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

By billpetro / January 26, 2024 /

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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Macintosh

History of Macintosh: a 40-Year Love Affair

By billpetro / January 22, 2024 /

How 40 years ago the Apple Macintosh iconic personal computer forever changed how we think about computing.

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Auld Lang Syne

History of Auld Lang Syne: What Does the Song Mean?

By billpetro / December 30, 2023 /

HISTORY OF AULD LANG SYNE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN Why is it that each New Year’s Eve, we sing “Auld Lang Syne,” but do we know what it means? The song contains words from a language that few are familiar with, in a syntax that is confusing to most, and is from a poem about…

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Christmas Truce

History of the Christmas Truce of 1914: Peace in the WWI Trenches

By billpetro / December 25, 2023 /

History of the Christmas Truce of 1914: The Surprising Peace in the WWI Trenches

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Santa_tracker

History of the Santa Tracker: How a Typo began Christmas tracking at NORAD

By billpetro / December 23, 2023 /

History of the NORAD Santa Tracker: How a typo began Christmas tracking at NORAD

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A Christmas Carol

History of A Christmas Carol: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

By billpetro / December 19, 2023 /

HISTORY OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL On December 19, 1843, Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol” was published in London, its first edition sold out by Christmas Eve. No other book or story by Dickens or anyone else (except the Bible) has been more enjoyed, referred to, criticized, or more frequently adapted to other media forms:…

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TheNutcracker

History of The Nutcracker: the Ballet That’s a Christmas Tradition

By billpetro / December 18, 2023 /

HISTORY OF THE NUTCRACKER: THE BALLET THAT’S A CHRISTMAS TRADITION On December 18, 1892, The Nutcracker premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, a week before Christmas.   Nutcracker Popularity The Nutcracker has had such an enduring influence on the celebration of Christmas for more than a century that no one even…

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

History of A Charlie Brown Christmas

By billpetro / December 9, 2023 /

HISTORY OF A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS On December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS TV as a 30-minute animated Christmas special written by Charles M. Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. The comic was hugely popular at the time when the TV special debuted. Though this was not Schulz’s first TV…

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5 Christmas Myths

5 Christmas Myths, Not Found in the Nativity Story

By billpetro / December 1, 2023 /

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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die hard

Is Die Hard Really A Christmas Movie?

By billpetro / November 30, 2023 /

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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Carol of the Bells

History of Carol of the Bells: from a Ukrainian folk song

By billpetro / November 28, 2023 /

HISTORY OF CAROL OF THE BELLS: FROM A UKRAINIAN FOLK SONG The favorite Christmas song, Carol of the Bells, is based on a Ukrainian folk song that initially had nothing to do with Christmas and was, in fact, popular in pre-Christian Ukraine. How did this folk song become such a popular American Christmas carol, and…

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History of a Sacred Oratorio: Considered Scandalous?

By billpetro / November 27, 2023 /

HISTORY OF A SACRED ORATORIO The genteel reception accorded the original debut performance stood in marked contrast to the savage hostility that greeted the work less than a year later in the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, London. The English aristocracy and churchmen began an unrelenting campaign against the work and its creator. They…

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