pentecost 763410

HISTORY OF PENTECOST The Feast of Pentecost is taken from the Greek word πεντηκόστη which means “the 50th,” referring to the fiftieth day after Passover and Easter. In the Jewish calendar, this would coincide with the harvest festival Shavuot the “Feast of Weeks.” In the Christian calendar, Passover played a part in a number of…

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Golden Gate Bridge

HISTORY OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE This week we celebrate the 83rd anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. On May 27, 1937, the bridge opened to traffic after taking over five years to build. I remember asking my father when I was young: “Why isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge golden?” He didn’t…

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Star Wars Novel 1976

HISTORY OF STAR WARS The original Star Wars movie premiered on May 25, 1977. In 1976 I picked up a new science fiction novel called “Star Wars” by George Lucas. I did not know at the time that it was ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster, a popular sci-fi writer. The following May, the movie debuted…

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boalsburg

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY The city of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, an American village on the National Historic Register, claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, as do at least 24 other towns in America. I first visited this hamlet near State College, home of Penn State University, decades ago. Boalsburg’s claim goes back to a…

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Tommy album

HISTORY OF THE WHO’s TOMMY Fifty-one years ago today, on May 23, 1969, the British rock group The Who released the double-album rock opera, Tommy. Commercially the record went Gold in the UK and Double Platinum in the US. Several of the songs were released as singles that charted in the Top 20 in both…

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arlington1

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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Carnation for Mothers Day

HISTORY OF MOTHER’S DAY The person most active initially in opposing the celebration of Mother’s Day is the very person who started this holiday in the US. How did that happen? Anna Jarvis’ mother died in 1905 and in her honor, Anna held a memorial in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia. She continued to campaign…

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VE_Day

HISTORY OF V-E DAY Seventy-five years ago today, World War II ended in Europe with the acceptance by the Allies of unconditional surrender from Germany on V-E Day. Or did it?   May 7, 1945 Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in his Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945, as I describe in my article here.…

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Cinco de Mayo

HISTORY OF CINCO DE MAYO Cinco de Mayo is frequently regarded as the Mexican equivalent of the United States 4th of July. This is incorrect: it is the equivalent of the “5th of May” in the Spanish language. Another misconception is that this has something to do with Mayonnaise. That too is a bum spread,…

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