Archive for February 2007

History of Amazing Grace, part 1

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 1 Today marks the 200th anniversary of the British parliament passing a bill banning the nation’s slave trade. In these two articles we’ll explore the lives of two men and one song that played a large role in that effort. John Newton‘s devoted Christian mother dreamed that her only son…

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History of Ash Wednesday

ASH WEDNESDAY In the western church the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday from the ceremonial use of ashes, as a symbol of penitence, in the service prescribed for the day. The custom is still retained in the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran Churches. The ashes, obtained…

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History of Mardi Gras

MARDI GRAS In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday as a last “fling” prior to the 40 days of Lent which precede Easter. Lent is a word that comes from the Middle English word “lente” which means “springtime” – so named for the season of the year…

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History of St. Valentine’s Day

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY Valentine or Valentinus, is the name of at least three martyred saints. The most celebrated are the two martyrs whose festivals fall on February 14, the one, a Roman priest, the other, bishop of Terni. It would appear from the legends that both lived during the reign of the emperor Claudius (Gothicus);…

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History of Groundhog Day

.!. HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG DAY Groundhog Day comes from Candlemas Day, observed for centuries in parts of Europe on February 2 where the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. This seems to have derived from the pagan celebration of Imbolc — the Feast of the goddess Bridget,…

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Part 3 – History of The War: my conversation with Ken Burns

THE WAR: part 3 So what did Ken Burns show in his 1.25 hour preview of his 14.5 hour, 7 part documentary on World War II called The War? The audience included hundreds of Air Force cadets, virtually the same age as the soldier’s were who fought in the story. Using still photos and film…

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