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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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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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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mayday 798263

HISTORY OF MAY DAY May Day is many things to many people. Etymologically, it is a homophone (same sounding word) for the international call for help. It is a corruption of the French imperative “M’aidez” meaning “Help me!” It is a holiday claimed by many. Pagan Holiday It is known in the pagan world as…

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earth blue marble 731816

HISTORY OF EARTH DAY April 22 is called Earth Day because it both commemorates and celebrates the observance of the anniversary of our discovery of planet Earth. At this time, by all accounts, there is general agreement that Earth is far superior to the planet from which we came, as we shall recount below. Meanwhile,…

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Vintage bunny

HISTORY OF EASTER The most joyous of Christian festivals and one of the first celebrated by Christians across the Roman Empire commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is set on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. The English word Easter corresponding to the German “Oster,” reveals the association of many…

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April Fool 745101

HISTORY OF APRIL FOOLS’ DAY April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends on that day or sending them on fools’ errands. The origin of this custom has been much disputed; it is in some way a relic of those once universal festivities…

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HISTORY OF THE SPRING In Colorado we have a saying, we begin the first day of Spring in the same way we began the Fall: with snow. This symmetry is relevant as both the beginning of Spring and Fall coincide with the Equinox. This word is made up of two Latin root words aequus and…

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