Origin and History: Easter

Happy Easter. I grew up knowing Easter as a Christian celebration as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the day I celebrate, but, as an adult, I found out the roots of the holiday. According to History.com, although most websites state the same thing, it was once a pagan holiday to celebrate the goddess of Spring and Fertility , Eostre, and the celebration was called Eastre. The bunny rabbit is a symbol for Fertility and new life, hence the connection with Spring. Eggs are also symbols for fertility and new life, but according to the origin, they were banned from being eaten during Lent, therefore making them great to eat on Easter.

It is most compelling to find out that many of the holidays were once pagan holidays simply replaced by Christian holidays. What is behind a symbol or old tradition? Do you find that replacing an old pagan rooted celebration with a Christian one cancels the negative roots of the old tradition? Or do you feel that it is much like a patch over torn jeans? How about caulking over old moldy caulking? Do you feel you are simply covering up a deep dark root with a positive one?

This is an interesting topic as our days of the week and months are all named after pagan gods. Our lives are filled with paganism simply patched up. I must admit, I am not religious, but do believe in God. I do know that the bible has been altered many times and things have been added throughout history, hence the different versions such as the KJV. Therefore, I do believe there is something called the Holy Spirit that can guide you. Not everything you read in the bible needs to be taken literal, but I also don’t see anything wrong with the teachings. I put my faith in God and not in man, therefore keeping me always open-minded and not simply closed where I don’t want to hear anything anyone else has to say when they discuss Christianity. I am not blind. I am Christian and have taken Christ as my savior, but I do not pretend to believe that everything written in the bible is just as God would’ve wanted. I also know that there are many parts of the bible that were removed and we are left in the dark as to what the other books wanted us to know and, now, only scholars have access and even then, they don’t have access to everything.

How do you weigh your facts if you are Christian? If you are not, how do you weigh your belief system?

Works Cited:

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/easter-symbols

Origin and History: Cesar Chavez Day 3/31/15

Yesterday was Cesar Chavez Day in the USA and I completely forgot to publish my draft.

Cesar Chavez day is especially important to me as I have family members that have worked in field picking crops. Let me just tell you, it is intense work. I remember my grandmother telling me stories of having to leave her newborn baby, that she was nursing, with a babysitter so she could support 9 kids. She says she would work in the field, in the heat, and would cry every time milk would drip down her body as she was reminded she had to leave her newborn baby. Sadly, maternity leave and benefits were not an option. She says many would faint due to dehydration, the conditions were poor and women, above all, were mistreated more than men. She mentioned it was not only hard work, but the pay was horrid and the long days were difficult. There weren’t any breaks. Nonetheless, she had to work to feed her family.

Cesar Chavez was the son of migrant workers and saw the injustices against these workers. He fought for the rights of these workers in a non-violent manner, which makes him heroic. Chavez and Dolores Huerta founded the National Farm Workers Association. I am sure, like every person, Chavez had his victories and downfalls. I am sure he made many mistakes, but, nonetheless, he fought for the rights of those that were afraid, silenced and seen as worthless. All humans feel and are worth just as much as the next is. People aren’t better or worse simply because of origin, language, education, religion or color. We all have the right to live and be treated with kindness.

This day became a holiday to gather as a community, to remember the fight and rights of others as we treat our neighbors with respect and dignity in a peaceful manner. Although this should always be the case, we can, at least, commemorate it on this day. President, then Senator, Obama declared this a holiday on 3/31/08.

Have a great day!

Origin and History: April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day is a day associated with pranks and games. I, for one, am curious about anything and everything. History is a major I wish I could’ve pursued, but remained in English. With that said, I looked up the history of this day and found that the day’s origin can’t really be pin pointed, but there are speculations. It did become popular during the 1700’s where the pranking became common among the English. During the 18th century, it became popular to pin things on others backside like tails and those popular “kick me” signs. According to History.com:

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

I, occasionally, played tricks growing up. How about you, is this a day you look forward to?

Here is this day in History, according to History.com:

1700 April Fools tradition popularized
American Revolution
1789 First U.S. House of Representatives elects speaker
Automotive
1993 The “Polish Prince” killed in plane crash
Civil War
1865 Confederates suffer at Battle of Five Forks
Cold War
1948 Soviets stop U.S. and British military trains
Crime
1800 Weeks’ trial sheds light on early procedure
1924 Beer Hall Putsch secures Hitler’s rise to power
Disaster
1946 Alaskan earthquake triggers massive tsunami
General Interest
1621 The Pilgrim-Wampanoag peace treaty
1918 RAF founded
1924 Hitler sent to Landsberg jail
Hollywood
1963 Soap operas General Hospital and The Doctors premiere
Literary
1816 Jane Austen declines royal writing advice
Music
1984 Marvin Gaye is shot and killed by his own father
Old West
1877 Discoverer of Tombstone begins prospecting
Presidential
1970 Nixon signs legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio
Sports
1985 Villanova beats Georgetown for NCAA basketball championship
World War I
1918 British Royal Air Force is founded
World War II
1945 U.S. troops land on Okinawa

Works Cited:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/april-fools-tradition-popularized

Image:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~jacko/v2/2012/04/april-fools-day-and-you/

The Origin of Valentine’s Day

Good morning. Today is Valentine’s Day and I thought I would share the origin of this holiday. It is always good to know what you are celebrating to decide if you, and your family, want to participate in such celebrations. I love the history of all things and that is something, aside from English, I desire to acquire a degree in.

Valentine’s Day was once a pagan Roman holiday celebrating the Lupercalia. This holiday was a fertility holiday dedicated to Faunus, who was the Roman god of agriculture, and the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Below is a great description of the festival from History.com:

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

The Catholic Church then, as most holiday’s we celebrate, tried to stop the celebration of this pagan holiday and replace it with a holy celebration. It has been stated that they are celebrating St. Valentine and his heroic actions. As it turns out, there were 3 saints, that were martyred, but one in particular stood out as he assisted Christians by helping them escape Roman prisons and, there are conflicting reports, he would marry young men, although it was outlawed. Claudius, apparently, outlawed marriage for young men because they made better soldiers. Valentine still defied the law and continued to marry young men. He ended up in prison and fell in love with a young girl. This young girl would visit her father, which was his jailor, and St. Valentine wrote her a love letter before he was killed. He signed this love letter, “From your Valentine,” sound familiar? Valentine’s Day goes back as a day of romance since the Middle Ages.

Are you interested in the complete backstory? Find it at:

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day