Appreciate a Dragon Day

Appreciate a Dragon Day takes place annually on 16 January. It was launched by retired schoolteacher Mrs. Paul on 16 January 2004 as a means for people to celebrate dragons and dragon lore. A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.

The earliest attested dragons resemble giant snakes. Dragon-like creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Indo-European and Near Eastern mythologies. Famous prototypical dragons include the mušḫuššu of ancient Mesopotamia, Apep in Egyptian mythology, Vṛtra in the Rigveda, the Leviathan in the Hebrew Bible, Python, Ladon, Wyvern, and the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythology, Jörmungandr, Níðhöggr, and Fafnir in Norse mythology, and the dragon from Beowulf.

The popular western image of a dragon as winged, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire is an invention of the High Middle Ages based on a conflation of earlier dragons from different traditions. In western cultures, dragons are portrayed as monsters to be tamed or overcome, usually by saints or culture heroes, as in the popular legend of Saint George and the Dragon. They are often said to have ravenous appetites and to live in caves, where they hoard treasure. These dragons appear frequently in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.

The word “dragon” has also come to be applied to the Chinese lung (龍, Pinyin long), which are associated with good fortune and are thought to have power over rain. Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal mounts or companions. Dragons were also identified with the Emperor of China, who, during later Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles.

The origin of dragons is disputed and a wide variety of theories have been propose. In his book An Instinct for Dragons (2000), anthropologist David E. Jones suggests a hypothesis that humans, just like monkeys, have inherited instinctive reactions to snakes, large cats, and birds of prey. A study suggests that approximately 390 people in a thousand are afraid of snakes especially children. The earliest attested dragons all resemble snakes or have snakelike attributes. Which suggests that the reason why dragons appear in nearly all cultures is because of humans’ innate fear of snakes and other animals that were major predators of humans’ primate ancestors. Dragons are usually said to reside in “dank caves, deep pools, wild mountain reaches, sea bottoms, haunted forests”, all places which would have been fraught with danger for early human ancestors.

Dragon-like creatures appear in virtually all cultures around the globe. some stories of dragons may have been inspired by ancient discoveries of fossils belonging to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals and that the dragon lore of northern India may have been inspired by “observations of oversized, extraordinary bones in the fossilbeds of the Siwalik Hills below the Himalayas.

Greek artistic depictions of the Monster of Troy may have also been influenced by fossils of Samotherium, an extinct species of giraffe whose fossils are common in the Mediterranean region. Depictions of the Cyclops may have also been influenced by the discovery of ancient Mastadon Skulls in many parts of Crete and Greece. The ancient Greek word usually translated as “dragon” (δράκων drákōn, genitive δράκοντοϛ drákontos) could also mean “snake”,[43][4] but it usually refers to a kind of giant serpent that either possesses supernatural characteristics or is otherwise controlled by some supernatural power.[44] The first mention of a “dragon” in ancient Greek literature occurs in the Iliad, in which Agamemnon is described as having a blue dragon motif on his sword belt and an emblem of a three-headed dragon on his breast plate. In the Theogony, a Greek poem written in the seventh century BC by the Boeotian poet Hesiod, the Greek god Zeus battles the monster Typhon, who has one hundred serpent heads that breathe fire and make all kinds of frightening animal noises Zeus scorches all of Typhon’s heads with his lightning bolts and then hurls Typhon into Tartarus. the god Apollo uses his poisoned arrows to slay the serpent Python, who has been causing death and pestilence in the area around Delphi. Hesiod also mentions that the hero Heracles slew the Lernaean Hydra, a multiple-headed serpent which dwelt in the swamps of Lerna. The name “Hydra” means “water snake” in Greek.

According to the Bibliotheka of Pseudo-Apollodorus, the slaying of the Hydra was the second of the Twelve Labors of Heracles. Heracles was aided in this task by his nephew Iolaus. During the battle, a giant crab crawled out of the marsh and pinched Heracles’s foot, but he crushed it under his heel. Hera placed the crab in the sky as the constellation Cancer. One of the Hydra’s heads was immortal, so Heracles buried it under a heavy rock after cutting it off. For his Eleventh Labor, Heracles had to procure a golden apples from the tree in the Garden of the Hesperides, which is guarded by an enormous serpent called Ladon which never sleeps, and has a hundred heads. In Pindar’s Fourth Pythian Ode, Aeëtes of Colchis tells the hero Jason that the Golden Fleece he is seeking is in a copse guarded by a dragon, “which surpassed in breadth and length a fifty-oared ship”. Jason slays the dragon and makes off with the Golden Fleece together with his co-conspirator, Aeëtes’s daughter, Medea. A fragment from Pherecydes of Leros states that Jason killed the dragon, but fragments from the Naupactica and from Herodorus state that he merely stole the Fleece and escaped.,In Euripides’s Medea, Medea boasts that she killed the Colchian dragon herself. In the most famous retelling of the story from Apollonius of Rhodes’s Argonautica, Medea drugs the dragon to sleep, allowing Jason to steal the Fleece.

In China, fossils of large prehistoric animals are common, and these remains are frequently identified as “dragon bones” and are commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine. Scandinavia also has many stories of dragons and sea monsters, such as Fafnir and Fasalt. Many dragon images around the world were based on folk knowledge or exaggerations of living reptiles, such as Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, iguanas, alligators, or, in California, alligator lizards.

National Fig Newton Day

National Fig Newton day takes place annually on 16 January. Fig Newtons, are a Nabisco trademarked version of the fig roll, a cookie filled with fig paste. They are produced by an extrusion process. Their distinctive shape is a characteristic that has been adopted by competitors, including generic fig bars sold in many markets.

Figs became popular in the 19th Century when physicians recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit to stave off most illnesses which they thought were related to digestion problem and Fig rolls were the ideal solution to this advice. They were a locally produced and handmade product until a Philadelphia baker and fig lover, Charles Roser, invented and then patented a machine in 1891 which inserted fig paste into a thick pastry dough. Cambridgeport, Massachusetts–based Kennedy Biscuit Company purchased the Roser recipe and started mass production. The first Fig Newtons were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891. The product was named after the city of Newton, Massachusetts, and contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with Sir Isaac Newton. The Kennedy Biscuit Company had recently become associated with the New York Biscuit Company, and the two merged to form Nabisco—after which, the fig rolls were trademarked as Fig Newtons.

John Carpenter

American filmmaker, screenwriter, and musician. John Howard Carpenter was born January 16, 1948in Carthage, New York, He and his family relocated to Bowling Green, Kentucky during 1953? He was interested in films from an early age, particularly the westerns of Howard Hawks and John Ford, as well as 1950s low-budget horror films, such as The Thing from Another World and high budget science fiction like Forbidden Planet and began filming horror short films with 8 mm film even before starting high school. He attended Western Kentucky University, where his father chaired the music department, then transferred to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts during 1968, but quit to make his first feature film.

In a film course at USC Cinema during 1969, Carpenter wrote and directed an 8-minute short film, Captain Voyeur. The film was rediscovered in the USC archives in 2011 and proved interesting because it revealed elements that would appear in his later film, Halloween (1978). In 1970 he collaborated with producer John Longenecker as co-writer, film editor, and music composer for The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970), which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The short film was enlarged to 35mm, sixty prints were made, and the film was released theatrically by Universal Studios for two years in the United States and Canada.

Carpenter’s first major film as director, Dark Star (1974), was a science fiction comedy that he cowrote with Dan O’Bannon (who later went on to write Alien, borrowing freely from much of Dark Star). The film reportedly cost only $60,000 and was difficult to make as both Carpenter and O’Bannon completed the film by multitasking, with Carpenter doing the musical score as well as the writing, producing, and directing, while O’Bannon acted in the film and did the special effects (which caught the attention of George Lucas who hired him to work with the special effects for the film Star Wars). Carpenter received praise for his ability to make low-budget films.

Carpenter’s next film was Assault on Precinct 13 a low-budget thriller influenced by the films of Howard Hawks, particularly Rio Bravo. As with Dark Star, Carpenter was responsible for many aspects of the film’s creation. He not only wrote, directed, and scored it, but also edited the film using the pseudonym “John T. Chance” (the name of John Wayne’s character in Rio Bravo). Carpenter has said that he considers Assault on Precinct 13 to have been his first real film because it was the first film that he filmed on a schedule The film was the first time Carpenter worked with Debra Hill, who played prominently in the making of some of Carpenter’s most important films. For this film Carpenter assembled a main cast that consisted of experienced but relatively obscure actors. The two main actors were Austin Stoker, who had appeared previously in science fiction, disaster, and blaxploitation films, and Darwin Joston, who had worked primarily for television and had once been Carpenter’s next-door neighbor.

Carpenter’s first major studio film was the 1978 Thriller Eyes of Laura Mars. This was adapted from a script titled Eyes, which he had previously written and featured Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones and was directed by Irvin Kershner, (in collaboration with David Zelag Goodman). Next Carpenter both wrote and directed the Lauren Hutton thriller Someone’s Watching Me!. This television film is the tale of a single, working woman who, soon after arriving in L.A., discovers that she is being stalked. Carpenter’s next film, Halloween (1978), was also a success and helped develop the slasher genre. Originally an idea suggested by producer Irwin Yablans (titled The Babysitter Murders), who thought of a film about babysitters being menaced by a stalker, Carpenter took the idea and another suggestion from Yablans that it occur during Halloween and developed a story The film was written by Carpenter and Debra Hill and the music was inspired by both Dario Argento’s Suspiria (which also influenced the film’s slightly surreal color scheme) and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. During 1979, John Carpenter also began the first of several collaborations with actor Kurt Russell when he directed the television film Elvis.

In 1980 Carpenter followed up the success of Halloween with The Fog, a ghostly revenge tale (co-written by Hill) inspired by horror comics such as Tales from the Crypt and The Crawling Eye, a 1958 film about monsters hiding in clouds. Carpenter immediately followed The Fog with the science-fiction adventure Escape from New York (1981). Featuring several actors that Carpenter had collaborated with (Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, and Frank Doubleday) or would collaborate with again (Kurt Russell and Harry Dean Stanton), as well as several notable actors including Lee Van Cleef and Ernest Borgnine.

Carpenter’s next film, The Thing was released in 1982. This Featured innovative special effects by Rob Bottin, special visual effects by matte artist Albert Whitlock, a score by Ennio Morricone and a cast including Kurt Russell Wilford Brimley, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Keith David, and Richard Masur. It used the same source material as the 1951 Howard Hawks film, The Thing from Another World, but was more faithful to the John W. Campbell, Jr. novella, Who Goes There?, upon which both films were based. The Thing was part of what Carpenter later called his “Apocalypse Trilogy,” a trio of films (The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and In the Mouth of Madness) with bleak endings for the film’s characters. During filming of The Thing, Universal offered him the chance to direct Firestarter, based on the novel by Stephen King. However when The Thing was a financial disappointment, Universal replaced Carpenter with Mark L. Lester.

Carpenter’s next film, Christine, was an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. The story concerns a high-school nerd named Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) who buys and restores 1958 Plymouth Fury which turns out to have supernatural powers. As Cunningham restores and rebuilds the car, he becomes unnaturally obsessed with it, with deadly consequences.

Carpenter then went on to Direct Starman, a romantic comedy similar to It Happened One Night except with a space alien. The film received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Jeff Bridges’ portrayal of Starman and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Musical Score for Jack Nitzsche. Carpenter’s next film was the 1986 big-budget action–comedy Big Trouble in Little China which sadly failed to meet expectations. In 1989 Carpenter was offered The Exorcist III and met with writer William Peter Blatty (who also authored the novel on which it was based, Legion However, the two disagreed about the film’s climax and Carpenter refused the project.

Carpenter next Directed the films Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Village of the Damned (1995), and Escape from L.A. (1996). Carpenter also made the cult classics Body Bags, a television horror anthology film, the 1995 Lovecraftian homage “In the Mouth of Madness” with Tobe Hooper and Vampires (1998), which featured James Woods as the leader of a band of vampire hunters in league with the Catholic Church.

The actress Jamie Lee Curtis then asked Carpenter to direct Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Since she was the main actress from the original and the sequel Halloween II (1981), and wanted to reunite the cast and crew of the original film. Carpenter agreed to direct the film, but his starting fee as director was a hefty $10 million and Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad refused so Carpenter quit and Steve Miner directed Halloween H20: 20 Years Later instead. In 2001, the film Ghosts of Mars was released. During 2005 there were remakes of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog, the latter being produced by Carpenter himself. During 2007 Rob Zombie produced and directed Halloween, a re-imagining of Carpenter’s 1978 film that resulted in a sequel in 2009. In 2005 Carpenter directed an episode of the Masters of Horror television series entitled “Cigarette Burns”. He also contributed another episode entitled “Pro-Life”, about a young girl who is raped and impregnated by a demon and wants to have an abortion, however her efforts are halted by her religious fanatic, gun-toting father and her three brothers.

Carpenter’s next film The Ward, premiered in 2010, and Carpenter also received the Lifetime Award from the Freak Show Horror Film Festival. Carpenter is directing the film Darkchyled. In 2015, his album Lost Themes was also released and a sequel entitled Lost Themes II, was later released in 2016. A third studio album, titled Anthology: Movie Themes 1974–1998 was also released in 2017. Carpenter acted as executive producer, co-composer, and creative consultant on a new film in the Halloween film series, titled Halloween, The film acts as a direct sequel to Carpenter’s original film, ignoring the continuity of all other previous films. It is his first direct involvement with the franchise since 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

Many Filmmakers have been influenced by Carpenter including James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez, James Wan, Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle, Nicolas Winding Refn, Adam Wingard Neil Marshall, Michael Dougherty, Ben Wheatley, Jeff Nichols, Bong Joon-ho, James Gunn, Mike Flanagan, David Robert Mitchell, The Duffer Brothers, Jeremy Saulnier, Trey Edward Shults, Drew Goddard, David F. Sandberg, James DeMonaco, Adam Green, Ted Geoghegan, Keith Gordon, Jack Thomas Smith, and Marvin Kren. The video game Dead Space 3 is said to be influenced by Carpenter’s The Thing, The Fog, and Halloween, and Carpenter has stated that he would be enthusiastic to adapt that series into a feature film. Hans Zimmer also cited Carpenter as an influence on his compositions.

Prohibition Remembrance Day

Prohibition Remembrance Day is observed annually on January 16th to commeomrate the anniversary of the ratification of The Eighteenth Amendment on 16 January 1919. This prohibited the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol. It was ratified by the requisite number of states, but did not go into effect for another year. Prohibition Remembrance Day commemorates the ratification and implementation of Prohibition, and the almost fourteen years that American citizens lived under it.

Prohibition had come about after many years of work by those in the temperance movement, which wanted complete abstinence from alcohol. As a whole, the movement had close ties to the church. One of the main groups that was instrumental in the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which believed an amendment would protect children, women, and families from the effects of alcohol abuse, by reducing social problems such as poverty, crime, mental illness, and drunkenness. Another important temperance group was the Anti-Saloon League, which had first took on alcohol by working to ban its sale at the state level. The fight against alcohol was dramatized by campaigners such as the hatchet-wielding Carrie Nation, who traveled around the country smashing up saloons. By the time the amendment went into effect, many states already had prohibition laws on the books, which helped with the final passage of the amendment. For example, by 1916 there were 23 states that had laws against saloons, and some had already banned the manufacture of alcohol as well.

On August 1, 1917, the US Senate passed a resolution with the language for a prohibition amendment, and On December 17, 1917, the House of Representatives passed a revised resolution. The following day the Senate approved the revised version, and it was sent to states for ratification. On January 16, 1919, the amendment became official, as Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify it. With it the consumption of alcohol was not banned, but the production, transportation, or sale of it was. There was a stipulation that it could not go into effect right away though, so it was not until January 17, 1920, that it began being implemented. In order to enforce the amendment, and to define which drinks were considered “intoxicating liquors,” the Volstead Act was passed by Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

The amendment was quite controversial during its thirteen year existence, and public pressure eventually led to its repeal. There were debates to its positive and negative qualities during its implementation, as there have been since its repeal. Overall alcohol consumption declined during it, cirrhosis rates for men decreased, and admissions to mental hospitals for issues surrounding alcohol went down. There is some indication that overall violent crime didn’t increase dramatically during Prohibition, and many people did decide to follow Prohibition when it came into effect.

Although overall drinking went down, in some areas more people drank, and they drank more. This fostered an underground bootlegging industry that was controlled by organized crime groups such as the Mafia, as well as by other gangs. Some members of the police force were bribed, and some politicians turned a blind eye. Still, many were prosecuted for violating liquor laws, which overburdened the justice system. While bootlegging was running rampant, gambling and prostitution also increased.

In the cities there were many speakeasies, or underground drinking establishments, but in the country and among the working class, drinking mainly moved from being in saloons to being a part of home life, exemplified in the rise in production of “bathtub gin” and moonshine. There also were many instances of the re-distilling of the alcohol in things such as perfume and paint, which were materials that contained poisons.

Prohibition also was costly. There was a large amount of money spent to enforce it, and there was a loss of tax revenue from the lack of alcohol sales. As the Great Depression began at the end of the decade, it was harder to justify Prohibition when an economic benefit from its repeal could be seen.

Many groups formed to repeal Prohibition, such as the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA). Many women joined the repeal movement, after they saw the destructiveness of alcohol being increased by the amendment itself. The Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR) gained 1.5 million members, many of whom had previously supported Prohibition, but now saw it as leading to corruption, violent crime, and underground drinking. Many members also believed that when children saw that people were not following laws, it could have a negative effect on them. The WONPR, the AAPA, and other groups came together and founded the United Repeal Council. The council lobbied at the 1932 Republican and Democrat Conventions, and the Democratic Party’s platform eventually included a plank calling for the repeal of Prohibition, and candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt said he would work to repeal Prohibition.

After Roosevelt was elected, he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 22, 1933, which legalized 3.2% alcohol beer, and wine, and went into effect on April 7—which is now celebrated in the United States as National Beer Day. Congress proposed the Twenty-first Amendment on February 20, 1933, and state conventions ratified it, the last doing so on December 5, 1933, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment.


National Holidays, Events and Anniversaries taking place on 16 January

  • National Nothing Day
  • Appreciate a Dragon Day
  • International Hot and Spicy Food Day
  • National Fig Newton Day
  • National Good Teen Day
  • Prohibition Remembrance Day

NATIONAL NOTHING DAY

National Nothing Day is an “un-event” which takes place annually on 16 January. It was proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin and has been observed annually on January 16 since 1973, when it was added to Chase’s Calendar of Events. It is not actually a public holiday, as that requires an act of Congress. The purpose of National Nothing Day is to provide Americans with one National day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything.

The third Monday of every January has subsequently been inaugurated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day which falls between the 15th and 21st. This means that one-in-seven January 16’s now fall on a public holiday (e.g. Monday, 16th Jan 2012), effectively usurping the very nature of Nothing Day. In contrast, the Realist Society of Canada (RSC) has a religious holiday called THABS ( “There has always been something” Day, THABS is dedicated to the celebration of the “realization” that “if there was ever nothing, there would be nothing now”. It is celebrated July 8 of each year.