My Top 5 Articles of 2021

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  These are the Top 5 articles from my blog this year based on the number of reader views at billpetro.com:   Top 5 of 2021   1. History of Telemachus This is the oft-told story of the monk who caused the Roman gladiatorial games to be ended upon his martyrdom on January 1, A.D.…

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History of Auld Lang Syne: What Does It Mean?

Auld Lang Syne

HISTORY OF AULD LANG SYNE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN Why is it that each New Year’s Eve, we sing “Auld Lang Syne,” but do we know what it means? The song contains words from a language that few are familiar with, in a syntax that is confusing to most, and is from a poem about…

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History of New Year’s Eve

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HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S EVE New Year’s Eve is the last day of the year, according to the Gregorian Calendar, and is known as Old Year’s Day, or St. Sylvester’s Day. You may remember reading that Emperor Constantine was considered the first “Christian” Roman Emperor? St. Sylvester is responsible for Constantine’s conversion in the 4th-century. …

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History of Childermas: Feast of the Holy Innocents

HISTORY OF CHILDERMAS: FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS Childermas, from an Old English word meaning the Mass of the Infants, is the festival in the church calendar begun in the fifth century — celebrated in the Western Church on December 28 and in the Eastern Church on December 29. It is also known as Bairn’s…

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History of Holiday Fruitcake

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HISTORY OF HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE You may be wondering: “My friendly neighborhood historian is writing an article on fruitcake? Is he as nutty as a fruitcake?” And therein begins our tale…     The Phrase “Nutty as a Fruitcake” Nutty as a fruitcake was first recorded in 1935, but the adjective nutty, meaning “crazy or eccentric,”…

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History of Christmas Eve and the Battle of the Bulge: 77 Years Ago

Snow Fighters

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: 77 YEARS AGO On Christmas Eve, 1944, my father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, had arrived in Strasbourg with the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division. Eight days earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had begun. The 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed reinforcements to the most…

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