Holidays & Observances

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Christian Holy Days, Holidays, and Seasons

Many in postmodern society downplay tradition. This change has rippled through some parts of the Church as well. However, tradition remains an important part of what the Christian faith is all about, because [more…]

What Is Maundy Thursday?

Within the midst of the Easter season, Maundy Thursday — the Thursday before Easter — is one Christian holy day that many Christians and even many churches often overlook, yet it symbolizes a critically [more…]

How to Make Blown Easter Eggs (Pysanky)

The ancient Ukrainian form of decorating eggs, pysanky,starts with a blown egg — that is, an egg shell with all the gooey insides removed. Although you may never aspire to spend time decorating eggs as [more…]

What Is Good Friday?

Good Friday — the Friday before Easter — marks the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world. The term Good Friday [more…]

What Is Palm Sunday?

Christians observe Palm Sunday on the Sunday before Easter, celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The reason they call it Palm Sunday stems from the fact that when Jesus rode a donkey into [more…]

What Is Pentecost?

Pentecost is a Christian holy day that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit 40 days after Easter. Some Christian denominations consider it the birthday of the Christian church and celebrate it as such [more…]

Great Tips for Decorating Easter Eggs

Decorating Easter eggs can be fun for kids of all ages. Although dipping hard-boiled eggs in dye is a standard process, you certainly aren't limited to dip-dyed Easter eggs. Here are some of the many ways [more…]

What Is Lent and How Is It Observed?

On the Christian calendar, Lent is the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter. When it was first observed in the fourth century, its focus was on self-examination and self-denial in preparation for [more…]

What and When Is Easter?

Bar none, Easter is the single most important holy day of the Christian Church. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the central event in Christianity. To Christians, the resurrection backs [more…]

What Is Ash Wednesday?

The Christian season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. Catholics and members of some Protestant denominations are asked to do modest mortifications and acts of penance during Lent [more…]

The Symbolic Foods at a Passover Seder

Almost every Passover seder (ritual dinner) includes various ritual foods and other items. Nothing on the seder table is selected randomly; each item has its purpose and often its specific place on the [more…]

The Haggadah and the Steps of a Seder

The Passover seder (a Jewish ritual dinner) is based on the haggadah, a book of instructions, prayers, blessings, and stories that lays out the proper order for the ritual. [more…]

Why Do We Observe Memorial Day?

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was first proclaimed by General John Logan, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30 [more…]

What Is Passover and How Is It Celebrated?

Passover is both the most-celebrated Jewish holiday of the year and the holiday voted most likely to elicit a groan. People groan when they consider Passover's dietary requirements. They groan when they [more…]

What Cinco de Mayo Really Celebrates

Many people mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. That simply isn't true; Cinco de Mayo celebrates an event that happened in the city of Puebla more than 50 years after Mexico [more…]

The History of Mother's Day

Mother's Day as a national holiday in the United States is almost a century old, but its roots go back before the Civil War to a hard-working Virginian mother and activist named Anna Reeves Jarvis. [more…]

The History of Flag Day

"Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation. [more…]

How to Correctly Display the Flag of the United States of America

To most Americans, the flag of the United States of America is more than just a piece of cloth. The Stars and Stripes represents American freedom, democracy, and sacrifice and should be treated with respect [more…]

A Brief History of Father's Day

Father's Day, celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June, got a jump start from the formation of Mother's Day. Credit for beginning Father's Day celebrations is given to Sonora Smart Dodd [more…]

How to Buy and Use Fireworks Safely

As spring turns into summer, Americans start gearing up for Independence Day. In many cases, that means loading up on fireworks. For most people, Fourth of July fireworks displays are fun nights full of [more…]

Vive la France! La Fête Nationale — Bastille Day

Bastille Day, formally called La Fête Nationale("The National Celebration"), is celebrated every July 14 in France to commemorate the storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison. Like the July 4 Independence [more…]

Labor Day and the Pullman Strike of 1894

Labor Day, observed on the first Monday in September in the United States, is considered by many to mark the end of summer. Although it is ostensibly meant to celebrate the civic and economic contributions [more…]

Rosh Hashanah: The Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish new year — and Yom Kippur (which follows ten days later) are together called the "High Holidays." They are among the most important and holiest days of the Jewish year. For over [more…]

What Is Chanukkah?

In the Jewish calendar, Chanukkah’s eight-day celebration begins the evening of the 25th of Kislev (which falls sometime during December). The months of the Jewish calendar are based on the cycles of the [more…]

What Is Purim?

Purim celebrates the story told in the biblical Book of Esther, in which the evil Haman plots to exterminate the Jewish people of ancient Persia, but is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai, [more…]

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