March 1st is often regarded as the first day of Spring and to celebrate this it has some interesting (Mad March) festival days.
In Wales it is St David’s Day and mostly everyone wanders around with a daffodil in their lapel. Apparently it used to be a leek and in Henry V, Shakespeare had his Welsh soldier Fluellen wearing one in his cap to celebrate the day. I suspect the daffodil has replaced the leek because it is a lot more attractive and smells a whole lot better too!
In Iceland it is National Beer Day and my blogging pal Richard (https://abitofculture.net/) explains why…
“Before I talk about beers and bars, here’s a bit of history that might surprise you. Prohibition was introduced in Iceland in 1915, and although spirits and wine were later allowed, beer was still outlawed until 1989. The beer ban was finally lifted on 1st March that year, a day celebrated annually by the nation as Beer Day. Beer festivals, pub-crawls and drunken debauchery allegedly ensue. I’d loved to have experienced Beer Day in the bars of Reykjavik, but unfortunately got there four days too late!”
Like Richard I have visited Iceland but never on National Beer Day.
My favourite however has to come from the U.S.A. – National Pig Day. I’ll say it again in case you don’t believe me – National Pig Day.
“The purpose of National Pig Day is allegedly “to accord the pig a rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals”. The question of whether the holiday is a time to honour pigs by ‘giving them a break’ or to appreciate their offerings (spare ribs, bacon and ham) is an open question.” (Wiki)
I can’t help thinking that this is a bit insensitive towards the feelings of 3.3 million Muslims who live in the U.S.A.
“And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall neither eat of their flesh nor touch their carcass.” Deuteronomy 14:8*
Reading this now that seems very clear to me but I used to go to Church every week and never in any Sunday School lesson or sermon do I remember the Vicar making reference to this and I doubt if it was ever read out in a Bible lesson either. Christians you see enjoy their bacon sandwiches!
In 2014 I visited Turkey which, despite being a Muslim country, seems rather relaxed about this law as well because throughout the town the restaurants were all offering English breakfasts with bacon and sausage, in a shop I spotted some Peppa Pig towels for sale and Turkish waiters were openly flirting with English girls and some of them were real porkers I can tell you!
I doubt however if Turkey marks a date in its calendar to celebrate International Bacon Day which falls sometime in August or September depending on which day the U.S. Labor Day falls (like Easter it is moveable).
In the U.S.A. of course they don’t know how to spell labour and as I understand it they don’t know how to cook bacon either. They slice it thin, crisp it up and cook the life out of it instead of the British way of leaving it thick and juicy with just a hint of complimentary fat.
This liberalism didn’t extend very far beyond breakfasts however and the man at the meat stand in the street seemed a little surprised when Kim asked if there was a possibility of a pork kebab which confirmed to me that she hadn’t been listening to a single word I had been saying. As usual.
Later that night after evening meal and back on the balcony of the apartment and probably in blatantly open defiance of the Islamic pork rules we had a couple of secretive games of Pass The Pigs!
* This isn’t the only bit of nonsense in Deuteronomy that has had an influence on history, consider this at 22.5…
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God”.
It was this instruction from the Bible that condemned Joan of Arc to a bonfire because it would seem that that God through Moses was much less than tolerant than we are now on the issue of cross-dressing!