History of Shrove Monday: Ahead of Mardi Gras

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,…

Read More

History of Ukraine: What You Want to Know, part 2

Ukraine 2

HISTORY OF UKRAINE: WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW, part 2     We have looked at the recent history of Ukraine in our first article; now we turn to these questions: What is the history of Ukraine over the last two centuries that got us here? What has been Ukraine’s relationship to other great powers…

Read More

History of Ukraine: What You Want to Know, part 1

Ukraine

HISTORY OF UKRAINE, PART 1     With the world holding its breath, what is the recent historical context from which you can get an understanding of Ukraine’s self-identity? What is the nature of Ukraine’s national independence? Why is Ukraine fighting for its life against Russia now? An independent, self-governing Ukraine emerged as a nation…

Read More

History of Amazing Grace, part 2: William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 2: William Wilberforce As I mentioned in my first article on the History of Amazing Grace, this is the story of the lives of two men and that one song. In the first part, we discussed the life of the song’s author John Newton. However, the 2007 film “Amazing Grace”…

Read More

History of Amazing Grace, part 1

Amazing Grace

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 1 On February 23, 1807, the British parliament passed a bill banning the nation’s slave trade. In these two articles, we’ll explore the lives of two men and one song that played a significant role in that effort. John Newton‘s devoted Christian mother dreamed that her only son would grow…

Read More

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

Presidents Day

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 Presidents’ Day, or incorrectly as President’s Day (it’s plural) — to be observed on the…

Read More

History of St. Valentine’s Day

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY St. Valentine was martyred on February 14. However, Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints. The most celebrated are the two martyrs whose festival days fall on February 14. One was a Roman priest, the other, bishop of Terni.   Historical Context It would appear from…

Read More

History of the Avocado: The Super Bowl Food

Super Bowl Avocados

HISTORY OF THE AVOCADO: THE SUPER BOWL FOOD   Why are avocados, especially guacamole dip, considered a required food for Super Bowl Parties? What’s the background?   Californian Avocados California, which has 60,000 acres of avocado orchards, has an avocado growing season running from March through August… not exactly friendly to the date of the…

Read More

History of the Super Bowl: Just another Religious Holiday?

Super_Bowl_LVI_logo

The Super Bowl™ is a territory acquisition athletic contest played on a fixed agrarian grid using, as a token, an inflated porcine prolate spheroid. Some will say it is the most important holiday of the year in America. While it is ostensibly a secular holiday, others argue it is truly a religious holiday. And there…

Read More

History of The Beatles

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 President Kennedy, who had been assassinated just 77 days earlier. The airport was now full of 4,000 greeters. Not realizing why there was such a…

Read More

History of Peter Pan: the Story Behind the Disney Classic

Peter Pan

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 69 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…

Read More

History of The Day The Music Died

American Pie

HISTORY OF THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED On February 3, 1959, a plane crash occurred in Iowa during a snowstorm shortly after 1:00 AM, killing three young rock and roll singers who would go down in history: Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Their story would later be captured as “long,…

Read More