originally published March 1, 2013
Happy birthday mom!
With that out of the way… it’s March! The month when spring is summoned by the dripping alarm clock of vanishing snow and sufficiently titillated mercury. When grey gets washed away in green. When the dreary edifice of post-holiday winterishness crumbles into the sea of renewal.
Well, for most of you. Spring tends to hit the Snooze button a few times when you live this far north, but I’ll try not to sound bitter. After all, there is a lot to celebrate this month.
For starters, today is National Pig Day. In 1972, sisters Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave decided our porcine friends deserve a day of commemoration. All across the Midwest, pig parties are thrown at zoos, schools, nursing homes, and anywhere else where you can find people who move too slowly to escape. “Pig punch” is served, people tie pink ribbons around trees, and dine on spare ribs, bacon and ham.
Wait… we are honoring these creatures, letting them know we appreciate and love them, by eating them? I’d hate to see how these people honor Veteran’s Day.
Remember when those ‘goofy foreigner’ sitcom characters (Latka on Taxi, Balki on Perfect Strangers) would talk about some convoluted tradition from their homeland, prompting the laugh track into hysterics? This is going to sound like one of those stories.
Folk in Lanark, Scotland, celebrate Whuppity Scoorie Day every year on March 1, perhaps because they don’t have a lot of pigs in the region to celebrate. At 6:00pm, the local kids gather around the church. A ‘wee bell’ is rung, and the kids run around the building in a counterclockwise direction, yelling and swinging paper balls on strings above their heads. After three laps, they scramble for coins thrown on the ground by Community Council. Then, the boys would roll up their caps and march down the road to New Lanark, where they’d meet the New Lanark boys coming in the opposite direction. Then they’d fight each other. Perhaps one might get eaten.
Okay, the last part probably never happened. And the march-n-fight tradition no longer takes place, but otherwise, Whuppity Scoorie Day is still a thing. Some think it was started as a pagan ritual to ward off winter’s evil spirits. Others think it used to be a festival of religious penance. It might just be a celebration of the sun being out later, or maybe it commemorates the death of William Wallace’s wife. In short, no one has a friggin’ clue.
But they stick with it. That’s the beauty of tradition: it carries on long after anyone has any idea why it should.
If you are devoutly Christian, then chances are you’ll be honoring March 25 as Lady Day, or the Feast of the Annunciation, which commemorates the day when Gabriel, the famous angel who doubles on trumpet in a Tower of Power tribute band in heaven, dropped in on Mary to let her know she’d be a mom in nine months, and that her husband may have a few suspicious questions, given their lack of gettin’ it on. Well, someone in Sweden noticed that Vårfrudagen (which translates as ‘Lady Day’) sounds a lot like Våffeldagen (which translates as ‘Waffle Day’). Since it’s more fun to eat waffles than to pray to dead virgins, Waffle Day became an official tradition in the country.
Outside of Sweden, there isn’t a lot of love for Waffle Day. I can’t understand that – here’s an excuse to enjoy a delicious food, which I believe to be an evolved, more sophisticated pancake, and people are going to church instead? I’ll never understand people.
March is Women’s History Month. This was officially passed in the 1980’s by Congress, because we all know that Congress loves to designate observances to honor those they have spent the past few centuries oppressing and/or marginalizing. This month coincides with international Women’s Day, which lands on the 8th.
Well, for you it might land on the 8th, if you live in the United States, the UK or Australia. We Canadians handle this honor in October, but not because we just want to be arbitrarily different like with our Thanksgiving. We have a thing called Persons Day on October 18, which commemorates the anniversary of the Edwards v. Canada court case in 1929, which allowed women to share equal rights to positions of political power as men.
Again, I need to point out that it’s not wise to celebrate International Women’s Day the same you honor National Pig Day. Say no to cannibalism!
If you’re a fan of college basketball, then March is like a month-long Super Bowl for you. Foster Farms, the chicken people – though they aren’t really chicken/people hybrids, at least I don’t think so – annually sponsor a day just for you. No, it’s not National Free Throw Day, nor is it a weekend known as Dunkapalooza. I’m talking about National Corndog Day.
The first Saturday of the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball championship is the day that Brady Sahnow and Henry Otley, two Oregon residents and fans of college sports and breaded, deep fried, tube-packed anus-meat, decided to celebrate their loves. National Corndog Day is all about family, about kids, about cramming their eat-holes full of corndogs, tater tots, and sub-par American beer. Actually, it doesn’t specify ‘sub-par’, but I’m guessing meticulously cultivated craft-brews aren’t on the menu when these guys are yelling at their TVs and snarfing down corndogs. That’s probably a Budweiser moment.
If you’ve decided to emulate the Swedes and enjoy some delicious waffles on March 25, you might want something to read while you masterfully sop up the syrup on your plate. How about picking up one of your old Tolkien books?
Columnist Sean Kirst of the Syracuse (New York) Post-Standard newspaper came up with Tolkien Reading Day, which was initiated by the Tolkien Society back in 2003. There are activities, which consist mainly of people getting together and reading excerpts from J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, possibly dressing in disturbing hobbit costumes, and referring to one’s onion rings as My Preciouses.
I agree with this one; people don’t read enough books, and Tolkien’s are certainly brilliant pieces of fantasy fiction. Also, as any obsessive Tolkien aficionado would tell you (and I seriously do not advise engaging these people in any sort of discourse), the movie adaptations are pale imitations of the books’ brilliance. So read the books for the first time, or dig through your copy once again, starting March 25.
Just don’t eat them.