History of Memorial Day: Where did it Begin?
HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: BOALSBURG, PA The city of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, an American village on the National Historic Register, claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, as do at least 24 other towns in America. I first visited this hamlet near State College, home of Penn State University, decades ago. Boalsburg’s claim goes back…Read More
History of Memorial Day: Why We Fight
HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHY WE FIGHT The world is different from two decades ago as we celebrate Memorial Day. We have troops in countries that we didn’t have then, and after 9/11, we now remember why we fight. The History Channel often re-runs the HBO series Band of Brothers, the T.V. adaptation of the…Read More
History of Memorial Day: Which War?
HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHICH WAR? Memorial Day was not universally recognized as a shared American Holiday until after World War I. But that’s not how it started in the United States. When did it begin? Civil War and Memorial Day Following the American Civil War, or the “War Between the States,” as it…Read More
History of Mother’s Day: Ancient and Modern Sources
HISTORY OF MOTHER’S DAY The person who initially was most active in opposing the celebration of Mother’s Day is the very person who started this holiday in the U.S. How did that happen? Anna Jarvis’ mother died in 1905, and in her honor, Anna held a memorial in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia. She continued…Read More
History of VE-Day: End of WWII in Europe 78 Years Ago
HISTORY OF VE-DAY Seventy-eight years ago today, World War II ended in Europe with the acceptance by the Allies of unconditional surrender from Germany on VE-Day. Or did it? May 7, 1945, VE-Day Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in his Berlin bunker a week earlier, on April 30, 1945, as I describe in…Read More
History of Cinco de Mayo
HISTORY OF CINCO DE MAYO Cinco de Mayo is frequently regarded as the Mexican equivalent of the United States 4th of July. This is incorrect: it is the equivalent of the “5th of May” in Spanish. Another misconception is that this has something to do with Mayonnaise. That too, is a bum spread, as the…Read More
History of May Day
HISTORY OF MAY DAY May Day is many things to many people. Etymologically, it is a homophone (same sounding word) for the international call for help. It is a corruption of the French imperative “M’aidez,” meaning “Help me!” It is a holiday claimed by many. May Day as a Pagan Holiday It is known…Read More
History of Earth Day
HISTORY OF EARTH DAY April 22 is called Earth Day because it commemorates and celebrates the observance of the anniversary of our discovery of planet Earth. By all accounts, there is general agreement that Earth is far superior to the planet from which we came, as I shall recount below. Meanwhile, several companies on Earth…Read More
History of Easter: Why Bunnies and Eggs?
HISTORY OF EASTER The most joyous of Christian festivals and one of the first celebrated by Christians across the Roman Empire commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is set on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. Meaning of the word Easter There are several theories about where we…Read More
History of April Fools’ Day
HISTORY OF APRIL FOOLS’ DAY April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends on that day or sending them on fools’ errands. The origin of this custom has been much disputed; it is in some way a relic of those once universal festivities…Read More
History of The Spring: What is the Vernal Equinox?
HISTORY OF THE SPRING In Colorado, we have a saying; we begin the first day of Spring like we began the Fall: with snow. This symmetry is relevant as the beginning of Spring and Fall coincide with the Equinox. This word is comprised of two Latin root words, aequus and nox, meaning “equal night,” referring…Read More
History of the Ides of March: Who should Beware?
HISTORY OF THE IDES OF MARCH According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month except for March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th of the month. Something epochal occurred in 44 B.C. Et tu, Brute? On March 15, 44 B.C., the Roman dictator…Read More