Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It is a day to recognize and remember those who have died while serving their country. On this day, many graves will be decorated with flags and flowers as a way to honor those who have given their lives to protect our freedom. Memorial Day serves as a reminder of the high price of that freedom. The sacrifices our military members make is awe-inspiring, as are the sacrifices of their families. To all current and former service members and their families:
Yes, in addition to being a research junkie, I’m also a bit of a geek. For that reason, I’m celebrating Star Wars Day. What is that, you ask? It’s simple, really. One of the most well-known and often quoted lines from Star Wars is “May the Force be with you.” So what do Star Wars fans and geeks like me do? Change the wording a bit to suit our needs each May. So to you readers I say:
May the fourth be with you.
As it says in my Twitter bio, I’m a research junkie. When something catches my attention, I can’t help but try to learn a little (or a lot) more about it. Since today is Valentine’s Day, I started wondering about the origins of the holiday. While there seem to be several possibilities for which Saint Valentine the holiday is named after, why the holiday is celebrated on February 14, and how the holiday got its start, there is no doubt that the day is set aside to celebrate love.
With that in mind, and with my brief research into Valentine’s Day, I have to share a quote from an article I found on History.com.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the
third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men
made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed
marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the
decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young
lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius
ordered that he be put to death.
There is something undeniably romantic about the necessity of a clandestine wedding performed by a priest who is defying the law to join young lovers in marriage. This single historical tibit immediately took my mind to Romeo and Juliet — young lovers who had to meet in secret and defy their families for the sake of love. Their romance had a much more tragic (and fictional) ending than the lovers Valentine married, but the feeling that love cannot be controlled or ignored is evident in both stories.
This Valentine’s Day, show your sweetheart how much you love him or her. What better day for romance than this? If you’re single, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day as well. Between the chocolate and the romance novels no one will fault you for reading today, that warm fuzzy feeling of love is just around the corner.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Did you know that the carved pumpkins affectionately called jack o’lanterns are actually a tradition that began in Ireland? There is one major difference between the carved pumpkins so popular in America and the jack o’lanterns of Irish history. Originally, jack o’lanterns were carved from turnips and beets, not pumpkins.
Trick or Treating
Trick or treating is a popular Halloween tradition all over the United States. I’ve several theories on the origins of this tradition, but there doesn’t appear to be a definite historical link to any of these traditions. So where did modern trick or treating come from? The best guess appears to be that Irish immigrants brought the tradition with them in the 1800s. By the 1940s, dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating had become a well-established tradition in the United States.
Ghosts and Demons
Halloween dates back over 2,000 years, although for the Celtic peoples who originated the celebration of the day it was Samhain’s eve. They believed that on this day faeries, demons, and other paranormal creatures roamed the earth. Spirits on their way to the afterlife were also thought to walk the earth on Halloween.
My childhood Halloween traditions involved costumes and trick or treating, jack o’lanterns and haunted houses. But my favorite tradition was the watching of the Halloween specials on TV. All the kids I knew loved “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure” as much as I did. Those familiar cartoons were one of the highlights of the season.
Tell me, what are some of your favorite Halloween memories? What traditions do you have now?