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

Presidents Day

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTS DAY During my lifetime, two American holidays were consolidated into one. In 1971, a day between Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and Washington’s Birthday on February 22 became a single holiday, Presidents Day. It is 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

st valentine

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY The day we associate with love and romance has a history that traces back almost three millennia to ancient Rome but winds through Roman North Africa, England, and the United States. St. Valentine was martyred on February 14. However, Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints.…

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History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

HISTORY OF ASH WEDNESDAY In the Western church, the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday, derived 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 with Easter 40 days later, not counting Sundays.…

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

Mardi Gras

HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.” It 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” — so…

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History of Chinese New Year: Lunar New Year

year of the dragon

HISTORY OF CHINESE NEW YEAR Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. This is China’s oldest, longest, and most important social and economic holiday. Chinese New Year begins on the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It starts this year on February 10, though the celebrations continue for around two weeks. Chinese…

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History of the Super Bowl: A Humorous Look at the Religious Holiday

super bowl lviii 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.…

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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 Super…

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History of The Beatles: Coming to America February 7, 1964

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…

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History of Peter Pan: the Story Behind the 71-Year-Old 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 71 years ago 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 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. They were part of the 24-day “Winter Dance…

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History of Groundhog Day

HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG DAY Groundhog Day comes from Candlemas Day, observed for centuries in parts of Europe on February 2. The custom was to have the clergy bless candles – representing how long winter would be – and distribute them to the people.   A Pagan Holiday This seems to have derived from the pagan…

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