Archive for February 2018

History of Presidents Day: More than just Washington and Lincoln?

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTS’ DAY During my lifetime, two American holidays got consolidated into one. In 1971, a day between both Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and Washington’s Birthday on February 22 became a single holiday, Presidents Day — alternately spelled President’s Day or Presidents’ Day — to be observed on the third Monday in February,…

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History of St. Valentine’s Day

HISTORY OF 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. Context It would appear from legend that both lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius…

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History of Ash Wednesday: Where does the Ash come from?

HISTORY OF 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. It follows Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, and ends 40 days later with Easter. The custom is still…

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History of Mardi Gras: Why is it called Fat Tuesday?

HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday as a last “fling” before the 40 days of self-denial 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…

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History of Shrove Monday

HISTORY OF SHROVE MONDAY The Monday before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Monday. The three days before Ash Wednesday is also known as “Shrovetide,” starting with Quinquagesima Sunday and ending on Shrove Tuesday, known more popularly as Mardi Gras. Quinquagesima meant the fiftieth day before Easter, or specifically the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday…

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History of The Olympics

HISTORY OF THE OLYMPICS While the modern Olympic Games go back to 1896, the ancient Olympic Games reach back as far as 776 B.C. and beyond. While historians hang the beginning on that date, it seems the Games had been going on for several centuries prior to the 8th century B.C. Held originally in Olympia, Greece…

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History of The Beatles

HISTORY OF THE BEATLES On February 7, 1964, The Beatles landed at JFK Airport in New York. The airport had recently been renamed by a mourning country in honor of the President who had been assassinated just 77 days earlier. The airport was now full of 4,000 greeters. Not realizing who they were for, Paul…

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History of Peter Pan: the Disney Classic at 65

HISTORY OF PETER PAN All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again. So begins my favorite Walt Disney animated movie, Peter Pan, which debuted 65 years ago today on February 5, 1953. The original movie poster said “It will live in your heart forever” and indeed it has. Why was this…

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History of the Super Bowl: Just another Religious Holiday?

HISTORY OF THE SUPER BOWL The Super Bowl™ is a territory acquisition athletic contest played on a fixed agrarian grid using as a token an inflated porcine prolate spheroid. It is the most important holiday of the year in America some will say. While it is ostensibly a secular holiday, others argue that it is…

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