History of Christmas Traditions: Some pre-Christian?

Traditions

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 look at some of these familiar traditions and some connections to other folklore elements with which we may be unfamiliar.   Christmas Traditions The word Yule comes from the Germanic jōl or the…

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History of Christmas: Nativity Season — Snow in Bethlehem?

Nativity

HISTORY OF THE NATIVITY SEASON You’ve seen those greeting cards that show Joseph along with Mary on the back of a donkey making their way to Bethlehem in the wintry snow. Have you ever wondered: could Jesus have been born during the close of the year, perhaps even with snow on the ground?   Nativity…

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History of Veterans Day: Lest We Forget

Veterans Day Poppy

HISTORY OF VETERANS DAY A professor once commented, “We write things down so we can forget them.” Now, of course, this is true in the sense of writing down appointments so we don’t have to worry about missing meetings. But that’s just it; we do forget things. As individuals, we forget things that are important…

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History of Halloween: What’s the Backstory?

Jack-o-Lantern

HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN I did an hour-long interview on this topic on this podcast Halloween (Allhallows Eve’n) is the evening of October 31. This occasion is known as the vigil of Hallowmas in its strictly religious aspect. There are several names used during this time of year. To eliminate confusion, Allhallowstide includes these three holidays:…

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History of October: the Pumpkin Spice Saga

October

HISTORY OF OCTOBER: THE PUMPKIN SPICE SAGA October, the tenth month of the year in both the older Julian and the current Gregorian calendar, used to be the 8th month (Latin octo) in the ancient Roman calendar. But with the addition of January and February, it got bumped to #10. This month is significant because,…

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History of Talk Like a Pirate Day: Avast Ye!

Talk Like a Pirate Day

HISTORY OF TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY The International Talk Like A Pirate Day began not back in the “Golden Age of Pirates” in days of yore but in 2002. It was celebrated each year on September 19; though it started in the United States, it is now celebrated internationally across the Seven Seas.

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History of Ethiopian New Year: What is Enkutatash?

HISTORY OF ETHIOPIAN NEW YEAR: WHAT IS ENKUTATASH? Why is your friendly neighborhood historian writing about the Ethiopian New Year? A couple of years ago, the Washington Post interviewed me for an article they were publishing on the subject. The Washington D.C. area has over 200,000 Ethiopian-Americans who celebrate the holiday this year on September 12.

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History of Labor Day: What’s Work Got To Do With It?

Labor Day

HISTORY OF LABOR DAY Labor Day is when we celebrate the process our mothers went through to deliver us at birth. Sorry, wrong holiday; Labor Day in the U.S. is the day we celebrate the achievements of the American labor movement. While it is still disputed whether Peter J. McGuire first proposed the holiday, the…

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History of Infinity Day: Why is it on August 8

Infinity Day

HISTORY OF INFINITY DAY: AUGUST 8 Infinity Day is also known as Universal & International Infinity Day. It is a commemoration held on the 8th day of the 8th month of each year to celebrate and promote Philosophy and Philosophizing for the ordinary person.   Why 8 is significant, apart from Infinity Day 8 planets…

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History of Mother’s Day: Ancient and Modern

Mothers Day

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 US. 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…

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