Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14 - National Dance Like a Chicken Day

Yesterday we jumped like frogs, today we dance like chickens!

Swiss accordion player Werner Thomas wrote Der Ententanz - the Duck Dance - in the 1950s. When he would perform the song at restaurants in Switzerland, people would rise from their seats and dance to the melody, their movements reminding him of chickens and ducks. On one of these events, a music publisher caught the performance, and the song spread through Europe. It eventually made its way to America, the upbeat melody hitting the party and wedding scene.

Let's face it, we've all done the chicken dance in public.

Although the name of the tune has changed over the years, the happy melody has remained the same. Today we tweet, flap, wiggle, and clap in celebration of Werner Thomas's addictive song and dance!

Today is also Shavuot, and Underground America Day.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- Construction of the CPR began in BC under the direction of Andrew Onderdonk in 1880.

- The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario was created in 1906, with Adam Beck as chairman. It was the first publicly owned electric utility in the world.
- The federal government divested itself of responsibility for vast tracks of northern land by granting boundary extensions to Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec in 1912.
- A major oil discovery at Turner Valley in 1914 ushered in the oil age in Alberta.

- The Canadian Forum magazine was founded in 1920. It is Canada's oldest continually published political periodical.
- Lina Medina became the world's youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five, when she gave birth to her first son via cesarean in 1939. Lina never revealed the father of her child (her father was arrested, but later released due to lack of evidence).
- The Canadian Citizenship Act was passed in 1946, to take effect 1 January 1947. The Act replaced British subject status with Canadian citizenship.
- Tom Cochrane, popular Canadian singer/songwriter, was born at Lynn Lake, Manitoba in 1953.
- Underground America Day was 1st observed in 1964.
- The tallest building in Canada to that date, the 56-storey Toronto Dominion Centre in Toronto, was opened in 1968. It was designed by Mies van der Rohe.

- Abortion and contraception was legalized in Canada in 1969.
- Jeanne Sauvé became the first woman Governor General of Canada in 1984.
- The Institute for War Documents published Anne Frank's complete diary in 1986.

- Alistair MacLeod was named winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2001 for his novel No Great Mischief, set in Cape Breton.
- Stanford University scientists developed a prototype bionic eye in 2012.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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