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Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Darwin Day, Valentine's History and Winter Blast 2010

Three quarter length studio photo showing Darwin's characteristic large forehead and bushy eyebrows with deep set eyes, pug nose and mouth set in a determined look. He is bald on top, with dark hair and long side whiskers but no beard or moustache. His jacket is dark, with very wide lapels, and his trousers are a light check pattern. His shirt has an upright wing collar, and his cravat is tucked into his waistcoat which is a light fine checked pattern.
Thanks to Wikipedia for the Darwin photo!

Today is the 201st birthday of Charles Darwin, the famous English scientist and explorer who came up with the theory of evolution after his exploration and study of the animal inhabitants of the Galapagos Islands, turtles especially. Through what Darwin called "natural selection" he theorized that living things evolve in order to survive, which explains the diversity of species.

In honor of Darwin there are many informal gathering and educational events that go on today around the world that are collectively part of "Darwin Day." The closest event to Detroit will take place in Madison, Wisconsin. Titled the Darwin Day Symposium, three speakers will address the U-W Madison crowd, answer questions and display exhibits on Saturday, February 13th.

History of Valentine's Day

Although Pope Gelasius I declared February 14th Saint Valentine's Day in 496 AD the history of the actual day(s) goes back to Ancient Rome. It was the Ancient Romans who celebrated the marriage of Zeus and Hera (Greek gods) between January and February. In Rome they actually had a fertility festival, called Lupercalia, in the city February 13-15th. All over Ancient Rome it is said that the festival Juno Februa ( Juno the purifier) was celebrated February 13-14th. Once the Catholic Church came along the festivals were prohibited and Saint Valentine was installed to persuade pagan people to follow the church.

Winter Blast 2010

However you decide to celebrate Lupercalia. If you are in the Detroit area then you should get downtown to the Winter Blast. It's a huge festival that started in 2005 to get people out and about in downtown for the Superbowl. It has survived and continued as a way for people to enjoy downtown outside, even in the frigid cold that is a Michigan winter.

Activities include free ice skating, wine tasting, and plenty of live music with three stages. I also saw that there will be ice sculptures and sledding hills with snow made by Shanty Creek. Too cold for you? Get inside one of the warming tents or stations for marshmallow roasting or warm your belly Saturday night with the downtown bar blast, a 13 bar pub crawl with transportation by The Night Move.

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