History of Pontius Pilate: His Background Before Good Friday

Pontius Pilate

HISTORY OF PONTIUS PILATE The Roman governor who presided over Jesus’s trial and ordered his crucifixion had a complex background. The name Pontius Pilate provides two valuable clues to his background and ancestry. The family name, Pontius, was that of a prominent clan among the Samnites, hill cousins of the Latin Romans. They had almost conquered…

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Science of The Spring: What is the Vernal Equinox?

Equinox

SCIENCE OF THE SPRING In Colorado, we have a saying: we begin the first day of Spring in the same way we began the Fall: with snow. This symmetry is relevant, as the beginning of Spring and Fall coincide with the Equinox. This word consists of two Latin root words, aequus and nox, meaning “equal…

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History of Easter: Historical Climate

Historical Context Jerusalem

HISTORICAL CLIMATE OF EASTER As Passion Week begins next weekend, what was the historical climate of Easter Week almost 2,000 years ago surrounding the last week of the life of Jesus of Nazareth? He was a man “born to die,” not just in the ordinary sense but also in some unique sense. Jesus entered Jerusalem…

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History of St. Patrick: Was He British?

St Patrick

HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY Although much of the life of the patron saint and Apostle of Ireland is shrouded in legend, St. Patrick was probably born around AD 389. Stories are told of Patrick’s many contests with Druids, pagans, and polytheists, as well as the well-known but unlikely story of him driving the snakes…

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History of March: Why in like a Lion and out like a Lamb?

March

HISTORY OF MARCH The month that can come in “like a lion and out like a lamb” is named after Mars, the Roman god of war (and agriculture). Indeed, in French, the month is called Mars. March, or Martius as it was known in ancient Rome, is the first month of Spring. It was considered…

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History of Presidents Day: More than just Washington and Lincoln?

Presidents Day

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTS DAY During my lifetime, two American holidays were consolidated into one. In 1971, a day between Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and Washington’s Birthday on February 22 became a single holiday, Presidents Day. It is alternately spelled President’s Day or Presidents’ Day – to be observed on the third Monday in February…

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History of St. Valentine’s Day

st valentine

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY The day we associate with love and romance has a history that traces back almost three millennia to ancient Rome but winds through Roman North Africa, England, and the United States. St. Valentine was martyred on February 14. However, Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints.…

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History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

HISTORY OF ASH WEDNESDAY In the Western church, the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday, derived from the ceremonial use of ashes as a symbol of penitence in the service prescribed for the day. It follows Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, and ends with Easter 40 days later, not counting Sundays.…

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History of Chinese New Year: Lunar New Year

year of the dragon

HISTORY OF CHINESE NEW YEAR Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. This is China’s oldest, longest, and most important social and economic holiday. Chinese New Year begins on the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It starts this year on February 10, though the celebrations continue for around two weeks. Chinese…

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History of the Super Bowl: A Humorous Look at the Religious Holiday

super bowl lviii logo

The Super Bowl™ is a territory acquisition athletic contest played on a fixed agrarian grid using – as a token – an inflated porcine prolate spheroid. Some will say it is the most important holiday of the year in America. While it is ostensibly a secular holiday, others argue it is truly a religious holiday.…

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History of Groundhog Day

HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG DAY Groundhog Day comes from Candlemas Day, observed for centuries in parts of Europe on February 2. The custom was to have the clergy bless candles – representing how long winter would be – and distribute them to the people.   A Pagan Holiday This seems to have derived from the pagan…

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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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