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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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Christmas

Christmas tree ink04What is Christmas?

A religious and commercial holiday with both religious and secular traditions, Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. However, many Christmas celebrations and traditions have their roots in pre-Christian winter festivals. Learn more about the history behind Christmas by clicking here.

When is Christmas?

December 25 of each year in the Gregorian calendar. Following the Julian calendar, Orthodox Christmas falls on or near January 7.

How do people celebrate Christmas?

As a federal holiday – in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom – government offices, schools, post offices and other stores and businesses close for the day. Churches hold special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services that include singing Christmas hymns and reading scripture of the birth of Jesus. The most  popular Christmas tradition is exchanging gifts with friends and family and, for children, waking up early Christmas morning to see what Santa Claus left for them under the Christmas tree. Other Christmas celebrations and traditions include setting up and decorating a Christmas tree in the home, putting up Christmas  lights and decorations inside and outside of the home,  enjoying a festive meal with friends and family, watching Christmas movies, making (and eating) Christmas cookies and singing Christmas carols.

Find Christmas crafts, activities, stories and recipes as well as gift, party and music ideas here.

 

Sources: history.com, timeanddate.com
Photo Source: HikingArtist.com, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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National Poinsettia Day

December 12 was declared a national holiday by the U.S. Congress in 2002. National Poinsettia Day celebrates the poinsettia flower and marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

Poinsett came across the flower on a trip to Mexico and introduced the native Mexican plant to the U.S. when he sent a few back home to South Carolina. With the exotic flowers growing remarkably well in his greenhouse, Poinsett sent them to friends and botanical gardens all over the country. The flower became known as the poinsettia, a flower we’ve come to associate with Christmas.

Celebrate National Poinsettia Day by purchasing a plant for yourself or a friend!

Learn more about poinsettias, the history of its holiday and folk stories related to the flower here.

Sources: aadl.orgpoinsettiaday.com
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Human Rights Day

December 10 is Human Rights Day!

Human Rights Day was created in 1950 to commemorate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The purpose of this global observance is to promote awareness of human rights issues around the world and to educate people on their human rights and the importance of recognizing and upholding human rights.

Each year, Human Rights Day observances and celebrations are centered around a particular theme related to human rights. In 2010, Human Rights Day recognized human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

-My Voice Counts

Click here to see past Human Rights Day themes.

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, un.org, timeanddate.com
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