Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

America

July 4, 2021

“America,” composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, from the 1961 film West Side StoryRita Moreno (Anita) and George Chakiris (Bernardo) are the principal singers in the movie; their roles were originally created on Broadway by Larry Kert and Chita Rivera in 1957.

“Life is all right in America, if you’re all white in America”

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4th of July

July 4, 2021

Star Swain of Tallahassee visits the Lincoln Memorial.

Happy Independence Day.

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Juneteenth

June 18, 2021
Juneteenth

(General Orders. Department of Texas June 19, 1865)

On June 19, 1865 Union general Gordon Granger sailed into Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which began: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” This ended the legal institution of chattel slavery in the former Confederate States, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, 10 weeks after Appomattox.

Contrary to popular belief, Juneteenth didn’t end slavery in the United States. It still existed in northern border states which hadn’t seceded from the Union like Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware, until January 1, 1866, six months after the first Juneteenth, when the 13th Amendment became effective. Slavery among the tribes of Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma) did not effectually end until August 1966.

More:

“Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day,” Kenneth C. Davis, Smithsonian.com

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas Online

“Juneteenth,” Stephanie Hall, Folklife Today

“What Is Juneteenth?” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas History

“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth,” NMAAHC

Related:

“Freedmen’s Bureau,” Cecil Harper, Jr., Handbook of Texas History

Updates:

“Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction,” Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“How the US Military Helped Create the Juneteenth Holiday,” Blake Stilwell, Military.com

“When Did Slavery Really End in the United States?” J. Gordon Hylton, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

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Memorial Day 2021

May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday once known as Decoration Day, the time to remember those who fell in defense of our country.  Memorial Day is now officially observed on a Monday to form a three-day holiday weekend, and the original significance has been distilled down to a 60-second Moment of Remembrance.

But there are 259,199 more minutes to a three-day weekend, and human nature abhors a semantic vacuum, so the holiday has acquired meanings in other realms:

Ceremony: Solemn ritual processions.

Ritual garb: White footwear.

Nutrition: Ceremonial meals.

Transportation: The Brickyard.

Economics:  Door-Busters.

Calendar: Memorial Day is the official Unofficial Start of Summer.

The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3:00 PM to 3:01 PM (local time in each time zone) on Monday, May 31, 2021. U.S. Code, Title 36,114, Stat. 3078, Sec.(2)(7): “… reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble event that that day is intended to be.”

For more about the origins of Memorial Day, see Burying the Dead but Not the Past by Dr. Caroline Janney.

Related:

“The forgotten history of Memorial Day,” Richard Gardiner, Quartz

“Why Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day (but shouldn’t be),” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

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Rolling & Remembering, 2021

May 28, 2021

Rolling & Remembering, 2021

Since 1988, on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the streets of Washington DC have reverberated with the roar of thousands of motorcyclists commemorating Americans lost in the Vietnam conflict and other wars, in an event most often know as Rolling Thunder. This year the AmVets will sponsor the cycle run, now known as Rolling to Remember. A smaller cycle run, Ride of the Patriots, will start across the Potomac in Fairfax, VA, and join up with the main group.

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

April 16, 2021

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.

Understandably, April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia, District Emancipation Day, traditionally celebrated 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

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Pope Gregory XIII: Father of April Fools’ Day?

April 1, 2021

Pope Gregory XIII: Father of April Fools’ Day?

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII instituted the (you guessed it) Gregorian Calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March 32nd (honest) 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’s just a prank. Pretty good yarn, anyway.

More:

“A brief, totally sincere history of April Fools’ Day,” Sarah Caplan, Washington Post

“April Fools’ Day, explained earnestly,” Michelle Hackman, Vox

“April Fools: The Roots of an International Tradition,” Stephen Winick, Folklife Today

“April Fools International: World’s Best Pranks Ever?” Anne-Sophie Goninet, Worldcrunch

“No Kidding: We Have No Idea How April Fools’ Day Started,” Ashley Ross, TIME

“Stamos Documentary? Trader Joe’s Closing? Cornhub? Must Be April Fools’ Day,” NPR

(more…)

Groundhog Day

February 2, 2021

Groundhog Day

It’s February 2nd, time to monitor Marmota monax  (on Zoom this year) and dream 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.

Ten 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.

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, 2021

“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, 2021

“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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