The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.
However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.
This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.
In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.
Mexico's counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.
Pranks performed on April Fool's Day range from the simple, (such as saying, "Your shoe's untied!), to the elaborate. Setting a roommate's alarm clock back an hour is a common gag. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"
Practical jokes are a common practice on April Fool's Day. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the entire day. The news media even gets involved. For instance, a British short film once shown on April Fool's Day was a fairly detailed documentary about "spaghetti farmers" and how they harvest their crop from the spaghetti trees.
April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to buy gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he may be the next April Fool!
Mother's Day! (May 10)
History of Mothers' Day
Some Motherly Advice
What the Bible says about Mothers
M... is for the million things she gave me,
O... means only that she's growing old,
T... is for the tears she shed to save me,
H... is for her heart of purest gold;
E... is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
R... means right, and right she'll always be.
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"
A word that means the world to me.
--Howard Johnson (c. 1915)
History and Customs...
In the U.S. Mothers' Day is a holiday celebrated on second Sunday in May. It is a day when children honor their mothers with cards, gifts, and flowers. First observance in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1907, it is based on suggestions by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 and Anna Jarvis in 1907.
Although it wasn't celebrated in the U.S. until 1908, there were days honoring mothers even in the days of ancient Greece. In those days, however, it was Rhea, the Mother of the gods that was given honor.
Later, in the 1600's, in England there was an annual observance called "Mothering Sunday." It was celebrated during Lent, on the fourth Sunday. On Mothering Sunday, the servants, who generally lived with their employers, were encouraged to return home and honor their mothers. It was traditional for them to bring a special cake along to celebrate the occasion.
In the U.S., in 1908 Ana Jarvis, from Grafton, West Virginia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the anniversary of her mother's death. A memorial service was held there on May 10, 1908 and in Philadelphia the following year where Jarvis moved.
Jarvis and others began a letter-writing campaign to ministers, businessmen, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. They were successful. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day a national observance that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
Many other countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May, as in the U.S.
Memorial Day. (May 31)
Rest Haven Cemetery in Edinburgh, Indiana
is the final resting place of many war veterans.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember those who have died in our nation's service. After the Civil war many people in the North and South decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.
In the Spring of 1866, Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of Waterloo, NY, suggested that the patriots who had died in the Civil War should be honored by decorating their graves. General John B. Murray, Seneca County Clerk, embraced the idea and a committee was formed to plan a day devoted to honoring the dead. Townspeople made wreaths, crosses and bouquets for each veteran's grave. The village was decorated with flags at half mast. On May 5 of that year, a processional was held to the town's cemeteries, led by veterans. The town observed this day of remembrance on May 5 of the following year as well.
Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed officially on May 30, 1868. The South did not observe Decoration Day, preferring to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I. In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day, and soldiers who had died in other wars were also honored.
In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday in May.
Today, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season in the United States. It is still a time to remember those who have passed on, whether in war or otherwise. It also is a time for families to get together for picnics, ball games, and other early summer activities.
Father's Day.( June 20)The History of Fathers' Day
Quotes About Dad
Play Fathers' Day Word Search Online
Send a Father's Day Card
Fathers' Day Links from Yahoo!
Father's Day Gift Ideas
FATHERS' DAY HISTORY
Sonora Dodd, of Washington, was one of the first people who had the idea of a "father's day." She thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.
Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. Smart, who was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.
After Sonora became an adult she realized the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
Even before Dodd, however, the idea of observing a day in honor of fathers was promoted. Dr. Robert Webb conducted what is believed as the first Father's Day service at the Central Church of Fairmont, West Virginia in 1908. It was Dodd's efforts, however, that eventually led to a national observance.
President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day
Fourth of July.
The history of the United States of America began long before the Colonists declared their independence. The Magna Carta, written in 1215 in order to try to convince King John of England to give the people certain rights, is generally considered to be the touchstone of liberty, upon which later documents are based.
The links below will take you to America's Historic Documents. These are the pieces of history upon which our nation was founded, and within which our current liberty is rooted. All the documents are complete and unabridged, including George Washington's Farewell Address.