Subcategories: | Christmas
The official colors for Mardi Gras–Fat Tuesday–are purple, green, and gold.
The second Monday of October in Japan is Taiiku no Hi, or Sports Day, a national holiday intended to foster healthy minds and bodies through physical activity. It was originally established to commemorate the 1964 Olympic Games held in Tokyo, which were held from October 10 to 24. It was designated a national holiday two years later in 1966; in 2000, it was changed to the second Monday of the month.
The shoes of the large helium balloon of fast-food icon Ronald McDonald in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade each measure 22 feet long and 8 feet wide.
The table for Christmas Eve dinner in the Ukraine is set with two tablecloths: one for the ancestors of the family, the other for the living members. In pagan times, ancestors were believed to be benevolent spirits who, when shown respect, brought good fo
The top two Thanksgiving Day pie picks are pumpkin, at 28 percent, and apple, at 25 percent.
The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.
In a famous New Year's Day column, newspaperman Westbrook Pegler repeated the same sentence 50 times. It was "I will never mix gin, beer, and whiskey again."
In ancient China, people put drawings of the gate gods on their gates during the Chinese New Year. Brothers Shen Tu and Yu Lei, who were legendary for vanquishing a monster in a magical peach forest while serving as its guards, were believed to be the gate gods. The signs were to insure peace in the new year. Originally, the signs were made of peach board, and were later replaced with paper.
In Bulgaria, bright red colored eggs are a symbol of Easter, which are cracked after the Easter midnight service. One egg is cracked on the wall of the church, and this is the first egg eaten after the Bulgarians' long Great Fast. The ritual of cracking the eggs takes place before the Easter lunch. Each person selects an egg, and each takes a turn tapping their egg against the eggs of others. The person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
In England, Alexandra Rose Day, June 26 was designated in honor of Alexandra, the daughter of King Christian IV of Denmark, who married Prince Albert (later King Edward VII).
In England, May 29th was traditionally Oak Apple Day, which commemorated the restoration of Charles II, who hid in an oak tree to avoid capture from the rebels.
In fourth-century France, it was believed that if on Easter Day, following the 40 days of mandated fasting (carême), the first thing eaten was an egg that had been laid on Good Friday, that person would be protected from illness until the following Easter.
In Japan, St. Valentine's Day is a day when women give the special men in their lives boxes of chocolate. To balance this practice, White Day was invented by the confectionery industry for men to reciprocate such gifts. While Valentine's Day is an imported event, White Day, celebrated one month later on March 14, is purely a Japanese creation.
In many countries, it is the custom to wish friends a "Happy Birthday" on January 1st, rather than a "Happy New Year." This day is nicknamed "Everyman's Birthday," and is considered the day when everyone becomes a year older, whether it's their actual day of birth or not. Similarly, this practice is observed in horse racing. No matter when a race horse is born, they all "become" a year older on New Year's Day.
In Mexico, Día de la Madre – Mother's Day – is celebrated the day before it's observed in the United States. It is a huge gala event, with mariachis starting at noon and family festivities throughout the day.
In North America, children put stockings out at Christmas time. Their Dutch counterparts, however, use shoes. Dutch children set out shoes to receive gifts any time between mid-November and December 5, St. Nicholas' birthday.
There are twelve courses in the Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper. According to the Christian tradition, each course is dedicated to one of Christ's apostles.
Today, the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich begins with a parade that makes its way to the Schottenhammel tent, the oldest private tent at the Oktoberfest. By tradition, the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel of beer, and announces to the crowd, "O'zapft is!" ("The keg is tapped!")
U.S. military service veterans have organized groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. On Veterans' Day and Memorial Day, these groups raise funds for their charities by selling paper poppies made by disabled veterans. This bright red wildflower became a symbol after the horrific WWI battle in Flanders Field in Belgium. The field, littered with the bodies of young soldiers, was also filled with poppies.
Valentine's Day means chocolate, and lots of it. According to U.S. candy manufacturers, Americans spend more than $1,105 million each Valentine's Day on candy, making it the fourth biggest holiday of the year for confectionery purchases. In order, the top three holidays for candy sales are Halloween, Christmas, and Easter.
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