Archive for January, 2013
World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day is dedicated to raising awareness about cancer. Observed every year on February 4th, the mission of this holiday is to encourage healthier habits to prevent cancer, as well as to promote better healthcare access to help patients catch the diseases early on. World Cancer Day also advocates for new treatment measures and to encourage hope among victims.
This holiday was first formed in 1933. World Cancer Day is put together by the Union for International Cancer Control. This organization is based in Switzerland, but it works with groups in various other countries to put together a World Cancer Day campaign. For example, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Livestrong all serve the campaign on behalf of the United States. The advisory group helps to put together a plan of action for every World Cancer Day, which includes a global theme.
According to World Cancer Research Fund International, about 12.7 million people had cancer in 2008. By 2030, this number is anticipated to rise up to 21 million. While a part of this expected increase may be attributed to population growth, another contributing factor is a lack of awareness and access to healthcare. World Cancer Day helps to promote awareness about various cancers so people around the world can gain better access to the help they need.
A cancer diagnosis is made based on the origination of the tumors. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world among both men and women. The goal is to help treat cancer before it spreads to the lymph nodes as well as to other parts of the body. Your chances for survival are greater if the cancer is treated at its origination.
Observance and Celebration
World Cancer Day is recognized globally in many different ways. Not only does the United Nations observe this day, but other organizations across the world can celebrate the holiday in their own way. Many of the celebrations focus on the year’s theme, while others are dedicated to cancer victims and survivors.
Fundraising is a big part of World Cancer Day. Special luncheons, dinners and other meals may be held as a way to raise research money for specific forms of cancer. Other events can include fundraiser walks, parades and family activities. This day is also a special opportunity to help raise public awareness of cancer in the form of ads, announcements and free educational events. Some communities even offer free cancer screenings.
Special Focuses in 2013
Each year, World Cancer Day operates with a theme that will help educate the public as well as promote call to action. The designated theme for 2013 is “Cancer – Did you know?”, which aims to clear up misconceptions about cancer. Four main myths will be cleared up, including that cancer is:
- Merely a health issue
- Always deadly
- An individual’s fate
- Only affects certain social or economic groups
The fact is that cancer can happen to anyone, regardless of an individual’s background. At the same time, treatment innovations and early detection processes have made it possible for patients to find cancer and beat it for good. World Cancer Day aims to remind individuals of these facts while helping to promote better health for everyone.
By: Kristeen Moore
National Freedom Day
In the United States, citizens celebrate National Freedom Day on February 1st to commemorate the 13th Amendment. Signed by Abraham Lincoln on February 1, 1865, the 13th Amendment officially abolished slavery. While this is the primary purpose of the celebrations, the holiday is also meant to promote freedom for people of all races, genders and religions.
At the end of the Civil War, President Lincoln officially signed the 13th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. This amendment officially declared both slavery and involuntary servitude against the law. This law was years in the making, but it was not signed until 1865 due to controversies within the country. President Lincoln was able to sign the law before his death two months later.
While February 1, 1865 was an historic day, it was not officially celebrated as a holiday until nearly a century later. The idea stemmed from Richard Robert Wright, Sr., who was a former slave. He was born into slavery 10 years before Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment. Upon his emancipation, he would go onto attend school and promote education among all children during the course of his lifetime. He also served in the military, with his most prominent position as major during the Spanish-American War.
Wright eventually settled down in Philadelphia where he had a long and successful career. During this time, he promoted the idea of creating a holiday on February 1st to commemorate the Constitution’s 13th Amendment. Both the Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill in consent of making February 1st National Freedom Day. President Harry Truman signed the bill into law on June 30, 1948. Sadly, Wright didn’t witness his idea coming to fruition, as he died one year earlier at the age of 92.
Every year, a wreath is laid at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to commemorate National Freedom Day. It is predominantly a day of reflection, although there are various types of celebrations across the country. The primary theme of the holiday is freedom for all. Some people celebrate by holding parades, while others hold rallies to promote international freedom.
National Freedom Day is often viewed as a kick-start to Black History Month, which is observed during the entire month of February. However, the concept of this month-long celebration actually got its start in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was an historian who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and he advocated for the second week of February to be dedicated to the celebration of African-American history. He chose the second week of February because it coincided with the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass as well as President Lincoln. The weekly celebration would eventually expand to a month, with National Freedom Day as the first official holiday.
National Freedom Day is celebrated across the country, but it isn’t an official federal holiday. This means that schools, banks and the government all stay open on this day. Due to Wright’s lifelong devotion to education, some organizations offer scholarships to prospective college students on National Freedom Day.
National Freedom Day Gift Ideas
Inauguration Day marks the date in which the elected president and vice-president of the United States are sworn in for four-year terms. It occurs on January 20th every four years, and directly after the November presidential election. The elected president’s new term begins at noon EST on January 20th.
Inauguration Day is mandated by the 20th Amendment. Prior to the amendment being added to the Constitution, a president’s new term took place on March 4th. This old date was chosen to commemorate the birth of the Constitution in 1789. The 20th Amendment also requires that the elected president takes an oath in an official ceremony. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to follow the new law at the start of his second term on January 20, 1937.
The public inauguration always takes place at the Congressional building. Attendees include former presidents, justices of the Supreme Court, members of Congress and military officials. The swearing-in ceremony has been televised on television since 1949 when President Truman delivered his address. Inauguration Day was first streamed on the Internet during President Clinton’s inauguration in 1997.
Types of Celebrations
The types of celebrations conducted during Inauguration Day have come and gone. Officially, the swearing-in and address on the part of the elected president are all that is required. All other celebration plans are left up to the president as well as the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Traditionally there is a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol Building to the White House. Most Inauguration Day ceremonies conclude with a dinner and dance.
While Inauguration Day is an important holiday related to the U.S. government, it isn’t recognized as a federal holiday. The exception is Washington D.C., where the date is a federal holiday in order to help clear the way for people to enjoy the anticipated celebrations at the nation’s capital. Local governments, public schools and organizations in other states generally stay open on this day. Such circumstances are similar to that of Election Day.
The official holiday falls on one single day, but celebrations usually take place during the surrounding weeks. For this reason, visitors to Washington, D.C. may find it difficult to navigate around smoothly over the second half of January of inauguration year.
U.S. citizens get to enjoy the right to free speech. In some instances, this has evolved into protests on Inauguration Day from citizens who disapprove of the newly elected president. Protests have increased steadily since the turn of the century as American politics have become more divided. Unfortunately, some protests have turned violent so security is at a heightened alert on every Inauguration Day to help keep the peace.
Special Circumstances for 2013
In 2013, the traditional Inauguration Day is slated for observance on January 20th. However, since this date falls is on Sunday, the public ceremonies and celebrations won’t take place until Monday, January 21st. This is the same date as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is a federal holiday. The last time the two holidays coincided was during the second inauguration of President Clinton on January 20, 1997. President Obama will still be sworn in for his second term on January 20th, but it will be a private ceremony on that Sunday.
By: Kristeen Moore
To some, Groundhog Day is the 1993 Bill Murray comedy film. To the rest of the nation, Groundhog Day marks the North American holiday that is celebrated every year on February 2nd in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The premise of the holiday is based around a legend that a groundhog by the name of Punxsutawney Phil can help predict the longevity of winter weather.
According to folklore the groundhog can predict the weather based on whether or not it sees its shadow after popping out of a burrow. If the animal sees its shadow and is afraid to come out of the burrow, then this means winter will extend for six weeks. On the flipside, if Phil doesn’t see his shadow and comes out of the burrow, which means wintry weather conditions will end soon. Spectators hope for the latter, as this indicates an early spring in both the U.S. and Canada.
Groundhog Day is based on a legend that is thought to be derived from the pagan holiday, Imbolc, which also falls on February 2nd. Legend says that bears and other animals come out of hibernation on the day of Imbolc. German and French settlers in the United States took these stories with them, especially in the western Pennsylvania region of Punxsutawney. It is thought that the modern tradition of Groundhog Day began in the mid-1800s.
Role of Punxsutawney Phil
Punxsutawney Phil is the official groundhog for the holiday celebrations. He lives in Punxsutawney full-time with his wife, Phyllis. Both groundhogs receive royal treatment from the town and they get to live a cozy life in the library. Every year he is let outside on Groundhog Day to make his weather predictions. Phil is a beloved symbol of the town, and he has made the holiday quite a tourist attraction.
Phil’s weather predictions are debatable, as well as his real age. According to die-hard Punxsutawney Phil fans, only one groundhog has made the weather predictions for over 120 years since the tradition started. However, groundhogs are said to have a lifespan of six to 14 years, depending on their health and surroundings.
Legends utilize the casting of the groundhog’s shadow as a serious matter. However, modern Groundhog Day has transformed into more of a fun day rather than an accurate weather prediction. Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions are about 39 percent accurate, according to reports by LiveScience. More often than not, the groundhog sees his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter. This can be accurate to some degree, given the fact that the holiday falls on February 2nd, while the winter season runs from late December to the middle of March.
Still, spectators at the annual event in Punxsutawney anxiously await the results from Phil in hopes of an early spring. While early springs do indeed occur, the weather patterns can vary by region. In 2011, Phil did not see his shadow, while the groundhog did see his shadow during the 2012 celebrations. With early winter conditions experienced in many regions of the country, many people will surely be hoping that Phil doesn’t see his shadow on February 2, 2013.Groundhog Day
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