April 06, 2017

#05-027: New Beer's Eve and Other Frivolous April Days

oil portrait of serious-looking older man with lined face; wearing a business suit
FDR signed the "Beer Permit Act"

Note: Fads come and go, but people will have their beer! Find out about "New Beer's Eve" and the end of Prohibition in the U.S.

Get Ready: Overall, do you think the consumption of alcohol has a positive or a negative effect on a society?

Every month we've looked at has some odd or frivolous holidays. You would think that, since April leads off with arguably the silliest day of all--April Fools' Day--there would be other especially silly days in the month.

I'm sad to report that the other days in the month are no sillier than those in other months of the year. Still, there are some pretty silly days.

For example, April 6th is the humorously-named New Beer's Eve in the U.S., followed by National Beer Day on the 7th. On closer examination, it turns out that this date has a slightly more serious origin.

In the early 20th century, the negative social effects of excessive consumption of alcohol caused an increasing clamor to limit its sales. So, in 1917, the U.S. Senate proposed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This did not prohibit the possession or use of alcohol; only its production, transport, and sale.

The bill was ratified in 1919, and went into effect in 1920. This was called "Prohibition," which is now a term used to describe the era of the '20s and early '30s.

The law was not repealed until the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified in December of 1933. But in the interim--in March, 1933, to be exact--President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law Congress's "Cullen-Harrison Act" (also called the "Beer Permit Act"), which permitted the sale of beer and low-alcohol wine in those states which chose to allow it. (On signing the bill, President Roosevelt remarked, "I think this would be a good time for a beer.")

The mitigating bill went into effect on April 7, thereafter celebrated as "Beer Day," and the night before as New Beer's Eve. The entire lifting of Prohibition took place on December 5.


Adding to its inherent zaniness, April 1 is also Edible Book Day, a day when people craft foods--especially decorated cakes--that either look like a favorite book, or depict a scene from one. Once the entries in an "edible book" contest are judged, they are--naturally--eaten!


More "traditional" food days in April include National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (April 2), National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (April 12), National Jelly Bean Day (April 22), and National Pigs in a Blanket Day (April 24).


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. clamor
  2. consumption
  3. craft
  4. edible
  5. inherent
  6. interim
  7. mitigating
  8. ratified
  9. repealed
  10. zaniness

  1. eating, drinking, or use of something
  2. built-in; part of something
  3. meantime
  4. create; make
  5. approved
  6. making less severe; softening
  7. withdrawn; revoked
  8. craziness
  9. uproar; outcry
  10. able to be eaten

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 6, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. a; 3. d; 4. j; 5. b; 6. c; 7. f; 8. e; 9. g; 10. h