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Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year is February 10!

Chinese New Year is as important to China as Christmas is to many Western nations, and the same basic ideas are upheld; the holiday is all about being with your loved ones, giving gifts, and eating food!

Since the 20th Century, Chinese New Year has been referred to as Spring Festival. This continues to be the most integral social and economic holiday in China. Chinese New Year lands on a different day each year, and the Year of the Snake begins on February 10, 2013. The holiday always lasts 15 days, with different celebrations and traditions for each day.

Legend says a beast called Nian would terrorize ancient Chinese towns and eat people. The townspeople were able to make the beast go away with loud firecrackers and bright red decorations (red is thought of as a lucky color by the Chinese). A more reasonable explanation behind Chinese New Year is that it originated as an end-of-harvest celebration where people would give thanks to the gods and celebrate the end of winter and beginning of spring.

Some common Chinese New Year traditions are Jie Cai Ceng, Yuan Xiao Jie, Hong Bao, and the Dancing Dragons. Jie Cai Ceng is when business owners set off firecrackers to welcome the gods of Wealth and Prosperity. Yuan Xiao Jie is the Festival of Lanterns that marks the end of Chinese New Year. Red Envelopes filled with money called Hong Bao are given to children and unmarried adults. The dancing dragons represent prosperity and good fortune.

Celebrate Chinese New Year by learning about some great Chinese New Year recipes and what each food symbolizes.

Sources: Go China, About.comHistory.com

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When is the Chinese New Year in 2013?

February 10, 2013

Learn more about the Chinese New Year.

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Inauguration Day

Happy Inauguration Day!

Inauguration Day is when the commencement of a new term of the President of the United States begins, following an oath. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the last president to be sworn in on March 4 in 1933, before the date of inauguration was changed to January 20. Every four years, the President is sworn in to office on January 20, except when that date falls on a Sunday.

If January 20 happens to be a Sunday, there will be a private swearing-in on the 20 and the public ceremony will be held on Monday, January 21. This dates back to President Monroe’s inauguration in 1821, where he decided to hold the ceremony on a Monday because most public offices were closed on Sundays.

Only 6 times in history has Inauguration Day fallen on a Sunday, and January 20, 2013 will be the seventh. Barack Obama will begin his second term as President and be sworn in by the Chief Justice in a private ceremony on Sunday, January 20 then a public ceremony the next day. January 21, 2013 will mark the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Take a look at the Inauguration Luncheon Menu that will be served on Monday, and don’t forget to check out our Barack Obama 2013 calendar!

Sources: Wikipedia, Senate.gov

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Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is a United States federal holiday and it is always celebrated the third Monday in February in honor of George Washington’s birthday and all the presidents that followed after him.

This federal holiday came into being as an Act of Congress in 1879 to celebrate the first President of the United States, George Washington’s birthday. The holiday was the first federal holiday honoring American citizens and was originally celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday on February 22. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday act shifted the observance of Presidents’ Day to the third Monday in February. Ironically, the holiday now always falls between February 15-21, making “George Washington’s Birthday” a misnomer since it never actually occurs on his birthday.

Though the day is still called “George Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government, most states have renamed it “Presidents’ Day” or “Washington and Lincoln Day” to also honor President Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12. Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all former and present U.S. presidents.

Leading up to the holiday, schools use the day as a way to teach their students about presidential history and celebrate significant accomplishment made by United States presidents. Stores also often have “Presidents’ Day Sales” due to the high number of children and adults who have the day off from school or work.

Take this day to educate yourself about the history of American presidents and learn about where our country came from and where we may be headed in the future.

Sources: Wikipedia, timeanddate.com, History.com 

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When is MLK Day of Service 2013?

January 21, 2013

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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National Science Fiction Day

We celebrate National Science Fiction Day on January 2 to honor the birthday of Isaac Asimov. Asimov is considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers of his time, and his more than 500 works of fact and fiction span all ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System.

Today is a day to celebrate the beloved genre of science fiction. Take some time today to sit down with a science fiction novel, or have a science fiction movie marathon. If you are a true sci-fi geek, you may even spend your day building a robot or hovercraft!

Sources: Wikipedia, ScienceFictionFantasyHorror.com

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The First Flip Day of 2013!

Happy Flip Day™!

As we change our calendars for the new year, we hope to change a few things about ourselves as well. We wanted to share some of our New Year’s Resolutions with you, and hope you’ll share your in return!

“I often find myself overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities and commitments I have and so I’m going to try to say no more in 2013.” -Sarah

“Better time management.” -Robert

“I am horrible at keeping in touch with people. My goal for 2013 is to make sure I set aside time each week to call or hang out with those important to me.” -Ashton

“I want to do the hanger challenge!” -Jessica V.

“I’m resolving to make more time for my girlfriends. Between a full time job and a busy family, it’s easy to let too much time go by before reconnecting with friends.” -Marcia

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New Year’s Eve

It’s New Year’s Eve! Pop open a bottle of champagne and count down to 2013 with your friends and family.

Planning a New Year’s party? Head to Finding Dulcinea to find everything you need to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, from party ideas, decorations and menus (whether going all out or partying on a budget) to celebration ideas for kids and New Year’s Eve history, facts, traditions and superstitions.

Did You Know…While most people are sharing a New Year’s kiss when the clock strikes midnight, people in Spain are eating twelve grapes, or one on each chime of the clock. Click here to see how different countries

Be safe and have a happy New Year!

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, wikipedia.org
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Boxing Day

December 26 is Boxing Day!

Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas in Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

It is very similar to Black Friday in the United States, with retailers opening early and offering dramatic discounts. Before it was a major shopping day, Boxing Day was a day off for servants and a time when superiors would give presents to their workers.

Whether shopping or exchanging gifts, Boxing Day is a day to spend with family and friends that you may not have seen during Christmas celebrations.

Sources: Wikipedia, About.com

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Kwanzaa Begins

Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American heritage and culture, is celebrated for one week every year from December 26 to January 1.

Created by Africana studies professor and activist, Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966. Karenga created Kwanzaa to ”give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.” Unlike Christmas and Hanukkah, which are religiously associated holidays, Kwanzaa is meant to be a cultural Pan-African holiday, meant to bring together people of African descent no matter where they live. The name of the holiday comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits of the harvest.”

Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, and each day brings focus to one of the seven guiding principles of Kwanzaa. The principles are as follows:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa celebrations usually include readings and reflections on African culture and history, libations, musical and artistic performances, a candle lighting ritual, and a feast. Kwanzaa was at first celebrated as a completely different entity from the holidays surrounding it, but many African Americans now celebrate Kwanzaa alongside Christmas, New Year’s, and other winter holidays. Many cultural exhibitions have been created to celebrate Kwanzaa including African dance, music, and poetry readings.

Joyous Kwanzaa!

Sources: Wikipedia, How Stuff Works

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