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.…

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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 Years Resolutions The…

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Auld Lang Syne

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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THE HISTORY OF THE 12 DAYS OF 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 house in Bethlehem…

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HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS Many of the customs that we commonly associate with Christmas come from previous pagan or pre-Christian European backgrounds. Let’s take a look at some of these familiar traditions and some connections to other folklore elements with which we may be unfamiliar.   Traditions The word Yule comes from the Germanic jōl or…

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Advent

THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: ADVENT Here begins our series of articles on the History of Christmas. The traditional season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, begins today. It is celebrated in the church calendar as one of the most festive seasons of the year. Meaning “Advent” from the Latin adventus means the “coming” or “arrival”…

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HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING: FRIENDLY INDIAN SQUANTO We’ve all heard the story of how the Pilgrims, landing in Massachusetts four hundred years ago on the Mayflower in 1620, were ill-equipped to survive the harsh winters of the New World. We’ve also heard how they met a Native American Indian of the Pawtuxet tribe named Squanto, who befriended…

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