Archive for the ‘Holiday Facts and Stats’ Category
Are you getting ready to write some New Year’s resolutions and have fun ringing in the New Year? Before you do, I wanted to share some fun and interesting facts about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations. You might be surprised at what you find out.
New Year’s Eve Traditions and History
Resolutions – Ringing in the New Year is not a modern day concept, and was even documented in Babylonian times as a period of great celebration. Along with the feasts and celebrations in Babylon came the custom of making New Year’s resolutions, the most popular of which during that time was returning borrowed farm equipment.
Since then, the date of the New Year has changed quite a bit, until it became established that January 1 would be the beginning of the New Year. The name January is derived from Janus, the name of the Roman god of beginnings. He is portrayed with two faces, one looks toward the future and the other looks back on the past.
Baby New Year – This tradition was begun in ancient Greece to celebrate the rebirth of their god of fertility. They would parade a baby around in a basket during their New Year’s celebrations.
New Year’s Song – Everyone has heard “Auld Lang Syne” played or sung at New Year’s celebrations, but how did it become the official New Year’s Eve song? Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish phrase that is translated as “old long since,” meaning “times gone by” and the words are reminiscent of remembering good times and good friends. It was a popular Scottish song and was even published in a book by the poet Robert Burns. Guy Lombardo of Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadiansheard the song being sung by Scottish immigrants and played it at the New York City New Year’s Eve party in 1929, making it famously popular as the New Year’s Eve song ever since then.
Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?
For auld Lang syne, my dear, for auld Lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld Lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld Lang syne?
And here’s a hand, my trusty friend and gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet for auld Lang syne.
Good luck foods– If you want good luck in the coming year, then you should eat black-eyed peas (a tradition for good luck here in the south), ham (a symbol of prosperity), and cabbage (for prosperity and wealth) on New Year’s Day. But eating lobsters or chicken on New Year’s Day will bring a year of bad luck.
New Year’s Eve and Day Facts
312 Million– approximate population of people in the U.S. to ring in the New Year of 2012.
7% of those people will choose not to celebrate New Year’s Eve / Day.
62% will stay home to celebrate the New Year.
750 Million photos were uploaded to Facebook during the New Year’s Eve weekend in 2010.
Car Theft– More vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than on any other day, so keep your car locked and safe.
1907– year of the first New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. It was 700 pounds and consisted of iron, wood and 100 lights.
11,875 pounds– weight of the Waterford crystal New Year’s Eve ball that is dropped in New York City’s Times Square.
More than 30,000 lights adorning this huge crystal ball.
“Let there be love”– the crystal ball theme for ringing in the year 2012.
Born on January 1 – Paul Revere, J. Edgar Hoover, Lorenzo de Medici, Betsy Ross and Pope Alexander VI
25% of people will abandon their New Year’s resolutions after only two weeks!
50% will give up their resolutions halfway through the year.
Wearing red underwear on New Year’s day is supposed to bring you good luck.
Now that I wrote all about the history of Christmas and origin of Christmas symbols, it’s time to find out the fun facts and stats about our modern Christmas holiday. I have found some pretty crazy and interesting information, so I know you will enjoy it.
Christmas Fun Facts
The city called North Pole is in Alaska. There are 2 cities named Santa Claus, and one named Noel.
Apollo 8 – Did you know that the crew of Apollo 8 orbited the moon on Christmas Eve of 1968? (During the orbit, the crew read the creation story from the book of Genesis, which was broadcast for all to hear and later became controversially famous.)
December 16– Busiest mailing day for packages, making the 19th the busiest delivery day for packages.
December 20– Busiest letter mailing day, so you might be better off mailing those Christmas cards early.
White Elephant– The term “white elephant gift” came from the King of Siam. He would give a white elephant as a gift to any courtier that annoyed him and, because of the upkeep expenses, the gift would ruin them.
Mistletoe is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words “missel” and “tan” and is translated “dung twig.”
Gemini 6– On December 16, 1965, the astronauts of Gemini 6 sang “jingle Bells” for all the world to hear, possibly making it the first song sung in space.
World’s Largest Christmas Gift– Statue of Liberty, given to the U.S. from the French in 1886.
Crazy Christmas Statistics
5340 number of times a visa card is used every minute during the holiday season.
3– number of times the average Christmas shopper will be elbowed this Christmas shopping season.
$1.25 Billion was spent on Cyber Monday for the 2011 holiday season, which gives a 15% increase from last year.
Gift Cards are the top gift this year, just ahead of electronics.
801 Million pieces of mail will be processed on the 20th of December.
1.5 Billion cards sent for Christmas in the U.S. It is the largest card sending holiday.
2 Billion– approximate number of candy canes that will be sold this Christmas season.
30 Million– approximate number of real Christmas trees to be purchased this year for Christmas.
113%– Jewlery store sales increase for the 2010 Christmas season.
$27.2 Billion– spent in department stores alone for Christmas in 2010.
10% of Christmas gifts will be broken before New Year’s Day.
Have you wondered what is fact and fiction concerning the history and origins of Christmas symbols and traditions? What is the history of Christmas celebrations around the world? I have found the answers from reliable sources and plan to tell you all about the historical origins of Christmas symbols and traditions around the world and how they all came together to form this worldwide holiday.
History of Christmas
Before Christmas celebrations became popular, people all around the would had certain traditions celebrating winter solstice. In Rome, the unconquerable sun god Mithra’s birthday was celebrated on December 25. In Germany, the god Oden was honored and feared during the winter solstice. The Norse celebrated winter solstice because it meant longer days ahead.
4th century A.D.- Pope Julius I decided to officially make December 25 the day to celebrate the birth of Christ calling it the Feast of the Nativity, although nobody knew what day of the year Jesus was born. This was an attempt to rid the pagan holiday in Rome and have more people celebrating the birth of Christ by placing it during a time when people are already celebrating.
8th century A.D.- the Feast of the Nativity had gained popularity across most of the world, replacing the hedonistic celebrations only in name. Most puritans that came to America outlawed the holiday because it was celebrated more like Mardis Gras than the way we now celebrate.
19th century A.D.– It was not common for Americans to celebrate Christmas until the 19th century and that was due to a fictional book by Washington Irving. In his book, The Sketchpad of Geoffrey Crayon, gent. the traditions of Christmas that we now follow today were created, making people believe this was the way Christmas was supposed to be celebrated. Also during this time, Charles Dickens wrote his famous novel, A Christmas Carol, which changed the way people thought of Christmas.
Origin of Christmas Symbols
Yule Log – During the winter solstice the Norse would light a huge log, called the yule log, that could stay lit up to 12 days. The word yule means wheel, and the Norse believed the sun was a giant wheel.
Christmas Tree – Although evergreens were considered sacred throughout Europe, Germany began the tradition of decorating evergreen trees during the winter solstice. Martin Luther was the first person to decorate Christmas trees with lighted candles.
Poinsettias – Joel Poinsett, an American missionary to Mexico, brought back this red and green plant in 1828. people began calling it a poinsettia after him and it soon became popular as the official plant of Christmas.
Mistletoe – Celts thought mistletoe was magical and could ward off evil when hung in their doorways. English society embraced the custom of hanging mistletoe during winter solstice and it soon became a Christmas tradition.
Caroling was popularized in England by the common traveling musicians who would receive food or money in return for singing carols.
Noel – In France, Christmas was called Noel from the french phrase les bonnes nouvelles, meaning “the good news” of the gospel.
Santa Claus / St. Nicholas – St. Nicholas was a kind, pious monk who was rumored to have given away all of his wealth to help the sick and poor. The most popular legend describes an account where he filled the stockings of three young girls with money, because they did not have a dowry for marriage. The dutch for St. Nicholas was Sinter Klaas, which eventually led to the name Santa Claus. The image that we now recognize as Santa Claus came from the tale by an Episcopal minister entitled “Twas the Night Before Christmas” which he wrote in 1822 to entertain his children.
Kris Kringle did not refer to Santa Claus, but is actually derived from Christkind, the German and Swiss word for “Christ Child” an angelic being who accompanied St. Nicholas and helped deliver gifts.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was born out of the desire to commercialize Christmas. A copywriter at a department store wrote the story of Rudolph to inspire others to triumph over adversity and to bring in more sales during the Christmas season.
Candy Cane – The shepherd’s crook shaped peppermint candy that is popular during Christmas was first invented in the 17th century to hand out to children during the nativity scene service at Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Angels, Nativity, and Wise Men – All of these figures, of course, were taken from the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 (KJV) and established as symbols of the Christmas season with the Pope’s declaration of Christmas.
Just about everyone knows the history of Thanksgiving but you may not know some of the more unique and interesting facts concerning this holiday. For this Thanksgiving, I want to share with everyone some fun facts I have dug up, so you can sound smart at the Thanksgiving dinner table as you impress family members with interesting, yet useless knowledge. I hope you enjoy!
Most Americans know that the official first Thanksgiving was began by the Mayflower pilgrims and local Native Americans at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The following is the actual source of what we know about that time. It was called “A relation or journall of the beginning & proceedings of the English plantation settled at Plimoth in New England” or Mourt’s Relation. This piece is specifically about that first Thanksgiving:
…our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie. ~ excerpt from Mourt’s Relation by Edward Winslow
Another account of the first Thanksgiving was told several years later by William Bradford in his colonial biography, Of Plymouth Plantation.
President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November in part, due to the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale.
Fun Thanksgiving Facts
42.2 Million – number of Americans who traveled more than 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving in 2010.
248 Million turkeys will be raised in the U.S. this year with Minnesota being the top producer.
20% of the turkey consumed in the U.S. every year, occurs during Thanksgiving.
88% of Americans will eat turkey for Thanksgiving this year.
I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country…The Turkey is a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. ~ Benjamin Franklin
2,020 pounds – weight of the largest pumpkin pie ever made, with a diameter 12 feet long.
1924 – first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was began to signify the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
3 Million – estimated number of people that will attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
750 Million pounds of cranberries were produced in the U.S. this past year and most came from Wisconsin.
37 – number of cities in the U.S. with Plymouth in their name.
4 – number of cities in the U.S. named after the Turkey.
1876 – first Thanksgiving Championship Football game was played, beginning the tradition of football on Thanksgiving. It was Yale versus Princeton with Yale being the victor.
Happy Veterans Day! Don’t forget to take a moment and remember our nation’s veterans today, November 11. We have freedom here in the United States of America because of those people who willing serve and defend our country.
There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States. ~History.com
I really wish I could have done a “facts and stats” post for veterans day, but we have been traveling a lot this week and I have been taking care of a sick baby too. The dry, cold air has given everyone a sore throat but my baby is also getting over a cold that she caught at the beginning of the week. I will hopefully have a vacation update for everyone soon, though.
In the meantime, if you want to read some interesting statistics about Veterans Day, you can read the Census Bureau’s Facts For Features. Happy Veterans Day and thanks to all those soldiers who have served and are serving our country.