Something To Celebrate
Celebrate With HumpDay!
Happy HumpDay! This Wednesday marks the 10th issue of the HumpDay Newsletter. 30 topics and more than 9,000 word written over the span of two and half months. Readership continues to grow and thanks to everyone's feedback and support we continue to improve. In honor of our 10th issue, we decided to have a celebration themed edition to pick everyone's spirits up and get them through the rest of the week!
Its official! The New England Patriots are the Super Bowl champions, making them the second Boston team to win a championship in the past three months. With the Bruins and Celtics in the playoff hunt can the City of Boston pull off an unprecedented four sport sweep? It wouldn’t be the first time a city completely dominated every sport in a given year. In fact, the City of Detroit created a holiday to commemorate the most dominant year in sporting history.
In 1935, Detroit swept the championships of the three major sports (the NBA wasn’t founded until 1946) and the city was also home to one of the most popular athletes in the country. The Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs in six games to win their first world series, the Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 in the Stanley Cup, and the Detroit Lions beat New York Football Giants in the NFL Championship Game (see last week’s newsletter for when the first super bowl occurred). On top of dominating the major sports, Detroit was also home to Joe Louis who was in the middle of a title run that would make him the heavyweight boxing champ in 1937.
After so much sporting success, the Governor of Michigan and the Detroit City Council declared April 18th Champions Day, an official state holiday created for the people of Detroit to celebrate their sports teams. The city celebrated Champions Day by holding a banquet for the championship teams and their fans. Over 600 fans paid to attend the dinner and listen to speeches from the Governor and representatives of the sports teams. The White House also sent a plaque commemorating the “City of Champions” that included the signatures of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the governors of all the states in the union.
Yesterday was the celebration of the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the year of the pig according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. For those not familiar with the Chinese zodiac calendar, the calendar is based on a twelve-year cycle with each year being named after a different animal. Similar to astrology, the zodiac year that you were born in can be used to determine your strengths, weaknesses, best relationship matches and likelihood of good fortune.
The origins of the zodiac calendar trace back to a myth that is common in multiple Asian cultures known as The Great Race. As the myth goes, the Jade Emperor, aka the ruler of the heavens, wanted to devise a system for measuring time. To do so, he organized a race across a large river and the first 12 animals to cross the river would earn a spot on the zodiac calendar in the order that they arrived.
The rat was the first to attempt to cross the river but, because he was so small he asked the Ox to help him across. The ox and the rat crossed the river together but just before they reached the opposite shore, the rat jumped off the ox’s head and secured first place while the ox finished second.
Next, the powerful Tiger bounded through the river with ease and captured third place. The rabbit nimbly hopped across stones and logs to reach the other side and come in fourth. Next came the dragon who could have flown directly across but, she stopped to help some creatures who were drowning in the rivers currant and finished in fifth. After came the horse galloping across the river until the snake slithered in front and startled it, causing the snake to finish sixth and the horse seventh. The sheep, monkey, and the rooster paddled a raft together across the river and the three decided the order they finished in should be the sheep in eighth, the monkey in ninth, and the rooster in tenth. In eleventh came the dog who was a great swimmer but decided to frolic in the water instead of trying too hard to win the race (classic doggo). In last was the pig, who had gotten hungry and stopped to eat. After eating he took a nap before heading across the river (Mom always said to wait a half hour after you eat before you swim).
That is just one of many origin stories for the Chinese zodiac and we at HumpDay are glad that we are now in the year of the pig so we can eat, sleep and take our time.
February is Black History Month and a time when people in the US, Canada, Netherlands, Ireland, and the UK remember and honor the achievements of people of color (Europe’s Black History Month is October). In the spirit of Black History Month, this week’s interesting nugget of history has to do with the actions of an amazing man who built himself up from the lowest level in society to become one of America’s elite.
Robert Smalls was born into slavery in a wood cabin in South Carolina. His mother was a house slave and Robert was fortunate enough to have more comfortable duties as a servant inside the house of a man named Henry McKee (who was likely his father). Smalls’ mother feared that Robert would not understand the plight of the field slaves so, she made him give up his more comfortable job indoors to work the fields and witness the whippings and violence that other slaves were subject to. By age 12, Smalls was sold as a laborer where he worked in a hotel before taking on his first job as a sailor. For years, he worked different jobs on ships and docks and developed a love for the sea despite horrible work conditions and constant cruelty from the white ship captains.
In April 1861, the civil war came to Charleston, South Carolina and Smalls was hired to serve on a Confederate Navy boat called the CSS Planter. Smalls learned to drive the boat and gained extensive knowledge of the confederate positions in Charleston Harbor. In May 1862, Smalls and the other slaves serving on the crew of the CSS Planter waited until 3am before untying the ship and sailing across the harbor. Smalls dressed as the captain of the ship and made the appropriate signals to show that the boat was operated by confederate soldiers. After a stop to pick up his family and the families of the rest of the crew, he sailed out of the harbor and surrendered to the Union navy.
Robert Smalls was then contracted to serve in the US Navy, captained multiple ships, and fought for the Union in more than 17 major battles. He was tasked by Union generals to petition President Lincoln to allow black soldiers to enlist in the army. Thanks to his influence, more than 179,000 black soldiers joined the fight and helped the Union to victory.
After the war, Smalls opened a store that served the needs of free slaves and became a prominent businessman. He was famous across the nation for his daring escape and used his fame to run for the South Carolina state congress and later the United States House of Representatives. He served two terms as the delegate for South Carolina’s 5th congressional district where he was instrumental in easing the tensions between North and South after the Civil War.
From slave to boat thief to war hero to congressman, Robert Smalls’ bravery and determination to ending the practice of slavery in America helped shape this country and the lives of all black Americans.
HumpDay Healthy Helpings
In honor of Chinese new year, here is a healthy Chinese dish.
Calories Per Serving: 348 I Servings: 4 I Cook Time: 25 Minutes
This Week in History
This week in 1789, the first presidential election was held in which George Washington was elected president over John Adams. According to article two of the newly ratified US Constitution, the electoral college would elect the new president by having each elector cast two votes (one vote needed to be for someone outside of their home state). The person who received the most votes would be named president and the person who received the second most would be named vice-president and second in-line for the presidency. During the election of 1789, electors from New York, Virginia, and Maryland missed the election and electors from North Carolina and Rhode Island were not allowed to vote until they ratified the constitution. In the end, Washington received 69 votes to Adam’s 34 making the former general and American icon the nation’s first president.
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