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

February 15, 2019

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTS’ DAY During my lifetime, two American holidays got consolidated into one. In 1971, a day between both Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and Washington’s Birthday on February 22 became a single holiday, Presidents Day — alternately spelled President’s Day or Presidents’ Day — to be observed on the third Monday in February, to honor all the past presidents of the United States. History When I was a school child, both Washington’s and Lincoln’s pictures were typically displayed prominently in school rooms. School children in many states have felt cheated out of an extra day off of school…

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History of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY St. Valentine was martyred on February 14. However, Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints. The most celebrated are the two martyrs whose festivals fall on February 14, the one, a Roman priest, the other, bishop of Terni. Context It would appear from legend that both lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II (Gothicus) around 270; that both died on the same day; and that both were buried on the Via Flaminia but at different distances from the city of Rome. A third Valentine was a martyr in the Roman…

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History of Chinese New Year

February 5, 2019

HISTORY OF CHINESE NEW YEAR Today marks the beginning of Chinese New Year. This is the oldest, longest, and most important social and economic holiday in China. Chinese New Year, which begins the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It starts this year on February 5, though the celebrations continue for around two weeks. Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival and ends with the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated across China and in many other parts of Asia with people of Chinese descent. About…

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History of the Super Bowl: Just another Religious Holiday?

February 2, 2019
Super Bowl LIII

HISTORY OF THE SUPER BOWL The Super Bowl™ is a territory acquisition athletic contest played on a fixed agrarian grid using, as a token, an inflated porcine prolate spheroid. It is the most important holiday of the year in America some will say. While it is ostensibly a secular holiday, others argue that it is truly a religious holiday. And there are several reasons why. It has:   A liturgy Multiple prayers Formal rituals that have developed throughout history   For example, it used to be that commercials were the part of the service that was intended for taking a…

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History of Groundhog Day

February 2, 2019

HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG DAY Groundhog Day comes from Candlemas Day, observed for centuries in parts of Europe on February 2 where the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. This seems to have derived from the pagan celebration of Imbolc — the Feast of the goddess Bridget, or in Christian Ireland St. Bridget’s Day and alternatively “The Purification of the Virgin” commemorating the time when St. Mary presented Jesus at the Temple at Jerusalem. It comes at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The Roman Legions, it is said,…

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History of The Day The Music Died

February 1, 2019

HISTORY OF THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED On February 3, 1959, a plane crash occurred in Iowa during a snow storm shortly after 1 am which killed three young rock and roll singers who would go down in history: Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Their story would later be captured as, “long, long time ago” in the 8 1/2 minute hit song “American Pie” by Don McLean, released twelve years later in 1971. Many attempts have been made to decrypt the lyrics of this abstract song, and though never explicitly stated — except that the…

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History of Australia Day

January 26, 2019

HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA DAY Did you know that the history of European Australia is tied to the American Revolutionary War? Back when America was 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 them, and there were getting to be so many convicts. Following the 1730s, the population began to increase, and with the rise of the Industrial Revolution crime was becoming a greater problem in England. What to do with all the prisoners? Even the debtor prisons were swelling.…

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History of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2019

HISTORY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. Born on January 15, 1929, we celebrate a holiday in honor of a man who was not a president, nor an explorer, nor a saint; rather he was a Baptist minister and an American leader of the 1960s civil rights movement who was named for the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, after his father was inspired by a trip to Luther’s Wittenberg. Though President Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1977, it was not until 1986 that a day was established on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a…

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History of Ben Franklin

January 17, 2019

HISTORY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN We know this polymath as a writer, publisher, printer, merchant, scientist, moral philosopher, international diplomat, and inventor. Musically he invented the glass harmonica, but he also invented the Franklin stove and started the first lending library and fire brigade in Philadelphia. He did experiments in electricity and developed the lightning rod. America Born on January 17, 1706*, in Boston, he was one of the earliest and oldest of the American Founding Fathers. He served as a lobbyist to England, was first Ambassador to France, and has been called “The First American.”

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

February 15, 2019

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

Read More

History of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY St. Valentine was martyred on February 14. However, Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints. The most celebrated are the two martyrs whose festivals fall on February 14, the one, a Roman priest, the other, bishop of Terni. Context It would appear from legend that both…

Read More

History of Chinese New Year

February 5, 2019

HISTORY OF CHINESE NEW YEAR Today marks the beginning of Chinese New Year. This is the oldest, longest, and most important social and economic holiday in China. Chinese New Year, which begins the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It starts this year on February 5, though the celebrations continue for around two weeks.…

Read More

History of the Super Bowl: Just another Religious Holiday?

February 2, 2019

HISTORY OF THE SUPER BOWL The Super Bowl™ is a territory acquisition athletic contest played on a fixed agrarian grid using, as a token, an inflated porcine prolate spheroid. It is the most important holiday of the year in America some will say. While it is ostensibly a secular holiday, others argue that it is…

Read More

History of Groundhog Day

February 2, 2019

HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG DAY Groundhog Day comes from Candlemas Day, observed for centuries in parts of Europe on February 2 where the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. This seems to have derived from the pagan celebration of Imbolc — the Feast of the goddess Bridget, or…

Read More