World Penguin Day

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

April 25th is World Penguin Day. The day recognises one of the unique birds on the planet.

History of World Penguin Day:

World Penguin Day takes place during the annual northern migration of Adelie penguins, a species of penguin that is native to Antarctica. The Adelie penguins individually migrate north to have better access to food during the winter months and then during the summer, return to the coastal beaches on Antarctica to build their nests. The holiday was created at McMurdo Station, an American research centre on Ross Island. Researchers noticed that the Adelie penguins began this migration specifically on this day, and they created this holiday to pass the time and give social awareness to these creatures.

Penguin Facts:

  • There are 18 species of penguins, and all but one of their natural habitats are in the Southern hemisphere, only one species, the Galapagos penguin, found north of the equator.
  • In 2018, there was estimated to be 12 million penguins in Antarctica.
  • 5 species of penguins (African, Erect-crested, Gentoo, Northern Rockhopper and Yellow Eyed) are categorised as endangered.
  • Penguins lost the ability to fly millions of years ago, but their powerful flippers and streamlined bodies make them very accomplished swimmers.

  • They are the fastest swimming and deepest diving species of any birds and can stay underwater up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • While swimming, penguins will leap in shallow arcs above the surface of the water, a practice called porpoising. This coats their plumage with tiny bubbles that reduce friction, allowing them to swim as fast as 22 miles per hour.
  • Penguins sleep for a few minutes at a time, throughout the day and then they also sleep for longer periods on land and at night. They will sleep sitting in the water, standing up, lying down or just sitting.
  • The light front and dark back tuxedo-like coloration of classic penguin plumage is called countershading. This stark colour pattern provides superb camouflage from above and below to protect penguins in the water.

  • The Emperor Penguin is the biggest of the 18-penguin species and is largest of all birds.
  • Emperor Penguins are the tallest at about 4 feet tall and weighing up to 90 pounds when mature.
  • The smallest is the Little Blue, which stands about 16 inches and weighs only 2 pounds.
  • Emperor penguins and king penguins do not make any nests. Instead, a single egg for each mated pair is incubated on a parent’s feet and kept warm by a flap of skin called a brood pouch. Incubation can take 8-10 weeks and occurs during winter, so the egg must always be kept warm and safe.
  • Depending on the species, a wild penguin can live 15 to 20 years.
  • They spend up to 75 percent of their lives at sea.

Easter traditions and why we have them

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Easter weekend is almost here, and every year around Easter you’ll see supermarkets, shops, websites and events all using the same things to symbolise the occasion; Easter eggs, Easter Bunny and Hot Cross Buns. But why are these used to represent Easter? To find out this, were going to have to go back in time…

The Easter egg

Easter eggs go back a long time, even before Jesus! It’s believed eggs represent the meaning of a new life, which is often used as a symbol during the spring season. Also from a Christian’s point of view, the egg is believed to symbolise the new life of when Jesus was resurrected from the tomb on Easter Sunday.

Ever wondered why people decorate the eggs? This tradition goes way back to the 13th century. People were not allowed to eat the eggs during the time of Lent, so they would decorate them instead. And then when Easter finally arrived, they ate the eggs as a form of Celebration.

The first chocolate Easter eggs were made in France and Germany in the 19th century, but were very bitter and hard. As chocolate making techniques improved overtime hollow eggs were then developed. These are the ones we have all become accustom to, with many brand such as Cadbury, Nestle, Mars and Lindt bringing out new and exciting chocolate variations of the egg each year.

The Easter Bunny

The Easter bunny also goes way back – right to the 13th Century in fact. Back then, people would worship gods and goddesses and one Goddess was called “Eostra”; known as the goddess of spring and fertility. Her symbol was the rabbit, as she believed rabbits had a high reproduction rate. So, with spring symbolising new life, the bunny and the egg eventually become connected.

And if you believe in the Easter bunny, you’ll know that he or she brings baskets filled with chocolate eggs on the night before Easter. The Easter bunny will either put the eggs in a certain spot, or the bunny will hide the eggs in the house or garden for people to find in the morning of Easter, commonly known as an Easter egg hunt.

Hot Cross Buns

On Good Friday, it’s become traditional in the Christian religion to eat warm hot cross buns. The reason these sweet, spicy and fruity buns are eaten, is because the cross on top of the buns symbolises the cross that Jesus was killed on.

So, now you know why we have these things, you can get ready to indulge in your favourite Easter treats this weekend.