- April 6th 2012
It’s Easter! To mark the holiday we’ve compiled some fun facts about this season. Hope you enjoy them.
1. The date of Easter Sunday changes every year because it’s celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. The Paschal Full Moon is part of the Ecclesiastical Calendar and varies considerably, so Easter Sunday can be any time from March 22nd to April 25th. Still confused? Maybe this will help.
2. The original date of Easter was first fixed in 325AD.
3. In the Christian calendar, Easter marks the rebirth of Christ and the end of the 40 days of Lent.
4. Good Friday is an official holiday in 12 US states (and if you’re in one of those states, enjoy the long weekend).
5. Easter is celebrated at different times by Eastern and Western Christians. That’s because the dates for Easter in Eastern Christianity are based on the Julian Calendar.
6. There’s a link between Easter and Passover and in some countries and languages, the words for the two feasts are related.
7. Eggs are associated with Easter because they are a symbol of starting new life. It’s believed that eggs have been given to celebrate the spring equinox for more than 2 millennia.
8. The Easter Bunny tradition made its way to the US in the 18th century. It is believed to have originated in Europe where it was actually the Easter Hare. Other Easter traditions include wearing Easter bonnets, making Easter baskets and having Easter egg hunts.
9. Easter eggs may be painted and decorated hard boiled eggs. Often today they are chocolate eggs or plastic eggs filled with candy.
10. The Annual White House Easter Egg Roll was originally held at the Capitol in the 1870s.
11. Around 90 million chocolate bunnies are made for Easter each year. Jelly beans are also a favorite in the US, with about 16 million eaten at this season each year. The only time Americans eat more candy than Easter is at Halloween. Hot cross buns are another Easter tradition.
12. The largest Easter egg ever made was around 9,000 pounds. It needed a steel frame for internal support.
Image: Stiefen Schlingen
- March 16th 2012
March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day so we’ve collected 17 fun facts about the celebration. See how many of these fun facts you already know:
- St Patrick’s Day is one of the world’s biggest saint’s day celebrations, celebrated in 200 countries by about 80 million people. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)
- March 17 is the feast day of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. He’s believed to have died on that date in 461 AD.
- Green was not the color originally associated with St Patrick; it was blue. The switch happened in the 19th century.
- Boston, USA holds the honor of holding the first St Patrick’s Day parade in 1737.
- Some 23% of Boston’s population is of Irish descent – the largest ratio in America.
- New York is said to have the world’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parade and celebration, with 150,000 in the parade and an audience of about 3 million.
- Montreal has had an annual St Patrick’s Day parade since 1824 – the longest running such parade in Canada.
- Since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green in honor of the day.
- Shamrocks symbolize the day; St Patrick used them to explain how the father, son and holy spirit were connected. The are also Ireland’s national flower.
- In Ireland, people wear shamrocks on jackets and caps. Children may also wear badges in Ireland’s national colors of green, white and orange.
- St Patrick never chased snakes out of Ireland. The snakes of legend are actually pagans.
- Ironically, St Patrick wasn’t Irish, but of Scottish descent. He might even have been born in Wales.
- St Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, but was sold into slavery in Ireland. He took the name Patrick when he became a priest.
- If you have an Irish parent or grandparent, you are entitled to Irish citizenship.
- Among Americans, more than 9 times Ireland’s population say they have Irish ancestry – that’s 34.5 million people.
- Corned beef and cabbage are widely eaten in America on the day; that’s not the case in Ireland.
- In the US, St Patrick’s Day is a major card-giving occasion, with more than 8 million cards exchanged.
- February 14th 2012
Happy Valentine’s Day! We’ve been going big on romance this year, with our assessment of your Valentine’s travel style, a look at great Valentine’s Day proposal spots, and fun facts about this day. We’ve even laid on a sweetheart of an off airport parking deal. But what about those who take a less traditional approach to this romantic celebration? Today we look at the wackier side of Valentine’s Day.
My Furry Valentine
It’s hard to believe but man’s best friend, along with cats and all manner of pets, really clean up on Valentine’s Day. One estimate says that 3% of pet owners buy gifts for their companions, while an ABC report suggests that we will spend about $367 million on pet friendly Valentine’s gifts.
Is It Love?
We think of this day as a celebration for lovers, but many of us choose to celebrate ourselves. In 2008 it was estimated that some 8 million Americans sent themselves Valentine’s Day gifts, a way for them to feel special on this romantic day.
Carry Your Wife
- January 25th 2012
Have you got the January blahs? A bit of post-holiday let down? Don’t be glum, because February offers plenty of reasons to celebrate. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect.
Black History Month
February is African American History Month or Black History Month. Oddly, this is observed at a completely different time of the year (October) in the UK. There will be events for this annual celebration throughout the month.
National Freedom Day – Feb 1
National Freedom Day commemorates the signing of a resolution for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. This amendment ended slavery and became law in December 1865. This is not a public holiday, but many Americans observe the day and a wreath is usually laid at the Liberty Bell. Other celebrations of this event include Juneteenth and Emancipation Day.
Valentine’s Day – Feb 14
Also not a holiday, but widely observed, is Valentine’s Day, taking place on a Tuesday this year. It was originally named after some Christian martyrs and is a boon for card makers everywhere (not to mention flower shops and candy stores). Here are some fun facts about Valentine’s Day.
President’s Day – Feb 20
Now observed on the 3rd Monday in February, this holiday originally honored George Washington’s birthday. It now also honors Abraham Lincoln (also born in February) and other presidents.
Mardi Gras – Feb 21
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, is a big celebration just before Lent starts – and a great excuse for a party. One of the biggest of these is in New Orleans, which we mentioned in Carnival Celebrations around the World. We’ll look at it in more detail nearer the time.
Leap Day – Feb 29
It only comes around every four years and this is the year for Leap Day. There are several traditions associated with this day and we’ll be looking at those in more detail closer to the time.
- June 23rd 2009
About a year ago we wrote about strange celebrations from around the world. Now it’s time to add to that list.
I’ve always been fascinated by camels – they have a certain sort of lumpen elegance and the fact that they can survive in harsh conditions makes them worthy of respect. However, I certainly wouldn’t want to wrestle one. But that’s just what happens in the Aegean region of Turkey. It seems the camels spend a lot of time pushing and shoving before heading for the crowd, which is when it gets really exciting. I’d certainly pick up my heels to avoid a ton of overexcited camel, wouldn’t you?