Why Did Yankee Doodle Call His Hat Macaroni?

Independence Day is one of the most cherished and time-honored holidays in the United States. This federal holiday is an annual celebration of American independence from the British Empire and is commonly associated with parades, picnics, carnivals, and concerts during the day – topped off with majestic fireworks displays after sunset.

The firework shows are traditionally set to patriotic anthems including Yankee Doodle – a well-known American song that predates the American Revolution. We all know the tune, even if we don’t understand the lyrics. Why did Yankee Doodle go to town? Why did he call his hat “macaroni” after sticking a feather in it? And most importantly, how do such seemingly-nonsensical words play such a prominent role in our nation’s history?

“Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on pony.
He stuck a feather in his cap
And called it Macaroni.”

Before we find out why Yankee Doodle called his hat “macaroni,” we should probably back up and find out what the term “Yankee Doodle” means.

The term “Yankee” itself has several interrelated meanings depending on the context, however, all of them refer to people from the United States. Outside of the U.S., the term is used to refer to any American – including Southerners. Within the United States, however, the term is a derisive one which refers to all Northerners – especially ones from the Union side of the American Civil War. Some people go a step further and only view New Englanders as true “Yankees.”

The first appearance of the term “doodle” can be traced back to the early 17th century and is thought to be derived from the Low Saxon word “dudel,” which means “playing music badly,” or “Dodel, meaning “simpleton” or “fool.”

What Does That Have to do with Macaroni?

Today when we think of macaroni, we typically start salivating for the nostalgically-delicious childhood meal made of noodles and a cheese-like substance eaten from a box, but the macaroni in this instance refers to a fashionable man from the mid-18th century who spoke and dressed in an outlandish and epicene manner.

But why macaroni? Because young upper-class British men returning from trips to Italy developed a taste for the pasta that was hardly known in England at the time and were said to belong to the Macaroni Club because of their insistence on referring to anything fashionable as “very macaroni.”

It’s all starting to come together now. When British surgeon Dr. Richard Shuckburgh penned the lyrics, he was mocking Yankees by insinuating that they were low-class simpletons who lacked masculinity – as if simply putting a feather in one’s cap would make him sophisticated and noble.

That sure doesn’t sound patriotic, but the Yankees soon turned the tables by embracing the song as an anthem of defiance. Americans subsequently went a step further by adding additional verses mocking the British and shortly thereafter, the song went from being an insult to a source of national pride.

That was more than 200 years ago, and the song still stands as one of our nation’s most beloved and patriotic tunes. In fact, President John F. Kennedy once bought a pony for his daughter Caroline – and called it Macaroni.

If you’re heading out to celebrate Independence Day on July 4, or plan on hosting a celebration of your own – don’t forget the flowers! Topper’s European Floral Design is here to help you celebrate with a bang with a beautiful bouquet of red, white, and blue flowers – perfect for the 4th of July. Give us a call or stop in today to see what’s in store for you. If you find exactly what you’d like, we’ll make it for you! Have a safe and happy 4th from your friends at Topper’s!

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Remember Administrative Professionals Week – April 23-27

One of the most curious things about holidays is their tendency to evolve and change throughout the years. One of the most recent examples is Administrative Professionals’ Week which will take place this year from April 23-27.

The origin of this annual public holiday can be traced back to World War II, when a shortage of skilled administrative personnel in the United States led to the founding of the National Secretaries Association in 1942 to recognize the contributions of administrative personnel and to help attract workers to the administrative field.

In 1981, the National Secretaries Association changed their name to Professional Secretaries International, and then in 1989 to the International Association of Administrative Professionals. As the organization’s name evolved, so did the name of the holiday, which was changed from National Secretaries Week to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981, and then renamed Administrative Professional’s week in 2000 to encompass the wide-ranging job titles and responsibilities of administrative support staff in the modern era.

Today, the holiday services to honor all support staff that keep offices and workplaces running. While many of the intended honorees work “behind the scenes” to contribute to the success of their particular business or organization, the parameters of what qualifies as an “administrative professional” are largely undefined.

Although the roles and titles of administrative assistants can vary quite a bit depending on the industry, they’re typically the employees who wear many hats in order to keep the business up and running. This could be everything from maintenance staff to general laborers to office managers and executive assistants. Their roles are often not as externally visible to customers and shareholders, but it takes diligent work, meticulous organization and careful planning to keep the office environment running smoothly, so these administrative assistants are often the under-looked heroes who play an essential role in the overall success of their organization.

Does it last all week? Is it just one day?? What’s going on???

One of the more unique aspects of Administrative Professionals’ Week is that it actually lasts an entire week instead of just one day. There is, in fact, a single day that is dedicated to the holiday – in the United States and Canada, it is celebrated on the Wednesday of the last full week of April every year.

So how did this one-day holiday morph into a week-long celebration? One of the more popular ways of acknowledging the contributions of Administrative Professionals is to take them out for lunch one day during the week. Therefore, the decision to extend the observance to a full week was made in order to space out the bookings at restaurants and eateries.

Amsterdam by Topper’s European Floral Design

Buying lunch for administrative professionals is a terrific way of saying “thank you” to those employees who make your job easier and make you look better, but we know of another outstanding gift idea that is much more beautiful than a free lunch – and will certainly last longer!

Of course, we’re talking about flowers! Flowers make a perfect gift for Administrative Professionals Week and here at Topper’s European Floral Design, we have you covered with a special collection that we have assembled especially for this exciting occasion.

Click here to check out our selection and pick out that special gift for the employees who go above and beyond to keep the workplace running smoothly. If you don’t see exactly what you’d like, please give us a call and we can help you find the perfect gift.

Don’t miss this opportunity to say thanks to the people who work so hard to make your business a success!

Easter and Passover

Did you know that Easter is the fourth biggest floral holiday of the year? It may not get the recognition of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas/Hanukkah, but flowers and plants have long played an important role in Easter and Passover observances and are synonymous with the holidays in both home decorations and as gifts.

When choosing a floral gift for Easter, it’s important to keep in mind not only who it’s for, but also what it will be used for. Flowers are always appropriate for mothers, grandmothers, and other close relatives or loved ones. Of course, Easter baskets full of chocolates, Peeps, and other springtime treats are always a favorite for kids of all ages!

They also make excellent gifts for church or social groups as well as for co-workers or the staff of your child’s school or day care center and are certainly a perfect gift to take along if you have been invited to an Easter dinner or other Easter celebration.

Lilies are popular symbols of Easter as they represent love, hope, and resurrection. White lilies are especially symbolic during Easter as they signify purity and divinity. Daisies, azaleas, daffodils, chrysanthemums, hyacinths, and tulips are also popular Easter flowers.

Celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 1, with a traditional Easter lily plant, or with a beautiful bouquet of fresh seasonal flowers from Topper’s European Floral Design.

Did you know?

  • Egg dyes for Easter were once made from flower petals. Other natural items like tree bark, onion peels, and juices were also used to color eggs.
  • The first story of a rabbit (later named the “Easter Bunny”) hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680.
  • Easter takes place on a Sunday, after the 40-day period called Lent. Lent is referred to as a time of fasting, but most participants focus more on giving up one significant indulgence.
  • Holy Week is celebrated during the week leading up to Easter. It begins on Palm Sunday, continues to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then finally, Easter Sunday.
  • The 140th annual “White House Easter Egg Roll” is scheduled for Monday, April 2. This event has been celebrated by the Presidents of the United States and their families since 1878.

Passover

Passover, or Pesach, is one of the most commonly observed Jewish holidays. It begins annually on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. This year it begins at sundown on Friday, March 30, and lasts through Saturday, April 7.

Passover is a celebration of the Israelites’ being freed from slavery in Egypt. It is also observed as a celebration of spring, of birth, and of rebirth, and of taking responsibility for yourself, the community, and the world. The first night of Passover includes a special ritual dinner called Seder.

Flowers make excellent gifts for Passover. Traditional spring-blooming flowers are used to celebrate the holiday. Sunflowers, Gerbera daisies, roses, lilies, irises, and tulips are all excellent choices for this holiday season. Topper’s European Floral Design offers a nice assortment of centerpieces and fresh floral designs that make excellent gifts for this celebration.

Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a worldwide celebration of social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women that takes place annually on March 8. This year’s theme is #PressforProgress which spotlights gender parity.

IWD is not a new holiday – in fact, it was first observed in the early 1900’s. It has, however, grown in popularity over the past few years and is now celebrated and supported around the world by the United Nations, along with governments, industry leaders, educational institutions, community groups, professional associations, women’s networks, charities, non-profit organizations, and more.

IWD is a terrific opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women as well as a chance to take action to help raise visibility and awareness in order to help drive positive change for women and accelerate gender parity around the world.

We can all do our part in helping drive better outcomes for women by becoming responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender-inclusive world. The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely for another 217 years, so International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for ground-breaking action that can drive greater change for women and speed up the clock on gender parity.

World-renowned feminist, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem once said, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

How to get involved

  • Together we can all play a role in promoting women’s issues and rights, especially for women in developing countries. One of the easiest ways to get involved is by sharing the #PressforProgress hashtag on social media posts and encouraging your friends and followers to join in the festivities.
  • Purple is the official color for IWD, so simply wearing a purple shirt or ribbon is a good way to show your support.
  • There are numerous festivals and gatherings planned for IWD and you can check the International Women’s Day event page to see a full list of activities in your area.
  • Consider donating time or resources to women-focused charities or groups
  • Volunteer to set up your own IWD campaign. Materials and instructions can be found here.
  • Most importantly, just speak out and make your support known!

Even if you don’t want to get involved in organized IWD events, the day itself is still a great opportunity to celebrate a special woman in your life by acknowledging their hard work and sharing their stories. A small gift, like a beautiful bouquet, is always an appropriate way to show your gratitude and the smile is causes can make a big difference!

Sending a Message on Valentine’s Day

You often hear the saying, “it’s the thought that counts.” That may be true, but the thought isn’t the only thing that counts – especially not to your valentine on this special day.

Imagine a scenario such as this: your Valentine is hard at work on Valentine’s Day when a delivery driver opens the door and delivers a box to her colleague’s desk. She looks on in excitement and a bit of envy as her colleague opens the box and begins pulling out roses one-by-one, before arranging them in the accompanying vase. It’s Valentine’s Day, do you really want your valentine assembling their roses at work?

She thinks about you and wonders if a similar box will arrive for her, when suddenly the door bursts open and a man in a Topper’s European Floral Design shirt walks in with an eye-popping bouquet of the most vivid and beautiful long-stem red roses. She watches as the driver makes his way through the office, and tightly crosses her fingers in hopes of somehow willing the delivery man to not make a sudden turn before reaching her desk.

As much as she tries to hide her smile, it modestly grows wider and wider as the delivery man approaches. By now, co-workers are peeking around office doors and over cubicle walls. The colleague in the front of the office takes a break from arranging the last of her flowers to see where the elegant roses are headed.

When the delivery driver finally makes it to her desk and confirms that she is indeed the recipient, her first thought will undeniably be of you – and just how special you made her feel.

When you send flowers, you’re sending a message. It’s easy if all you want to say with that message is: “I’m thinking of you.” A quick phone call or a brief visit to any number of websites will easily convey that message just fine. But doesn’t your Valentine deserve a stronger message than that – especially if it doesn’t take any extra time or effort on your part to let her know how you really feel about her? Send a message this year – a message that lets her know she deserves the very best.

Sending roses on Valentine’s Day is a time-honored tradition, but not all roses are the same. Roses are beautiful, but fragile, flowers that need care and love – just like your Valentine. This year, think outside that battered box and send the very best message – by sending the very best roses. When you see or hear of roses being advertised at “special” prices, in most cases, you will need to add the shipping and handling along with some additional hidden fees. Suddenly, the remarkably-low price is no longer so low anymore.

At Topper’s European Floral Design, we would never stuff our roses in a box and drop them off with someone else to get delivered – we prefer to handle that ourselves. Grown only in the finest farms, and cared for by the finest professionals in the business, our roses are the finest and most beautiful roses you will find for your Valentine.

When you send flowers from Topper’s, you can rest assured that not only are you sending the very best professionally designed and hand-delivered flowers, but you are always backed by an unconditional guarantee that is unmatched in the industry. Exceed her expectations this year and leave the details to us. Call Topper’s European Floral Design today to make this Valentine’s Day one that will truly be remembered.

Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Topper’s European Floral Design Has Your Answer!

Classic Christmas Wreath by Topper’s European Floral Design

It’s beginning to a lot like Christmas here at Topper’s European Floral Design. We’re working hard to prepare for the holiday rush, but we’re never too busy to help you pick out the perfect gift for someone special on your list. Whether you’re shopping for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, or just want to send a special treat, we have the perfect gift ideas for every occasion.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve crossed several names off your list, but chances are you still have at least one or two of those hard-to-buy-for people left. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, never fear – because we here to help you spread your holiday cheer! The possibilities are practically endless this time of year and we have an incredible variety to choose from. Whether you prefer a timeless classic like a festive poinsettia plant or something with a bit more flair like a beautiful hand-designed holiday floral arrangement, you’re in good hands at Topper’s European Floral Design.

Northwest Holiday by Topper’s European Floral Design

Be sure to get your orders in early this year to avoid the rush. Not only will you get the best value and widest selection by not waiting until the last minute, but you’ll also be able to cross one more thing off your list and reduce your own stress levels a bit. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to have a beautiful gift hand-delivered by Topper’s European Floral Design, we’re just a phone call away – or you can order online 24-hours a day. Are you sending the gift out of town? No problem! We can take care of that for you with the help of our network of associates located across the country.

In addition to our incredible selection of fresh flowers and plants, we also feature a fantastic variety of holiday gifts and décor that is sure to please anyone on your list! We’re also a great source for unique stocking stuffers and gifts for teachers, mail carriers, party hosts, co-workers, hair stylists, and more. This year, leave the last-minute shopping to the amateurs by trusting one of our professional designers to create the perfect one-of-a-kind gift. Give us a call today to check out what we have in store for you this holiday season!

How Did Poppies Become the Symbol of Veterans Day?

Honoring service members has been a hot-button issue in our country as of late. No matter what your political stance is on the topic, we can surely all agree that those who served this great country deserve to be recognized, and Veterans Day, on Friday, November 10, is an opportunity to do just that.

Veterans Day, which is observed annually on November 11 (or on Friday, November 10 if the 11th falls on a Saturday – as is the case this year), is often confused with the more widely-recognized Memorial Day, but there is a distinct difference between the two holidays.

Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in the military, while Veterans Day is meant to honor the service of all U.S. military veterans. So, technically, thanking a living vet for their service on Memorial Day is missing the intended meaning of the holiday. Obviously, there isn’t a “wrong” time to thank a veteran, but if you’re going to pick a day to do so, Veterans Day is it!

Just how did this holiday get its start? It all started back in 1926 when the U.S. Congress adopted a resolution requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for an observance of November 11 – notable because World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

It took 12 years for a Congressional Act to officially make the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday. Originally known as Armistice Day in the United States, the name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

Poppies

Like many other holidays, Veterans Day has a direct tie to the floral industry with poppies being symbolic of the observance. Many poppy wreaths are laid at war memorials and small artificial poppies are worn on clothing to commemorate this patriotic holiday.

Inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” in which the opening lines refer to poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the soil from soldiers’ graves in the Flanders region of Belgium, these small red flowers were adopted by the National American Legion as their official symbol of remembrance in 1920.

The Royal British Legion soon after adopted the poppy as their symbol, as did veterans’ groups in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as a host of other countries.

Although they are closely related, the poppies used for Veterans Day (as well as Memorial Day) are not the same species as the opium poppy which is grown as a field crop to produce opium and poppy seeds. Opium poppies were once prohibited in the United States under the Opium Poppy Control Act of 1942, however, the law has since been repealed and the law of poppy cultivation in the U.S. is now somewhat vague and remains controversial.

Coincidently, the red remembrance poppies aren’t free from controversy of their own. In fact, some anti-war groups view the remembrance poppy as a political symbol of war and conflict. The controversy has even spread to the sports world and particularly European soccer clubs where remembrance poppies are a common occurrence on team uniforms in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

Some groups have adopted white poppies as an alternative to, or an accompaniment to, red poppies as a way to symbolize peace without glamorizing war. Additionally, purple poppies are sometimes used in Britain to commemorate animals that have been victims of war.

Regardless of the controversies surrounding this little red flower, you’re probably going to see them “popping” up around town this week. When you do, remember to take a moment to give thanks to all the veterans who serve – or have served – our country.