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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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Hanukkah – December 21

What is Hanukah?

Hanukkah begins on the 25th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and lasts for eight days. Hanukkah, which means “dedication,” commemorates the cleansing and re-dedication of the holy Temple of Jerusalem after the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. Although they only had enough ritual oil to keep the lamp burning for one day, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days.

Learn more about the history of Hanukkah here.

When is Hanukkah?

The first day of Hanukkah falls on a different day each year. In 2012, Hanukkah begins on December 9.

How do people celebrate Hanukkah?

Those of Jewish faith commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil by lighting a nine-branched menorah, or hanukkiyah. Each night of Hanukkah, another candle is added to the menorah and lit after sundown. Hanukkah traditions and celebrations also include eating food fried in oil, such as potato pancakes and jelly-filled donuts, and exchanging gifts. Children also play a Hanukkah game that involves spinning a dreidel, a four-sided spinning top.

 

Sources: history.com, timeanddate.com, judaism.about.com
Photo Source: Dov Harrington, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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St. Nicholas Day

Happy St. Nicholas Day !

St. Nicholas is the legendary 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop who inspired the figure of Santa Claus. Known for his generosity and gift-giving to children and those in need, such as leaving coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, St. Nicholas is honored and celebrated all around the world on the anniversary of his death on December 6, 343 AD.

St. Nicholas Day celebrations include the popular tradition of  leaving one’s shoes by the front door on the night of  December 5 to find them filled with small gifts and treats the next morning. Find more ways to celebrate here!

Learn more about St. Nicholas by clicking here.

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, theultimateholidaysite.com, stnicholascenter.org, wikipedia.org
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Thanksgiving

Pumpkin PieWhat is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday for giving thanks for whatever it is you’re thankful for that year and celebrating your blessings with a bountiful meal. Traditionally celebrated to give thanks for the food collected at the end of a good harvest season, Thanksgiving originated in 1621 when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians shared a three-day autumn harvest feast to celebrate the success of their first harvest in the New World. Today, the 1621 feast is acknowledged as the first Thanksgiving.

Learn more about the history of Thanksgiving and controversies surrounding the holiday by clicking here.

When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

How do people celebrate Thanksgiving?

Government offices, schools and businesses are closed on Thanksgiving and sometimes on Friday. People celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with family and friends for a delicious meal traditionally consisting of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls and pumpkin pie.

Did You Know…Each year, the U.S. president “pardons” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys from being slaughtered and sends them to a farm for peaceful retirement.

How much do you know about Thanksgiving? Find out with Thanksgiving: Fact or Fiction.

 

Sources: timeanddate.com, history.com
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