History of Ethiopian New Year: What is Enkutatash?

HISTORY OF ETHIOPIAN NEW YEAR: WHAT IS ENKUTATASH? Why is your friendly neighborhood historian writing about the Ethiopian New Year? A couple of years ago, the Washington Post interviewed me for an article they were publishing on the subject. The Washington D.C. area has over 200,000 Ethiopian-Americans who celebrate the holiday this year on September 12.…

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History of August

August

HISTORY OF AUGUST What’s in a name? The name of this month wasn’t always August; previously the Romans called it  Sextilis. This was back in the days of Romulus in 753 BC when there were originally ten months (… Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.) The Roman Senate, in 8 B.C., decided to honor their first Emperor,…

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History of William Wilberforce: Champion of British Slavery Abolition

William Wilberforce

HISTORY OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE 188 years ago today, on July 26, 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act passed its third reading in the House of Commons, ensuring the end of slavery in the British Empire. It was authored by William Wilberforce. August 24 marks the birthday of British statesman and England’s greatest abolitionist William Wilberforce. He…

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History of John Calvin

John Calvin

HISTORY OF JOHN CALVIN On July 10, 1509, in Noyon, France, was born Jean Cauvin, known to us as John Calvin. Of all the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, none were more significant in forming biblical theology or ecclesiastic thought than this one man. Calvin’s teaching and tradition penetrated more of the world than any…

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History of St. John the Baptist Day

St John the Baptist

HISTORY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY The Feast of St. John the Baptist, or the Nativity of St John the Forerunner, sometimes called St. John the Baptist Day, is celebrated on June 24 in many places around the world, though not much in the United States, as we’ll see below. Celebration of the Feast…

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History of Mother’s Day

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 the King James Bible: 410th Year of the Authorized Version?

King James Bible

HISTORY OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE Churches around the world celebrated a quadricentennial, plus 10: 410 years ago marked the publishing, at the request of the Anglican clergy, of what would become the Authorized Version of the Bible, to wide acclaim. But there are 3 problems with that statement. While it is true that the…

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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 500 Years Ago

Luther Memorial, Worms

HISTORY OF THE DIET OF WORMS: MARTIN LUTHER ON TRIAL 500 YEARS AGO It was five hundred years ago today, April 17, 1521, that Martin Luther appeared on trial 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…

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History of Easter: The Players: Where are They Now?

The Players

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 as his own wife his brother’s…

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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. The English word Easter corresponding to the German “Oster,” reveals the association of many…

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