Monday, December 17

National Maple Syrup Day

While it's not likely to inspire a religious frenzy of gift-buying, or even "national" celebration in the true sense of the word, National Maple Syrup Day, celebrated on December 17, is an excuse to pause the other holiday madness, and eat a stack of pancakes. National Maple Syrup day celebrates 100% maple syrup, not maple-flavored syrup, not pancake syrup, and certainly not high fructose corn syrup. It's a day to applaud syrup from trees, shun Aunt Jemima, and spend the extra few dollars to buy pure 100% maple syrup.

December 17 appears to be a random choice for National Maple Syrup Day. Maple producers harvest sugar maple sap in March, which is when the Massachusetts Maple Producers' Association participates in month-long maple festivities. Local farms in other areas of the Northeastern United States and Canada also celebrate in March with syrup-making demonstrations, and of course, plenty of food drenched in syrup. While it seems likely that a syrup producer could have started National Maple Syrup Day, its roots are undocumented, and generally unmentioned. December 17 has no apparent reason for being National Maple Syrup Day, and is only national in the respect that someone, somewhere tacked the word "national" onto an invented holiday to catapult it into the ranks of bizarre holidays such as National Chocolate Covered Anything Day and National Roast Suckling Pig Day, the two special days before and after National Maple Syrup Day.

But the roots don't matter for anyone out to honor their favorite French toast topping. National Maple Syrup Day isn't going to receive a full-on inquisition into its roots as a pagan holiday, or the quaint 19th century customs that led to our modern celebration of National Maple Syrup Day. Its origins are undocumented, but whoever started it first was clearly someone with a great love of maple syrup. Appreciation of the syrup and complete disregard for calorie counting are the only important traditions of this obscure holiday, which has found a niche on recipe websites internationally. recognizes National Maple Syrup Day and dedicates a page to the history of maple syrup and recipes using maple syrup. Mr. Breakfast, of, lists National Maple Syrup Day among the "16 Breakfast Holidays."

Forget the peculiarities of National Maple Syrup Day, forget the madness of the holiday season. This December 17, go to the grocery store and pick up a jug of pure maple syrup with a basket full of syrup-ready foods. Eat pancakes, ice cream, chicken, and salad with maple syrup. Try some new recipes. Remember to replace your tuna sandwich with a tuna-maple sandwich, and your fruitcake with a maple fruitcake.

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