, because horses like to show off themselves. Since horse is a social animal and red is also connected to love, horse is treated as a Romantic Star in the Chinese Horoscope.

The Chinese wouldn’t let the horse do the farm work. Instead, all the farmland jobs go to the ox. This is because Chinese have higher expectations on horses. Horses can help humans to win the battle. Sitting on the Horse back implies that the person is from noble or higher ranking family. So people born in the Horse year usually care about their dressing, outlook and speech.

Horse is intelligent animal. Horses need to be trained to become useful to human. Human can make Horse famous. Without a human’s guide, Horse is just a wild animal. It doesn’t know where to go. There is no destination in its life.

In Chinese Five Element theory, Horse is in the Fire group. Horse month is in the middle of summer. Horse is the strongest Fire animal in 12 zodiacs. 2014 is year of Wooden Horse. Wood can help Fire to burn. So Fire can last longer. When Horse meets Tiger and Dog, then they will form even stronger Fire. Too much Fire implies the hot temper and no patience. If the element of Fire is favorable to the person, then the person should have a good fortune in 2014. If Fire is unfavorable to the person, then 2014 will bring big trouble to the person.

The Year of Green Horse= Because Wood (tree) is connected to the color of Green. Therefore, 2014 is the Year of Green Wood Horse, and 2014 is a Wooden Fire Horse year. Fire is the child element of Wood. Mother Wood always helps child Fire to burn stronger. Wood does the giving without taking. Eventually, Wood will burn into dust. That implies 2014 will bring some kind of opportunities first, then those opportunities will disappear. Therefore, when we get help or advice, we need to learn from our sources as much as possible. We need to prepare to do the job by ourselves when help is not available. If there is no Fire or little Fire in the birth chart, Fire of 2014 will become very helpful. This is because Wood (Tree) needs water, earth and sunshine to grow taller and stronger. When lucky element Wood gains support from Fire, then stronger Wood will bring you better luck in 2014.
source: Chinese fortune calendar

A Charming New Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands. Rembrandt, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, Sandra Day O’Connor, and President Theodore Roosevelt were born in the year of the horse.
source: infoplease.com

And when is the Chinese New Year?
This year it is on: January 31, 2014.

Nian Gao-Chinese New Year Cake

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In Chinese, Nian Gao sounds like “getting higher year by year”. In Chinese people’s mind, the higher you are, the more prosperous your business is.

“Nian gao means year cake, but gao sounds the same as the word for tall or high,”. Hence the cakes symbolize achieving new heights in the coming year.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups glutinous rice four
2 ½ cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup chopped dates
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 vegetable oil
Cooking spray or a stick of butter/margarine
Sesame seeds

Directions:
Preheat the oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly grease a tube or pan with cooking spray or a little butter (or margarine). In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Slowly stir in the rice flour and milk. Mix the ingredients until they are completely blended.
Next, slowly add the vanilla, dates, baking soda and vegetable oil. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for fifty minutes.
Allow the cake to cool fifteen minutes before removing it from the pan. Finally, sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. Share with twelve to sixteen people while you welcome the New Year.

Special Note:
Be sure to follow directions about stirring in the ingredients, slowly. Nian Goa is a very dense cake, and this will keep extra air from getting into the mixture.
source: chinatravel.com

Which animal sign are you?
chinese_zodiac

Calendar day; Christmas Eve December 24, 2013

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Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, which is the day before Christmas Day, is celebrated in many countries worldwide. It is a Christian observance that falls on December 24 in the Gregorian calendar.

What do people do?
Many people around the world celebrate Christmas Eve in different ways. It is observed in many countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Workers in some countries get a day off or half-day off to prepare for Christmas Day, including last-minute shopping for presents, decorations or food. In some countries Christmas Eve is celebrated with large family meals featuring traditional Christmas dishes. In some cultures, presents are exchanged and opened on the night of Christmas Eve. Many homes have their Christmas trees lit up, mistletoes hung, and other Christmas decorations, such as holly and ivy, at this time of the year.

Some people organize groups of singers who go Christmas caroling from door to door, or sing Christmas carols in public venues. It is also a time for children in many countries around the world to hang their Christmas stockings (or pillow cases), hoping for a present to arrive from Santa Claus on Christmas Day, which is December 25 in the Gregorian calendar. Children in France set out their shoes near a fireplace on Christmas Eve because they believe that Father Christmas (Santa Claus), also known as le Père Noël (in French), will arrive before dawn and fill them with toys, nuts and sweets.

Many churches hold special services during Christmas Eve, including midnight services. These services include special choirs and sermons to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Many churches also display a crèche or miniature Nativity scene. Christmas celebrations in different countries combine the country’s cultural traditions, beliefs and superstitions with more contemporary customs, such as Santa Claus and Christmas trees.

Public life
Christmas Eve is a public holiday in countries such as the Czech Republic and Estonia. Some banks and businesses are closed in some countries, including Austria and Germany, on Christmas Eve. Many people in countries such as Brazil have the afternoon off work on Christmas Eve.

Some stores are often open late to accommodate for last-minute Christmas shopping in some cities around the world. Schools and educational institutions are usually closed on Christmas Eve as it falls as part of either the winter (northern hemisphere) or summer (southern hemisphere) vacation period. Airports, bus stations and train stations may be busy as many people travel to visit their families around this time of the year.

Background
Christmas Eve, also known as the Vigil of Christmas, is perceived as the culmination of the Advent season. Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day and is associated with celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth, although his actual birth date has been disputed among many scholars. However, many Christmas traditions that are around today have their roots in pre-Christian winter festivals. These include the importance of candles and decorations made from evergreen bushes and trees, symbolizing everlasting light and life.

In Roman times, a mid-winter festival was held. This was a relaxing time with a lot of parties and merry making. It was also common to give other people small gifts, such as dolls for children and candles for adults. This festival culminated with the celebration of the winter solstice, which fell on December 25 in the Roman calendar.

Symbols
Since Pagan times, it was customary to decorate with greenery on festivals, especially with holly, ivy, and mistletoe. After some debate, the church authorities permitted it to be done on Christian festivals, at least from the early seventh century in England. Holly and ivy were associated with good and evil, or male and female, and so were often combined. Mistletoe has pagan associations. For example, the druids of Gaul regarded mistletoe growing on oak trees as sent from heaven.

Images of Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, snowmen, reindeer, and candy canes are seen in cards, posters, signs and other printed or marketing material associated with the Christmas celebrations. Images of baby Jesus, the Christmas star, and other symbols associated with the religious meaning of Christmas are also seen during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

December 24

1638 The Ottomans under Murad IV recapture Baghdad from Safavid Persia.
1812 Joel Barlow, aged 58, American poet and lawyer, dies from exposure near Vilna, Poland, during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Barlow was on a diplomatic mission to the emperor for President Madison.
1814 A treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, ending the War of 1812, is signed at Ghent, Belgium. The news does not reach the United States until two weeks later (after the decisive American victory at New Orleans).
1861 The USS Gem of the Sea destroys the British blockade runner Prince of Wales off the coast at Georgetown, S.C.
1862 A Christmas present arrives a day early for the Federal troops at Columbus, Kentucky, in the way of artillery on board the USS New Era.
1914 Over 577,000 Allied soldiers are to spend Christmas as prisoners in Germany.
1917 The Kaiser warns Russia that he will use “iron fist” and “shining sword” if peace is spurned.
1943 General Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed the Allied Supreme Commander, even though almost everyone believed the position would go to American Chief of Staff George C. Marshall.
1947 An estimated 20,000 communists, led by guerrilla General Markos Vafthiades proclaim the Free Greek Government in northern Greece. They issue a call to arms to establish the regime throughout the nation.
1956 African Americans defy a city law in Tallahassee, Florida, and occupy front bus seats.
1963 New York’s Idlewild Airport is renamed JFK Airport in honor of the murdered President Kennedy.
1964 The U.S. headquarters in Saigon is hit by a bomb killing two officers.
1966 A Soviet research vehicle soft-lands on the moon.
1967 The Greek Junta frees ex-Premier Papandreou.
1968 The first pictures of an Earth-rise over the moon are seen as the crew of Apollo 8 orbits the moon.
1970 Nine GIs are killed and nine are wounded by friendly fire in Vietnam.
1972 Hanoi bars all peace talks with the United States until U.S. air raids over North Vietnam stop.
1974 An oil tanker’s spill pollutes 1,600 square miles of Japan’s Inland Sea.
1974 Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, destroying more than 70 percent of the city’s buildings, including 80 percent of its houses.
2005 Chad declares a state of war against Sudan in the wake of the Dec. 18 attack on the town of Adre, in which approximately 100 people were killed.
Born on December 24
1166 King John of England.
1745 Benjamin Rush, American medical pioneer and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1809 Christopher Kit Carson, one of the most famous mountain men and scouts in the West.
1905 Howard Hughes, American industrialist, aviator, film producer, and director.
1922 Ava Gardner, film actress (The Barefoot Contessa, The Sun Also Rises).
1923 US Army Major General George S. Patton IV, son of Gen. George Patton of World War II fame.
1929 Mary Higgins Clark, author of suspense novels (Where are the Children, Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting).
1955 Scott Fischer, mountain climber and guide; first American to reach the summit of Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain.
1971 Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican pop musician, actor, author; was a member of the boy group Menudo before launching a successful solo career (“Livin’ la Vida Loca”).
1973 Stephanie Meyer, author best known for her young-adult, vampire romance series Twilight.
1974 Ryan Seacrest, radio personality, TV host; host of American Idol TV talent competition.

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