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Archive for November 2009

History of Christmas: Why do we celebrate it on December 25?

THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: ADVENT Here begins our series of articles on the History of Christmas. The Advent Season — Advent means the “coming” of the Christ Child — is marked by the four Sundays before Christmas and is celebrated in the church calendar as one the most festive seasons of the year. As we…

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History of Black Friday

HISTORY OF BLACK FRIDAY While it is difficult to connect this term to the start of the Christmas shopping sales season before its use in the mid-1960s in Philadelphia, the concept appears to go back to the 19th century when Christmas sales followed Thanksgiving Day parades. In 1939 President Franklin D Roosevelt set the date…

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Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1863

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION – 1863 Following the initial Presidential Thanksgiving proclamations of George Washington, John Adams and James Madison, there were no further Presidential proclamations for this day until Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day during the Civil War, but it was not initially in November.…

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George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1789

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION – 1789 The first President of the United States began a Presidential tradition of making a Thanksgiving proclamation, following those issued previously by the Continental Congress between 1777 to 1784: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be…

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History of Thanksgiving Indian: Why Squanto already knew English

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING: FRIENDLY INDIAN? We’ve all heard the story of how the Pilgrims, landing in Massachusetts on the Mayflower in 1620, were ill equipped to survive the harsh winters of the New World. We’ve also heard how they met a Native American Indian of the Pawtuxet tribe named Squanto who befriended them, taught them…

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History of Thanksgiving: the secular and the sacred

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING The origin of Thanksgiving Day has been attributed to a harvest feast held by the Plymouth Colony. In 1621, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony proclaimed a day of “thanksgiving” and prayer to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first harvest in America the year after their arrival on the merchant ship Mayflower. The…

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History of Veterans Day: Lest we forget

HISTORY OF VETERANS DAY A professor once commented, “We write things down so we can forget them.” Now, of course this is wrong, except in the limited sense of writing down appointments so we don’t have to worry about missing meetings. But that’s just it, we do forget things. As individuals we forget things that…

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History of General Winn: the passing of a hero

General Winn

History of General Winn: the Passing of a Hero At the Air Force Academy Chapel I attended the memorial service for Brigadier General David W. Winn, whose family I have known for a decade and more. It was a moving experience to participate in a service with full military honors, befitting an officer of such…

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History of Guy Fawkes Day: How gunpowder mixed with Parliament

HISTORY OF GUY FAWKES DAY For our friends across the Pond November 5th is known as “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night”, and all over Britain people fire off fireworks, light bonfires, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes was an Englishman who, in popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament…

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