History of Mother’s Day: Ancient and Modern

Mothers Day

HISTORY OF MOTHER’S DAY The person who initially was most active 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…

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History of May Day

May Day

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.   May Day as a Pagan Holiday It is known…

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History of the Diet of Worms: Martin Luther on Trial Over 500 Years Ago

Luther Memorial, Worms

HISTORY OF THE DIET OF WORMS: MARTIN LUTHER ON TRIAL 500 YEARS AGO Over five hundred years ago, on April 17, 1521, Martin Luther was tried before the most powerful ruler in Europe, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. While the name may sound unappetizing, the Diet of Worms was a formal imperial deliberative assembly…

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History of April Fools’ Day

April Fools Day

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 Easter: The Players: Where are They Now?

Question_Mark_Cloud

HISTORY OF EASTER: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLAYERS AFTERWARD You may be asking yourself, “Self,” you ask, “where are they now?” And well you might ask. What happened to our players AFTER the events in the Easter story?   Herod Antipas You may remember that I had said Antipas‘ taking his brother’s wife Herodias as…

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History of Easter: Why Bunnies and Eggs?

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.   Meaning of the word Easter There are several theories about where we…

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History of Good Friday

Via-Dolorosa

HISTORY OF GOOD FRIDAY For centuries, pilgrims have walked the Via Dolorosa, “the way of sorrow” in Jerusalem, following Jesus’s path on Good Friday. Starting at the judgment seat of Pilate at the Antonia Fortress in the eastern part of the city immediately north of the Temple, the path follows fourteen “Stations of the Cross”…

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History of the Trial: How many did Jesus have?

Via Crusis

THE TRIAL OF JESUS Beginning Thursday night and extending into Friday morning of Holy Week, Jesus’s trial, which led to his crucifixion, was, in reality, a series of about half a dozen trials distributed across several locations in Jerusalem. Some of these locations are captured in the tradition of the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow.…

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History of Maundy Thursday: Shere or Green Thursday?

Maundy Thursday

HISTORY OF MAUNDY THURSDAY Amid the bustle of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, Maundy Thursday is easy to overlook. Few calendars label it, and some churches don’t observe it at all, though it may be the oldest of the Holy Week observances. It’s worth asking why and how generations of Christians have revered this…

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History of Easter: The Sanhedrin – Who Was This Council?

Jerusalem Second Temple

HISTORY OF THE SANHEDRIN The Greek word Συνέδριον, sunedrion, means literally “sitting together” and is usually translated as “council.” It is referred to in the New Testament alternately as “the Great Law-Court,” “the Court of Seventy-One,” and “the rulers and elders and scribes.” It was the supreme theocratic court of the Jews. The Sanhedrin reflected the…

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History of Palm Sunday

Triumphal Entry

HISTORY OF PALM SUNDAY The week we now call Holy Week or Passion Week starts this weekend with Palm Sunday. Why was this week so important that three of the gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) devote a full third of their contents to reporting this week, and the fourth gospel (John) dedicates its entire last half? Jerusalem,…

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