Archive for 2019

History of St. Patrick: Was he British?

HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY Although much of the life of the patron saint and Apostle of Ireland is shrouded in legend, St. Patrick was probably born around the year AD 389. Stories are told of the many contests Patrick had with Druids, pagans, and polytheists, as well as the well known but unlikely story…

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History of the Ides of March: Who should Beware?

Ides of March

HISTORY OF THE IDES OF MARCH According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month with the exception of the months March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th of the month. Something epochal occurred in 44 B.C. Et tu, Brute? It was on March 15,…

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History of Pi Day: 3.14

HISTORY OF PI DAY This holiday is often overlooked by those who do not speak Greek or those who do not speak Geek… but for the science major, this is a special celebration. Though it is an irregular constant number, regularly and annually on March 14, or 3/14, or 3.14 — we have the first…

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History of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste: Roman Empire vs. Christian Soldiers

40 Martyrs

HISTORY OF THE 40 MARTYRS OF SEBASTE A curious occurrence happened in the early 4th century Roman Empire. The early church historian Bishop Eusebius tells the story of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who before a battle against his rival Emperor Maxentius in 312 AD at the Milvian Bridge outside of Rome, had either a dream…

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History of Daylight Saving Time: Why do we Spring forward?

HISTORY OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME It seems like only yesterday that we discussed the end of Daylight Saving Time, or DST, a brilliant campaign to convince people that we’re getting more daylight each day when in reality we’ve simply changed our clocks and then forgotten about it within two weeks. Actually, it was only back…

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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 after Shrove Monday and 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” —…

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History of Shrove Monday

Shrovetide Football

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 March

HISTORY OF MARCH The month that can come in “like a lion and out like a lamb” is named after the Roman god of war (and agriculture) Mars. March or Martius as it was known in ancient Rome is the first month of Spring and was considered a favorable season for travel, planting, or to begin…

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