History of Epiphany and Twelfth Night: Ends the 12 Days of Christmas?

Epiphany

HISTORY OF TWELFTH NIGHT AND EPIPHANY Twelfth Night is on January 5, the eve of Epiphany, which occurs in the Christian calendar on January 6. Epiphany signifies the event of the Magi, or Wise Men, visiting the baby Jesus, and is known in some Latin cultures as Three Kings Day. Or as my friend Tim LeCroy…

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History of Auld Lang Syne: What Does It Mean?

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: Feast of the Holy Innocents

HISTORY OF CHILDERMAS: FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS 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 is also known as Bairn’s…

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History of Holiday Fruitcake

Fruitcake one

HISTORY OF HOLIDAY 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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History of Christmas Eve and the Battle of the Bulge: 77 Years Ago

Snow Fighters

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: 77 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. The 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed reinforcements to the most…

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History of the First American Christmas: 1776

Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze

HISTORY OF THE FIRST AMERICAN CHRISTMAS: 1776 It is called the first “American” Christmas because the Declaration of Independence was created the previous summer, essentially “divorcing” America from England and declaring our country an independent nation. Admittedly, at that time, the country had not yet created a solid form of government. The Articles of Confederation…

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