Posts by billpetro
History of Amazing Grace, part 1
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 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 repentance, 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. Lutheran,…Read More
History of Mardi Gras: Why is it called Fat Tuesday?
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…Read More
History of Shrove Monday: Ahead of Mardi Gras
HISTORY OF SHROVE MONDAY The Monday before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Monday. The three days before Ash Wednesday are known as “Shrovetide,” starting with Quinquagesima Sunday and ending on Shrove Tuesday, a day more popularly known as Mardi Gras. Quinquagesima meant the fiftieth day before Easter, specifically the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday,…Read More
History of Presidents Day: More than just Washington and Lincoln?
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 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.…Read More
History of the Avocado: The Super Bowl Food
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?
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 Charles Dickens: 211 years Ago
HISTORY OF CHARLES DICKENS Today marks the 211th birthdate of Charles Dickens, considered by many the greatest English writer since Shakespeare — at least he was during his lifetime in the Victorian age. He enjoyed the distinction of fame and a measure of financial success during his lifetime, starting in his 20s. Many of his…Read More
History of The Beatles: Coming to America February 7, 1964
HISTORY OF THE BEATLES On February 7, 1964, The Beatles landed at JFK Airport in New York. The airport was recently 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 crowd,…Read More
History of Peter Pan: the Story Behind the 70-Year-Old Disney Classic
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 70 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
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