April usually marks the beginning of Spring but this Friday is April 1st also known as April Fools’ Day. It has been the day of countless practical jokes. Some funny and some not so funny especially if the joke’s on you. Here’s how it all began…
In 1563 France was called upon by the Council of Trent to change from the Julian calendar which recognized the new year beginning with the spring equinox around April 1st to the Gregorian calendar which recognized the new year beginning with January 1st.
Historians believe that the people were either slow to get the news of the change or simply didn’t care that the start of the new year was moved to January 1st and they continued to celebrate the new year from the last week of March through April 1st. As a result the jokes were called April fools. Some pranks even went so far as to have a paper fish placed on their backs symbolizing an easily caught fish and a gullible person. Wouldn’t want to be that person, definitely an incentive to stay up to date on changes 😂
I hope you enjoyed this little history snippet. Thanks for stopping by!!
For those of you celebrating Christmas, hopefully you’ve set up your tree by now. The tradition of Christmas trees began in Germany in the early 1600’s. When German and other European settlers immigrated to America in the early 19th century, they brought this beautiful tradition with them. Although Americans found this tradition a bit odd at first, it became popular.
The first trees were decorated with apples, candy canes, cookies and pastries in assorted shapes of flowers, hearts and stars. Dyed popcorn also became popular as pieces were strung together with nuts and berries into large strands and hung on the tree.
The trees were originally lighted with with candles but this presented problems like keeping the candles on the branches for starters, not to mention accidental fires. But in 1878, Frederick Artz invented a clip on candle holder. This worked well, but you still couldn’t leave the tree unattended or lit for a long time. Luckily with the introduction of electricity into homes, the candles were replaced with electric lights that could keep the trees glowing for days.
The first Christmas tree farm in America was opened in 1851 by a woodsman named Mark Carr. He cut down trees in the Catskill Mountains and sold them in New York City’s Washington Market.
This tradition of displaying and decorating a Christmas tree has grown in popularity over the years and has become a cherished tradition by many. I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of history. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!
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“Christmas is doing a little something extra for everyone.” ~ Charles Schulz
Independence Day is this Sunday, July 4th. Many will kick off the day being outside enjoying fresh air, sunshine and having a good old fashioned barbecue with delicious apple pie for dessert. At night, the skies are filled with stunning and spectacular fireworks. But how did all of this get started?
Lets go back in time a bit to July 2, 1776. On this day the Second Continental Congress declared Independence from Britain but no one signed the Declaration of Independence which was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson.
July 3, 1776, John Adams one of the founding fathers and members of Congress wrote a letter to his wife Abigail which in part read:
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
Congress made a total of 86 changes to the original declaration and the final draft was completed and signed on July 4, 1776. This marked the beginning of the war for freedom and it lasted 7 long years until 1783.
Although we were at war, it was reported by the Pennsylvania Evening Post that July 4, 1777 was celebrated with demonstrations of joy and festivity. Armed ships fired a 13 gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. Festivities included an elegant dinner, military demonstration, band performances and fireworks. These celebrations continued annually thereafter.
Hope you enjoy your holiday and have the opportunity to see a beautiful firework display. Wishing you a Happy and Safe 4th of July!
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“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has places us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Last week I wrote a post about the history of Valentine’s Day and learned we had a “Mother of Valentine, “Esther A Howland. I found her very interesting considering she was born in a time before women basically had rights and as a result the odds were not in her favor. Despite that, Esther persevered and moved forward with her vision. Below are some of the highlights of Esther’s lifetime accomplishments below:
1828 Esther was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her parents were Southworth Allen Howland and Esther Howland.
Her Father, owned the largest stationary and bookbindery business in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Esther attended college at Mount Holyoke Academy the same time as Emily Dickinson did.
1847 Esther graduated college at the age of 19 and received a Valentine card from one of her father’s friends which was decorated with lace and cut out flowers. During this time, Valentine Day Cards were imported from Europe into the States.
Esther loved the card and thought she could do better. She talked to her father and he bought her supplies to make her own cards. She created a dozen designs.
Esther gave the samples to her brother for his next sales trip for their father’s business. She hoped for $200 in sales which would be worth around $6,380 today. But to her surprise he returned with over $5,000, worth $159,501 today.
Esther knew she couldn’t handle these orders by herself so she employed friends, primarily women who were said to have been paid liberally and had pleasant working conditions. She used a guest bedroom on the 3rd floor of her home for her new business. She set up an assembly line to create the cards and inspected each one.
1850 The Worcester Spy published the first advertisement for Esther’s Valentine Cards and she became officially known as a businesswomen.
1870 Esther incorporated her business, New England Valentine Company (N.E.V.Co).
In red ink, Esther began stamping the letter “H” and price on the back of her cards. She also included in red ink, the letters for her company “N.E.V.Co.”
Esther’s business grossed $100,000 annually the equivalent of $3,190,024 today.
Esther expanded her business and made cards for Birthdays, Christmas and New Years. She also created May Baskets and Booklets.
1866 Esther suffered a knee injury and became bound to a wheelchair.
1874 Esther moved her Valentine factory from her home to Harrington Corner.
Esther passed away in 1904 at the age of 76. Although she was considered “The Mother of Valentine” she never married.
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“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” ~ Estee Lauder
Did you ever wonder how it all got started? I mean, who came up with this idea to celebrate love on February 14th? The roots of St Valentine’s Day go back to 270 AD. I’m sure you don’t want a major history lesson so here are a few of the highlights:
Geoffrey Chaucer, an English Poet was the first person to record St Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules”
The oldest recorded Valentine was written in 1415, by Charles, Duke of Orleans. After the battle of Agincourt he was held prisoner in The Tower of London and wrote a Valentine to his wife which is now a part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.
Cupid is depicted on many Valentine Day greetings as a cute, chubby little cherub. However, his roots actually go back to the Greek God of Love, Eros.
In the mid 1800’s, friends and lovers would exchange small tokens of affection or a hand written note. By the 1900’s, printing technology improved and printed cards replaced the handmade versions from the 1800’s
In the 1840’s, Esther A Howland who became known as “The Mother of Valentine” began selling the first mass produced Valentines in the United States. Her creations were beautifully made with lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as scrap. Esther’s brother took a dozen card samples to their father’s store where she hoped to get $200 in sales. But her brother returned with over $5,000 in sales!!!
Today approximately 145 Million Valentine Day cards are sent each year making it the 2nd largest holiday to Christmas.
Below is a photo of Esther A Howland and a few of her Valentine Cards
“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ~Judy Garland
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