Despite having both Valentine’s Day and our 35th Monthaversary (we watched Call The Midwife and had Chinese takeaway to celebrate, it was delicious!) this week, it has still been a long and hard one at work. So we are VERY glad it is Friday. Sarah has been so busy this week, that she’s had to give up her Fun Fact Friday throne! But don’t worry, I’ve rushed in and saved the day. All hail Laura, Queen of Knowledge!! Honestly, I’m more of the Queen’s awkward niece by marriage of knowledge, but I’ll give it a go.
As if this last week’s holidays weren’t enough (plural because I know you all celebrated our monthaversary with us!!), this coming Tuesday is Mardi Gras!! Time to party!
Mardi Gras, meaning ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French, is a Catholic holiday - a day of celebration before Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. Falling 40 days before Easter, Mardi Gras is traditionally meant for people to eat fatty, unhealthy foods before giving them up for the Lenten season. That’s a holiday I can get behind!! However, it’s more widely known for its wild carnivals in places like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and New Orleans in Louisiana, where they base their celebrations on the slogan Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll), and the questionable tradition of women receiving necklaces of beads for ‘flashing’ people is still going strong. Girls Gone Wild, anyone?
In the UK, Fat Tuesday is officially called Shrove Tuesday – and is much tamer than the American counterpart. The day is commonly referred to as Pancake Day, and it is traditional to eat lots of them on this day! In Newfoundland, England, small tokens are frequently cooked into the pancakes. Children take delight in discovering the objects when eating their treats. For example, the person who receives a coin will be wealthy; a nail that they will be (or marry) a carpenter, and so on. Surely cooking a nail into food to give to children is unsanitary and dangerous!! Also, there are ‘pancake races’ staged throughout the UK. In Olney, Buckinghamshire, they stage a race where people dressed in aprons have to run a course while flipping a pancake on a frying pan a certain number of times. The tradition is said to have started when a woman was so busy cooking pancakes for the celebration that she lost track of time, and didn't realise until the church bells rang – then she ran all the way to church still flipping her pancake! Since the ‘50s, Olney have been running twin pancake races with a town in the USA – Liberal, Kansas. They both run their courses, and compare times! Kansas has won 37 times, and Olney 25. I’m already prepared with my pancake mix for Tuesday!!
Speaking of pancakes, I tried to make some on Tuesday as a Valentine’s surprise for Sarah. But here’s the clincher – I put food colouring in them to make them pink! Pink for V-Day, clever right? Or so I thought – I’m not sure if it was the amount of dye I put in, but when cooked, they came out grey. Not pretty pink, and frankly, unappetising. Which is why you didn’t see them in our Valentine’s Day post. But it’s the thought that counts, right?
With all of the pink around from V-Day, have you been feeling a bit more relaxed? Studies have shown that pink makes people happy and passive – it’s very difficult to be angry when surrounded by pink. Iowa University’s American football team famously painted the opposition’s locker rooms pink in an attempt to put the opposing team in a passive mood, and emasculate them. It must have worked – the Western Athletic Conference now has a rule that team’s opposition locker room cannot be painted a different colour from the home team’s! And a specific pink, Baker – Miller Pink, is used universally to calm violent prisoners in jails. I love pink – I would definitely say it makes me happy!
Apparently blue is the most popular colour in the world, though – 40% of people list blue as their favourite colour. Sarah and I are two of them! Blue is said to make people more creative, and people who wear blue are statistically the most successful in job interviews and making sales. I will remember that! Oddly, people with blue eyes are also statistically likely to earn more money than us greens, browns, greys, and hazels. The colour mentally focuses you and communicates to others that you are loyal and trustworthy. This is why politicians tend to wear navy suits when making speeches. Crafty, right?
Whether you're a Smurf or the Pink Panther, I hope you've enjoyed my special edition of Laura's Fun Fact Friday! Next week we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming!!
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