History of Advent: Why We Celebrate Christmas on December 25

Advent

THE HISTORY OF ADVENT: WHY WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS ON DECEMBER 25 Here begins our series of articles on the History of Christmas. The traditional season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, begins today. It is celebrated in the church calendar as one of the most festive seasons of the year.   Meaning of Advent “Advent,”…

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History of Thanksgiving Indian: Why Squanto already knew English

Squanto

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING: FRIENDLY INDIAN SQUANTO We’ve all heard how the Pilgrims, landing in Massachusetts four hundred years ago on the Mayflower in 1620, were ill-equipped to survive the harsh winters of the New World. We’ve also heard how they met a Native American Indian of the Patuxet tribe, Squanto, who befriended them. He taught them…

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History of Thanksgiving: the Secular and the Sacred

Thanksgiving

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING The origin of Thanksgiving Day in America has been attributed to a harvest feast held by the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. In 1621, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony proclaimed a day of “thanksgiving” and prayer to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first harvest in America the year after their arrival on the…

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History of Veterans Day: Lest We Forget

Veterans Day Poppy

HISTORY OF VETERANS DAY A professor once commented, “We write things down so we can forget them.” Now, of course, this is true in the sense of writing down appointments so we don’t have to worry about missing meetings. But that’s just it; we do forget things. As individuals, we forget things that are important…

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History of Guy Fawkes Night: How Gunpowder Mixed with Parliament

HISTORY OF GUY FAWKES NIGHT For our friends across the Pond November 5th is known as “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night,” and all over Britain, people fire off fireworks, light bonfires, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes was an Englishman who, in popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament…

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History of All Souls Day: Day of the Dead

All Souls Day

HISTORY OF ALL SOUL’S DAY: DAY OF THE DEAD Today, November 2,  is All Soul’s Day or Day of the Dead. As I mentioned previously in my article on the History of Halloween, Allhallowstide includes these three holidays: October 31: All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) November 1: All Hallows’ Day (All Saints’ Day, Feast of All Hallows, Hallowmas)…

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History of November: That In-between Month

November

HISTORY OF NOVEMBER November is the penultimate month of the year, meaning “next to the last.” It was the ninth month (Latin: novem) until the ancient Romans shoehorned in January and February. November enjoys the distinction of being situated between the two biggest holidays in the American calendar. October has Halloween, the #2 candy revenue holiday…

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History of Halloween: What’s the Backstory?

Jack-o-Lantern

HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN I did an hour-long interview on this topic on this podcast Halloween (Allhallows Eve’n) is the evening of October 31. This occasion is known as the vigil of Hallowmas in its strictly religious aspect. There are several names used during this time of year. To eliminate confusion, Allhallowstide includes these three holidays:…

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History of October 31: What’s Martin Luther got to do with it?

October 31

HISTORY OF OCTOBER 31 See my mini-series here on the life of Martin Luther. On October 31, 1517, the story goes, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, 95 propositions or theses and marked the beginning of the Reformation. Of course, the Reformation began long…

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History of the World Series: For People Who Don’t Watch

World Series

HISTORY OF THE WORLD SERIES The World Series is over a hundred years old, starting in 1903 as a contest between the National League and the American League. This sporting event, usually held in October and sometimes called the Fall Classic, has already infringed upon the territory of the following athletic contest run-up with the…

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History of the Kirking of the Tartans: Is it really Scottish?

Tartan

HISTORY OF THE KIRKING OF THE TARTANS This Sunday, all over the world, many churches will observe the Kirkin’ o’ th’ Tartans, a celebration of Scottish heritage and culture. What is The Kirking of the Tartans? Kirking Etymologically Kirking, from the Scots word kirk, which means church, in this usage, means “blessing.” Tartans are the…

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