Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Cinco de Mayo, fiesta grande en los Estados Unidos

May 5, 2022

Cinco de Mayo, fiesta grande en los Estados Unidos

Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, is the biggest Mexican holiday in the entire United States. Oh sure, the holiday commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla, so kids in that Mexican city get the day off to watch a parade, and gringo-infested beach resorts may get a little loco, but the rest of Mexico carries on as usual.

North of the border, it’s a different story. The community-based Mexican-American celebrations of the Sixties were co-opted by marketers for big brewers, tequila importers, and mega-food purveyors. In other words, it’s St. Patrick’s Day with mariachis. Is this a great country, or what?

More:

“Cinco de Mayo: A History Obscured by Beers and Burritos,” Jason Ruiz, Long Beach Post

“U.S. Marketers Turn Cinco de Mayo Into Pan-Ethnic National Celebration, Joel Millman, Wall Street Journal

“How Corona Made Cinco de Mayo an American Holiday,” Adam Teeter, VinePair 

“Does Mexico Celebrate Cinco De Mayo? Find Out How Holiday Became Mainstream,” Susmita Baral, Latin Times

“Mexicans don’t understand why you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo,” Allison Jackson, GlobalPost

“Why is Cinco de Mayo More Popular in America Than in Mexico?” Brian Greene, U.S. News & World Report

“Gringo de Mayo,” Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly

“Cinco de Mayo: A New American Holiday,” Cesar M. Melgoza,Huffington Post

“Cinco De Mayo: Whose Holiday Is It, Anyway?” NPR

“How Not to Be Awful This Cinco de Mayo,” Kelly Williams Brown,Daily Beast

 

Note: ¿Chilaquiles? Mira aquí.

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DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

April 15, 2022

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

On April 16, 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act freeing the 3000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia. This was nine months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states, many of whom actually remained in bondage until the the war’s end in 1865, and 20 months before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which definitively outlawed slavery everywhere in the United States.

Tomorrow Saturday, April 16th, the District of Columbia will celebrate District Emancipation Day, with speeches, concerts, fireworks and parades. There’s a bit of rain on that parade, though, if you take a closer look at history. That 1862 act was called the Compensated Emancipation Act, and it authorized payments to DC slaveowners rather than liberation of enslaved people on moral grounds. It even sought to promote emigration of former slaves outside the borders of the United States.

In any case, Black Washingtonians had their freedom. That’s definitely worth celebrating.

More:

“When Slaveowners Got Reparations,” Tera W. Hunter, New York Times

“D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day,” Cuneyt Dil, Axios Washington D.C.

“D.C. celebrates its 160th Emancipation Day this weekend,” Elliot C. Williams, Alexya Brown, and Rachel Kurzius, WAMU News

“Bondage to Freedom: Commemorating DC Emancipation Day,” Karl Racine, Medium

“The DC Emancipation Day Celebration Is Back After Two Years. Here Are the DC Street Closures for Saturday’s Parade and Concert.”  Damare Baker, Washingtonian

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April 1, 1582: Pope Gregory XIII Invents April Fools’ Day. Maybe.

April 1, 2022

April 1, 1582: Pope Gregory XIII Invents April Fools’ Day. Maybe.
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII instituted the (you guessed it) Gregorian Calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March 32nd (really) to January 1st. People who didn’t know that March 32nd was now April 1st and were still celebrating the old New Year looked pretty foolish that day, hence April Fools’ Day.

Or maybe the story is just a prank. Pretty good tale, anyway.

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St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2022

St. Patrick (née Maewyn Succat) was a 5th century Brit, abducted as a teenager as a forced laborer and carried to Ireland, where he got religion. He later escaped to France and became a priest before returning to proselytize in Ireland. A millennium later, North America’s early Irish immigrants and their descendants began to celebrate the day of his death as a joyous holiday, which seems a wee bit ghoulish.

The party ramped up after the Potato Famine increased Irish immigration to the US in the mid 19th century. St. Patrick’s Day became a celebration of parades, corned beef and cabbage, fiddle music, soda bread, and green beer rather than the solemn saint’s day it had been in the Auld Sod, but that’s America for you. US tourists in Ireland expected a big bash on March 17th, and the host country was glad to oblige, in celebration of greenback dollars. The holiday has now gone global. Faith and begorrah!

A National Georgraphic video.
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Washington’s Birthday

February 21, 2022

Washington's Birthday

Today is officially Washington’s Birthday (observed) according to the federal government. This date is also known as Presidents’ Day in some states, combining observance of all your favorite chief execs (Millard Fillmore?) into one holiday.

Birthday boy and first president George Washington enslaved 319 human beings in Virginia during his lifetime, but the state’s current governor, Glenn Youngkin, won’t let that be taught in the Old Dominion’s schools. Virginia’s kids will need a field trip to Mount Vernon to learn about it. President Washington also signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, requiring authorities in free states and territories to allow slave-catchers to seize escaped refugees and transport them back into bondage.

Happy Black History Month.

More:

“George Washington, Slave Catcher,” Erica Armstrong Dunbar, New York Times

Related:

“More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were, and how they shaped the nation.” Julie Zauzmer Weil, Adrian Blanco and Leo Dominguez, Washington Post

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February 14th

February 14, 2022

February 14th

It’s Valentine’s Day. Love & Happiness, y’all.

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Valentine

February 14, 2022

“Valentine,” written and recorded by Willie Nelson, 1993.

Willie Nelson website

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Groundhog Day

February 2, 2022

Groundhog Day

It’s February 2nd, time to monitor Marmota monax  (on Zoom this year) anddream of winter’s end. Whether or not you believe in woodchuck weathermen, one thing is certain: you can’t have groundhogs if you want a backyard full of fresh garden veggies.

Groundhogs (aka woodchucks, whistlepigs, and marmots) are insecto-vegetarians and confirmed locavores. If you plan to plant this spring, harvest those hairy beasts now. Celebrate Groundhog Day with critter cuisine.

Serving suggestions:

Woodchuck au Vin

Canadian Fried Woodchuck

Groundhog Pie

Woodchuck Recipes from Michigan (Oriental Groundhog,Waco Groundhog in Sour Cream,Woodchuck Stew, Woodchuck Meat Loaf)

More groundhog lore and recipes here and here.

In his book Groundhog Day, Don Yoder reprints a classic  groundhog recipe from Cooking with the Groundhog, published as a fundraiser by a hospital auxiliary in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home of the  “official” Groundhog’s Day Festival (there are more than a few others ). A Georgia groundhog is on Twitter.

A dozen years ago, whilst stalking the elusive picture book Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather, we espied an ad for the Range Kleen Preseasoned Cast Iron 10 Inch Fry Pan on the book’s Amazon.com page and cooked up today’s graphic. There’s obviously no “storybook ending” to this post if you’re a groundhog.

Updates:

“Milltown Mel, a celebrity groundhog, dies just before Groundhog Day,” Bill Chappell, NPR News

“Groundhogs Do Not Make Good Meteorologists,” Simran Parwani and Kaleigh Rogers, FiveThirtyEight

Related:

“Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Groundhogs,” Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American blog

“Groundhogs and Ground Squirrels: Winter Prognosticators,”  Sharol Nelson-Embry, Quest

“40 years of groundhog forecasts, mapped,” Kennedy Elliott and Shelly Tan, Washington Post

“Punxsutawney Phil: incompetent — or evil?” Phil Edwards, Vox

“Depressed Groundhog Sees Shadow Of Rodent He Once Was,”The Onion

“Where Did Groundhog Day Come From? ” Mental Floss

“A Short History of Groundhog Day,” Danny Lewis, Smithsonian.com

“Groundhog Day Explained,” CGP Grey (video)

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Image (“Marmot sauté, after John James Audubon”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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New Years Resolution

January 1, 2022

“New Years Resolution,” written by Stax Records staffers Randle CatronWillie Dean “Deanie” Parker Catron, and Mary Frierson, recorded by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967.

Related:

Stax Museum website

“Rudyard Kipling’s Little-Known Poem on New Year’s Resolutions,” Ellen C. Caldwell, JSTOR Daily

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New Year’s Resolution Blues

January 1, 2022

“New Year’s Resolution Blues,” written by Dallas Bartley and Leo Hickman, recorded by Roy Milton and His Solid Senders in 1948.

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