Category Archives: Holiday Posts

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Thanksgiving Thankfulness

It’s almost Thanksgiving!  I can’t believe it’s already here, especially since my last post was about Halloween (read it here).  Thanksgiving is very un-commercialized, so I think a lot of people overlook it as an important holiday.  I have often heard people say things like, “I’m not really into Thanksgiving.  I don’t even like the food!”  While Thanksgiving dinner is a great tradition (I personally love the food) it is not the main point of Thanksgiving.  What is the main point?  Giving thanks.  You might be thinking, “DUH!”, but it is sometimes hard to be thankful.  Every human is sinful, and we are tempted to focus on the things we don’t have.  Thanksgiving is a time to put this all aside and think about the things you do have.  At my house we have what’s called a “Turkey on the Table”, which is a little stuffed turkey doll that comes with the tail feathers not attached yet.  Each day in November before Thanksgiving you write something you’re thankful for on one of the feathers and stick it on the turkey.  On Thanksgiving Day, you read every feather aloud.

Sometimes I find it hard to find something new to be thankful for.  The usual things I think of are always friends, family, health, food, etc.  While it’s great to be thankful for all those things, think about things to be thankful for that aren’t so obvious.  Here are a few ideas:

Good weather.                                                                                                                                                                                       It’s true, sometimes the weather is a little dreary, but whenever the weather is beautiful, thank God for making it!

Your teachers.                                                                                                                                                   Your teachers are working to give you the knowledge you need for the future.  Thank God for their willingness and love for teaching.

The chance to try new things.                                                                                                                   In America there are so many opportunities to do so many things!  Thank God that you have so many amazing opportunities just waiting for you to try them out.

 I hope this has generated some ideas in your brain about even more things you can be thankful for.  Try this week and next week to think about things to be thankful for that maybe you don’t think about everyday and are less obvious, and pray about them.  Encourage the rest of your family to do the same!

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Trick or Treat: The Story Behind Halloween Traditions

It’s fall!  The leaves are changing color and it’s getting cooler.  You start to see pumpkins on people’s  doorsteps and Halloween costumes in stores.  But where did these traditions come from?  Why do we have them?  Here are a few answers to questions you may have about Halloween:

Why do we carve pumpkins?

Jack-o-lanterns started in the 1800’s when people would carve turnips to look like human faces and put a candle inside, calling them “Jack-o-lanterns” which means “man with a lantern”.  Making them look scary was just a way to scare each other.  People started using pumpkins instead of turnips when Irish immigrants came to America because the pumpkin was more available.  This became a Halloween tradition near the end of the 1800’s.

Where did trick or treating come from?

The general idea of trick or treating started when the Celts would dress up as evil spirits to celebrate the end of a year.  They believed that as a new year was beginning, the worlds of the dead and the living would overlap, so evil spirits would be out and about.  Dressing up as one would supposedly protect you from them.  Awhile later the Catholic Church changed this tradition to fit their holiday “All Hallow’s Eve” and got people to dress up as more holy things, such as angels.  Then, in the Middle Ages, children would dress up in these costumes and go around begging for food in exchange for prayers for the dead.  Trick or treating didn’t come up in history after that until the 1930’s.  This is when the term “Trick or treating” started being used.

Where does the name “Halloween” come from?

The holiday is called “Halloween” because November 1st was the day Christians would celebrate “All Hallow’s Day”, a day for all the saints who didn’t get a celebration day of their own.  The day before All Hallow’s Day was called “All Hallow’s Eve” (October 31).  It was later called Halloween.

Why do we associate skeletons with Halloween?

Like mentioned earlier, the Celts believed in the new year bringing together the dead and the living.  Skeletons are used to symbolize the dead, so that’s where that came from.  The skull in particular is used to represent death in many cultures.

I hope this cleared up any questions you had been wondering about.  If you have any more questions about anything Halloweenish, please comment them down below and I’ll be happy to comment back with the answer!  If you would like to get updates on when I put up a new post, you can subscribe by entering your email and clicking “subscribe” on the right.  Thanks for reading!

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And The Home Of The Brave

It’s almost the Fourth of July!  I absolutely love holidays of all kinds, but sometimes I get a little confused about the point of some holiday traditions.  For example, where did the idea of the Easter bunny come from?  If you think about it, tons of holiday traditions have no relation whatsoever to the meaning of the holiday.  That’s why, for the Fourth of July and other holidays in the future, I will be posting a Q&A on holiday traditions.  Lets get going!

Q: Where did the idea of fireworks come from and why do we celebrate with them on the Fourth of July?

A: Fireworks were first made in China thousands of years ago when the people would throw bamboo on a fire and it would explode.  It wasn’t until the Renaissance time period when Marco Polo brought fireworks to Europe that people started using gunpowder in their fireworks.  Of course this was very dangerous because then they started using fireworks in warfare.  We set off fireworks on July 4 because, back in the year 1776, John Adams wanted to.  He wanted something big and brilliant to celebrate the freedom of our country.  Congress made fireworks an official tradition in 1777.

Q: Why do we have cookouts on July 4?

A: The tradition of cooking out apparently was imported from the West Indies.  The word “barbecue” comes from a Spanish word they used in Hispaniola meaning “a wooden rack used for smoking meat.”  People in the 1800’s would get people rallied together to celebrate independence for America on July 4 by holding huge cookouts, usually roasting whole animals.  In the 1900’s barbecuing turned into more of a family gathering rather than cooking animals open to the public.

These are a few things I found really interesting about the Fourth of July.  If you have any more Fourth of July questions, leave a comment below and I”ll try and get that answered! (If you ask a question in the comments, please feel free to come back and read my reply!)