All the Fun Facts: Spring 2020

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By JILL RICE, Copy Editor

January Holidays

  1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20) occurs on a Monday between Jan. 15 (his real birthday) and 21 because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which placed many national holidays, including Presidents Day and Memorial Day, on Mondays to give federal workers 3-day weekends. It was celebrated in all 50 states beginning in 2000.
  2. The Women’s March was first held in 2017 the day after President Trump’s inauguration in response to his campaign and political views. It has occurred yearly in cities across the country since then.

Groundhog Day

  1. Groundhog Day this year, Feb. 2, 2020, was the first global palindrome date since 11/11/1111, and the next will be in 101 years, on 12/12/2121. These dates are readable forward and backward in all date writing formats, MM/DD/YYYY and DD/MM/YYYY.
  2. Other palindromes include “race car,” “deified” and “able was I ere I saw Elba.”

Punctuation

  1. Three asterisks (*) in a triangle are called an asterism. Three consecutive asterisks are called a dinkus.
  2. ‽ is called an interrobang, also written !?
  3. The ampersand (&) used to be a letter (et). It’s called an ampersand because it used to be “and, per se, and.”
  4. The Greek question mark looks like a semicolon (;).

Lent

  1. Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, which is why fish fries are so common in the spring. However, many people don’t know that amphibians and reptiles don’t count as meat under Catholic law. You can eat alligator meat on Fridays during Lent!

Social Distancing and Essential Businesses

  1. In this time of social distancing, jigsaw puzzle sales are through the roof. The CEO of Ravensburger Games said that his company’s sales were up 370% compared to last year.
  2. In New York, certain businesses are considered essential. Aside from grocery stores and health care facilities, these also include pet supply stores, liquor stores and your local accountant.

Easter

  1. The Eastern and Western celebrations of Easter are often on two different days (this year, April 12 and April 19) because the Western churches use the Gregorian calendar while the Eastern churches use the Julian calendar, which is 13 days ahead of the Gregorian calendar. Both churches mandate that Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, but they have different ways of calculating this. The Eastern Orthodox church also celebrates Easter after Passover, while the Western church does not say that it must be after Passover.

Fordham World Atlas

  1. Ramingining is a village in Northern Territory, Australia, home to the Yolngu people, an aboriginal community.
  2. Fordlândia was a failed utopian city in Brazil planned by Henry Ford in the 1920s. He wanted to grow his own rubber trees in the Amazon rainforest, but it became a ghost town by the mid-1940s due to mismanagement and the unprofitability of rubber.
  3. Ramsbottom, U.K., is a popular rural tourist destination in Manchester.

Foods Not to Eat During Quarantine

  1. Durian is the stinkiest fruit: People claim it smells like turpentine and onions with gym socks. It’s banned on Singapore mass transit.
  2. Époisses de Bourgogne is one of the world’s stinkiest cheeses. It is a soft dairy cheese that is banned on banned on French public transportation and banned outright in the U.S.
  3. Surströmming is fermented herring originating in Sweden. It is lightly salted so that it is prevented from rotting during the fermentation process.