Calendar

Oct
31
Wed
Halloween
Oct 31 all-day

History of Halloween

It is “widely believed” that Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic harvest festival, Samhain, and that this Gaelic observance was Christianized by the early Church. Samhain festivals are said to have also had pagan roots. Some argue, however, that Halloween began independently of Samhain and has solely Christian origins. Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is a time when magic is most powerful and spirits can make contact with the physical world.

In Christian times, it became a celebration of the evening before All Saints’ Day. It is believed that the celebration of Halloween only made its way to the United States (from being widely celebrated in Northern Europe) in the 19th Century by immigrants from Scotland and Ireland.

The commercialization of Halloween (as we know it today) began in the 1900s, when postcards and die-cut paper decorations were produced. Halloween costumes started to appear in stores in the 1930s and the custom of ‘trick-or-treat’ appeared in the 1950s. Halloween 2017 now become a very profitable holiday for the manufacturers of holiday celebration items.

Traditions of Halloween

Halloween 2017 has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of Halloween 2017 include the attending of church services and the lighting of candles on the graves of the dead. Some Christians historically abstain from meat (a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day. Additionally it has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well. Modern traditions of the holiday include attending Halloween costume parties, lighting bonfires, trick-or-treating, decorating and carving pumpkins, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films.

Nov
4
Sun
Daylight Saving
Nov 4 all-day

Significance of Daylight Saving 2018

Daylight Saving (also known as Daylight Saving Time and previously known as ‘Fast Time’ in the United States) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the warmer parts of the year (usually summer months), and back again in the colder parts (usually fall), in order to make better use of natural daylight so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less.

History of Daylight Saving

Although Daylight Saving has only been used for about 100 years, the idea was conceived many years before. Historically, ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in a practice similar to modern Daylight Saving where they would adjust their daily schedules to the Sun’s schedule. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year.

More recently, Germany became the first country to introduce Daylight Saving when clocks were turned ahead 1 hour on April 30, 1916. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for the war effort during World War I. The idea was quickly followed by the United Kingdom and many other countries, including France. Many countries reverted back to standard time after World War I, and it wasn’t until the next World War that Daylight Saving made its return in most of Europe.

In the United States, daylight saving was first introduced in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during World War I. The initiative was generated by Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist who had encountered the idea in the UK. Today he is often called the “Father of Daylight Saving”. Only seven months, later the seasonal time change was repealed. However, some cities, including Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York, continued to use it until President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially instituted year-round recurring daylight saving in the United States in 1942.

From 1945 to 1966 there were no uniform rules for Daylight Saving in the US and it caused widespread confusion especially for trains, buses, and the broadcasting industry. As a result, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was established. It stated that DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from Daylight Saving by passing a state ordinance. In 1974 and eight months in 1975, the United States Congress extended Daylight Saving to a period of ten months, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. The trial period showed that energy equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil each day were saved, but Daylight Saving still remained to be controversial. Many complained that the dark winter mornings endangered the lives of children going to school.

After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the Daylight Saving schedule in the US was revised several times throughout the years. From 1987 to 2006, the United States observed Daylight Saving for about seven months each year. The current schedule was introduced in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month. Today, Daylight Saving starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

Traditions of Daylight Saving

The main tradition evolving Daylight Saving 2017 is the resetting of clocks and watches. Throughout the United States, people in many states prepare and reset their time accordingly.

Nov
11
Sun
Veterans’ Day
Nov 11 all-day

Significance of Veterans’ Day 2018

Veterans’ Day 2018 is a federal holiday (previously known as Armistice Day) observed annually on November 11, not only in the United States but in many other countries throughout the world. In the United States, it is a day that honours all men and women that have served as military veterans in the United States Armed Forces. Additionally, Veteran’s Day 2017 is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans Day 2017 should not to mistaken with Memorial Day; Veterans’ Day celebrates the service of all United States military veterans, while Memorial Day honours those who died while in military service.

History of Veterans’ Day

The history of Veterans’ Day dates back to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect, bringing an end to World War I. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was proclaimed by President Wilson and commemorated United States’ Veterans who served in World War I for the first time. In 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized November 11 as the end of World War I and declared that day as the anniversary of the armistice.

In the year 1954, Armistice Day officially became known as Veterans’ Day and from then on, became a holiday honouring American veterans of all wars. In 1968 the Uniforms Holiday Bill made an attempt to move Veterans Day to the fourth Monday of October. The bill took effect in 1971. However, this caused a lot of confusion as many states disagreed with this decision and continued to commemorate Veterans’ Day on November 11. In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law which stated that Veterans Day would, again, be observed on November 11 from 1978 onwards. Veterans Day 2017 is still celebrated on November 11.

Traditions of Veterans’ Day

Traditionally Veterans’ Day 2017 is viewed as a time of honour and remembrance. Annually, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans’ Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery (in Virginia), while parades, church services and other celebrations are held throughout the United States. In many places the American flag is hung at half-mast. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11am. Additionally, many schools choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other activities.

Nov
22
Thu
Thanksgiving
Nov 22 – Nov 23 all-day

Significance of Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018 (also known as Thanksgiving Day) is an important federal holiday, celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving 2018 precedes “Black Friday” and is traditionally a holiday to give thanks for the food collected at the end of the harvest season.

History of Thanksgiving

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers embarked on a journey to discover the New World. After a treacherous journey lasting 66 days, they arrived near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore and began to harvest with help and alliance with Native Americans of the area. This alliance tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a three-day celebratory feast, now remembered as American’s “First Thanksgiving”- although, it is argued that the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term “Thanksgiving” at the time. Historians also argue that the Pilgrims had their first true thanksgiving in 1623, when they gave thanks for rain that ended a drought. In the second half of the 1600s, thanksgivings after the harvest became more common and started to become annual events. George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789 and it officially became an annual holiday in 1863.

Dec
26
Wed
Kwanzaa – Umoja
Dec 26 all-day

On the first day of Kwanzaa the black candle is lit in the Kinara. The black candle represents the first principle – Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity. The person who lights the candle might make a statement about the first principle and its meaning. Sometimes a passage or poem is read relating to what the principle means and how it relates to their life.

Then the Umoja (Unity Cup) might be filled with fruit juice and shared among those gathered. Each takes a drink and passes to the next.

Some families prefer to use a Unity cup for each member, or the cup can just be left in the center of the Kwanzaa table.

After the sharing of the Unity cup the candles are extinguished till the next day.

The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa are:

  • Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity

    Success starts with Unity. Unity of family, community, nation and race.

  • Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination

    To be responsible for ourselves. To create your own destiny.

  • Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility

    To build and maintain your community together. To work together to help one another within your community.

  • Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective economics

    To build, maintain, and support our own stores, establishments, and businesses.

  • Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose

    To restore African American people to their traditional greatness. To be responsible to Those Who Came Before (our ancestors) and to Those Who Will Follow (our descendants).

  • Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity

    Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

  • Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith

Believing in our people, our families, our educators, our leaders, and the righteousness of the African American struggle.