National Whatever Day: April 25th

Four-way split for National Whatever Holiday for April 25th: DNA Day, Malaria Awareness Day, Red Hat Society Day, and World Penguin Day. Four very different holidays to celebrate at the same time, but each is meaningful in its own light.

DNA Day
DNA Day commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA. Furthermore, on that day in 2003 it was declared that the Human Genome Project was very close to complete. “The remaining tiny gaps are considered too costly to fill.”

In the United States, DNA Day was first celebrated on April 25, 2003 by proclamation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. However, they only declared a one-time celebration, not an annual holiday. Every year from 2003 onward, annual DNA Day celebrations have been organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) starting as early as April 23rd in 2010, April 15th in 2011 and April 20th in 2012. April 25th has been since declared “International DNA Day” and “World DNA Day” by several groups.

Malaria Awareness Day
Malaria Awareness Day was designated to be April 25th by President George W. Bush in 2007. In his proclamation, President Bush called on Americans to join in on the goal to eradicate malaria on the African continent. On April 25, 2006, President Bush described Malaria Awareness Day to be a day when “we focus our attention on all who suffer from this terrible disease — especially the millions on the continent of Africa. We remember the millions more who died from this entirely preventable and treatable disease. As a compassionate nation, we are called to spread awareness about malaria — and we’re called to act. That’s what compassionate people do. When they see a problem, they act. And that’s what we’re here to talk about. On this special day, we renew our commitment to lead the world toward an urgent goal, and that is to turn the tide against malaria in Africa, and around the globe.”

President Bush also shared with the public the White House’s strategic plan against malaria. This included two new endeavors in Uganda and Madagascar to distribute millions of life saving bed nets with the New York-based nonprofit group Malaria No More.

Red Hat Society Day
My Papa always loved when I wore red hats as a kid, so this one feels extra special to me.

The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a social organization originally founded in 1998 in the United States for women age 50 and beyond, but now open to women of all ages. As of 2011, there were over 40,000 chapters in the United States and 30 other countries.

The founder of the Society is artist Sue Ellen Cooper, who lives in Fullerton, Orange County, California. In 1997, Cooper gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red bowler purchased at an antique store along with a copy of Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning”. The opening lines of the poem read:

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me."

Cooper repeated the gift on request several times, and eventually several of the women bought purple outfits and held a tea party on April 25, 1998.

After spreading by word of mouth, the Society first received national publicity in 2000 through the magazine Romantic Homes and a feature in The Orange County Register. Cooper then established a “Hatquarters” to field the hundreds of e-mail requests for help starting chapters. She now serves as “Exalted Queen Mother”, and has written two best-selling books about the Society.

World Penguin Day
Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have counter-shaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have evolved into flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sea life caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans.

Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos Penguin, lives near the equator.

It's a beautiful Friday in Aggieland, enjoy it however you see fit!


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