National Nothing Day
January 16, 2014 in the USA

National Nothing Day is an “un-event” which is celebrated on January 16, 2014 by doing nothing. It was proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin. Its purpose is “to provide Americans with one National day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything.”

Nothing is no thing, denoting the absence of something. Nothing is a pronoun associated with nothingness. In nontechnical uses, nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance. Nothingness is the state of being nothing, the state of nonexistence of anything, or the property of having nothing.

Grammatically, the word “nothing” is an indefinite pronoun, which means that it refers to something. One might argue that “nothing” is a concept, and since concepts are things, the concept of “nothing” itself is a thing. Many philosophers hold that the word “nothing” does not function as a noun, as there is no object to which it refers.

Where is National Nothing Day?
Nationwide USA

Religious Freedom Day
January 16, 2014 in the USA

National Religious Freedom Day is observed on January 16, 2014. National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. This vital document became the basis for the establishment clause, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Religious Freedom Day is officially proclaimed on January 16 each year by an annual statement by the President of the United States. This day is commemorated by the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia by an annual First Freedom Award banquet.

Where is National Religious Freedom Day?
Nationwide USA

Tu Bishvat 2014
January 16, 2014 in the World

Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish holiday, which is celebrated on January 16, 2014. It is occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot”, which means the “New Year of the Trees”. Tu Bishvat is one of four “New Years” mentioned in the Mishnah. Tu Bishvat appears in the Mishnah in Tractate Rosh Hashanah as one of the four new years in the Jewish calendar. The discussion of when the New Year occurs was a source of debate among the rabbis.

In the Middle Ages, Tu Bishvat was celebrated with a feast of fruits in keeping with the Mishnaic description of the holiday as a “New Year.” In the 16th century, the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed and his disciples instituted a Tu Bishvat seder in which the fruits and trees of the Land of Israel were given symbolic meaning. The main idea was that eating ten specific fruits and drinking four cups of wine in a specific order while reciting the appropriate blessings would bring human beings, and the world, closer to spiritual perfection.

In the Chassidic community, some Jews pickle or candy the etrog (citron) from Sukkot and eat it on Tu Bishvat. Some pray that they will be worthy of a beautiful etrog on the following Sukkot. Tu Bishvat is considered by secular Israeli Jews and organizations to be the Jewish equivalent of Arbor Day, and it is often referred to by that name in international media. Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs.

Where is Tu Bishvat?

Historical Events:

550 – Gothic War (535-552): The Ostrogoths, under King Totila, conquer Rome after a long siege, by bribing the Isaurian garrison.

1492 – The first grammar of a modern language, in the Spanish language, is presented to Queen Isabella.

1547 – Ivan IV the Terrible (17) crowns himself 1st tsar of Moscow

1605 – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid.

1759 – British Museum opens in London

1776 – Continental Congress approves enlistment of free blacks

1868 – Refrigerator car patented by William Davis, a fish dealer in Detroit

1909 – British explorer Ernest Shackleton finds magnetic south pole

1919 – Prohibition ratified by 3/4 of states; Nebraska is 36th

1920 – 1st assembly of League of Nations (Paris)

1951 – Viet Minh offensive against Hanoi

1967 – 1st black government installed in Bahamas

1985 – “Playboy” announces end of stapling centerfolds

2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the remaining members of the Taliban.

2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.