History of May Day

May Day

HISTORY OF MAY DAY May Day is many things to many people. Etymologically, it is a homophone (same sounding word) for the international call for help. It is a corruption of the French imperative “M’aidez,” meaning “Help me!” It is a holiday claimed by many.   May Day as a Pagan Holiday It is known…

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History of St. Mark the Evangelist: Which Mark?

St Mark

HISTORY OF ST. MARK Mark the Evangelist is the author of the earliest written gospel, the Gospel of Mark, which appeared about 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus in the late AD ’60s. His feast day is April 25 for Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. He is significant historically both as the writer of…

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History of St George and the Dragon

St George

HISTORY OF ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON Saint George’s Day is April 23, likely the day of his martyrdom. He is often depicted as a knight in armor. He is the patron saint of England, and his day has been celebrated there from the 9th century and more recently throughout the British Commonwealth… though he…

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History of Passover: the Jewish Pesach Holiday

Passover Seder

HISTORY OF PASSOVER Sunset tonight, April 22, marks the beginning of Passover. Exodus 12 in the Hebrew Bible tells the story of Passover from the life of Moses. Ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptian pharaoh (starring Yul Brenner in “The Ten Commandments,” though he was better in “The King and I“) to get his…

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History of Earth Day

Earth Day

 HISTORY OF EARTH DAY April 22 is called Earth Day because it commemorates and celebrates the observance of the anniversary of our discovery of planet Earth. By all accounts, there is general agreement that Earth is far superior to the planet from which we came, as we shall recount below. Meanwhile, several companies on Earth…

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History of April Fools’ Day

April Fools Day

HISTORY OF APRIL FOOLS’ DAY April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends on that day or sending them on fools’ errands. The origin of this custom has been much disputed; it is in some way a relic of those once universal festivities…

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History of Easter: The Players: Where are They Now?

Question_Mark_Cloud

HISTORY OF EASTER: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLAYERS AFTERWARD You may be asking yourself, “Self,” you ask, “where are they now?” And well you might ask. What happened to our players AFTER the events in the Easter story?   Herod Antipas You may remember that I had said Antipas‘ taking his brother’s wife Herodias as…

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History of World Backup Day

World Backup Day

HISTORY OF WORLD BACKUP DAY There isn’t much history, as the first celebration of this geek holiday was in 2011. World Backup Day is barely a decade old. But the need is real, now more than ever, especially in light of this salient fact: April Fools’ Day. March 31, the day before, is an excellent…

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History of Easter: Why Bunnies and Eggs?

Vintage bunny

HISTORY OF EASTER The most joyous of Christian festivals and one of the first celebrated by Christians across the Roman Empire commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is set on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox.   Meaning of the word Easter There are several theories about where we…

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History of Good Friday

Via-Dolorosa

HISTORY OF GOOD FRIDAY For centuries, pilgrims have walked the Via Dolorosa, “the way of sorrow” in Jerusalem, following Jesus’s path on Good Friday. Starting at the judgment seat of Pilate at the Antonia Fortress in the eastern part of the city immediately north of the Temple, the path follows fourteen “Stations of the Cross”…

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History of the Trial: How many did Jesus have?

Via Crusis

THE TRIAL OF JESUS Beginning Thursday night and extending into Friday morning of Holy Week, Jesus’s trial, which led to his crucifixion, was, in reality, a series of about half a dozen trials distributed across several locations in Jerusalem. Some of these locations are captured in the tradition of the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow.…

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History of Maundy Thursday: Shere or Green Thursday?

Maundy Thursday

HISTORY OF MAUNDY THURSDAY Amid the bustle of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, Maundy Thursday is easy to overlook. Few calendars label it, and some churches don’t observe it at all, though it may be the oldest of the Holy Week observances. It’s worth asking why and how generations of Christians have revered this…

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