History of St. John the Baptist Day

June 24, 2019

HISTORY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY The Feast of St. John the Baptist, or the Nativity of St John the Forerunner, sometimes called St. John the Baptist Day, is celebrated on June 24 in many places around the world, though no much in the United States, as we’ll see below. Celebration of the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist goes back at least a millennium and a half. At the Council of Agde it mentions the feast in 506 AD in its list of festivals. Most saints’ festivals are tied to their death, but John’s is an exception,…

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Science of the Summer Solstice

June 21, 2019
Summer Solstice

SCIENCE OF THE SUMMER SOLSTICE The word Solstice comes from the Latin solstitium meaning “Sun, standing-still.” This year the Summer Solstice occurs on June 21 at 15:54 UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time, or Zulu Time, or roughly Greenwich Mean Time. Summer Time This is also known as the Northern Solstice as the Sun is positioned directly above the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. This time of year is known as Midsummer, though the official Midsummer Day is actually celebrated on June 24, thanks to differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Christian festivals during this time of year…

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History of Juneteenth: Emancipation Proclamation

June 19, 2019
Juneteenth

JUNETEENTH June Nineteenth, or Juneteenth, marks the celebration of the emancipation of African-American slaves in 1865. While the annual celebration started in Texas in 1866 — and became an official Texas state holiday there in 1980 — this formerly obscure holiday it is now observed across the United States, and around the world, and is an official holiday in most states. It is now celebrated with church-centered celebrations, parades, fairs, backyard parties, games, contests, and cookouts. Originally it began in Galveston, Texas to mark the arrival of Union Army Major General Gordon Granger who arrived two months after the end…

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History of Father’s Day: the Beginning

June 15, 2019
Fathers Day

HISTORY OF FATHERS DAY [NOTE: I wrote a longer and more serious version of this article for CBS.com a couple of years ago. It has been published on their network of sites for major cities around the country. You can find an example here.] Origin The celebration of Father’s Day goes back all the way to the beginning, actually to the Garden of Eden when Abel gave his father Adam a razor while his brother Cain gave his father a snake-skin tie. This was the beginning of Cain’s downward slide. Contrast Scholars have debated for ages why Mother’s Day seems…

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History of Flag Day

June 14, 2019

HISTORY OF FLAG DAY June 14 is the day the United States celebrates Flag Day. While it may not be as widely celebrated as other American holidays, it is one of the oldest. It was resolved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, even before the conclusion of the American War of Independence, the Revolutionary War. Grassroots In 1885, BJ Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher initiated a “Flag Birthday” for his students on June 14. His continual promotion of this “Flag Day” inspired New York kindergarten teacher George Balch in 1889 to have similar observances for his students, and the State…

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History of Pentecost

June 9, 2019

PENTECOST The Feast of Pentecost is taken from the Greek word πεντηκόστη which means “the 50th,” referring to the fiftieth day after Passover and Easter. In the Jewish calendar, this would coincide with the harvest festival Shavuot the “Feast of Weeks.” In the Christian calendar, Passover played a part in a number of visits Jesus made to Jerusalem, but most famously, it marked the coming of the Holy Spirit, as “tongues like as of fire” upon the Disciples of Jesus along with the sound of rushing wind, as told in the New Testament Book of Acts Chapter 2. This marked…

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History of D-Day: 75 Years Ago

June 6, 2019

HISTORY OF D-DAY Why has D-Day captured the imagination of American consciousness for three-quarters of a century? #DDAY75 Seventy-five years ago, on June 6, 1944, the Allies launched an offensive on the Normandy coast of France to liberate continental Europe from the Nazi German occupation. D-Day was the largest invasion by sea in all of history, literally turning the tide. It was the beginning of the end of the War. General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, sent the troops out that day: “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the…

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History of June

June 1, 2019

HISTORY OF JUNE June represents the halfway point of the year, being the sixth of the twelve months of both the Gregorian calendar which we use currently in the West… and also the earlier Julian calendar, named for Julius Caesar, the namesake of July. Where do we get the name for June? What’s In A Name? Ovid, author of that bi-millennial best-selling magnum opus “Metamorphoses” — where he takes the stories of the Greek myths and gives them Roman names — suggests two possible etymologies. The first and more likely origin is the Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter, who…

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History of the Golden Gate Bridge: 82 Years Old

May 31, 2019
Golden Gate Bridge

HISTORY OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE This week we celebrate the 82nd anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. On May 27, 1937, the bridge opened to traffic after taking over five years to build. I remember asking my father when I was young: “Why isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge golden?” He didn’t have an answer, other than his observation that it was expensive to paint. Color What he didn’t know is that the steel for the bridge, which came from Bethlehem Steel foundries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, originally came coated with a red led primer. Color…

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History of St. John the Baptist Day

June 24, 2019

HISTORY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY The Feast of St. John the Baptist, or the Nativity of St John the Forerunner, sometimes called St. John the Baptist Day, is celebrated on June 24 in many places around the world, though no much in the United States, as we’ll see below. Celebration of the feast…

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Science of the Summer Solstice

June 21, 2019

SCIENCE OF THE SUMMER SOLSTICE The word Solstice comes from the Latin solstitium meaning “Sun, standing-still.” This year the Summer Solstice occurs on June 21 at 15:54 UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time, or Zulu Time, or roughly Greenwich Mean Time. Summer Time This is also known as the Northern Solstice as the Sun is positioned…

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History of Juneteenth: Emancipation Proclamation

June 19, 2019

JUNETEENTH June Nineteenth, or Juneteenth, marks the celebration of the emancipation of African-American slaves in 1865. While the annual celebration started in Texas in 1866 — and became an official Texas state holiday there in 1980 — this formerly obscure holiday it is now observed across the United States, and around the world, and is…

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History of Father’s Day: the Beginning

June 15, 2019

HISTORY OF FATHERS DAY [NOTE: I wrote a longer and more serious version of this article for CBS.com a couple of years ago. It has been published on their network of sites for major cities around the country. You can find an example here.] Origin The celebration of Father’s Day goes back all the way…

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History of Flag Day

June 14, 2019

HISTORY OF FLAG DAY June 14 is the day the United States celebrates Flag Day. While it may not be as widely celebrated as other American holidays, it is one of the oldest. It was resolved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, even before the conclusion of the American War of Independence, the Revolutionary…

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