Category Archives: Holidays

Holidays

The holidays usually provoke pleasant feelings and happy times. Unfortunately, they can often also be a major source of stress. It is very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of shopping, decorating, baking, parties, and visiting with family and friends. There is so much going on around us and so many obligations we feel we need to fulfill. How do you keep your head above water in all this commotion?

First of all, there is no one solution, nor does the same thing work for everyone. Start by taking a deep breath. The important lesson here is to pace yourself, and to make sure you are taking care of yourself along the way. Too often we find ourselves getting run down or sick at this time of the year. Then, when we are down, how do we enjoy the holidays?

Some tips to help you have a happy holiday season:

* Get plenty of sleep.
* Eat healthy meals (while at parties, eat smaller portions).
* Get as much exercise as you can.
* Say “no” once in a while. You do not have to be all things to all people.
* Avoid excessive alcohol.
* Spend time with fun people.
* Borrow some holiday cheer and spread it around.
* Laugh often.

 

Following these tips is sure to enhance your holiday spirit, and lessen your stress. Lighten up and enjoy yourself this holiday season. You deserve it!

 

Saint Patrick

Legend and Celebrations :

Saint Patrick’s day is a religious feast festival of Catholic Christians having its roots in Ireland with the celebrations gaining significance in other countries, particularly America and Britain. Just like St. Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day (i.e, 17th March) commemorates the demise of the revered patronized Irish saint St. Patrick. So, what is the legend behind St. Patrick which led to the association of a festival in his name and how is the day celebrated ?

The story goes like this…

Originally born (in later half of fourth century) to Roman parents in Scotland or Roman England (there are conflicting opinions regarding the place of birth), he was previously known by the name Maewyn Succat. He was given a Romanticized name Patricius leading to him being known as Patrick.

Patrick was originally a pagan ( a non-believer of Christianity ). During his childhood, he was kidnapped and sold as a slave to the Celtic Druids who then ruled Ireland. It was during that stage of life that his attitude and beliefs towards God started changing. After six years, he escaped from slavery when he dream of God giving him instructions for the same. He was taught priesthood in France. When he became a bishop, he again dream of Irish people calling him and requiring his services.

So, he returned to Ireland with firm belief of converting pagans to Christians. Despite being arrested by the Celtic Druids several times, he always managed to escape and was not deterred. He actively baptized and preached Christianity. He even used diplomacy like gifting people in king lets and gifting lawgivers. For 20 years he had traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion.

How is the Patrick’s day celebrated ?

As a part of the celebration, Many Irish people wear a bunch of shamrock on their lapels or caps on St. Patrick’s Day, while children wear tricolored (green, white and orange) badges. Girls traditionally wore green ribbons in their hair (many still do).

A three-leafed Shamrock clover was used by St. Patrick to represent the trinity, like father, son and holy spirit; also shamrock was considered lucky by Irish people. The shamrock was used by the Irish as a mark of nationalism when the English invaded the Celtics. Thus a shamrock is given lot of reverence in Ireland. Leprechauns or Irish fairy people are also associated with St. Patrick’s festival. In Irish mythology, a leprechaun is a type of elf said to inhabit the island of Ireland.

In recent times, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin have been extended to a week-long event called St. Patrick’s Festival, encompassing a spectacular fireworks display (Sky-fest), open-air music, street theater and the traditional parade. Over one million people attended the celebrations in 2004.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide by the Irish and those of Irish descent. A major parade takes place in Dublin and in most other Irish towns and villages. The three largest parades of recent years have been held in Dublin, New York and Birmingham England. Parades also take place in other centers, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout the Americas.

In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day would not be St. Patrick’s Day unless the Chicago River is dyed green. Also, St. Paddy’s Day has little religious or historical significance. Established in Boston in 1737, it is essentially a time to put on a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button, and parade drunken through the streets singing a mangled version of “Danny Boy” in celebration of one’s real or imagined Irish ancestry.

Thus in a nutshell, it can be seen that the legends revolving around St Patrick have been inseparably combined with the facts. The day invariably evokes the “I am Irish” sentiments along with patronizing St. Patrick for his services towards Ireland. And together they have helped us know much about the Saint and the spirit behind celebration of the day.

 

Martin Luther King Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was born on January 15th 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia and was christened Michael Luther King Jr, but later changed his first name to Martin. Dr King’s family has had a very long relationship with the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, with Martin’s maternal grandfather serving as a pastor from 1914 to 1931. Thereafter his father following in the family tradition, took over from his father-in-law and officiated as the pastor from 1931 until his death in 1984.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr also served as a co-pastor along with his father, but due to his political work, was away from the Atlanta church most of the time, as it was during this time that the United States had very different society to what it is today, with the blacks and whites being segregated on the road, at grocery lines, buses, schools and almost everywhere.
The brunt of this segregation was directed at the blacks who were denied their basic civil rights as an equal partner in American society and this prompted Martin Luther King Jr to rise against the injustice, to lead in protest wherever discrimination was evident, of which there were many such instances, through his Civil Rights Movement that he formed to the consternation of the American Administration.
Martin Luther King Jr’s Civil Rights Movement which began in the mid 1950’s took the United States Administration by surprise initially due to the sheer amount of people he was able to congregate at any place, just to listen to him speak and his famous crowd inspiring speech where he said “I have a dream” took the cake and from that time onward there was no stopping him or the American Civil Rights Movement.
The United States Administration had to relent, and his efforts bore fruit when the United States of America enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 both of which broke the manacles that had kept the American blacks subjugated and sidelined in their own society.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated on April 4th 1968 when he stepped out onto his hotel room balcony in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray, who according to the FBI had acted alone.
After his assassination there was popular agitation to recognize what he had achieved, not only for the black community in the United States but to all Americans to hold their heads high and walk as a proud nation and not as a country where one section of the populace discriminated against the other. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the Executive order declaring that every third Monday of January would be commemorated as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day or officially as the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, and also decreed that it would be a Federal holiday and that was a fitting accolade bestowed on an icon of American society, whose life story is unique in many ways.

 

Veterans day

Veterans Day is a Public holiday in the United States of America, and commemorates all those American military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces since the country came into being.

November 11th of every year is designated as Veterans Day, but must not be confused with Memorial Day which is the day allocated and also a public holiday to commemorate all those US military men and women who laid down their lives in the service of their nation.

The date selected has special significance as it was at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when all hostilities in World War I, ended and when the Armistice with the state of Germany went into effect. Like most other countries that fought that war with Germany, the United States of America also observed Armistice Day but in 1954 it was renamed Veterans Day.
On the first anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement which outlined the sacrifices that the men and women of the United States Armed Forces made to get Germany to agree to an Armistice, and thereafter the United States Congress adopted a resolution on June 4th 1926 for the President of the United States of America to issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of November 11th to honor all American veterans who had served the country.

May 13th 1938 saw another US Congress Act being passed which proclaimed that November 11th be declared a public holiday to enable the citizens to honor those who had served in the United States Armed Forces and dedicated to world peace. Then in 1945 an American veteran of World War II, Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama thought it fit to extend Armistice Day to extend to all United States Armed Forces veterans and not to just only those who laid down their lives in World War I.

Raymond Weeks was a very persevering personality and he led a delegation of World War II veterans and met with General Dwight Eisenhower who apparently was moved by the idea and thought it was worthwhile to have one National Veterans Day to honor all those veterans who had served in the United States Armed Forces.

Weeks led the first of such celebrations in 1947 at Alabama and annually thereafter until his passing away in 1985 and his crowning moment of glory was when President Ronald Reagan bestowed the Presidential Citizenship Medal at the White House in 1982 for being the driving force behind this very honorable national endeavor. President Reagan who read from a speech prepared by Elizabeth Dole at the presentation ceremony declared that Raymond Weeks was the “Father of Veterans Day”.

Subsequently in keeping with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the Fourth Monday of October in 1971 but after 1977 it was moved back to its original day of November 11th in 1978 and remains so till today.

Labor Day

The first Monday in the month of September of every year is celebrated as Labor Day which is a public holiday in the United States of America.
It is a day to commemorate and honor all those who sacrificed towards the labor movement in the country, and the contributions made by each and everyone to bestow benefits on the workers who have long been the backbone of the American industrial revolution, since the early 19th century.
The state of Oregon was the first state of the United States of America to recognize the importance of the labor movement and dedicate a day for the workers in 1887 and declare a public holiday.
By the year 1894 thirty United States had recognized the importance of Labor Day and had adopted the day long before it became a public and Federal holiday.
Labor Day being on a Monday is the culmination of the much heralded Labor Weekend and many activities depicting the journey that workers have tread over the years, their agony, their successes and achievements are displayed to reminisce the years and to bring forth a nostalgic effect on all workers across the USA.
The beginning of the 19th century saw the labor movements demanding that a special day be set aside for them and with tremendous clout on their side to cripple any industry if they did not get what they wanted and with an unprecedented parade organized by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor at that time it was decided to allocate a day as Labor Day.
The American labor movement saw violence and blood when the United States Army and the United States Marshal Service came down very hard on the workers during that very infamous Pullman Strike of 1894 in Chicago, where several workers were shot dead whilst striking for better wages and working conditions.
The United States Congress without any hesitation as they too were under tremendous pressure after the deaths of the protesting workers in Chicago, unanimously voted to immediately approve legislation to declare Labor Day as a public holiday and the incumbent President Grover Cleveland signed the Executive degree making it law, just six days after the end of the Chicago strike.
Mathew Maguire the Secretary of the Central Labor Union during the time the issue was gaining momentum in 1882 is credited with making the proposal to declare the first Monday of every September as Labor Day, though there is another school of thought that it was Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor who should be credited with the issue.
Whatever the facts of the matter are, it is now a much looked after day in the calendar of the United States of America where workers have an opportunity to celebrate their achievements with all the pomp and pageantry that they could think of.
Labor Day also depicts the official end of summer as it ends the cultural summer season and many enjoy a well earned vacation culminating with the two weeks ending with Labor Day weekend.

Halloween

Halloween is one of the most popular festivals, which is being celebrated on 31st of October every year. When you hear the word Halloween, pictures of games, parties, costumes and trick or treating would definitely come into your mind.

People who live in United States are the biggest celebrators of Halloween. However, it is being celebrated in many other countries in the world as well. Halloween is a festival that is associated with a rich history. In other words, the origin of Halloween dates back to about 2000 years. About 2000 years ago, Celts were organizing sacred ceremonies. These ceremonies were organized on the eve of October 31st because the objective of the event was to celebrate the upcoming New Year. At that time, these religious ceremonies were called as Samhain.

Celts strongly believed that 31st of October was a special night of the year. They believed that the spirits of dead people come back to earth on this day. They also believed that the comeback of these spirits can give life to a lot of troubles. This gave life to the concept of Halloween. As you can see, Halloween was not about costumes or candy at that time. It was more of a life and death situation at that time. Celts believed that their gods are in a position to provide enhanced protection to them against the spirits of dead. As a result, they started lighting fireplaces in the honor of gods. In addition, they wore lavish costumes, which are made out of animal heads and skins on the eve of 31st October. They believed that these activities would help them to get the attention of gods, which can keep them away from all sorts of danger.

The concept of Halloween changed when the Celts were conquered by Romans. Along with time, the celebrations changed, but people preferred having all of them on 31st of October. By the 20th Century, Halloween became one of the most awaited celebrations in United States. In the meantime, it received much attention from many other religions across the world as well. As a result, people in all parts of the world started celebrating Halloween according to a one common theme.

In today’s world, people celebrate Halloween in many different ways. On the night of 31st October, people love to dress themselves in scary looking costumes. Once they get into the costumes, they go from one house to another with trick or treating. Children enjoy the Halloween celebrations more than anyone else. However, it is important to keep in mind that Halloween fun is not just limited to children. People who belong to all age categories can think about enjoying this special day. On the Halloween day, people take a moment to look back at the long lost tradition as well. As a result, the idea about the history and significance of Halloween is being transferred from one generation to another along with time.

Thanksgiving

Veterans Day is a Public holiday in the United States of America, and commemorates all those American military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces since the country came into being.

November 11th of every year is designated as Veterans Day, but must not be confused with Memorial Day which is the day allocated and also a public holiday to commemorate all those US military men and women who laid down their lives in the service of their nation.

The date selected has special significance as it was at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when all hostilities in World War I, ended and when the Armistice with the state of Germany went into effect. Like most other countries that fought that war with Germany, the United States of America also observed Armistice Day but in 1954 it was renamed Veterans Day.
On the first anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement which outlined the sacrifices that the men and women of the United States Armed Forces made to get Germany to agree to an Armistice, and thereafter the United States Congress adopted a resolution on June 4th 1926 for the President of the United States of America to issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of November 11th to honor all American veterans who had served the country.

May 13th 1938 saw another US Congress Act being passed which proclaimed that November 11th be declared a public holiday to enable the citizens to honor those who had served in the United States Armed Forces and dedicated to world peace. Then in 1945 an American veteran of World War II, Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama thought it fit to extend Armistice Day to extend to all United States Armed Forces veterans and not to just only those who laid down their lives in World War I.

Raymond Weeks was a very persevering personality and he led a delegation of World War II veterans and met with General Dwight Eisenhower who apparently was moved by the idea and thought it was worthwhile to have one National Veterans Day to honor all those veterans who had served in the United States Armed Forces.

Weeks led the first of such celebrations in 1947 at Alabama and annually thereafter until his passing away in 1985 and his crowning moment of glory was when President Ronald Reagan bestowed the Presidential Citizenship Medal at the White House in 1982 for being the driving force behind this very honorable national endeavor. President Reagan who read from a speech prepared by Elizabeth Dole at the presentation ceremony declared that Raymond Weeks was the “Father of Veterans Day”.

Subsequently in keeping with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the Fourth Monday of October in 1971 but after 1977 it was moved back to its original day of November 11th in 1978 and remains so till today.

Easter

Easter begins with Ash Wednesday which is a day of fasting and religious observances for all Christians, and continues for 46 days up until Easter Sunday which excludes the following six Sundays, including the last day being Easter Sunday.
During these 40 days Christians all over the world not only indulge in the traditional fast but also seek to cleanse themselves and refrain from many of their normal daily chores, placing great emphasis on the observances.
Weddings and parties are avoided and any celebrations are postponed up until this season which is called Lent culminates with the celebrations of Easter Sunday.
Closer to the Easter Sunday, it was on Holy Thursday, the day that Lord Jesus Christ partook the Last Supper with his closest Apostles and after being betrayed was crucified on the cross on Good Friday.
Good Friday is also a special day reserved for prayer as it is believed that what Jesus Christ underwent on the cross is for all mankind.
It is believed by all Christians and Muslims too, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was taken to Heaven by God where he lives to this day.
It is the rising from the dead that is celebrated by all Christians all over the world to commemorate that happiness of believing that Jesus Christ is still among their midst and has not left them.
From the time that the period of Lent begins it is a period of religious observances and conducting one’s life in a very solemn and dignified way to remember the One who gave his life for his followers.
Easter Sunday is not a Federal Holiday in the United States of America but most businesses would remain closed and it would be more a day of celebration after the days of fasting and religious observances over the preceding period.
The Easter egg that has become a symbol of this day is a practice that has come down from the days that the Irish believed in the Pagan religion which symbolized the birth of all young animals which was what Paganism depicted to a great extent, the Nature.
Searching for Easter eggs has come down from that practice and is still one of the cornerstones in the Easter Sunday celebrations though it was from an era gone by and does still exist.
Most of the Catholic celebrations are origins from Ireland which was the rebirth of Catholicism when St. Patrick converted the Irish from their Pagan religion but using most of their symbols to let them understand Christian Catholicism better which they did and brought success to St. Patrick by being able to convert most of the Irish from their Pagan believes.
The Irish are a very religious lot today and celebrating the period from Lent is one of their major religious objectives and they do it with a lot of commitment and celebrating Easter Sunday which culminates the long period is a day that they look forward to join with family and friends.

Valentines day

The origins of the Valentine’s Day go back to the times of Roman Empire. People who lived in that time believed that February 14th is the day to honor Juno, who is the Queen of Roman Gods. Juno is also considered as the Goddess of marriage and women. During that time, the lives of girls and boys were flowing in two separate tracks. The only time they received the chance to get together was on 15th of February. On this day, the names of girls were written in paper slips and kept inside jars. Then every boy was asked to pick one slip out of them. This symbolizes their togetherness.

By the time when Claudius II started ruling Rome, it was identified that most of the young men prefer to stay with women and they don’t take the decision to join the army as a result of it. As a result, he ordered to cancel all the engagements and marriages, which were taking place in all parts of the country. At this moment, Saint Valentine, who was a priest in Rome helped Christian martyrs to marry in secret. However, this act was revealed and Saint Valentine was beaten to death. The ban was lifted back in 270 and people got the opportunity to get together with their partners again. In order to honor the sacrifice done by Saint Valentine, 14th of February was named as the Valentine’s Day.

The concept of Valentine’s Day became extremely popular among people who lived in every corner of the world. Most of the people think that the Valentine’s Day is a day that is dedicated for couples. However, people who aren’t in romance can also think about celebrating this special day. In other words, singles don’t need to spend this special day on their own. The Valentine’s Day can be spent in the company of good friends.

Whether you make the decision to celebrate the Valentine’s Day with your lover or your friends, you are provided with plenty of activities to take part in and enjoy. For example, the couples can think about going to a movie and enjoying a romantic candlelight dinner. On the other hand, singles can think about getting into their best casual outfits and going out to spend the day with friends. They can play bowling or any other similar sport.

On Valentine’s Day, a large number of gifts are also being exchanged among people. Most of them tend to give roses to their loved partners. However, there are individuals who prefer to give other sorts of gifts, such as chocolates, t-shirts, and ornaments on this special day. Therefore, Valentine’s Day can be considered as one of the best day of the year to share love and happiness.

 

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July or July Fourth also popularly referred to as The Independence Day is a very important date in the calendar of the United States of America. It’s the special day to celebrate the history, culture, the type of government they have and also the high traditions that this country is endeavoring to uphold.
The significance of this Federal holiday dates back to July 4th 1776, which is about 241 years ago with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress formed by thirteen American colonies.
This historic document decreed and declared that the thirteen American colonies, the Province of New Hampshire, Province of Massachusetts Bay, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut Colony, Province of New York, Province of New Jersey, Province of Pennsylvania, Delaware Colony, Province of Maryland, Colony of Virginia, Province of North Carolina, Province of South Carolina and Province of Georgia would form the United States of America and break away from the British Crown which was ruling them from Britain.
This led to the American Revolutionary War fought between 1775 and 1783 with France, the Dutch Republic and Spain joining in the war supporting the breakaway United States.
It is significant to note that the thirteen horizontal red stripes on the flag of the United States of America even today depicts those thirteen colonies who decided to take on the might of the British Empire to Declare Independence and break away from the tyrannical rule of the British who were bent on plundering the rich resources of North America.
It was quite easy for these thirteen colonies to band themselves together for many reasons, one they were all on the east coast of North America, they all had similar legal, political and constitutional systems and were dominated by Protestant English speakers.
The thirteen colonies were also equipped with a very streamlined and high degree of self government, very vibrant and active local elections, enabling them to resist any pressure directed by the British from across the Atlantic Ocean.
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Initially there was confusion as to when the Declaration of Independence was signed, whether it was on July 2nd or on July 4th, anyway it was decided to have July 4th as Independence Day to put aside all the confusion.
It would be interesting to note that two signatories to the Declaration of Independence John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were subsequently elected Presidents of the United States of America died on Independence Day of 1826. President James Monroe a founding father though not a signatory to the Declaration of Independence was elected as President and died on Independence Day 1831.

Today Independence Day is celebrated with much pomp and pageantry with a festive mood prevailing all across the United States of America, with firework displays, parades, carnivals, concerts, family re-unions and a plethora of activities which bring a sense of happiness and achievement among all the citizens of this great nation.

Memorial day

Memorial Day can be considered as one of the Federal Holidays. People in every corner of United States celebrate the Memorial Day. They also consider it as a good day to stay away from the hectic work schedule and go for a good cookout. However, the primary objective of having a Memorial Day, is to honor and recognize all the sacrifices that have been done by the military veterans, who are alive or dead.

Initially, the Memorial Day was celebrated to honor the Union soldiers, who lost their lives while fighting in the Civil War. However, it became more popular after the World War I. The concept expanded, and people started honoring the brave soldiers who lost their lives while fighting for any military operation, including war. Soon after the Civil War, people who lived in major cities in United States started honoring the heroes of their own hometowns. However, the idea of making the Memorial Day a Federal Holiday came out in 1868. As a result, it had been celebrated on May 30th from 1868-1970. It became a Federal Holiday in 1971 and it’s currently observed every year on the last Monday of May.

The Memorial Day can be considered as an alternative for the Decoration Day. It became extremely popular among people in the country after the World War II. The official name for the Memorial Day was set by Federal Law back in 1967. When civil war ended up in 1865, about 500,000 soldiers lost their lives. Then people started decorating their graves to honor them. During 1915, Moina Belle Michael came up with the idea of wearing red poppies in order to honor the brave soldiers who died for the nation during the civil war. Moreover, money that was raised from selling red poppies were used in order to benefit the families of those soldiers.

Memorial Day is not just an ordinary holiday. It is a fascinating victory day where we take time to remember the people who died for the nation. This is the best day of the year to visit the memorial places, which are located throughout the country. A large number of events are also being organized on the Memorial Day and you can think about taking part in them as well. Or else, you can simply prepare to go on a picnic or throw a party. However, it would be a good idea to bring a story of a brave soldier who fought for the country when you are throwing a party on the Memorial Day. On the other hand, you can invite a solider along with his family members to take part in it and enjoy the time. You can also go to the cemetery on the Memorial Day and place a flag and a candle on the graves of veterans. Then you will be spending the Memorial Day in a meaningful manner.

Father’s day

Father’s Day is being celebrated in every corner of the world to highlight the parental bond that children have with their fathers. 19th of March is being considered as the Father’s Day and people from more than 40 different countries of the world celebrate it.
The concept of Father’s Day was brought to this world by Portuguese and Spanish people. The celebrations associated with this special date go back to the middle Ages. When it comes to non-European countries, the Father’s Day is being celebrated on third Sunday of June. The date was originated when Sonora Dodd wanted to show tribute to all the father figures that she has come across in her life. As a result, the first ever Father’s Day celebrations within United States took place during 19th of June, 1910. When the concept of Father’s Day was introduced to American people, it was abased by a considerable percentage of people. That’s because they believed that the concept of Father’s Day would soon become commercialized. Later, President Woodrow Wilson took necessary steps in order to show his support towards the Father’s Day. As a result, Father’s Day is now being celebrated in United States as well as in many other countries of the world.
As you already know, father’s work extremely hard in order to bring up their little ones. As a result, they deserve respect as well as love on this type of a special day. Fathers always make sure that their children are protected. In addition, fathers consider it as a responsibility in order to provide a safe environment for the children to grow. The role played by fathers when bringing up children is much different from the role played by mothers. Therefore, it is important for the children to love both mother and father equally. That’s where the concept of Father’s Day has become popular in today’s world.
It is true that every child respects and loves the father throughout 365 days of the year. However, they rarely find time in order to celebrate along with their fathers. This fact has also contributed a lot towards the popularity of Father’s Day. On this special day, children take the extra step of showcasing their love and affection towards the father.
To start off, children purchase cards that have specifically been designed for the Father’s Day. Then they write lovely messages on those cards and provide them to the fathers. In addition, children also tend to spend their money in order to purchase gifts that their fathers love the most. They either tend to purchase gifts from the online gift shops or prepare hand-made gifts. Most of the children prepare a gift basket, which contains the favorite chocolates, cookies, cologne and other related materials related to the hobbies such as fishing, gardening, golfing and bird-watching. These gifts provide opportunity for the children to leave a smile on the faces of fathers on the Father’s Day.

columbus

The Columbus American History Never Knew

 

columbusSince 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation urging the nation to mark the day when Christopher Columbus is recorded to have discovered America, the United States has enthusiastically organized school programs, plays, parades, and community-wide festivities across the country. We now celebrate Columbus Day as a day of rest and relaxation. American History, however, fails to teach the true meaning or significance of the man we now honor with a national holiday. For this, we must look back in time to 15th century Spain:

The decree of expulsion read, “By the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon and other dominions of the crown – to the prince Juan, to dukes, marquees, counts, the holy orders, priors, knight commanders, lords of the castles, cavaliers, and to all Jews, men and women of whatever age, and to anyone else this letter may concern – health and grace unto you. You well know that in our dominion, there are certain bad Christians that judaised and committed apostasy against our Holy Catholic faith, much of it the cause of communications between Jews and Christians. Therefore, in the year 1480, we ordered that the Jews be separated from the cities and towns of our domains and that they be given separate quarters, hoping that by such separation the situation would be remedied. And we ordered that and an Inquisition be established in such domains; and in twelve years it has functioned, the Inquisition has found many guilty persons.”

The Jewish population was already expelled from England, most of France, and most of Germany. The remaining Jews had to identify themselves by wearing a round yellow patch over their heart. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered. Many others “voluntarily” converted to Christianity. The sincerity and religious loyalty of the “new Christians” or Conversos (Marranos) were always suspect. Instead of eliminating persecution, conversion made it worse.

A Sephardic Jew appointed physician and surgeon to the King was their communities’ last hope. Also a mathematician, astronomer, and instructor of the Sagres School of Navigation, Isaac Abrabanel responded to the throne: “Your Majesties, Abraham Senior and I thank you for this opportunity to make our last statement on the behalf of the Jewish communities that we represent. Counts, dukes, and marquees of the court, cavaliers and ladies… it is no great honor when a Jew is asked to plead for the safety of his people. But it is a greater disgrace when the King and Queen of Castile and Aragon, indeed of all Spain, have to seek their glory in the expulsion of a harmless people. I find it very difficult to understand how every Jewish man, woman, and child can be a threat to the Catholic faith. Very, very strong charges.”

Franciscan friar Alonso de Espina had published a book called the “Fortalitium Fidei,” which listed blood libels, “host degradations,” and a variety of satanic misdeeds allegedly committed by Conversos and Jews. One of his objectives was to show that the Conversos were bad Christians (heretics) and therefore subject to the horrors of the Inquisition.

The pogrom continued, “We further order that no person in our kingdom of whatever station or noble status hide or keep or defend any Jew or Jewess, either publicly or secretly, from the end of July onwards, in their homes or elsewhere in our reign, upon punishment of loss of their belongings, vassals, fortresses, and hereditary privileges. Thus we grant permission to the said Jews and Jewesses to take out their goods and belongings out of our reigns, either by sea or by land, with the condition that they not take out either gold or silver or minted money or any other items prohibited by the laws of the kingdom.”

“It is indeed the opposite,” Abrabanel countered. “Did you not admit in this edict to having confined all Jews to restricted quarters and to having limited our legal and social privileges, not to mention forcing us to wear shameful badges? Did you not tax us oppressively? Did you not terrorize us day and night with your diabolical Inquisition? Let me make this matter perfectly clear to all present: I will not allow the voice of Israel to be stilled on this day.”

On March 31, the Edict of Expulsion was signed. Every Jew was forced to choose between conversion to Christianity or leaving the country forever without their possessions. As a final insult, the date of departure was to coincide with Tisha B’Av, day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. A day of fast, the destruction of both Temples (the first by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the second by the Romans in 70 CE) is recorded on that day.

Luis de Santange, a Converso and accountant to the Royal Court, offered Abrabanel the financing of 17,000 ducats to find a new home for the expelled Jewish communities. Abrabanel recruited Abraham Zacuto, the physician for King John II. Like Abrabanel, Abraham was also an astronomer and a mathematician; he had developed the “Almanac Perpetuum,” and included the Tables of Navigation in his native tongue — Hebrew. It was through King John II, that Abraham was introduced to Admiral Salvador Fernando.

Son of Dom Fernando, First Duke of Beja, Salvador who had a love affair with Isabel Goncalves Zarco, daughter of Joao Goncalves Zarco, discoverer of Porto Santo and Madeira. The Zarcos were Portuguese Jews who came from the city of Tomar. When a women became pregnant out of wedlock, she was often secreted away to another locality to give birth to her illegitimate child. For this reason, Salvador Fernando Zarco was born in Cuba, a small town eight miles north of Beja. The couple had one son, Diego.

The power of the Ottomans and other Islamic nations of the eastern Mediterranean was growing at an alarming pace, continually threatening the Christian monarchies themselves. This power had also effectively closed the land routes to the East, via the Caspian Sea, Samarkand, and northern India, and made the sea route south from the Red Sea extremely hard to access.

A first cousin to King John II, Zarco was half-brother to Queen Dona Leonor, half-brother of King Manuel I, and grandnephew of Prince Henry the Navigator. The King arranged for Zarco’s baptism, and as a Converso, was sent on a secret mission to divert Spain’s attention from the real sea route to India by sailing west, giving time for Prince Henry’s navigators to go beyond the Cape of Storms, which was later renamed the Cape of Good Hope. He spent seven years in Spain trying to convince the Spanish royalty to approve a western route to India, each time being turned down.

At a more elevated level still, Franciscan preachers sought to prepare for the end of the world, as they interpreted the Book of Revelations to prophesy. According to the eschatological vision contained in Revelations, Jerusalem would be recaptured by Christendom and a Christian emperor installed in the Holy Land. These events were a precondition for the coming, and defeat, of Antichrist and the conversion of the whole human race and, ultimately, for the Last Judgment.

With the Edict of Expulsion signed, Luis de Santangel, keeper of the royal purse, urged the Crown to approve the expedition in “an enterprise of so little risk, yet which could prove of so great service to God…to speak of very great increase and glory for her realms and crown…” Luis pleaded the westward project would, it was hoped, help to finance a crusade to the East. He suggested the possibility of linking with Christians such as Prester John, a legendary Christian ruler of the East, and his descendants, who, it was thought by many, still survived east of the lands of the infidel.

The Great Khan of the Golden Horde was himself held to be interested in Christianity. Luis made the case that the Kingdom could use the journey to personally deliver a letter of friendship from his sovereigns to the Great Khan on their journey. Finally, the Queen relented, and summoned the Admiral who would never take “no” for an answer to return to the Spanish court and lay out his plan again.

In his final presentation to the Queen, Zarco announced, “Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians… took thought to send me to the said parts of India, to see those princes and peoples and lands… and the manner which should be used to bring about their conversion to our holy faith, and ordained that I should not go by land to the eastward, by which way it was the custom to go, but by way of the west, by which down to this day we do not know certainly that anyone has passed; therefore, having driven out all the Jews from your realms and lordships… I should go to the said parts of India, and for this accorded me great rewards and ennobled me so that from that time henceforth I might style myself “Don” and be high admiral of the Ocean Sea and perpetual Governor of the islands and continent which I should discover… and that my eldest son should succeed to the same position, and so on from generation to generation.”

Despite their shock at hearing of his demands to be appointed “Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor of the said islands and mainland,” and the astonishment of the country, surrounding Kingdoms, and the Pope himself, the documents were signed. For a signature, Zarco always used a unique triangular monogram similar to inscriptions found on gravestones of Jewish cemeteries in Spain and South France. This Kabbalistic siglum, in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, contains two secret names: Cristobal Colon, his “nom de plume,” and Salvador Fernando Zarco, his birth name.

On the 9th of Av, August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus, as his Converso name is now recorded, departed Palos, Spain at the command of three ships and 90 men, nearly all of his crew Conversos. He carried with him Abraham Zacuto’s Table of Navigation and a book of charts from Isaac Abrabanel. His vessels reached the Canary Islands on August 9th and departed out into the unknown of the Atlantic on September 8th. None of Columbus’ crew had ever sailed over 300 miles from Europe, but by October 12th, covering over 3000, they sighted landed in the Island which Columbus named San Salvador. On October 29th, he reached Cuba, naming it after his birthplace.

Columbus’ official report of his first voyage to Ferdinand and Isabella began with the following words: “And thus, having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and dominions…;” a very strange beginning statement for an Admiral returning from a remarkable, supposedly impossible voyage. Even following three subsequent voyages across the Atlantic, Columbus declined to admit that he had not found the true Indies and Cathay which he had searched for. Columbus died refusing to accept that he had discovered a brand new world in the Caribbean.

It is ironic, however, that Ferdinand and Isabella’s attempt to rid the Jews from Spain, ultimately resulted in a new homeland for them called America, a refuge for more Jewish people than anywhere else on Earth. In fact, today the population of Jews living in New York City is greater than in all of Europe combined. As an expert sailor, navigator, and cartographer, and indeed a Kabbalist, who understood the secrets of heavenly bodies, perhaps Salvador Fernando Zarco knew exactly where he was going.