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Vegetable oil or petroleum jelly should be rubbed onto the fresh-cut edges of a pumpkin to delay shriveling after it is carved into a Halloween jack-o'-lantern. Premature shrinkage can also be prevented by soaking the pumpkin in water. Place it in something big enough to submerge it completely, and it will absorb some of the water that's been lost. However, it will likely crack if set to soak longer than eight hours.

While many Japanese customs are disappearing, the practice of sending New Year's cards and seasonal gifts called O-chugen and O-seibo is as strong as ever. The Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications delivered nearly 4.5 billion New Year's cards in 1999, or about 32 cards for every man, woman, and child in Japan.

In Northern Territory, Australia, the first Monday in August is Picnic Day, and it is a bank holiday.

In Scandinavian countries, the branches of the mountain ash are gathered on Good Friday and put on home doorposts to protect the house from evil. This belief has its origins in Norse mythology.

In Scotland, New Year's Eve is called hogmanay, and is an occasion when young people go about singing and seeking gifts.

In Sweden at Easter, children dress up like old witches with brooms. They travel from house to house collecting coins or sweets. This custom dates back to when the Swedish people believed that there were witches who rode on broomsticks to Blakulla mountain to meet the devil.

In the kingdom of Bhutan, all citizens officially become a year older on New Year's Day.

In the Middle Ages, one Valentine's Day custom was for young men and women to draw names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would then wear these names on their sleeves for one week. “To wear your heart on your sleeve” now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.

In the United States, 86 percent of Americans decorate their homes for Halloween.

In the United States, about 8 percent of pet owners dress their pets in costumes at Halloween.

It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.

It was believed in earlier times that if a young woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the name given to emancipation day by African Americans in Texas. On that day in 1865, General Order #3 was read to the people of Galveston, which began as follows: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves. . ." Large celebrations on June 19 began in 1866 and continued into the early twentieth century. African Americans treated the day like the Fourth of July, and the celebrations included prayer services, inspirational speakers, stories from former slaves, food, red soda water, rodeos, and dances. The celebration of Juneteenth as emancipation day spread from Texas to the neighboring states of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. Mazao: Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables Mkeka: Place Mat Vibunzi: Ear of Corn Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles Kinara: The Candleholder Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup Zawadi: Gifts

Large balloons first appeared in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927, and Felix the Cat was the first character featured. For a short time, there was a tradition of releasing the balloons when the parade was over. They'd float for days and the lucky finders could claim a prize.

Mardi Gras is always 47 days before Easter Sunday.

Mardi Gras is observed in Baldwin and Mobile counties of Alabama as a legal state holiday.

May Day, celebrated on May 1, was called Beltane by the ancient Celts.

Measuring 78 feet, Spiderman is the longest hot-air balloon floating at Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

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