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PostHeaderIcon New Year’s Eve Facts and Traditions

  Written By: Melainie

New year traditions and facts

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.

new years facts traditionsSince 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.

new years eve day traditions factsGood 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.

new years facts traditions11,875 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.

{sources: FactMonster.com, 2020 Site, Woodridge Patch, U.S. Census Bureau, Hallmark, History.com, Wikipedia.org}

PostHeaderIcon Christmas Past – History of Christmas

  Written By: Melainie

History of Christmas TraditionsHave 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

history of Christmas symbols

Mithra - Roman god

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.

Christmas historySanta 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.

{sources: History.com, Wikipedia, and TheHistoryofChristmas.com}

PostHeaderIcon Thanksgiving Fun Facts

  Written By: Melainie

fun thanksgiving facts

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!

Thanksgiving

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

thanksgiving facts42.2 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.

{sources: U.S. Census Bureau, History.com, and Pilgrim Hall Museum.}

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

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