Valentine’s Day is recognized as the most romantic day of the year. Lovers everywhere celebrate the day with tokens of their love and affection. Among the most common gifts are cards, chocolates and flowers. Many of the traditions and customs that we practice come not only from the Christian faith, but also from the Romans, the Greeks and the Celts.
After Christmas, more cards are sent on Valentine’s Day than any other. Elementary school children, in the US, exchange more than 650 million cards every year. Teachers receive more Valentines than anyone.
Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, happy marriages, beekeepers, travelers, fainting, epilepsy and greetings.
The oldest love poem was written in about 3500 BC. It was written on a clay tablet in Sumerian Cuneiform. The tablet is on display in The Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient. The poem was found in Nippur, in Iraq.
Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet. . . .
Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber
~ The feast of Saint Valentines is celebrated on the fourteenth of February. Continue reading
Christmas is the best time of the year for many of us. We get together with our loved ones, we share presents, and we sing Christmas carols. However, there are some interesting facts about Christmas that very few people are actually aware of.
1. Jesus Christ Was Not Born On December 25
As we all know, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ – however, few people know that Jesus was actually born on the 20th of May. Christmas actually has its roots in various pagan festivals (like Saturnalia or the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun). The Church strongly disapproved of these particular celebrations.
Back in 380 AD, the Church in Rome decided to celebrate Jesus’ birthday on the 25th of December, in an attempt to unite various regions. Since that time, Christmas has been a universal day of celebration for more than 16 centuries!
Mistletoe was considered sacred by the ancient Druids due to the fact that, unlike other plants, it remains green during the winter. Druids believed that mistletoe was able to cure infertility, to ward off evil spirits and to cure the mentally ill. Today, kissing under the mistletoe is a sign of true love, fortune and good luck.
3. The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther Was the First Person to Decorate a Tree
Have you ever wondered where does the Christmas tree tradition come from? If so, you should know that Martin Luther, the well-known Protestant reformer, was the first person to decorate an evergreen tree. The legend says that he decorated the tree with candles because he wanted to share the beauty of burning candles with his children. Continue reading
Saint Patrick is one of the best known and recognized Saints. Saint Patrick lived in the 400’s and, as with many saints and historic figures, exact dates, places and events are often questioned and cannot be verified. Luckily, there is more information about this man and his life than most historic figures of his time. Regardless of the exact facts, Saint Patrick is one of the most popular of all the Saints and has come to represent not only Christianity but all things Irish.
Saint Patrick was born in Britain. The exact year of his birth and death is under debate. It is generally believed that he was born around the year 400. One date that is commonly found is the year 387. The date of his death is often listed as being the 17th of March, 461.
One of the major events relating to St. Patrick’s life claims that he drove the snakes out of Ireland. This is now questioned. Although there are no snakes in Ireland, there probably never were any. One theory suggest that the snakes were actually a symbol of how St. Patrick drove paganism and its gods out of Ireland.
Two letters that are said to have been written by Saint Patrick still exist, the Declaration and a letter to the soldiers of Coroticus. The Declaration is a letter describing his early life, captivity and his mission in Ireland. Continue reading
It is often said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! The feast day of Saint Patrick is a holy day in the Catholic Church. The holiday is also recognized by the Anglican church, the country of Ireland and many other English speaking countries.
St. Patrick’s Day is the 17th of March.
In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. In North America while the Day is recognized and celebrated it is not a national holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day often falls during the period of Lent due to the fact that Easter is not celebrated on a fixed day. If the feast of St. Patrick falls during Lent, which is a fasting period, the fasting does not have to be observed. If St. Patrick’s Day falls during Holy Week, the 7 days leading up to Easter, the Catholic Church will reallocate the date of the feast. This last time this happened was in 1940, when St. Patrick’s Day would have fallen on the same day as Palm Sunday. The Church moved the date to the third of March, to avoid a conflict. Thankfully, this does not occur very often. Continue reading
There is far more to pumpkins than most people realize. Pumpkins are being used as boats, in sports and creams. They are a very nutritious and hearty fruit. Pumpkins have grown far beyond being merely Halloween decorations.
One of the strangest sports in the world is pumpkin boat racing. Never heard of it? Pumpkin racing began in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Contestants hollow out their giant pumpkin and race it across Lake Pesaquid. The PVCs (personal vegetable crafts) are divided into different groups. They have a paddling group and a motorized and experimental class. Contestants are encouraged to not only decorated their PVC’s but to wear a costume. In Windsor the day of the big race is a whole day of pumpkin fun and games.
Howard Dill has been dubbed the ‘Pumpkin King‘. Dill is the man behind the Giant Pumpkin. It was his engineering and cross breeding that gave us the seeds for growing enormous pumpkins. Dill, himself held the title for growing the world’s largest pumpkin a number of times, before his record was defeated. Dill is also the founder of the world famous pumpkin races held in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Continue reading
Every year millions of people celebrate the feast of Saint Valentine. They do not celebrate the day as a religious event but as an affirmation of love or commitment to another person. A valentine does not have to be a lover or a spouse, although in many cases it is. Teachers are in fact the people who receive more Valentines than anyone else, followed closely by mothers. Chocolates, flowers and cards are the most common items given out on Valentine’s Day and are always appreciated, however if you are trying to find a suitable Valentine for a lover, significant other or a spouse why not try something a little different this year.
These day you can get everything from underwear, to soaps and candles made just for your significant other. You can get almost anything personalized but, keep in mind the amount of time that you have and the budget.
A truly unique idea is to get a personalized romance novel. These novels are not very expensive and allow you and your other to become the stars in your own romance. Continue reading
Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October. Halloween is actually a short form for the name, All Hallow’s Eve.
In Canada and the US, Halloween is celebrated by wearing costumes and trick or treating. Many of the traditions and games associated with Halloween come from Ireland, Germany and England. Popular Halloween traditions also stem from both pagan and christian beliefs.
The colors of Halloween are black and orange.
Seeing a spider on Halloween is said to be very lucky. A spider on this day is believed to be the spirit of a loved one watching you.
Every year in the US, about two billion dollars worth of candy is purchased for Halloween. Halloween candy is given out as part of trick or treating. Children dressed in costumes go from door to door, saying the words trick or treat. According to custom if a person gives a treat to the child, the child will go to the next house but if they do not give a treat, the home owner may discover that a prank or trick has been played on them.
On Halloween if you want to meet a witch, you have to wear your clothes inside out and walk backwards.