EASTER DAY • Easter is a religiousholidaythatcommemoratestheresurrection of JesusChristthreedaysafter his deathbycrucifixionsome 2,000 yearsago. ForChristians, Easter is a day of religiousservicesandthegathering of family. • Easter is observed on a SundaybetweenMarch 22 and April 25. • Thecommonlystatedrule, thatEasterDay is thefirstSundayafterthefullmoonthatoccursnextafterthevernalequinox, is somewhatmisleadingbecause it is not a precisestatement of theactualecclesiasticalrules.
TheactualconditionstodeterminethedateforEasterare: • Eastermust be on a Sunday; • thisSundaymustfollowthe 14thday of thepaschalmoon; • thepaschalmoon is that of whichthe 14thday (fullmoon) falls on ornextfollowstheday of thevernalequinox; and • theequinox is fixed in thecalendar as March 21.
The name EastercomesfromEostre (pronouncedyo'ster), an ancientAnglo-Saxongoddess. In pagan times an annualspring festival washeld in her honor. SomeEastercustomshavecomefromthisandotherpre-Christianspringfestivals. OtherscomefromthePassoverfeast of theJews, observed in memory of theirdeliverancefromEgypt.
INDEPENDENCE DAY • In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States
ST.PATRICK’S DAY • St. Patrick'sDay is celebratedbytheIrishandIrish at Heart in bigcitiesandsmalltownsalikewithparades, "wearing of thegreen," musicandsongs, Irishfoodanddrink, andactivitiesforkidssuch as crafts, coloringandgames. Its a time forfun. Somecommunitiesevengoso far as todyeriversorstreamsgreen!
WHO IS ST.PATRICK ? • Saint Patrick is believedtohavebeenborn in thelatefourthcentury, and is oftenconfusedwithPalladius, a bishopwhowas sent byPopeCelestine in 431 to be thefirstbishoptotheIrishbelievers in Christ.
WHY ST.PATRICK’S DAY ? • Saint Patrick'sDay has cometo be associatedwitheverythingIrish: anythinggreenandgold, shamrocksandluck. Mostimportantly, tothosewhocelebrateitsintendedmeaning, St. Patrick'sDay is a traditionaldayforspiritualrenewalandofferingprayersformissionariesworldwide.
WHY IS IT CELEBRATED ON MARCH 17 ? • Onetheory is thatthat is thedaythatSt. Patrickdied. Since theholidaybegan in Ireland, it is believedthat as theIrish spread outaroundtheworld, theytookwiththemtheirhistoryandcelebrations. Thebiggestobservance of all is, of course, in Ireland. Withtheexception of restaurantsandpubs, almostallbusinessesclose on March 17th. Being a religiousholiday as well, manyIrishattendmass, whereMarch 17th is thetraditionaldayforofferingprayersformissionariesworldwidebeforetheseriouscelebratingbegins.
HALLOWEEN • Halloween is an annualholidaycelebrated on October 31.It has roots in theCeltic festival of SamhainandtheChristianholiday of AllSaints, but is todaylargely a secularcelebration. Halloweenactivitiesincludetrick-or-treating,wearingcostumesandattendingcostumeparties,carvingjack-o'-lanterns, ( jack-o'-lantern is typically a carvedpumpkin.)ghosttours, applebobbing, visitinghauntedattractions, tellingscarystories, andwatchinghorrorfilms.
SYMBOLS • ManyfamiliesthatcelebrateHalloweencarve a pumpkininto a frighteningorcomicalfaceandplace it on theirdoorstepafterdark. Theimagery of Halloween is derivedfrommanysources, includingnationalcustoms, works of Gothicandhorrorliterature (such as thenovels Frankenstein andDracula), andclassichorrorfilms. Halloweenimageryincludesthemes of death, evil, themagic, ormythicalmonsters. Traditionalcharactersincludeghosts, witches, skeletons, vampires,bats, andblackcats. Thecoloursblackandorangeareassociatedwiththecelebrationsperhapsbecause of thedarkness of nightandthecolour of fire, autumnleaves, orpumpkins.
TRICK OR TREATING • Trick-or-treating is a customarycelebrationforchildren on Halloween. Childrengo in costumefromhousetohouse, askingfortreatssuch as candyorsometimesmoney, withthequestion, "Trickortreat?"Theword "trick" refersto a (mostlyidle) "threat" toperformmischief on thehomeownersortheirpropertyif no treat is given. Inthiscustomthechildperformssomesort of trick, i.e. sings a songortells a ghoststory, toearntheirtreats.
AROUND THE WORLD • Halloween is not celebrated in allcountriesandregions of theworld, andamongthosethat do thetraditionsandimportance of thecelebrationvarysignificantly. Celebration in the United States has had a significantimpact on howtheholiday is observed in othernations.
THANKSGIVING • ThanksgivingDay is currentlycelebrated on thefourthThursday in November. ThanksgivingorThanksgivingDay is a harvest festival celebratedprimarily in the United StatesandCanada. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is associatedwithgivingthankstoGodfortheharvestandexpressinggratitude. Whilehistoricallyreligious in origin, Thanksgiving is nowprimarilyidentified as a secularholiday.
THANKSGIVING DINNER • Thanksgiving is traditionallycelebratedwithThecustomary 'feast' sharedamongfriendsandfamily. It is an importantfamilygathering, andpeopleoftentravel far distancesto be withfamilymembersforthecelebration. ThetraditionalTurkey is themostimportantdishcooked in everyhouse as part of thefeast. Pumpkinpie, cranberrysauceandcorndishesalso form a part of thefamilydinner.
CUSTOM OF PRAYING • Forcenturies, 'ThanksgivingDay' is associatedwithcommunalprayers in churchand in homes. Peopleoffervarious meal time prayersduringtheday. It is a time, whenmankindthanksGodforall his blessingsandgrace. It is also a daytoshowgratitudetoyourfriendsandrelativesforallthegooddeeds.
AROUND THE WORLD • ThankingGodfor a bountifulharvest is not unknown in otherparts of theworld. Apart fromAmerica, thereare a number of religionsandcountriesthatcelebrateThanksgivingDay in theirownvariousformsduringtheharvestseason.
CHRISTMAS • ChristmasorChristmasDay is a holidayheld on December 25 tocommemoratethebirth of Jesus, thecentralfigure of Christianity.Thehistory of Christmasdatesbackover 4000 years as thevariouscustomandtraditionassociatedwiththe festival of Christmaswerecelebratedcenturiesbeforethebirth of Christ. Traditions say that it has beencelebrated since theyear 98 AD. ChristmasDay is celebrated as a major festival andpublicholiday in mostcountries of theworld, even in manywhosepopulationsare not majorityChristian.
SANTA CLAUS • SantaClaus, known as Saint Nicholasorsimply "Santa", is a legendaryfigurewho, in many Western cultures, bringsgiftstothehomes of thegoodchildrenduringthelateeveningandovernighthours of Christmas Eve, December 24. TodaySantaClaus is generallydepicted as a plump, jolly, white-beardedmanwearing a redcoatwithwhitecollarandcuffs, white-cuffedredtrousers, andblackleatherbeltandboots. Thisimagebecame popular in the United StatesandCanada in the 19th century.
CUSTOMS • Popular modern customs of theholidayincludegift-giving, music, an exchange of greetingcards, churchcelebrations, a special meal, andthedisplay of variousdecorations; includingChristmastrees, lights, garlands, nativityscenes, andholly. Inaddition, FatherChristmas, known as SantaClaus in manyotherareas, includingScotland, North AmericaandIreland, is a popular folklor figure, associatedwiththebringing of giftsforchildren.
AROUND THE WORLD • Becausegift-givingandmanyotheraspects of theChristmas festival involveheightenedeconomicactivityamongbothChristiansandnon-Christians, theholiday has become a significanteventand a keysalesperiodforretailersandbusinesses. Theeconomicimpact of Christmas is a factorthat has grownsteadilyoverthepastfewcenturies in manyregions of theworld.
MOTHER’S DAY • Mother’sDayOneday, I wasawakenedby a sharp tap on myhead. “What.....?” I mumbledundermyblanket. "I'vegotsomethingveryimportanttodiscusswithyou... Come on,wakeup !” Mysister, Stephy, snatchedmyblanketawaytopreventmefromgoingbacktosleepagain. "Can'twediscussthis at lunch? It'sonly 8 o'clock, youknow?” I triedtopull a n o t h e r pillowafter I took a peek at the alarm clock beside mybed. "No, wecan'tbecauseit'sMother'sDaytomorrowandwehaven'tgotanythingplanned yet, foryourlimitedinformation," sheaddedicily. "Mother'sDay?" I sat upright at once. Onlythen I realizedthat it wasthesecondSaturday of May, thenextdaywould be Mother'sDay. And I hadn'tpreparedanything yet. "Oh, no." I moaned. "Whydidn'tyouremindme of thatearlier?" I scrambledout of bedandbeganpacingtheroom. "Weneedto buy somecarnations , a cake , a card, a...?” “......andweneedto buy themourselves," shefinishedthelineforme. "Ourselves? Why? Where'sDad?" I asked.
"I wonderifyou'rereallyawake, Stephanie. Dad is out of thecountry, remember?” Withthat, shewalkedout of theroom. "Oh, no, where'sDadwhenweneedhim?" I complainedaloud. S t e p h y made a phonecalltotheflowershopandbought a dozencarnationswhichcost us $50 includingthedeliveryfee. Afterthat, werealizedthatweonly had $10 left, whichmeantthatwedid not haveenoughmoneyforthecakeweplannedto buy. "So, nowwhat?" I asked. Stephyshruggedandsaid, "I supposewe'llhavetosacrificethecakenow.” So, wedecidedtoreplacethecakewith a cardinstead. But deep inside, wewerebothdisappointedthatwecould not affordthecakeforMom. On Sundaymorning, theflower-delivery-manarrived at 9 o'clock. Momwassoshockedthatshestood in thedoorwaygaping at theflowersuntilStephyand I jumpedoutandshouted, "SURPRISE!" Afterthat, Stephyand I told her howweendedupwiththecardinstead of thecake. Momtold us thatshedidn'tmind not havingthecake, but themostimportantthingwasthatwebehavedourselves in future. WehuggedeachotherandthatwasthebestMother'sDay ever.
Inthe United States, Mother'sDaystartednearly 150 yearsago, whenAnnaJarvis, an Appalachianhomemaker, organized a daytoraiseawareness of poorhealthconditions in her community, a causeshebelievedwould be bestadvocatedbymothers. Shecalled it "Mother'sWorkDay." Fifteenyearslater, JuliaWardHowe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, andauthor of thelyricstothe "BattleHymn of theRepublic," organized a dayencouragingmotherstorallyforpeace, since shebelievedtheyboretheloss of human life moreharshlythananyone else.
Nothing can comeclosetothelovethat a motherfeelsfor her children. Mostwomenareinherentlyexcellentmothers. Womencarrytheiryoungbeforetheyarebornandthencontinuetonurturethemthroughouttheirchildhoodandevenintoadulthood. Mothersmake sure thattheirchildrenaresafeandhappythroughouttheirchildhood. It is theunconditionallovethat a motherfeelsthatdrivesthesefeelings. It is hard todescribethefeelingthat a mother has towards her children. Infact, mostpeople do not understandunlesstheybecome a motherthemselves. Raisingchildrencomeswithitsownshare of frustrations, fromtheneedynewbornbabythatrequiresregularcaretothesullenteenager, a mother'sjob is anything but easy.
A famoussayingstatesthat’ Godcould not be everywhereandso he inventedmothers",thesewordsare a greatinspirationtomothersacrosstheworld. Whenall is well, a motherputs her childrenbeforeanything else, includingtheirowncomfortandhappiness.
VALENTINE’S DAY • Saint Valentine'sDay (commonlyshortenedtoValentine'sDay) is an annualcommemorationheld on February 14 celebratingloveandaffectionbetweenintimatecompanions. Theday is namedafteroneormoreearlyChristianmartyrsnamedValentineandwasestablishedbyPopeGelasius I in AD 500. It is traditionally a day on whichloversexpresstheirloveforeachotherbypresentingflowers, offeringconfectionery, andsendinggreetingcards (known as "valentines"). Thedayfirstbecameassociatedwithromanticlove in thecircle of GeoffreyChaucer in theHighMiddleAges, whenthetradition of courtlyloveflourished.
Modern Valentine'sDaysymbolsincludetheheart-shapedoutline, doves, andthefigure of thewingedCupid. Since the 19th century, handwrittenvalentineshavelargelygivenwaytomass-producedgreetingcards. • Thehistory of Valentine'sDay — andits patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do knowthatFebruary has longbeen a month of romance. St. Valentine'sDay, as weknow it today, containsvestiges of bothChristianandancient Roman tradition. So, whowas Saint Valentineandhowdid he becomeassociatedwiththisancientrite? Today, theCatholicChurchrecognizes at leastthreedifferentsaintsnamedValentineorValentinus, all of whomweremartyred.
OnelegendcontendsthatValentinewas a priestwhoservedduringthethirdcentury in Rome. WhenEmperorClaudius IIdecidedthatsingle men madebettersoldiersthanthosewithwivesandfamilies, he outlawedmarriageforyoung men — his crop of potentialsoldiers. Valentine, realizingtheinjustice of thedecree, defiedClaudiusandcontinuedtoperformmarriagesforyounglovers in secret. WhenValentine'sactionswerediscovered, Claudiusorderedthat he be put todeath. • WhilesomebelievethatValentine'sDay is celebrated in themiddle of Februarytocommemoratetheanniversary of Valentine'sdeathorburial — whichprobablyoccurredaround 270 A.D — othersclaimthattheChristianchurchmayhavedecidedtocelebrateValentine'sfeastday in themiddle of February in an effortto "christianize" celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival
Later, duringtheMiddleAges, it wascommonlybelieved in FranceandEnglandthatFebruary 14 wasthebeginning of birds' matingseason, whichaddedtothe idea thatthemiddle of February — Valentine'sDay — should be a dayforromance. Theoldestknownvalentinestill in existencetodaywas a poemwrittenby Charles, Duke of Orleansto his wifewhile he wasimprisoned in theTower of Londonfollowing his capture at theBattle of Agincourt. • InGreatBritain, Valentine'sDaybeganto be popularlycelebratedaroundtheseventeenthcentury. Bythemiddle of theeighteenthcentury, it wascommonforfriendsandlovers in allsocialclassestoexchangesmalltokens of affectionorhandwrittennotes.
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