Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

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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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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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Auld Lang Syne

January 1, 2021

“Auld Lang Syne,” lyrics written by Robert Burns in 1788, set to a traditional tune, recorded by vocalist Lea Michele for the soundtrack of the 2011 film New Year’s Eve.

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Auld Lang Syne Boogie

January 1, 2021

“Auld Lang Syne Boogie,” recorded by the jump blues band of sax player Freddie Mitchell in 1949. Rip Harrington is on piano.

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Corrido de Auld Lang Syne

January 1, 2021

“Corrido de Auld Lang Syne” by Little Bobby Rey and his Band, an early LA Chicano pop band (also called “The Masked Phantom Band”) in about 1960. “Corrido” here means the music is in a galloping rhythm. Mr. Rey learned the saxophone from Earl Bostic.

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Auld Lang Syne

January 1, 2021

“Auld Lang Syne,” lyrics written by Robert Burns in 1788, set to a traditional tune, rendered by The Real McKenzies, a Canadian Celtic Punk band, with Gord Taylor on the highland pipes.

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Auld Lang Syne

January 1, 2021

“Auld Lang Syne,” by Guy Lombardo & his Royal Canadians, a familiar sound to baby boomers, since this band appeared on the live New Year’s Eve telecasts of the “ball drop” in Times Square in the Fifties, Sixties, and early Seventies. The band had filled the same role on radio, starting in 1929. This recording is from 1947.

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