National Whatever Day: March 25th

Ready for a triple-take? The three National Whatever Days on March 25th are Maryland Day, Tolkien Reading Day, and Waffle Day.

Maryland Day
Maryland Day is a legal holiday in the state of Maryland. It is observed on the anniversary of the March 25, 1634, landing of the first European settlers in the Province of Maryland. On this day, settlers from The Ark and The Dove first stepped foot onto Maryland soil, at St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River. The settlers were about 150 in number, hailing from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. The colony was granted to Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore two years prior by Charles I of England.

In thanksgiving for the safe landing, Jesuit Father Andrew White celebrated mass for the colonists, perhaps for the first time ever in this part of the world. The landing coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation, a holy day honoring Mary, and the start of the new year in England’s legal calendar (prior to 1752).

The holiday began in 1903, the date chosen by the state board of education to honor Maryland history. In 1916, the legislature authorized Maryland Day as a legal holiday (Chapter 633, Acts of 1916).

Tolkien Reading Day
Tolkien Reading Day is an annual event, launched by The Tolkien Society in 2003, that takes place on March 25th. It has the aim of encouraging the reading of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the use of Tolkien’s works in education and library groups. The date of March 25th was chosen in honor of the fall of Sauron, in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

The day was originally suggested by columnist Sean Kirst, of the Syracuse, NY Post-Standard newspaper. He has organized Tolkien Reading Days every year since 2008.

Waffle Day
Waffle Day is a tradition that is celebrated in Sweden, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, on March 25th. The name comes from Vårfrudagen (“Our Lady’s Day”), which in vernacular Swedish sounds almost like Våffeldagen (waffle day). Our Lady’s Day is celebrated on March 25th (nine months before Christmas), the Christian holiday of Annunciation, and the Waffle Day is hence celebrated on the same day although it has no religious connections to Our Lady’s Day.

If you have a Belgium Waffle Maker... You know what to do! Grab a JRR Tolkien book, and sit outside to enjoy this beautiful weather with some waffles. If you sit in the shade, it may almost feel like you're in Maryland!

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