Happy Birthday Abe! Plum Pudding, Paul & Blue, and Shrove Tuesday

Feb 12th

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday  –  President Abraham Lincoln, or “Honest Abe” was the 16th President of the United States.  He was born in the wilderness country of Hardin County KY on February 12th, 1809.  He became president in 1861.  President Lincoln hated war, but he was drawn into it because he believed it was the only way to save the nation after the southern states declared their secession to the Union.  In additional to serving as President during the civil war and saving the Union, he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery in the United States forever.  He also wrote and gave The Gettysburg Address, memorializing the bloodiest and most important battle of the Civil War, and proved to be the turning point in the war.  Shortly after the war ended, Abraham Lincoln became the first US President to be assassinated.  He was shot and mortally wounded on Good Friday, April 14th, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre.

Plum Pudding Day  is a delicious treat that, surprisingly enough, doesn’t have any plums in it!  In the 17th century, when Plum Pudding first was created, plums were referred to as raisins or other dried fruits.  Plum Pudding – also known as Christmas pudding) is a steamed or boiled pudding usually served during the holidays.  It was interesting to find out that it has only been relegated to Christmas fare in the last 200 years.  Before that it was a loved dessert at any time throughout the year.  Plum pudding is made of nutmeg, raisins, nuts, apples, cinnamon, dates and many other ingredients.  There’s a very interesting, and I think touching, tradition in England, to have every person in the household all hold onto the wooden spoon together to help stir the batter.  As they stir, they have to make a wish.  Plum Pudding was outlawed during the Puritan reign in England because it was considered sinfully rich.  Today is your chance to celebrate this treat by finding a recipe and making some plum pudding and enjoying it!  Until I’d met my husband I’d never tried plum pudding. He made it our first Christmas together.  It was delicious – extremely rich and a little heavy.  Unfortunately at the time we had a lot of other holiday desserts going on at the same time, so I didn’t get much of it, but I do know that it was wonderful and I’m hoping at some point he’ll make it again when it can stand alone as a dessert all by itself!

Extraterrestrial Culture Day  is an officially acknowledged day in Roswell, New Mexico.  It celebrates extraterrestrial cultures, and our past, present and future relationships with extraterrestrial visitors.  It would be a great day for watching a movie about aliens for the fun of it!  We don’t know for certain that there are aliens, but logic dictates that the universe is quite vast, and our little planet is very small, so reason says that there are probably other life forms out there!  So, put the kettle on and set the table for a guest, ET might just be popping round!

Shrove Tuesday / Fat Tuesday is an unofficial celebration that is generally recognized by those of the Catholic denomination of Christianity, or by any other group that fasts for Lent during that same time.  It is celebrated on the day before Lent , the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is a day where people eat gluttonous amounts of rich fatty food, drink and ‘partake in sin-like behaviors’ Hence the name “Fat Tuesday.” It is a time to fast, or give up, your desires and recognize the Feast of Resurrection. The Feast of Resurrection, more commonly known as Easter, is on a Sunday each year, and the fast of Lent lasts 40 days. Therefore, Lent always begins on a Wednesday that follows Fat Tuesday as an annual celebration . The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess”.  The term Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.  Shrove Tuesday is known for having pancake feasts – because leavened breads were commonly given up during Lent – they got fat on the puffy pancakes I guess!

Paul Bunyan Day is a giant  of a day because Paul Bunyan was a gigantic lumberjack. According out folklore, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox “Babe” lived and travelled around country. He is best known for his logging feats and is credited with many deeds.  Some of his more legendary feats are that he:

  • He created logging in the U.S.
  • He scooped out the great lakes to water Babe, his ox.
  • He cleared the entire states of North and South Dakota for farming.
  • He trained ants to do logging work. They were, of course, Carpenter Ants.
  • Babe’s large footprints created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.

Celebrate Paul Bunyan Day in a giant way. Learn more about Paul and his tales. Spread the tales around. They are best told by word of mouth around a campfire.  I do remember when I was little, we’d go through Shelton, WA on our way to see my Grandparents.  Shelton is a logging town, and there used to be a huge statue of Paul Bunyan and Blue at the entrance to town.  Before I even knew who Paul Bunyan was I’d spin tales in my head about him and who he might have been.

Today is a day filled with all sorts of things – from remembering our 16th President, enjoying a rich Plum Pudding, listening to the folklore of Paul Bunyan and Blue, welcoming ET culture and most important – preparing our hearts and spirits for the season of Lent.  This is the final day of Shrovetide – the time to repent of your sins and prepare for the sacrificial time leading up to the celebration of the miracle and blessing of the Resurrection of our Lord.  Be blessed today as you celebrate and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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