Science of The Spring: What is the Vernal Equinox?

Equinox

SCIENCE OF THE SPRING In Colorado, we have a saying: we begin the first day of Spring in the same way we began the Fall: with snow. This symmetry is relevant, as the beginning of Spring and Fall coincide with the Equinox. This word consists of two Latin root words, aequus and nox, meaning “equal…

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History of St Joseph’s Day: Why not more popular?

St Joseph

HISTORY OF ST JOSEPH Today, March 19, is Saint Joseph’s Day, or the Feast of St. Joseph. It is celebrated by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches worldwide. The terms feast and festival are often used interchangeably and often refer to a religious holiday. What is the history of the holiday and Joseph himself?…

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History of Easter: Historical Climate

Historical Context Jerusalem

HISTORICAL CLIMATE OF EASTER As Passion Week begins next weekend, what was the historical climate of Easter Week almost 2,000 years ago surrounding the last week of the life of Jesus of Nazareth? He was a man “born to die,” not just in the ordinary sense but also in some unique sense. Jesus entered Jerusalem…

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History of St. Patrick: Was He British?

St Patrick

HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY Although much of the life of the patron saint and Apostle of Ireland is shrouded in legend, St. Patrick was probably born around AD 389. Stories are told of Patrick’s many contests with Druids, pagans, and polytheists, as well as the well-known but unlikely story of him driving the snakes…

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History of the Ides of March: Who Should Beware?

Ides of March

HISTORY OF THE IDES OF MARCH According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month except for March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th. Something epochal occurred in 44 B.C.  

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History of Pi Day: 3.14

Pi

HISTORY OF PI DAY This holiday is often overlooked by those who do not speak Greek or those who do not speak Geek… but for the science major, this is a special celebration. Though it is an irregular constant number, regularly and annually on March 14, or 3/14, or 3.14 — we have the first…

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History of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste: Roman Empire vs. Christian Soldiers

Legion XII

HISTORY OF THE 40 MARTYRS OF SEBASTE A curious occurrence happened in the early 4th century Roman Empire. The early church historian Bishop Eusebius tells the story of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who, before a battle against his rival Emperor Maxentius in 312 AD at the Milvian Bridge outside of Rome, had a dream (or…

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History of March: Why in like a Lion and out like a Lamb?

March

HISTORY OF MARCH The month that can come in “like a lion and out like a lamb” is named after Mars, the Roman god of war (and agriculture). Indeed, in French, the month is called Mars. March, or Martius as it was known in ancient Rome, is the first month of Spring. It was considered…

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History of Presidents Day: More than just Washington and Lincoln?

Presidents Day

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTS DAY During my lifetime, two American holidays were consolidated into one. In 1971, a day between Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and Washington’s Birthday on February 22 became a single holiday, Presidents Day. It is alternately spelled President’s Day or Presidents’ Day – to be observed on the third Monday in February…

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History of St. Valentine’s Day

st valentine

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY The day we associate with love and romance has a history that traces back almost three millennia to ancient Rome but winds through Roman North Africa, England, and the United States. St. Valentine was martyred on February 14. However, Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints.…

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History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

HISTORY OF ASH WEDNESDAY In the Western church, the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday, derived from the ceremonial use of ashes as a symbol of penitence in the service prescribed for the day. It follows Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, and ends with Easter 40 days later, not counting Sundays.…

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History of Mardi Gras: Why is it called Fat Tuesday?

Mardi Gras

HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.” It is celebrated the day after Shrove Monday and the day before Ash Wednesday as a last “fling” before the 40 days of self-denial of Lent, which precede Easter. Lent is a word that comes from the Middle English word “lente,” which means “springtime” — so…

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