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 near each other in a word. The name came from the Latin Februa an ancient Roman purification festival around…

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

AustraliaFlag

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 Ben Franklin: The Original Founding Father?

Ben Franklin

HISTORY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN We know this polymath as a writer, publisher, printer, merchant, scientist, moral philosopher, international diplomat, and inventor. He invented the glass harmonica in music, but he also created the Franklin stove and started the first lending library and fire brigade in Philadelphia. He did experiments with electricity and developed the lightning…

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History of Martin Luther King, Jr.: His life, dream, and legacy

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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, an explorer, or a saint. Instead, he was a Baptist minister and an American leader of the 1960s civil rights movement named after the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther after his…

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History of New Year’s Resolutions: Where Did They Begin?

HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS As I mentioned previously, New Year’s Day celebrations began in pre-Christian times, beginning with the Babylonians in March, but later changed to January by the Romans. Where did we get the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, and why at the beginning of the year?   Roman New Year’s Resolutions The…

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History of Auld Lang Syne: What Does It Mean?

Auld Lang Syne

HISTORY OF AULD LANG SYNE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN Why do we sing “Auld Lang Syne” each New Year’s Eve, 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 friends recalling…

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History of the Christmas Star: Natural or supernatural?

Christmas Star

HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS STAR: NATURAL OR SUPERNATURAL? The Star of Bethlehem has puzzled scholars for centuries. Some have skeptically dismissed the phenomenon as a myth, a mere literary device to call attention to the importance of the Nativity. Others have argued that the star was miraculously placed there to guide the Magi and is,…

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History of the Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE December 8 is National Christmas Tree Day. It is generally believed that the first Christmas tree was of German origin dating from the time of St. Boniface, an English missionary to Germany in the 8th century. He replaced the sacrifices to the Norse god Odin’s sacred oak — some say…

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History of Santa Claus: Saint or Elf?

Santa Claus

HISTORY OF SANTA CLAUS December 6 is “Saint Nicholas Day.” The name Santa Claus is a kind of a contraction for Saint Nicholas. The German name Sankt Nikolaus can be pronounced San’t(a) ni-KLOuse (sounding like house.)   Origin of St. Nicholas He was born in the late 3rd century, perhaps in A.D. 270. Nicholas became a bishop…

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History of Mistletoe: Why is it the Kissing plant?

Mistletoe

HISTORY OF MISTLETOE We’ve mentioned previously that mistletoe was prominent in the traditions of the Druids and the lore of northern Europe. The Druids used the mistletoe of their sacred oak as part of their ritual five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. In the Middle Ages, it was hung from ceilings…

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History of the 12 Days of Christmas: They’re after Christmas?

Partridge

THE HISTORY OF THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: THEY’RE AFTER CHRISTMAS? The 12 Days of Christmas are the dozen days in the liturgical or ecclesiastical calendar of the Western Church between the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child (Christmas Day, December 25) and the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi, to visit at his…

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