Secular

History of Bastille Day

HISTORY OF BASTILLE DAY Each year on July 14 Bastille Day is celebrated to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille in Paris on this date in 1789, an important date in the French Revolution. The day features feasting, fireworks, public dancing, and an address by the French President. However, the center of this celebration is…

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History of the 4th of July: Ben Franklin

HISTORY OF THE 4TH OF JULY: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN We know this polymath as a writer, publisher, printer, merchant, scientist, moral philosopher, international diplomat, and inventor. Musically he invented the glass harmonica, but he also invented the Franklin stove and started the first lending library and fire brigade in Philadelphia. He did experiments in electricity and…

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History of the 4th of July: Thomas Jefferson

HISTORY OF THE 4th OF JULY: THOMAS JEFFERSON Perhaps no one person is more associated with the 4th of July in American History than Thomas Jefferson, probably because it was his hand that penned the immortal Declaration of Independence. As my friend Clay Jenkinson — who has been portraying Jefferson for over 20 years —…

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History of Canada Day

HISTORY OF CANADA DAY As the US celebrates Independence Day, Canadians have a celebration of their own this weekend. Canada Day (Fête du Canada) celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, when the three independent colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into a single dominion. On that date the British North American Act, known today…

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History of July: Where do we get that name?

HISTORY OF JULY The month of July was renamed for Julius Caesar, who was born in that month. Before that, it was called Quintilis in Latin meaning the fifth month in the ancient Roman calendar. This was before January became the first month of the calendar year about the year 450 BC. We currently use…

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History of Father’s Day: the Beginning

Fathers Day

HISTORY OF FATHERS DAY [NOTE: I wrote a longer and more serious version of this article for CBS.com a couple of years ago. It has been published on their network of sites for major cities around the country. You can find an example here.] Origin The celebration of Father’s Day goes back all the way…

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History of Flag Day

HISTORY OF FLAG DAY June 14 is the day the United States celebrates Flag Day. While it may not be as widely celebrated as other American holidays, it is one of the oldest. It was resolved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, even before the conclusion of the American War of Independence, the Revolutionary…

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Memorial Day: Which War?

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHICH WAR? Memorial Day was not universally recognized as a shared American Holiday until after World War I. But that’s not how it started in the United States. When did it begin? Civil War Following the American Civil War or the War Between the States as it was known in the…

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