Yes, this is a real holiday and one that is HUGE in Land of Lily Pad (as you might well imagine) and I am excited to be going home to celebrate with family friends.
Did you know that Frog Jumping Day can be traced back to Mark Twain's first short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog, first published in 1865? Yep. That's true! You may know this story by a different name, The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. In fact, Twin's story has been published under three different names.
The story is about two men who bet on whose pet frog can jump the highest. And there is actually a frog jumping contest in Calaveras County, California that began in 1849. Since the contest started 16 years before Mark Twain's story was published, it's a good bet that he got his inspiration from this contest. Interestingly enough, there's an international frog jumping day that's celebrated in February...tying in with Leap Day.
The record, for the longest leap, is held by Rosie the Ribbeter (ya gotta love her name). She jumped 21 feet, 5 3/4 inches, back in 1986. Way to go Rosie!
Modern frogs can hop farther than their earlier ancesters because our bodies, now, are shorter, we have longer legs, and modified hip bones. (Who knew?) Earlier versions of us did better at walking.
Can't get to Calaveras County for today's contest? Fret not! There are still many ways to celebrate this auspicious day:
1. Read Mark Twain's short story.
2. If you have kids, have your own "frog" jumping contest. See which child can do the best frog imitation and can jump the farthest and the highest. Be sure to record the results so you'll have a record to beat for next year. And don't forget to have prizes!
3. Use wind-up toy frogs for your contest.
4. Bake up a batch of frog cupcakes. Easy to do and there are excellent decorating tips on Google.
5. If your kiddos love real frogs, there are a number of wonderful, and informative, books about frogs out there. Look 'em up at Amazon.com or check your local library. I know they'll have a bunch, too!
However you choose to celeberate Frog Jumping Day, just have fun and enjoy it. Please remember, though, that many frogs are endangered and, perhaps, your Frog Jumping Day festivites can include a donation to the many wonderful groups whose mission is to help the endangered frogs survive.
Hoppy Weekend, everyone. See you back here on Monday!