By: Leanne A.
Have you ever
wondered how some of your favorite holidays started? If you did, this
is for you.
Christmas, coming from humble beginnings, has evolved into arguably the
largest celebration in the world. Roman Catholics and Protestants
celebrate the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25. The familiar Nativity scene
seen around town every year refers to the biblical story. According to
accounts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born to the
Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem, in what is now known as the West
Bank. Christians believe Jesus is the son of God, sent to Earth to wipe
clean the sins of mankind, and that his birth fulfilled prophecies made
hundreds of years earlier. Over time, Christmas celebrations adopted
many of the traditions still celebrated today, such as the Christmas
tree, Santa Claus, and giving gifts.
Generally speaking, this feast day of Saint Valentine was not terribly
popular for quite some time after its inception. Eventually
though in England in the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand
made love notes on Valentine’s Day started to become very popular.
This tradition of gift giving and making handmade love notes and
exchanging them on Valentine’s Day eventually spread to America.
Esther A. Howland, whose father ran a large book and stationery store,
received a Valentine and decided this would be a great way to make
money; so was inspired to begin mass producing these formerly hand made
cards in the 1850s.
Halloween is celebrated on the night of October 31. The word Halloween
is shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Halloween or All
Hallows’ Eve. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival
known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). The festival of Samhain is a
celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain
was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and
prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the
boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and
the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness
or damaged crops. The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is
believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted
bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of
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