#fathersday

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Moms had their day in May; now it’s time for the Dads!

First celebrated in 1910 on the third Sunday of June, this day is set aside for dads and anyone with paternal bonds. It became an official holiday in the United States in 1966, thanks to a bill signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Catholic Europe celebrated fatherhood as far back as the 1500s-in March. Before that, the Catholic Church observed it on St. Joseph’s Day. This goes back to the late 1300s or early 1400s.

How did it get to the Americas? It was The tradition was brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portugese. Thank you to those explorers and settlers!

Different countries hold the celebrations throughout the year, from February to December, with the bulk of the countries observing Father’s Day in June. The earliest is Russia and Belarus. They also celebrate the men and women who served in the Russian Armed Forces. December is the month that Thailand celebrates fathers and also the birthday of the king. In every village, they will wear yellow, light candles, and listen to the king’s annual speech.

The say was originally spelled “Fathers’ Day,” but by 1913 the apostrophe had moved to make it “Father’s Day” in a bill during the first attempt to make it a holiday. This spelling is still in use today.

Happy Father’s Day to all those with paternal bonds! Sonja

#summersolstice

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

Today marks the time when we have the longest day of the summer-the most daylight. In the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, there will be continuous daylight!

I was in Alaska in the summer. There were midnight baseball leagues and room-darkening shades. It was fun for the short time I was there, but I think it would be tiring for longer.

This time of year has been observed for centuries throughout the world by festivals and rituals.

In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the First Nations people participate in the Ottawa Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. Iceland has the Secret Solstice Festival and Sweden celebrates throughout the country with the Midsommer Festivals. (This actually took place yesterday). In Austria massive bonfires are lit on the mountaintops. This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages.

However you decide to celebrate today, be safe and check to see if things have changed due to the pandemic. Sonja

Happy Birthday, EII

Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash

Okay, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was born on April 12, 1924. Why is her birthday being celebrated today?

Two reasons: King George II and the fickle British weather.

In 1748, King George II decided to move the traditional military parade, called Trooping of the Colours, away from his November birthday because it was too cold. He combined his birthday celebration and the parade at a time of more temperate weather.

Since that time, all British sovereigns are able to choose the date of their ‘official’ birthday, as well as having a more private celebration on the day they were actually born.

Queen Elizabeth II chose June, which is normally a beautiful month weather-wise in England. Originally, she proclaimed that the Trooping of the Colours would be held on the second Thursday of June, but in 1959 decided Saturday would be a better day for the celebration.

Why am I so interested? Because the Kingdom of Carlow from the Fairies of Carlow series is very Irish and is headed by a monarchy. A lot of their rituals and celebrations are based upon those of the British Royal Family.

But, in the Fairies of Carlow, the royal princesses are named after roses and their gowns (Victorian-ish) are the color of their namesake rose. The boys wear morning coats, trousers, and cravats. They are able to fly, but the higher the rank, the less likely they do. It’s a status thing.

The weird thing is that The Gilded Fairies are the highest fairies in the land. Their presentations are always anticipated and feature highly-coordinated and complex flying skills. So, the royals and nobility ride in carriages–and The Gildeds fly. Nothing is perfect, even in the fairy kingdom.

OH! I have to ask: Do you have a place in your garden where the fairies are able to gather? Chairs and tables are best so they have a place to have their tea, which they conjured. It’s a complex process to gain permission to cross into the human world. It’s also very tiring to cross that border. Princess Zepherine may do both in my new book based on her life.

Make way for the fairies! Sonja

Today’s a Big Day…Historically…Plus a Little Something Fun!

A lot happened on June 6 through the years.

First, today is the day that Susan B. Anthony was fined for voting in a presidential election. She was in New York (Rochester), and wanted voting rights to be extended to women. Leading a group of women to the polls, she was promptly arrested after casting her vote. It took five decades for women to achieve the vote and in August 1920, the U.S. Constitution ratified the 19th Amendment that allows women to vote.

Today also marks the largest amphibious landing in history. On what is now known as D-Day, Allied forces landed on several beaches along the northern coast of France, in Normandy. More than 1.5 million soldiers took part, with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. Operation Overlord provided a turning point in World War II. Of the approximately 150,000 Allied men who landed on Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches, more than 15,000 were killed or wounded.

Third, today marks the birthday of American patriot Nathan Hale. Born in 1755 in Connecticut, he was a skilled debater and was in favor of women’s rights. During the Revolutionary War he volunteered as a spy. During a mission to Long Island, New York, he was captured by the British forces and hanged in 1776. Hale stated, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” as he mounted the gallows.

It’s a pretty heavy day, but, just to keep things fun, I want to mention that it’s also NATIONAL YOYO DAY!

There are several Internet sites dedicated to teaching yoyo tricks (You can spell it yo-yo or yoyo). So pull out your Shutter Yoyo, Replay Yoyo, or the yoyo of your choice and get ready to Split the Atom or do the Kwyjibo Yoyo Trick. I remember being fascinated by Walk the Dog.

Enjoy your day! Sonja

#memorialday

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I hope you take some time today to honor those who have fallen. It’s the day to thank the soldiers, airmen, Marines, seamen, and those of the Coast Guard who have died in service to their country.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. On May 1, 1865 freed slaves gathered to observe the POWs from one Union camp who had died and were buried in a mass grave. They consecrated the ground, sang hymns, and put down flowers.

In 1868, the holiday was organized by a veteran of the Union Army, General John A. Logan. He selected May 30th as a national day of commemoration for those killed in the Civil War. Named Decoration Day, it was the day to lay flowers on veterans’ graves.

The reason for the date is a mystery, but it is thought that May 30th was selected because flowers across the country would be in bloom.

It’s possible that General Logan took the idea from Southern women’s groups. They were already laying flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers.

Decoration Day officially became Memorial Day in 1971, and expanded to include all wars, not just the Civil War. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved the holiday to the last Monday in May. Veterans groups were against the move, thinking it would make the holiday a celebration of the beginning of summer rather than a time to honor the dead. They have lobbied to have the holiday returned to May 30th to change the focus of the holiday back to its original purpose.

The red poppy is a symbol to remember the sacrifices made by the nation’s military. It began in 1915, when poppies grew in battlefields across northern France and current-day Belgium. Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day began with a World War I poem. A Canadian Lieutenant wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ after seeing clusters of the red flowers. He was a brigade surgeon in an Allied artillery unit and wrote of the soldiers who had been killed in battle.

A teacher in Georgia read the poem later in 1915 and wrote an accompanying poem, ‘We Shall Keep the Faith.’ Because of her efforts, the poppy is the symbol of rememberance.

To honor our nation’s dead, Americans are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff until noon, and pause at 3 p.m. local time for the National Moment of Rememberance.

Information for this post was found at History.com.

Sonja

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Today is the day to thank your mom for everything she does, and has done, for you. It’s Mother’s Day in the United States and was initiated as a holiday in 1908 when a woman named Anna Jarvis wanted to memorialize her mother.

The day is meant to honor mothers and motherhood or, as Jarvis said, because a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than forty countries, not all on the same date but usually in the first half of the year. There are a handful of countries that celebrate mothers and mothering in the last quarter of the year (October-November-December).

In the United States, carnations are meant to be given. White carnations remember a mom who has passed, and colored carnations thank those who are living.

Jarvis, the creator of the holiday, lamented how commercialized it became, and protested at a candy makers convention in 1923 and at a meeting of the American War Mothers in 1925 when they sold carnations as a fundraiser.

There are some who even credit commercialization (especially by the floral industry) with keeping the holiday current and not allowing it to fade away.

Happy Mother’s Day! Sonja

Happy Easter!

There are two sides to Easter: the religious side and the bunny/egg/baby chick side.

Why both?

Typically celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox (whew!), Easter combines the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and some pagan traditions that celebrate birth and fertility.

So, that’s why we die and hunt eggs during the celebration of Christ’s rising from the dead?

Basically.

The name ‘Easter’ has been attributed to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Eostrae. Others say the word came from the Latin phrase albis, which is plural for ‘dawn’, or from the Old High German word eostarum, which evolved from the Latin I just mentioned. (Old High German preceded English and contributed to its development).

Have a great Sunday–and happy Easter. Sonja

It’s National Pet Day

Today is the day to celebrate your furry friends and I’m so excited to have Guinness the Therapy Dog and Lucy the Wonder Dog in my life.

I write about them in the Guinness the Therapy Dog series, where you can read about Guinness’s adventures.

The relationship he has with Lucy in the books is the same in real life. She is his moral compass and keeps him in line, which can be hard. Sometimes, Guinness is a little too enthusiastic–about everything. Lucy lets him know, in no uncertain terms, that he needs to calm down.

It’s fun to write about their relationship and Guinness’s zest for life. He’s good to have around!

I hope you have a fur-friend. Sonja

Hey, It’s April First!

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

And that’s no joke!

Why is April 1st the day to pull pranks? This worldwide ‘holiday’ is enjoyed by individuals and corporate entities alike. You can find news sources, magazines, and newspapers publishing prank stories.

But why????

It could be traced back to Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ in 1392, but there’s some dispute about that. Maybe it’s because of French poet Eloy d’Amerval in 1508.

The Netherlands attribute the day to a victory over Spain in 1572. And the British origin goes way back to 1698 when people were tricked to “see the Lions washed” at the Tower of London.

In some countries, particularly those associated with the United Kingdom, the jokes end at noon.

Since ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and a good laugh can boost your health, it’s a good time to laugh at yourself and those around you.

Just make sure the joke is funny to everyone. Sonja

Today Is Earth Hour

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

What exactly is Earth Hour? It’s a grassroots movement (one of the largest in the world) that began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. It is observed every year on the last Saturday of March and encourages people to switch off their lights at 5:30 CT.

This is hoped to focus the attention of the people and their governments on the environment.

When Earth Hour was begun by the World Wildlife Federation, it was meant to show support for our planet. Since then, the movement has morphed to include the environment, including nature and biodiversity.

Support our planet and switch off your lights. Sonja