History of February

February

HISTORY OF FEBRUARY February is the month we love to misspell, or at least mispronounce, but you’re forgiven for dropping the first “r” as dissimilation causes people to do that when there are two “r”s or “l”s in close proximity to each other in a word. The word came from the Latin Februa an ancient Roman…

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History of Australia Day: Ties to the American Revolutionary War?

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HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA DAY Did you know that the history of European Australia has ties to the American Revolutionary War? When the 13 American Colonies were part of the British Commonwealth, it was convenient for England to transport its convicts to the Colonies. Indeed, it was considered more humane to “transport” prisoners than to execute…

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History of Waltz Day: 123,123

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HISTORY OF WALTZ DAY: 123, 123 December 31, 2023, or 12/31/23, is Waltz Day. A day like this is unique, occurring only once a century. For many, this will be the only time in their life they see this kind of date.   Waltz Day? Though it has nothing to do with the annual National…

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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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5 Christmas Myths, Not Found in the Nativity Story

5 Christmas Myths

5 CHRISTMAS MYTHS: NOT FOUND IN THE NATIVITY STORY I’m often asked to explain the history behind a holiday: is it based on history, tradition, or legend? The best historical sources on the birth of Jesus are found in two Gospel accounts in the New Testament: St. Matthew and St. Luke. St. Matthew was a…

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Is Die Hard Really A Christmas Movie?

die hard

IS DIE HARD REALLY A CHRISTMAS MOVIE? Scholars and historians have debated for centuries the question “Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?” Or at least during the last three decades since the movie was released. This is why readers have turned to me, your friendly neighborhood historian, to wrestle with this age-old question and help…

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History of Black Friday: One Day Only?

HISTORY OF BLACK FRIDAY: ONE DAY ONLY? While it is difficult to connect this term to the start of the Christmas shopping sales season before its use in the mid-1960s in Philadelphia, the concept appears to go back to the 19th century when Christmas sales followed Thanksgiving Day parades. In 1939, President Franklin D Roosevelt…

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When We Start Celebrating Holidays: Can we listen to Christmas music now?

Confusion

THE START OF HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS Here’s an article I wrote nine years ago. Is the trend accelerating?   On November 1st, a friend asked, partly in jest: “Halloween is over, can we listen to Christmas music now?”   And therein lies a conundrum. When do we begin the celebration of the Christmas holiday? There are…

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Six Blades – When Five Just Aren’t Enough

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SIX BLADES Today, while I was at the pharmacy waiting for a script to be filled, I thought I’d wander down the Shave Needs aisle and see the latest.   Five Blades Years ago, scientists realized that a single blade was not enough for a clean shave and added a second, and then a third,…

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History of Daylight Saving Time – Fall Back

Daylight Saving

HISTORY OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME – ENDING Daylight Saving Time, or DST, is a brilliant campaign to convince us that we’re getting more daylight each day when, in reality, we’ve changed our clocks and then forgotten about it within two weeks. DST begins each year at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March in…

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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 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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