More about the origin of festive and memorial days
Silvester: December 31
For those whose German may be a bit weak, the information below explains that New Year's Eve is called "Silvester" in Germany as that is the feast day of St. Silvester. He was the pope who was in office at the time the policy of the the Roman Empire changed from persecution to acceptance of Christianity (due to the influence of Emperor Constantine). New Year's eve is celebrated in Germany and many other countries with massive explosions of bottle rockets and fire crackers at midnight. Also much champagne is consumed.
Laut endet in Deutschland das Jahr: Am 31. Dezember feiern die Menschen Silvester. Sie begruessen das neue Jahr mit Raketen, Knallern und Sekt. Der letzte Tag des Jahres ist nach dem heiligen Silvester benannt. Der lebte im vierten Jahrhundert. Im Jahr 314 waehlten ihn die Roemer zum Papst. Waehrend Silvesters Amtszeit wendete sich das Kirchenschicksal von der Verfolgung zur christenfreundlichen Politik unter Kaiser Konstantin. Silvester hatte selbst unter grausamen Verfolgungen gelitten. Der Legende nach heilte er den Kaiser vom Aussatz. Dafuer soll der dem Papst mit grossen Schenkungen gedankt haben. Silvester starb am 31 Dezember 335.
From Paul Schons Historic Calendar of Significant Events in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland
Three Kings day: January 6The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany also called "The Adoration of the Magi" or "The Manifestation of God." Celebrated on January 6, it is known as the day of the Three Kings (or wise men/magi): Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. According to an old legend based on a Bible story, these three kings saw, on the night when Christ was born, a bright star, followed it to Bethlehem and found there the Christchild and presented it with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
January 6, the last day of Christmas, comes with its own traditions, rituals and symbols. Carolers are going from house to house; in many homes the Christmas tree is taken down and in some areas is burnt in a big bonfire. For the children this is an especially joyous occasion because, associated with taking down the tree goes the raiding of the tree. The sweets, chocolate ornaments wrapped in foil or cookies, which have replaced the sugar plums, are the raiders' rewards.
See Wikipedia: Epifany - Three Kings
Dr. Martin Luther King Day
Each year on the third Monday of January schools, federal offices, post office and banks across America close as we celebrate the newest American national holiday.
15 years after Dr. King's death President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law making the third Monday of January a national holiday celebrating the birth and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
But it was a tough time getting the bill passed.
Text excerpt from Martin Luther King's speech 'I Have a Dream'. See also the original video: YouTube - Full version.
Valentine's Day: February 14
Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
More: The History of Valentine's Day
Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost
Good Friday is the last Friday for Easter Sunday. Christianity is then commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary (Golgotha).
Easter begins always on the first Sunday after the first full moon in the spring and Pentecost (Whitsun) on the Sunday seven weeks later. Like in old times spring begins on 21 march. When it is full moon and Sunday on 21 march, then Easter begins on the next Sunday 28 march.
The rule just mentioned was made during the Council of Nicea in 325 AD to let the whole Christian church celebrate Easter on the same day. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter and Ascension day the Thursday forty days after Easter and ten days before Pentecost.
For more about this, see the Internet
Data for Good Friday, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost
Mother's day and Father's dayMother's day is the second sunday in May and Father's day in the United States and many other countries is the third sunday in June.
Right you see a joyful mother and child, do not forget the father.
See Wikipedia: Mother's day and Father's day
World Animal Day: October 4
World Animal Day is a day which is worldwide on the agenda, as a moment to give extra attention to animals. This day stands yearly on the calendar planned for 4 October. With celebrating this day people let know, that animals have rights and that they must be protected.
The 4th of October was originally chosen for World Animal Day because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment. According to an old legend Saint Francis of Assisi did give even once a preach for the animals.
Halloween: October 31
Halloween is a holiday, which is celebrated especially in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints Day. It is largely a secular celebration. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America during Ireland's Great Famine of 1846.
The day is often associated with the colors orange and black, and is strongly associated with symbols such as the jack-o'-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o'-lanterns, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.
See Wikipedia: Halloween
Saint Martinus: November 11
The most popular of the saints' days is St. Martin on November 11. Martin of Tours lived in the 4th century. He started out as a Roman soldier, was baptized and became a monk. Because of his exemplary life he was, (very much against his will,) appointed Bishop of Tours. The goose, animal symbol of St. Martin, is a common meal around St. Martin's Day. Legend has it that geese betrayed him with their gabbling when he tried to hide in a stall as he was to be appointed bishop.
See Wikipedia: Martin of Tours
Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks to God for the harvest and express gratitude in general. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. Traditonally with a roasted turkey on the table.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada (CA) and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States (US).
Saint Nicolaus: December 5, 6
In the German-speaking countries and Holland and Belgium as well December 5th or 6th is the most distinctive children's festival of the year. St. Nikolaus Eve is a time of festive stir, it is a time of whispers and giggles, and of heavy steps on the stairs. Shops are full of many-shaped biscuits, gilt gingerbreads, sometimes representing the saint, of sugar images, toys and other little gifts.
See Wikipedia: Saint Nicholas
Santa Claus: Christmas Eve
Santa Claus (also known as Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santy or simply Santa) is a folk hero in various cultures who distributes presents to children, traditionally on Christmas Eve. Each name is a variation of Saint Nicholas, but refers to Santa Claus. Father Christmas is a well-loved figure in many countries and predates the "Santa Claus" character. "Father Christmas" is similar in many ways, though the two have quite different origins. Using 'Santa' in places that predominantly call him 'Father Christmas' is often viewed as an Americanism and is quite rare, although they are generally regarded as the same character. Father Christmas is also present instead of "Santa" in Italy ("Babbo Natale"), Brazil ("Papai Noel"), Czech_Republic ("Svatý Mikulá"), Portugal ("Pai Natal"), Romania ("Mos Craciun"), Germany ("Weihnachtsmann"), Ireland ("Daidí na Nollag"), France and French Canada ("Pčre Noël"), Spain and Mexico ("Papá Noel"), and South Africa (Sinterklaas, Father Christmas or Santa Claus).
See Wikipedia: Santa Claus
Christmas: December 25 and 26
Christmas is a holiday shared and celebrated by many religions. It is a day that has an effect on the entire world. To many people, it is a favorite time of the year involving gift giving, parties and feasting.
Christmas is a holiday that unifies almost all of professing Christians, celebrating the birth of Jesus. The spirit of Christmas causes people to decorate their homes and churches, cut down trees and bring them into their homes, decking them with bulbs, silver and gold.
In the light of that tree, families are merry and give gifts one to another.
More about this: The origins of Christmas
See also: Christmas Cards, Decorations and Gifts and Wikipedia: Christmas
Seasons, festive and memorial days.
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