History of the Holidays

History of the Holidays

articles are written and curated by

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian.

If you’d like to receive these articles on each holiday by email, simply click here to join the mailing list.

Bill Petro earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History at the University of California, Berkeley. He studied Ancient history as well as a comprehensive study of the history of Christian and early Jewish history.

His history thesis was on 19th Century American Evangelicalism. He has done post-graduate work in church history and historical theology, contributing content to several books.

He began writing articles on the History of the Holidays and distributing them by email and the Internet on Usenet in 1985, a decade before the World Wide Web.

A Bibliography of some of the sources appears here.

History Articles by Month

New Year's DayGroundhog DayDaylight Saving Starting
New Year's ResolutionsSuper BowlIdes of March Mar 14
Epiphany, Jan 6Valentines Day, Feb 14St. Patrick's Day Mar 17
Ben FranklinPresidents' DaySt. Joseph's Day Mar 19
Martin Luther King, Jr.Spring Equinox
Australia DayWorld Backup Day
Pre-Easter series
April Fools Day. Apr 1May Day, May 1June
Holocaust Remembrance, Apr 8Cinco de Mayo, May 5D-Day, Jun 6
Civil War's 1st Shot, Apr 12Memorial DayPentecost
April 19Memorial Day: Why We FightFlag Day, Jun 14
Earth Day, Apr 22Father's Day
St George and the Dragon, Apr 23Juneteenth, Jun 19
St Mark, Apr 25Summer Solstice
World Tai Chi DayAll You Need Is Love
Liberation of Dachau, Apr 29John the Baptist Day, Jun 24
Easter seriesSummer of Love Series
JulyAugustHistory of the Holidays
Canada Day, Jul 1Infinity Day, Aug 8September
Independence Day, July 4Woodstock, Aug 15Labor Day
John AdamsCalifornia Gold Rush, Aug 19Fall of the Roman Empire, Sept 4
Thomas Jefferson19th Amendment: Women's Right to Vote, Aug 26Star Trek, Sept 8
John Madison I Have A Dream, Aug, 28Patriot Day: 9/11
Alexander HamiltonEthiopian New Year, Sept 12
John Calvin, Jul 9US Constitution, Sept 17
French Fries, Jul 13Fall: Autumnal Equinox
Bastille Day, Jul 14Octoberfest: Why is it in September?
Moon Landing, Jul 20Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept 11
William Wilberforce, Jul 26Aspens
Reek Sunday Series, parts 1, 2, 3Coffee, Sept 29
October: the Pumpkin Spice Saga, Oct 1Election DayChristmas series
42 Day, October 10Guy Fawkes, Nov 5Chanukah
Christopher Columbus, Oct 12Veterans Day, Nov 11Winter Solstice
Mach 1, Oct 14Thanksgiving Series
World SeriesBlack Friday
Internet, Oct 29
Halloween, Oct 31
Kirking of the Tartan
Martin Luther: 95 Theses, Oct 31
Information Reformation


History of Coronavirus & Pandemics series:

History of Pandemics: What Can They Teach Us About Coronavirus?History of QuarantineHistory of How Pandemics End: Implications for Today’s COVID-19History of the 1st Year of Coronavirus: It Ain’t Over Yet
Faith in a Time of PlagueHistory of Vaccines: What This Means For CoronavirusHistory of Coronavirus: How Will It End?

History of Pre-Easter (Lent) series:

Shrove MondayMardi GrasAsh Wednesday

History of Easter series:

EasterHerod AntipasGood Friday
Historical ClimateThe SanhedrinThe Players
Palm SundayMaundy Thursdayfifty days later...
Pontius PilateThe TrialPentecost

History of Thanksgiving series:

Thanksgiving1st Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1676Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1863
Squanto: Friendly IndianGeorge Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1789Black Friday

History of Christmas series:

AdventHerod the GreatSanta Tracker
Nativity SeasonPoinsettia, Dec 12Battle of the Bulge
YearSanta Lucia, Dec 13Polish Wafer, Dec 24
TraditionsStarWWI Christmas Truce, Dec 25
Sacred OratorioMistletoeBoxing Day/St. Stephen's Day, Dec 26
MusicMagiFeast of St. John, Dec 27
Creche: Manger sceneIs Die Hard a Christmas Movie?Fruitcake, Dec 27
Santa Claus, Dec 6Christmas Carol, Dec 19Childermas, Dec 28
12 Days of Christmas5 Christmas MythsAuld Lang Syne
Christmas Tree, Dec 8Winter Solstice, Dec 21Epiphany, Jan 6
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec 9Caesar Augustus

History of Jewish Holidays series:

Rosh HashanahChanukahPassoverYom KippurSukkot

Special Topics series:

Geek HolidaysLife of Martin LutherTouching on Star Trek
Founding FathersTravel ArticlesThe Beatles
PoliticsLiberation of Dachau

Miscellaneous History of the Holidays articles:

Leap YearWilliam Wilberforce 9-11-01: America Tested
Charles Dickens: 200 Years09-09-09 9-11-02: One Year On
J.S. BachSummer of Love: Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll Beethoven: 250th Anniversary
Amazing Grace, parts 1, 2 2020: Not the Beginning of the Decade? Marathon


Travel Articles: