For pranksters, there is no better holiday than April Fools' Day. Celebrated annually on April 1, it is the only day of the year when fun, harmless hoaxes go unpunished. The mischievous holiday has murky origins. Some believe it started in 1582 when France transitioned from the Julian calendar — which began the year around April 1 — to the currently used Gregorian calendar. Those unaware, or unwilling, to accept the date change were pranked. Others think the holiday started as a cheerful way to mark the start of spring.
Mention rainbows, and the image that comes to mind is that of a beautiful translucent arc of bright colors bending towards the horizon. But in a recent image captured by Italian astrophotographer Marcella Giulia Pace and shared by NASA on March 11, 2022, the rainbow is turned around — making it appear like it is smiling! Magical as it sounds, the reason for the stunning phenomenon, called a circumzenithal arc, is rooted in science.
A holiday associated with a math constant may not seem very exciting. But Pi ("π") Day, observed annually in the US on March 14 (3/14), is an exception. That's because the celebrations may start with math activities centered around pi — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, widely recognized as 3.14. But they inevitably end with a slice or two of delicious pie!
The season's first winter storm — which brought significant snowfall to the Washington, DC, area on January 3, 2022 — could not have come at a better time for the residents of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. With the park closed to visitors due to the inclement weather, the animals were able to welcome the New Year with several snow days all to themselves.
On December 31, 2021, the world happily bid farewell to yet another year of COVID uncertainties and welcomed 2022 with high hopes. The celebrations were scaled back, or in some cases even canceled, due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. However, the variant's milder symptoms and lower fatality rates has renewed optimism that the pandemic would soon be behind us. Here are some of this year's most spectacular fireworks displays from around the world.
WestJet Airlines' annual "Christmas Miracle" videos, which capture employees providing much-needed holiday cheer to those in need, are legendary. Past "miracles" include flying in gifts and snow to the Dominican Republic and hosting a holiday party for a town devastated by a forest fire. In 2020, WestJet employees delivered 12,000 care packages with essentials and gifts to families hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the company wants to reunite families for the holidays.
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all designed to motivate consumers to spend money on holiday gifts for their loved ones. However, Giving Tuesday, which will be observed on November 30, 2021, has a more altruistic purpose. "The Global Day of Giving" encourages people to "give their voice, time, money, goods, and advocacy to support communities and causes."