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PostHeaderIcon Spooktacular Halloween Fun Facts

  Written By: Melainie

halloween fun factsDo you know the origins of Halloween and where the traditions come from? What is the reason for all of the superstitions associated with Halloween and what do they all mean? I’ve been wondering these things for years and finally decided to do a little research to find out. I also included some fun statistics about Halloween that I stumbled across too. I hope you enjoy, and don’t forget about my book giveaway that ends on Halloween at 12:01 a.m. CST.

Halloween Origins

Halloween is derived from the ritual of Samhain (pronounced sah-ween) begun by the ancient Celts over 2,000 years ago to mark the end of the Celtic calendar year and the beginning of winter. They believed that on their New Year’s Eve (Halloween) the boundary between the living and dead was most blurred and they associated the winter season with death. The Druids, who were the leaders as well as priests in the Celtic tribes, would lead superstitious rituals that have come to be associated with Halloween even today. When Catholic missionaries tried to convert the Celts, they established All Saints Day on November 1 to counteract the pagan holiday. Although this was accepted by the Celts, it did not squelch their superstitions and the evening before was renamed All Hallow’s (Saints) Eve. Over time All Hallows Evening was slurred and shortened to become Halloween.

all hallows eve halloween facts

Bonfire – Superstitious ritual, originally called a bone fire, conducted by Druids when Celts burned sacrificial animals or foods to appease the spirits.

Halloween Costumes – During the bonfire, Celts would dress up in costumes made from animal heads and skins.As time went by, this was converted to the more traditional costumes of Halloween.

Trick-or-Treat – Trick-or-Treating began as a result of the superstitious belief that treats needed to be left out to appease the fairies and spirits that roamed the earth on Halloween. It was first called “souling” as people began to dress up as spirits and skeletons and went door to door gathering treats while saying prayers for the dead.

pumpkin carving halloween factsPumpkin Carving – Pumpkin carving was actually derived from the Irish tradition of carving turnips and potatoes for Halloween. When Irish settlers came to America they began to carve pumpkins because of the good pumpkin harvests. Irish would call them “jack-o-lanterns” because of the old Irish legend about a man named stingy Jack who was too stingy to go to heaven and tricked the devil too much to go to hell. Jack’s soul was left to roam the earth for eternity with his lantern. and people began carving vegetables to put a candle in them hoping it will ward off Jack.

Halloween Fun Facts

1.5 Billion pounds of pumpkins are grown every year.

1,810 lb. 8 oz. – heaviest pumpkin on record, presented at the Stillwater Harvest Festival in 2010.

24.7 pounds of candy is consumed per person every year in America.

25% of all candy purchased in the U.S. is solely for Halloween.

41 Million – Estimated number of trick-or-treaters (between the ages of 5-14) in 2010.

92% of households consider their neighborhood safe for trick-or-treating.

Halloween Capital of the world – Anoka, Minnesota declares itself to be the Halloween capital of the world because the city has had a week long celebration of Halloween every year since 1920 to deter pranks.

Samhainphobia is the fear of Halloween, remember that Halloween is derived from the ancient festival of Samhain.

50% of children prefer chocolate candy for Halloween.

Dia de los Muertos is the name of the Halloween celebration in Mexico, and it means Day of the Dead.

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in England as an alternative to Halloween due to early Protestant influence. It was the day England executed the notorious traitor, Guy Fawkes- what a way to be commemorated in history.

Harry Houdini died Halloween night in 1926 as a result of an appendicitis attack.

11.5% of Americans will dress up their pets for Halloween.

$5.8 Billion is estimated to be spent in America on Halloween every year.

Happy Halloween! If you enjoy the work I put in to my posts, then please vote for me on the left side bar. I would really appreciate it. Thanks! I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween. If you want to learn more about Halloween or just want to check out my sources, here they are:

{sources: History.com, Library of Congress, U.S. Census Bureau, USA.gov, and RandomHistory.com}

PostHeaderIcon Grandparents Day Facts and Fun

  Written By: Melainie

Last year at this time my parents and in-laws were brand new grandparents and I was still recovering from childbirth, so I didn’t even think about it being their first Grandparents Day. I want to give a big thanks to my Grandparents for being such wonderful, Christian examples to me and for all they have done for me over the years. I am sure my husband’s parents and my parents will be awesome grandparents to our sweet baby Anneliese as she grows up.

Grandparents Day Facts and Fun

Anneliese as a Newborn

Why is Grandparents Day important anyway? Well, let me give you a little history along with some interesting facts about grandparents and this holiday. By the way, this year Grandparents Day falls on Patriot Day, in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, so don’t forget to take a moment and remember those who lost their lives a decade ago.

Grandparents Day History

Founder- In 1970 Marion McQuade campaigned for a Grandparents Day in the hope that it would spur more support for Senior Citizens as well as encourage people to honor their Grandparents.

In 1978 President Jimmy Carter officially made Grandparents Day the second Sunday in September.

Why September? It’s symbolic for senior citizens being in the autumnal years of their lives.

September 9, 1979- the first celebrated Grandparents Day in America.

grandparents day flowerBet you didn’t know…

Forget-Me-Nots became the official flower of Grandparents Day in 1999 to encourage lasting memories with Grandparents.

A Song For Grandma and Grandpa” written by Johnny Prill, became the official song for Grandparents Day in 2004.

 Grandparents Day Facts

80 Million- number of Grandparents in the U.S. in 2010.

47- average age of first time Grandparents.

7.5 Million- Grandchildren lived with a Grandparent in 2010.

4 Million- Approximate number of greeting cards that will be given out for Grandparents Day.

75% of the wealth in America is controlled by Grandparents.

62% have provided financial support to their adult children and grandchildren in the past year.

72% of Grandparents think that being a Grandparent is the most important and satisfying thing in their life.

Fun with Grandparents

Grandparents: Joke-able and Quotable

A grandfather was telling his little grandson what his own childhood was like:
“We used to ice skate outside on a frozen pond. I had a swing made from a tire that hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony around the yard. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.”
The little boy was wide-eyed, taking all this in. At last he said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner, Grandpa!”

What is a Grandparent, according to a small child?
“Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no children of their own. They like other people’s.”
“Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them. They are so old, they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the store and have lots of quarters for us.”

How do you say Grandma and Grandpa around the world?

  • Poland - Babcia and Dziadek
  • Germany - Oma and Opa
  • India - Nana-ji and Nani-ji
  • Korea - Halmonee and Halabujee
  • Greece - Ya-ya and Pa-pu
  • Japan - Oba-chan and Oji-chan
  • China - Popo and Gong-gong
  • Italy - Nonna and Nonno
  • Israel - Savta and Saba
  • Cuba - Abuelita and Abuelito

Want some more name ideas from here in the United States?

Grandma – Gammi, Mima, Grams, Momsy, Nanoo, Snuggums, Gigi, Ganny, Nana, Grammy, Mamaw

Grandpa – Gumpa, Paps, Peepaw, Pawpaw, Banpa, Papa, Pappi, Gramps, Umpapa, Granddaddy

Grandparents Day Fun and Facts

{sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Grandparents.com}

Grandparents Day Fun and Facts comments

PostHeaderIcon Celebrate Labor Day with Fun Facts and Stats

  Written By: Melainie

celebrate labor day facts and statistics

Since this coming Monday is Labor Day, I thought it would be fun to share some interesting origins, facts, and statistics about labor day. (By the way, I am taking off Monday for labor day- so no new post until Wednesday.) Without further ado, enjoy these facts I have gathered and be glad that we no longer work like it’s the 19th century.

Labor Day History

Labor Day parade

First Labor Day Parade

It’s easy to forget how much better the workplace is now than it was a century ago. Back in the 1800′s a 12 or even 16 hour work day was normal, and you would work usually 7 days a week.  Even children as young as 5 were working in factories all day. There was no such thing as OSHA, so work conditions tended to be much more hazardous. Wages were extremely low for the average worker and you didn’t get those cushy benefits either. Working in a factory posed horrendous and dangerous conditions until labor unions came along. Labor Day was established as a way to appease the rioting working class and celebrate their hard work.

September 5, 1882 (Tuesday)- first Labor Day celebration was held in New York City with a parade/demonstration

10,000- number of workers who marched in the first Labor Day parade

Founder- There is a dispute whether Peter McGuire (cofounder of the American Federation of Labor) or Matthew Maguire (factory machinist) came up with the idea for a Labor Day celebration.

Oregon- first state to declare Labor Day an official holiday (in 1887)

1894- President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a national holiday for the first Monday in September even though he openly opposed organized labor groups.

18% of American workers in 1900 were children under 16 and, despite laws being passed, this number didn’t change much until the Great Depression.

{sources: USA.gov/Labor Day and History.com}

Labor Day Facts and Stats

153.2 Million- number of Americans (over 16 years) in the labor force as of July 2011, that number is down 1.2 million from Labor Day 2010.

12% of American workers belonged to a labor union in 2009.

84.7% of full time workers have health insurance.

2.2 Million more females than males are in management positions as of 2009.

Registered Nurse- occupation expected to add the most positions in the next 10 years.

25 minutes- average time for the commute to work.

5.9 Million people worked from home in 2009.

White after Labor Day

1900's White Summer Dress

 

Why not wear white after Labor Day? According to historians, it may be symbolic for those wealthy enough to leave the city for a summer vacation in which the “uniform” of choice was breezy and white- no white after Labor Day because they have to go back to their drab work/city clothes.

 

 

May 1st- when most countries celebrate Labor Day, also called May Day or International Workers’ Day. Demonstrations, speeches, and protests are more common for this Labor Day celebration which commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago.

The Longest Labor Strike- In 1991 workers at the Stockton Diamond Walnut Plant in California went on a strike that lasted until 2005- that is 14 years!

{source: U.S. Census Bureau}

Celebrate Labor Day

…And you men and women of Labor celebrating today the rights given you by the Constitution; rights for which you have fought down through the years; rights which have made Labor today a strong and respected force in our national life… -San Francisco Mayor Angelo J. Rossi (Labor Day 1939)

Football- Labor Day marks the beginning of football season, so get pumped up for your favorite team!

3 Most Famous Labor Day Celebrations in America- West-Indian American Day Parade and Carnival, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Los Angeles County Fair.
labor day cartoon

How do you plan on spending Labor Day?

PostHeaderIcon Fun Birthday Facts and Stats

  Written By: Melainie

birthday fun facts statsAs my baby’s first birthday nears I have been doing a little research online to prepare and found some interesting statistics on birthdays. So I decided to look up more facts and statistics on birthdays and turn it into a fun post since tomorrow is my baby’s first birthday. Happy first birthday sweet baby Anneliese!

Birthday History and Symbols

Historical Birthday Superstition: It is believed by many scholars that birthdays began in the pagan culture of Europe because of the fear that evil spirits are more attracted to a person on their birthday. Friends and family would visit with well-wishes to ward off the evil spirits.

Birthdays were usually only celebrated by nobility (which may be why we like to put a Birthday Crown on the birthday person) until the Germans began the practice of celebrating children’s birthdays called “kinderfeste” and bake a special sweet cake.

Birthday Cake- Another theory about the origin of birthday cake is that it came from the ancient Greeks. They would bake a round cake lit with candles to offer to Artemis, the Moon Goddess.

 

birthday facts and statistics 

The candles helped to send prayers up to the gods, thus came about the custom of making a wish before blowing out your birthday candles. In Germany the candle on a birthday cake was symbolic for the light of life.

Happy Birthday Song- It began as the “Good Morning to You” song with the now familiar “Happy Birthday to You” tune, and was written by Mildred Hill and Dr. Patty Hill as a kindergarten school song. Patty Hill is credited with changing the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” after the song gained popularity (and yes, it is still copyrighted).

Fun Birthday Facts and Stats

August- most common birth month, over 21 million Americans have birthdays in August (and the least common is February).

October 5th- most common birth date ( 9 months after New Year’s Eve).

May 22nd is the least common birth date besides February 29th.

$27.2 Million- Most money spent on a birthday party. This extravagant party was for the Sultan of Brunei’s 50th Birthday in 1996.

2 Billion birthday cards are given each year in the U.S.- that is 58% of all cards given annually.

Golden Birthday- When your age and date of birth are the same. Example: My golden birthday was my 20th because I was born on June 20th.

Jesus Christ has the most popular, well-known birthday in history- Christmas Day!

Birthday Paradox- the probability that, in a group of 23 people, there is a 50/50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday. That probability goes up to 99%^ for a group of 57 people. (source: Wikipedia “Birthday Problem”)

15 Million- average number of people celebrating a birthday today (and every day) around the world.

128,238 lb. 8 oz.- weight of the world’s largest birthday cake. Made in Fort Payne, Alabama (not far from where I live) in 1989 to celebrate the city’s centennial birthday.

Birthday Jokes and Quotes

Q: What did one birthday candle say to another?

A: “Don’t birthdays burn you up?”

When I turned two I was really anxious, because I’d doubled my age in a year.
I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I’m six I’ll be ninety.
-Steven Wright

“I remember when the candle shop burned down. Everyone stood around singing ‘Happy Birthday’.”

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
-Reverend Larry Lorenzoni

P.S. If you want to read about birthday celebrations in other countries, KidsParties.com has a great list of information.

{Sources: Wikipedia and Tokenz}

PostHeaderIcon July 4th- Independence Day Facts and Stats

  Written By: Melainie

Independence Day

In my previous post I mentioned some cheap, budget-friendly ways to celebrate the 4th of July, our nation’s birth. Now I have some great facts and a little bit of history about our Independence Day. I hope you enjoy and feel free to comment with your own.

History of Independence Day

July 4th declaration of independenceWhy is July 4th Independence Day? Well, here is the short version of events that lead to America celebrating our independence on the fourth of July. Amidst growing hostility towards British oppression our Continental Congress met on June 7, 1776 and formed a committee to draw up the document that we now know as the Declaration of Independence. Then on July 2 it was complete and Continental Congress voted unanimously in favor of it. So technically July 2 is our nation’s birth, but the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially adopted until July 4th- and that is why we now celebrate the FOURTH of JULY!

John Adams refused to acknowledge July 4 as the nation’s Independence Day, firmly believing that July 2 was the birth of our nation, and rejected all invitations to celebrate the 4th of July.

Since the nation was still fighting in the Revolutionary War for the first two Independence Days, George Washington gave all of his soldiers double rations of rum to celebrate the 4th of July.

Massachusetts- First state to make the 4th of July an officially holiday.

1870- Congress made July 4th an officially federal holiday.

source: History Channel www.history.com

Independence Day Fun Facts

Did you know that our second, third, and fourth Presidents all died on July 4th? Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day- July 4, 1826, and James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.

2.5 Million- number of people living in America on July 4, 1776.

311.7 Million- number of people living in America this year- July 4, 2011.

China- largest importer of U.S. Flags and fireworks in 2010.

Mexico- lead customer of American Flags exported from the U.S. in 2010.

11- number of places in the U.S. with “Independence” in their names.

5- number of places in the U.S. with “America” in their names.

fourth of july uncle samOrigin of Uncle Sam- Samuel Wilson was a meat packer who provided food for U.S. soldiers in the early 1800′s. He stamped the initials U.S. on his packaged products and some soldiers began to joke that it stood for Uncle Sam, giving way to the symbolic Uncle Sam of the United States government.

July 8, 1776 was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell rang to draw all of the citizens together to hear it.

John Hancock- only person to actually sign the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July.

Bristol Fourth of July Parade- oldest continuing Independence Day celebration in the U.S. has been held every year since 1785.

500,000- number of people who attend the Washington D.C. Fourth of July celebration each year.

150 Million hotdogs will be eaten this Fourth of July (approximately) and that will be from the 74 Million Americans who will be barbecuing on July 4th.

26% of Americans don’t know what country we won our independence from- it’s Great Britain people!

22 Tons- amount of fireworks on display in New York City for the Fourth of July celebration.

$600 Million were spent on fireworks in one year in the U.S.

Deadliest holiday- on the 4th of July there are more alcohol related fatalities than New Year’s Day- the Fourth of July is the Number 1 Beer drinking holiday.

I hope you have a safe and fun Independence Day!

4th of july America

P.S. I will not be posting anything on the 4th of July because I will be too busy spending time with my family and enjoying this great nation that I am so proud to be a part of.

 

sources: Wikipedia.org and U.S. Census Bureau

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