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AMERICAN HOLIDAYS (Part II)

April 1 All Fools Day.

Unlike most of the other nonfoolish holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear. There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar. Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.

The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.

However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.

This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.

In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.

Mexico's counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.

Pranks performed on April Fool's Day range from the simple, (such as saying, "Your shoe's untied!), to the elaborate. Setting a roommate's alarm clock back an hour is a common gag. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"

Practical jokes are a common practice on April Fool's Day. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the entire day. The news media even gets involved. For instance, a British short film once shown on April Fool's Day was a fairly detailed documentary about "spaghetti farmers" and how they harvest their crop from the spaghetti trees.

April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to buy gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he may be the next April Fool!

 You Know What They Say About Fools...

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. -- 1 Cor 1:27
However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him. -- Nicolas Boileau-Despraux
[Politicians] never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge. -- Thomas Reed
He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks. -- Franois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer
Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom. -- Elizabeth Gaskell
Looking foolish does the spirit good. -- John Updike
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. -- Mark Twain
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. -- William Blake
A fool must now and then be right by chance. -- Cowper
It is better to be a fool than to be dead. -- Stevenson
The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. -- Mark Twain

March April.

Easter Sunday.

Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating Christs resurrection.  It falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.  Easter bunnies, lilies and colored Easter eggs are a few of the traditional symbols of this holiday.

Easter egg tips include Never boil eggs.  Boiling causes eggs to be tough with a greenish ring around the yolk.  The best way to hard cook eggs is to place eggs in cold water and bring to a boil.  Remove immediately from the heat, cover and let them stand for about 15 minutes for large eggs.  Medium eggs take about 3 minutes less and extra large eggs for about 3 minutes longer.  Remember to rinse the hard cooked eggs right away in cold water while they are still hot.  The rinse in cold water will make the eggs easier to peel.  Always keep the eggs refrigerated before and after coloring.  Do not leave eggs out at room temperature for longer than a few hours because bacteria can cause harmful results. 

A creative way to use up all those colored eggshells is to use them to make eggshell mosaic crosses.  Use poster board as your canvas.  Direct children to draw a cross in the center of the poster board the size will depend on personal choice.  Take dried eggshells and place them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  If thechildren do this see that they do not get too carried away.  Spread a thin layer of glue on the inside of the cross that has previously been drawn.  Sprinkle eggshells over the wet glue.  Turn over any pieces that are white.  Take some more glue and outline the cross Then take some yarns strands and place around the outside edge of the cross on top of the glue.  Older children can be more inventive and draw more complex drawings using the same concept.

Experiment!

Pass Over

This Hebrew festival is usually celebrated in late March or April.  It usually lasts seven or eight days and commemorates when the angel of God passed over the houses of the Hebrews who sprinkled their doorposts with the blood of the pascal lamb.  Exploring the traditions of Passover is an excellent opportunity for teaching children.  The Passover festival, one that Jesus himself actively participated in, gives children a better understanding of the Christian faith as well as providing a deeper understanding of cross cultural beliefs.  Check out books from the library and learn more about this important tradition.

The main focal point of this holiday is observed by the family at home.  The Seder, which involves a ritualistic meal also retells the story of the Exodus.  The most common foods used during this ceremony are Karpas, a mild green vegetable, Maror, a bitter herb, Hazeret, another bitter herb, Haroset, a sweet spread made from fruit, nuts and wine.  And then there is the Zeroah, which represents the pascal lamb, although this is not always used since the lamb cannot be actually be a sacrifice since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D.  In addition, there is Baytzah, a roasted egg and three types of matzot.  All of these foods represent a vital element in the retelling of the story of the Exodus.

Another idea is to ask a Jewish friend or rabbi to come and visit your school , scout group or Sunday school class and discuss the meanings of Hebrew traditions.  You could arrange to have a few of the symbolic dishes made and let everyone have a little taste.

 Earth Day. April 22

The first Earth Day was held in 1970.  This holiday is intended to create an awareness of responsible stewardship of our fragile planets resources.

Earth Day is a good time to make a donation or renew a membership to an environmental organization such as Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy or the Sierra Club.  There are numerous organizations to choose from but it is a good idea to check out the track record before you make a decision.

Another great idea to make a contribution to saving the planet is to write a letter to your congressional representative regarding some local environmental issue you would like to see solved. 

Create a calendar that lists just one thing that can be done for each day of the year that will contribute to the preservation of the earth.  That is 365 ideas.  One a day.  Give these away as gifts.  Celebrate Planet Earth!

An educational and creative idea for children to build their awareness about protecting the earths resources is to have them make a collage, drawing or poster about an endangered species they care about.  Encourage the child to talk about this animal and maybe even help him or her to write to a agency in some other state or foreign country to find out what is being done to protect the animal and its habitat.  Some good examples include the panda, the manatee or the mountain gorilla.  Where do these animals live and what can be done to save them from extinction?

Just think how thrilled your child will be when they receive a response in the mail.  And it may even actually do some good for the animal.

Help with a petition drive, surf the Internet for information on how we can improve the quality of the air, water and lives of people and animals world-wide.  Make a notebook and fill it with newspaper, magazine articles and notes regarding great ideas.  Find out who in your area is a mover and a shaker in solving environmental problems.  For instance, the Prairie Lady who lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin was very influential in getting DDT banned.  What did she do and how did she do it?

Invite an expert on the environment or endangered species to come a give a presentation to your club or church group and discuss how you can contribute to saving the planet.

Finally, one way to perhaps bring into focus the importance of being good stewards, is to just take the time to take a nature walk.  Go out, take the kids, and stop, look and listen to the wonders of nature, even if it only takes you as far as your neighborhood park.  Take the time to be intentional and teach your children about the choices you make.  To do this will improve the chances for your childrens children to enjoy what you may now take for granted.

For those who wish to learn more about this subject and what you can do to teach children more about environmental awareness there are two resources you can check out at the library or bookstore that are invaluable tools. 

Arbor Day Last Friday in April

Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated the last Friday in April.  In many ways it involves many of the same ideals that are celebrated on Earth Day.  J. Sterling Morton was successful in convincing state officials of Nebraska to plant trees because he noticed that there was significant soil erosion in his state.  That was back in 1872!  Because of his pioneering efforts he succeeded in getting more than ONE MILLION trees planted in that first year.  Today Arbor Day is recognized all over the county and even in some other parts of the world.

The best way to celebrate Arbor Day is to plant a tree.  But, before you start to dig one word of caution!  It is important to know and understand where and what your are planting.  It is best to consult a landscape architect or nursery before undertaking this project.  Check and see if the local garden club or municipal park could use a donation for plantings.  Sometimes it is possible to have trees planted in memory of a loved one.  Well thought out planning is best for this project.

Mothers Day The Second Sunday of May.

Hve you ever wondered why Mother's Day is celebrated the second Sunday of every May? Do you want to know some things you can do to make Mother's Day extra special? Read on for the answer to these questions and more.

Did Mother's Day begin in the United States?

No. Long, long, ago, in ancient Greece, the people paid tribute to Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, each spring. A little later in history it is noted that England paid homage to mothers on "Mothering Sunday," the fourth Sunday of Lent.

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) suggested the idea of Mother's Day, but it was Miss Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), of Philadelphia, who began a letter-writing campaign to a variety of influential people that made Mother's Day a national holiday.

Why did Miss Jarvis think it was so important to have Mother's Day?

Miss Jarvis was very close to her mother Mrs. Anna Reese Jarvis. Anna's mother died in May of 1905, when Anna was 41 years of age. Anna was not married and from the time of her mother's death cared for her blind sister, Ellsinore. Anna missed her mother very much and felt that children should appreciate their mother's more while they're still alive. Anna hoped Mother's Day would increase respect and love and strengthen family bonds.

So when was the first Mother's Day?

In 1907 Anna persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year, 1908, Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.

In 1910 the first Mother's Day proclamation was issued by the governor of West Virginia. Oklahoma celebrated Mother's Day that year also. By 1911 every state observed Mother's Day. The Mother's Day International Association was incorporated on December 12, 1912, with the purpose of furthering meaningful observations of Mother's Day.

When did Mother's Day become official?

In May, 1913, The House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the President, his Cabinet, members of Congress, and all officials of the federal government to wear a white carnation on Mother's Day. Congress passed another Joint Resolution May 8, 1914, designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

On Mother's Day the U.S. flag is to be displayed on government buildings and at people's homes "as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country." President Woodrow Wilson issued the first proclamation moment. Favorite holiday.

making Mother's Day an official national holiday.

Many people give roses on Valentines Day, is there a particular flower I should give my mom on Mother's Day?

Miss Anna Jarvis's mother's favorite flower was the white carnation. This flower was chosen to represent the sweetness, purity and endurance of mother love. However, the red carnation has since become the symbol of a living mother while white signifies that one's mother has died.

Do other countries celebrate Mother's Day?

You bet they do! Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the same day as the United States. Other countries celebrate Mother's Day as well, though not on the same day.

What can I do to make Mother's Day special for my mom?

There are all kinds of things you can do to make Mother's Day special for your mom. Here are a few suggestions:

Make mom breakfast in bed.
Do secret acts of kindness, this might include doing one of mom's chores for her.
Be obedient.
Do your chores, without being asked.
Get along with your brothers and sisters.
Leave a love letter, for mom, on her pillow.
Use our printables to make a heartfelt CARD.
Check out some great ideas to make mom a homemade GIFT.

Spice up the Mother's Day festivities with an activity or two.

Interview your mother and/or grandmother. Ask questions about her birth, childhood, and what she did when she was a teenager. Find out favorite subjects in school, how she met your father or grandfather. Inquire about her favorite job. What were circumstances and events like when you were born? End the interview by expressing your love for her. Get together with a few other families and play the Mother/Child Game. Divide into four mother/child teams. Ask the mothers to leave the room while the children sit in chairs. Ask the same four or five questions to each child about their mothers. Bring in the mothers and ask them the same questions. Will the mother and child have the same answers? Switch places and see how well the mother's know the children. Award a red carnation to the winning mother/child team.

History and Customs...

In the U.S. Mothers' Day is a holiday celebrated on second Sunday in May. It is a day when children honor their mothers with cards, gifts, and flowers. First observance in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1907, it is based on suggestions by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 and Anna Jarvis in 1907. Although it wasn't celebrated in the U.S. until 1908, there were days honoring mothers even in the days of ancient Greece. In those days, however, it was Rhea, the Mother of the gods that was given honor.

Later, in the 1600's, in England there was an annual observance called "Mothering Sunday." It was celebrated during Lent, on the fourth Sunday. On Mothering Sunday, the servants, who generally lived with their employers, were encouraged to return home and honor their mothers. It was traditional for them to bring a special cake along to celebrate the occasion. In the U.S., in 1908 Ana Jarvis, from Grafton, West Virginia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the anniversary of her mother's death. A memorial service was held there on May 10, 1908 and in Philadelphia the following year where Jarvis moved.

Jarvis and others began a letter-writing campaign to ministers, businessmen, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. They were successful. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day a national observance that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

Many other countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May, as in the U.S.

Some Motherly Advice...

Always change your underwear; you never know when you'll have an accident.
Don't make that face or it'll freeze in that position.
Be careful or you'll put your eye out.
What if everyone jumped off a cliff? Would you do it, too?
You have enough dirt behind those ears to grow potatoes!
Close that door! Were you born in a barn?
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
Don't put that in your mouth; you don't know where it's been!
What the Bible says about Mothers...

Gen 3:20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Lev 19:3 "'Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
Deu 5:16 "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
2 Ki 4:30 But the child's mother said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So he got up and followed her.
Prov 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.
Isa 66:13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."
Ezek 16:44 "'Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: "Like mother, like daughter."
Luke 1:43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Luke 2:51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Question Ideas: Favorite color, movie, candy bar, color of toothbrush, memorable moment with you, best friend, hobby, talent, food, animal, cartoon, pizza topping, ice cream topping, restaurant. Most embarrassing

Memorial Day last Monday in May.

This holiday is a day on which Americans honour the dead. Originally a day on which frogs and flowers were placed on graves of soldiers who died in the American Civil War, it has become a day on which the dead of all wars and all other dead are remembered the same way. Families and individuals  honour the memories of their loved ones who have died. Church services, visits to the cemeteries, flowers on the graves, or even silent tribute mark the day with dignity and solemnity.  It is a day of reflection. However, to many Americans the day also signals the beginning of summer  - with a three-day weekend to spend at the beach, in the mountains, or at home relaxing.

In many communities, special ceremonies are held in cemeteries, or at monuments for the war dead by veterans of military services. Some hold parades and others hold memorial services or special programs in churches, schools other public meeting places.

On Memorial Day, the President or Vice President of the United States   gives a speech and lays a wreath on the tombs.

Fathers Day the 3 rd Sunday of June

Mother's Day came first, but Father's Day wasn't too far behind. It's amazing what people accomplish when they put their minds to good use and encourage others to join their cause. It just wouldn't be the same without many of our holidays and Father's Day is one of them.

Who came up with the idea of Father's Day

Her name was Sonora Louise Smart Dodd and she lived in Spokane, Washington. Sonora was the oldest of six children raised by their father, William Jackson Smart, when their mother died during childbirth. Sonora honored and revered her father, and while listening to a Mother's Day sermon, in 1909, she determined there should also be a day to honor fathers.

Sonora gained local support and made her dream a reality, one year later, within her own city of Spokane, Washington. Sonora married John Bruce Dodd. She died March 22, 1978, several years after Father's Day became a permanent national observance.

Why June?

In 1910 Sonora chose June 19th, as the day to celebrate Father's Day because that was her father's birthday. With support from the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910.

When did the United States begin celebrating Father's Day?

1910 Spokane, Washington celebrates Father's Day.
1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.
1926 The formation of National Father's Day Committee in New York City.
1956 Father's Day was recognized by Joint Resolution of Congress.
1966 Pr



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