History of Ben Franklin: The Original Founding Father?

Ben Franklin

HISTORY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN We know this polymath as a writer, publisher, printer, merchant, scientist, moral philosopher, international diplomat, and inventor. He invented the glass harmonica in music, but he also invented the Franklin stove and started the first lending library and fire brigade in Philadelphia. He did experiments in electricity and developed the lightning…

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History of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

HISTORY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. Born on January 15, 1929, we celebrate a holiday in honor of a man who was not a president, an explorer, or a saint. Instead, he was a Baptist minister and an American leader of the 1960s civil rights movement named for the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther after his…

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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 New Year’s Resolutions: Where Did They Begin?

HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS As I mentioned previously, New Year’s Day celebrations began in pre-Christian times, beginning with the Babylonians in March but later changed to January by the Romans. Where did we get the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and why at the beginning of the year?   Roman New Years Resolutions The…

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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 New Year’s Eve

TimesSquare

HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S EVE New Year’s Eve is the last day of the year, according to the Gregorian Calendar, and is known as Old Year’s Day, or St. Sylvester’s Day. You may remember reading that Emperor Constantine was considered the first “Christian” Roman Emperor? St. Sylvester is responsible for Constantine’s conversion in the 4th-century. …

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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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