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Articles Categorized Holidays

Holly, Ivy & Christmas

Holly, with its dramatic red berries, and ivy are two more evergreen symbols of Christmas that predate the Christian celebration. Romans decorated their homes with holly and ivy during Saturnalia, a year end festival honoring Saturn. Celts used the plants during the winter solstice. Both plants stand out during bleak winter days, with or without

Christmas Trees — Symbols of Hope

It’s December, and almost everywhere you look there are Christmas trees, evergreen boughs, and other symbols of this end-of-the-year “Season.” Long before Santa ever came on the scene, people in the Northern Hemisphere worried about the winter darkness. Some thought winter came because the Sun God was ill, and celebrated the Solstice because at long

Turkey, Football, & Shopping

At its most basic level, the holiday of Thanksgiving is about being grateful and eating a special meal. The menu generally includes a roast turkey, or tofu turkey. Pumpkin pie is a staple dessert choice, but far from the only one. The rest of the menu includes family favorites. Once the meal is over, thoughts

POINSETTIA: AMERICA’S CHRISTMAS FLOWER

Last week I was at our local garden center and couldn’t resist the Poinsettia display. Poinsettias weren’t part of my childhood holiday season, but now I can’t imagine the fall and winter festivities without them. Poinsettias didn’t always have a Christmas association. They were a lowly, yet useful, Mexican shrub the Aztecs called Cuitlaxochitl. The

Whitby, Where Dracula Came Ashore

Thursday is Halloween, which makes today the perfect time to explain Dracula’s ongoing association with Whitby.  In 1890 Whitby was a popular summer holiday destination. Bram Stoker, business manager for the Lycium Theater and writer of sensational novels, booked a room at Mrs. Veazey’s Guesthouse on the Royal Crescent. He had time to spend any

Uncle Sam: Symbol of America

Uncle Sam with his stove pipe hat, white hair, lanky body, and red and white striped pants remains a visual symbol of the United States. He first appeared during the War of 1812, and received his nickname on Sept. 7, 1813. At the time, he was overshadowed by a figure we no longer think about:

Luggage Luxury

Packing for a well-deserved holiday can be stressful, depending on the length of the trip and the expected activities. If all you need is a couple swimsuits, shorts, T-shirts, and maybe a long skirt for evening, there’s no problem fitting everything into a carry-on bag. But if the journey requires business casual as well as

St Patrick’s Day and the ‘Wearin’ o’ the Green’

Next Sunday, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day. You might wonder how a dour saint from fifth century Ireland could inspire our celebratory madness of green beer, parades, and dancing. And if such a man existed. The answer is . . . Well, let me tell you the stories first. In the year 387 in

OKTOBERFEST STARTS SATURDAY

  Saturday is the Autumn Equinox. Lying between Summer and Winter, Autumn has a languid feeling, especially at the beginning. The nights are shorter, but Daylight Savings Time is still in effect. The days are cooler, but not cold. Football comes into its regular season. And best of all, Oktoberfest begins in Munich this Saturday

LADIES, MOTHERS DAY & AFTERNOON TEA

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day, a commemorative day established by Anna Marie Jarvis in 1911 as a tribute to her mother and all mothers. In 1911 the day usually involved church services. Over time the celebration evolved into a sentimental event with all manner of gifts and cards for mom. In recent years mothers, daughters,