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Articles Categorized Holidays

May Day Celebrations

The Celts believed that the time we define as May Day was midway between the Winter and Summer Solstice when darkness turned to light. They celebrated the return of fertility to the world with a festival called Beltane. Rituals protected sprouting crops and livestock returning to summer pastures. As customs changed, May celebrations turned into

White House Easter Egg Rolls from Yesteryear

There are several ways to roll eggs. This Russian postcard shows children placing individual eggs, possibly hard-boiled, on an incline to see which would roll the furthest. In another custom, children roll hardboiled, decorated eggs down grassy hills in a competition to see whose egg rolls the farthest without breaking. The latter competition usually took

Pysanky aka Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Easter is on April 4, just under two weeks away. Will this be the year you attempt to create pysanky?  Pysanky refers to eggs inscribed by an artist using a stylus that imparts the design in beeswax. The eggs may be chicken, duck, goose, or even ostritch. Some artists leave the egg intact with the

Christmas Star 2020

Solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, happens on December 21. In addition to being the longest night, December 21, 2020 is also the date of the Great Conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that, providing the night is clear, you can go outside and see a

Christmas Cards: From Convenient Greeting to Annual Burden

I grew up in a different America, one that had one black plastic rotary phone per household and one black & white family television powered by tubes. Yes, it was that long ago. Christmas trees were “live” with scraggly branches and decorated with strands of tinsel that had to be correctly placed, usually by a

Cranberries — An American Fruit

Do you recognize this iconic Norman Rockwell picture? The artist created it in 1943 with the title Freedom from Want to illustrate one of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms justifying American participation World War II. The illustration went on to represent the perfect American Thanksgiving Celebration. Three generations gather around the dinner table to enjoy a truly

Ichabod Disappears

Imagine. Two horses approach Sleepy Hollow Bridge at a thunderous gallop. No doubt the first horse, Gunpowder, is on his last legs. He’s hardly fit enough for a trot. Now he catches his rider’s terror, and gallops as if the very devil is behind him. The second horse is sleek and muscular. His hooves pound

Ichabod Crane Flees The Headless Horseman

Ichabod Crane is a poor man with aspirations; a lover of ghost stories who fears the dark. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving creates an unsympathetic character as the subject of his American ghost story. Last week, Ichabod courted Katrina Van Tassel, hoping she would accept him as a suitor. One wonders why

Ichabod Crane Goes a-Courtin’

In honor of Halloween, I’m sharing Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow this month. It’s about more than a wild horseback ride in the dead of night. Last week we met Ichabod Crane, a man of unfortunate appearance and few prospects. Nevertheless, Ichabod persevered in his quest for a comfortable life. Ichabod set his

Meet Ichabod Crane – Credulous Schoolteacher

October is best known for Halloween, a spooky holiday on the last evening of the month. The day is associated with costumes, ‘trick-or-treating,’ and spooky stories of ghosts and other supernatural beings. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published by American writer Washington Irving in 1819, is one of the most well-known. The famous headless horseman