What are you celebrating now?

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So here we are — the first of October. Ah, leaves are turning. The sky is that wonderful autumn blue and fall is in the air.

There is also a lot of other stuff in the air this month. From my newspaper days, I recall that this is one of the months with the most “awareness” days and weeks. Many worthy causes, health issues and organizations step up this month to share information in hopes of expanding our awareness.

We know some of the more recognizable ones. For example, it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month.

It is also Spina Bifida Awareness Month, Lupus Awareness Month and National Dyslexia Awareness Month.

As I said, those of are only a few of the more recognizable things designated for awareness this month. However, there are some you probably don’t about, and I want you to be informed.

So here are a few you might not be “aware” happen this month. First, October 15 is Global Hand Washing Day. Yep, there is a day for hand washing. Here is what you need to know.

“Global Hand Washing Day wants to draw awareness to hand washing because it is something hardly ever put into practice. (Really, that‘s not good.) The idea is to show people the benefits of turning hand washing into an automatic response – making it a habit could save more lives than a vaccine or other medicine could do.”

I think this is probably something we need to observe on more than a single day.

Here is one they celebrate in the United Kingdom, but I think it might go over big on the other side of the pond, too, and it is for a good cause.

Humphreys Pajama Week takes place from October 7-11, which means you can enjoy a week in your pajamas. The charity was set up in 1984 to provide care, education and therapy to children with disabilities and complex health needs.

Since I now have 10 of these (all of them rescues), one of my personal awareness days is National Cat Day, celebrated on Oct. 29. The slogan for the day is, “where every day is cat day.” Yep, that is the story at my house.

October is also International Walk to School Month. While that might work well in town, kids living out where I live might need to rethink observing this one. Could be a lot of tardy students unless they start walking before daylight.

Another one from the UK that I did not know about nor realize was a problem anywhere in the world. For the fourth year, Oct. 21-27 is Bruxism Awareness Week. What, you ask as I did, is Bruxism? Bruxism is the name given to tooth clenching, or ‘grinding’ as it is often known, a condition thought to affect around 50 percent of the population.

I think we have folks who suffer from this one in Washington, DC. Oh wait, that is gnashing of teeth — different thing. Oh and apparently, Oct.1 is now National Shutdown the Government Day, which is probably a big contributor to Bruxism in the population.

Finally, my favorite happens on Oct. 4. Each year, the first Friday of October marks World Smile Day, a day to do one act of kindness and make someone crack a smile.

Seems, in 1999 Harvey Ball, creator of the famous yellow smiley face started this day when he thought his logo was becoming too commercial and losing its real meaning. He organized the day to remind us that a smile knows no religion or politics and that we can spread a little happiness because it doesn’t take much effort to smile.

Yep, October is here. So slip into you PJs, grab your cat, wash your hands, unclench your teeth and smile all the way to Halloween.