HISTORY OF EPIPHANY Epiphany occurs in the Christian calendar on January 6. It signifies the event of the Magi, or Wise Men, visiting the baby Jesus, and is known in some Latin cultures as Three Kings Day. In the Eastern (Orthodox and Oriental) churches, it is known as the Feast of Theophany (God Manifest), commemorating Jesus’ baptism with…

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Auld Lang Syne

HISTORY OF AULD LANG SYNE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN Why is it that each New Year’s Eve, we sing “Auld Lang Syne,” but do we know what it means? The song contains words from a language that few are familiar with, in a syntax that is confusing to most, and is from a poem about…

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HISTORY OF CHILDERMAS Childermas, from an Old English word meaning the Mass of the Infants, is the festival in the church calendar begun in the fifth century — celebrated in the Western Church on December 28 and in the Eastern Church on December 29. It commemorated the date when King Herod ordered the massacre of the…

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Fruitcake one

History of Christmas Fruitcake You may be wondering: “My friendly neighborhood historian is writing an article on fruitcake? Is he as nutty as a fruitcake?” And therein begins our tale…     The Phrase “Nutty as a Fruitcake” Nutty as a fruitcake was first recorded in 1935, but the adjective nutty meaning “crazy or eccentric”…

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Snow Fighters

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: 76 YEARS AGO On Christmas Eve, 1944, my father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, had arrived in Strasbourg with the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division. Eight days earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had begun, and the 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed reinforcements to the…

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