Groundhog Day is a popular tradition celebrated in Canada and the United States on February 2. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow or not and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather; the weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on the Christian Holy Day of Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter; the Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering around a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most attended. Grundsow Lodges in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the southeastern part of the state celebrate them as well.
Other cities in the United States and Canada have adopted the event. The observance of Groundhog Day in the United States first occurred in German communities in Pennsylvania, according to known records; the earliest mention of Groundhog Day is an entry on February 2, 1840, in the diary of James L. Morris of Morgantown, in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, according to the book on the subject by Don Yoder; this was a Welsh enclave but the diarist was commenting on his neighbors who were of German stock. The first reported news of a Groundhog Day observance was arguably made by the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1886: "up to the time of going to press, the beast has not seen its shadow". However, it was not until the following year in 1887 that the first Groundhog Day considered "official" was commemorated here, with a group making a trip to the Gobbler's Knob part of town to consult the groundhog. People have gathered annually at the spot for the event since. Clymer Freas, city editor at the Punxsutawney Spirit is credited as the "father" who conceived the idea of "Groundhog Day".
It has been suggested that Punxsutawney was where all the Groundhog Day events originated, from where it spread to other parts of the United States and Canada. The Groundhog Day celebrations of the 1880s were carried out by the Punxsutawney Elks Lodge; the lodge members were the "genesis" of the Groundhog Club formed which continued the Groundhog Day tradition. But the lodge started out being interested in the groundhog as a game animal for food, it had started to serve groundhog at the lodge, had been organizing a hunting party on a day each year in late summer. The chronologies given are somewhat inconsistent in the literature; the first "Groundhog Picnic" was held in 1887 according to a book for popular reading by an academic, but given as post-circa-1889 by a local historian in a journal. The historian states that around 1889 the meat was served in the lodge's banquet, the organized hunt started after that. Either way, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was formed in 1899, continued the hunt and "Groundhog Feast", which took place annually in September.
The "hunt" portion of it became a ritualized formality, because the practical procurement of meat had to occur well ahead of time for marinating. A drink called the "groundhog punch" was served; the flavor has been described as a "cross between pork and chicken". The hunt and feast did not attract enough outside interest, the practice discontinued; the groundhog was not named Phil until 1961 as an indirect reference to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, where crowds as large as 40,000 gather each year; the average draw had been about 2,000 until the year after the movie Groundhog Day, set at the festivities in Punxsutawney, screened in 1993, after which attendance rose to about 10,000. The official Phil is pretended to be a supercentenarian, having been the same forecasting beast since 1887. In 2019, the 133rd year of the tradition, the groundhog was summoned to come out at 7:25 am on February 2, but did not see its shadow. Fans of Punxsutawney Phil awaited his arrival starting at 6:00 a.m. thanks to a live stream provided by Visit Pennsylvania.
The live stream has been a tradition for the past several years, allowing more people than to watch the animal meteorologist. The Slumbering Groundhog Lodge, formed in 1907, has carried out the ceremonies that take place in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, it used to be a contending rival to Punxsutawney over the Groundhog Day fame. It employs a taxidermic specimen. In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, one or more g'spiel are performed for entertainment; the Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, those who speak English pay a penalty in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table. In Midwest America, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, is the self-proclaimed "Groundhog Capital of the World"; this title taken in response to The Punxsutawney Spirit 1952 newspaper article describing Sun Prairie as a “remote two cow village buried somewhere in the wilderness…” In 2015, Jimmy the groundhog bit the ear of Mayor Jon Freund
Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church; the day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations involve public parades and festivals, céilís, the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians who belong to liturgical denominations attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption. Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat.
It is widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world in the United Kingdom, United States, Argentina and New Zealand. Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been influenced by those of the Irish diaspora those that developed in North America. However, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations for having become too commercialised and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish people. Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian bishop in Ireland. Much of what is known about Saint Patrick comes from the Declaration, written by Patrick himself, it is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to the Declaration, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland, it says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he "found God".
The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest. According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity; the Declaration says that he spent many years evangelising in the northern half of Ireland and converted "thousands". Patrick's efforts against the druids were turned into an allegory in which he drove "snakes" out of Ireland, despite the fact that snakes were not known to inhabit the region. Tradition holds that he was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland's foremost saint. Today's St Patrick's Day celebrations have been influenced by those that developed among the Irish diaspora in North America; until the late 20th century, St Patrick's Day was a bigger celebration among the diaspora than it was in Ireland. Celebrations involve public parades and festivals, Irish traditional music sessions, the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.
There are formal gatherings such as banquets and dances, although these were more common in the past. St Patrick's Day parades began in North America in the 18th century but did not spread to Ireland until the 20th century; the participants include marching bands, the military, fire brigades, cultural organisations, charitable organisations, voluntary associations, youth groups, so on. However, over time, many of the parades have become more akin to a carnival. More effort is made to use the Irish language in Ireland, where the week of St Patrick's Day is "Irish language week". Since 2010, famous landmarks have been lit up in green on St Patrick's Day as part of Tourism Ireland's "Global Greening Initiative" or "Going Green for St Patrick´s Day"; the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower in Auckland were the first landmarks to participate and since over 300 landmarks in fifty countries across the globe have gone green for St Patricks day. Christians may attend church services, the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.
Because of this, drinking alcohol – Irish whiskey, beer, or cider – has become an integral part of the celebrations. The St Patrick's Day custom of "drowning the shamrock" or "wetting the shamrock" was popular in Ireland. At the end of the celebrations, a shamrock is put into the bottom of a cup, filled with whiskey, beer, or cider, it is drunk as a toast to St Patrick, Ireland, or those present. The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck. Irish Government Ministers travel abroad on official visits to various countries around the globe to celebrate St Patrick's Day and promote Ireland; the most prominent of these is the visit of the Irish Taoiseach with the U. S. President which happens on or around St Patrick's Day. Traditionally the Taoiseach presents the U. S. President a Waterford Crystal bowl filled with shamrocks; this tradition began when in 1952, Irish Ambassador to the U. S. John Hearne sent a box of shamrocks to President Harry S. Truman.
From on it became an annual tradition of the Irish ambassador to the U. S. to present the St Patrick's Day shamrock to an official in the U. S
A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used in portions of the United States – principally in New England – since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government. This is a town- or city-level meeting where decisions are made, in contrast with town hall meetings held by state and national politicians to answer questions from their constituents, which have no decision-making power. Town meeting is a form of local government practiced in the U. S. region of New England since colonial times, in some western states since at least the late 19th century. Conducted by New England towns, town meeting can refer to meetings of other governmental bodies, such as school districts or water districts. While the uses and laws vary from state to state, the general form is for residents of the town or school district to gather once a year and act as a legislative body, voting on operating budgets and other matters for the community's operation over the following 12 months.
In 1854, Henry David Thoreau said, in a speech entitled "Slavery in Massachusetts": When, in some obscure country town, the farmers come together to a special town-meeting, to express their opinion on some subject, vexing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, the most respectable one, assembled in the United States. The painting Freedom of Speech depicts a scene from a town meeting; the Puritans, whose churches used the Congregationalist church governance sysytem, established town meetings when they established the various New England colonies. Its usage in the English language can cause confusion, since it is both an event, as in "Freetown had its town meeting last Tuesday", an entity, as in "Last Tuesday, Town Meeting decided to repave Howland Road." In modern times, "town meeting" has been used by political groups and political candidates as a label for moderated discussion group in which a large audience is invited. To avoid confusion, this sort of event is called a "town hall meeting."
Connecticut town meetings are bound to a published agenda. For example, in Connecticut, a Town Meeting may discuss, but not alter, an article placed before them, nor may they place new items on the agenda. If a Town Meeting rejects a budget, a new Town Meeting must be called to consider the next proposed budget. State Law allows the Board of Selectmen to adopt an estimated tax rate and continue operating based on the previous budget in the event a Town Meeting has not adopted a new budget in time, they do not exercise the scope of legislative powers as is seen in Massachusetts. A moderator is chosen at each meeting. Meetings are held in school auditoriums, however they may be moved to larger venues as needed. Town meetings can physically meet in another town if necessary to find a proper space to host the attendance. Votes are taken by voice, if close by show of hands. Meetings on controversial topics are adjourned to a referendum conducted by machine vote on a date in the future; such adjournment may come from the floor of the meeting, or by a petition for a paper or machine ballot filed before the meeting.
In towns with an Open Town Meeting, all registered voters of a town, all persons owning at least $1,000 of taxable property, are eligible to participate in and vote at Town Meetings, with the exception of the election of officials. Representative Town Meetings used by some larger towns consist of a large number of members elected to office; some towns utilize a so-called Financial Town Meeting, where an Open Town Meeting exists with limited jurisdiction to only vote on financial affairs and the town's legislative powers have been vested in a Town Council. In Maine, the town meeting system originated during the period when Maine was a district of Massachusetts. Most cities and towns operate under a modified version of it. Maine annual town meetings traditionally are held in March. Special town meetings may be called from time to time; the executive agency of town government is an elected, part-time board, known as the Board of Selectmen or Select Board, having three, five, or seven members. Between sessions, the board of selectmen interprets the policy set at Town Meeting and is assigned numerous duties including: approving all town non-school expenditures, authorizing highway construction and repair, serving as town purchasing agent for non-school items, issuing licenses, overseeing the conduct of all town activities.
The part-time selectmen serve as town assessors, overseers of the poor, as road commissioners. There are other elected town officers whose duties are specified by law; these may include clerks, tax collector, school committee and others. In 1927 the town of Camden adopted a special charter, became the first Maine town to apply the manager concept to the town meeting-selectmen framework. Under this system, the manager is administrative head of town government, responsible to the select board for the administration of all departments under its control; the manager's duties include acting as purchasing agent, seeing that laws and ordinances are enforced, making appointments and removals, fixing the compensation of appointees. From 1927 to 1939, eleven other Maine towns adopted special act town meeting-selectmen-
Easter called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and penance. Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week", which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension. Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the sun.
The First Council of Nicaea established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified, it has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March, but calculations vary. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for passover in those languages. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, decorating Easter eggs; the Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, Easter parades.
There are various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally. The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern Dutch ooster and German Ostern, developed from an Old English word that appears in the form Ēastrun, -on, or -an; the most accepted theory of the origin of the term is that it is derived from the name of an Old English goddess mentioned by the 7th to 8th-century English monk Bede, who wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ was an English month, corresponding to April, which he says "was once called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month". In Latin and Greek, the Christian celebration was, still is, called Pascha, a word derived from Aramaic פסחא, cognate to Hebrew פֶּסַח; the word denoted the Jewish festival known in English as Passover, commemorating the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt. As early as the 50s of the 1st century, writing from Ephesus to the Christians in Corinth, applied the term to Christ, it is unlikely that the Ephesian and Corinthian Christians were the first to hear Exodus 12 interpreted as speaking about the death of Jesus, not just about the Jewish Passover ritual.
In most of the non-English speaking world, the feast is known by names derived from Greek and Latin Pascha. Pascha is a name by which Jesus himself is remembered in the Orthodox Church in connection with his resurrection and with the season of its celebration; the New Testament states that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is one of the chief tenets of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will righteously judge the world. For those who trust in Jesus' death and resurrection, "death is swallowed up in victory." Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". Through faith in the working of God those who follow Jesus are spiritually resurrected with him so that they may walk in a new way of life and receive eternal salvation. Easter is linked to Passover and the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection.
According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as in the upper room during the Last Supper he prepared himself and his disciples for his death. He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. Paul states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; the first Christians and Gentile, were aware of the Hebrew calendar. Jewish Christians, the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, timed the observance in relation to Passover. Direct evidence for a more formed Christian festival of Pascha begins to appear in the mid-2nd century; the earliest extant primary source referring to East
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. It is preceded by Shrove Tuesday and falls on the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before Easter. Ash Wednesday is traditionally observed by Western Christians. Most Latin Rite Roman Catholics observe it, as do some Protestants like Anglicans, Methodists, some Reformed churches, Baptists and Independent Catholics; as it is the first day of Lent, Christians begin Ash Wednesday by marking a Lenten calendar, praying a Lenten daily devotional, abstaining from a luxury that they will not partake of until Eastertide arrives. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants to either the words "Repent, believe in the Gospel" or the dictum "Remember that you are dust, to dust you shall return." The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations. Many Christian denominations emphasize fasting, as well as abstinence during the season of Lent and in particular, on its first day, Ash Wednesday.
The First Council of Nicæa spoke of Lent as a period of fasting for forty days, in preparation for Eastertide. In many places, Christians abstained from food for a whole day until the evening, at sunset, Western Christians traditionally broke the Lenten fast, known as the Black Fast. In India and Pakistan, many Christians continue this practice of fasting until sunset on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, with some fasting in this manner throughout the whole season of Lent. In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, repentance – a day of contemplating one's transgressions. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Roman Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are permitted to consume one full meal, along with two smaller meals, which together should not equal the full meal; some Catholics will go beyond the minimum obligations put forth by the Church and undertake a complete fast or a bread and water fast until sunset. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of abstinence from meat, as are all Fridays during Lent.
Some Roman Catholics continue fasting throughout Lent, as was the Church's traditional requirement, concluding only after the celebration of the Easter Vigil. Where the Ambrosian Rite is observed, the day of fasting and abstinence is postponed to the first Friday in the Ambrosian Lent, nine days later. A number of Lutheran parishes teach communicants to fast on Ash Wednesday, with some people choosing to continue doing so throughout the entire season of Lent on Good Friday. One Lutheran congregation's A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent recommends that the faithful "Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday with only one simple meal during the day without meat". In the Church of England, throughout much of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, the entire forty days of Lent are designated days of fasting, while the Fridays are designated as days of abstinence in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, with the Traditional Saint Augustine's Prayer Book: A Book of Devotion for Members of the Anglican Communion defining "Fasting meaning not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, one half meal, on the forty days of Lent."
The same text defines abstinence as refraining from flesh meat on all Fridays of the Church Year, except for those during Christmastide. The historic Methodist homilies regarding the Sermon on the Mount stress the importance of the Lenten fast, which begins on Ash Wednesday; the United Methodist Church therefore states that: There is a strong biblical base for fasting during the 40 days of Lent leading to the celebration of Easter. Jesus, as part of his spiritual preparation, went into the wilderness and fasted 40 days and 40 nights, according to the Gospels. Rev. Jacqui King, the minister of Nu Faith Community United Methodist Church in Houston explained the philosophy of fasting during Lent as "I'm not skipping a meal because in place of that meal I'm dining with God"; the Reformed Church in America describes Ash Wednesday as a day "focused on prayer and repentance." The liturgy for Ash Wednesday thus contains the following "Invitation to Observe a Lenten Discipline" read by the presider: We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, by reading and reflecting on God's Holy Word. Many of the Churches in the Reformed tradition retained the Lenten fast in its entirety, although it was made voluntary, rather than obligatory. Ashes are ceremonially placed on the heads of Christians on Ash Wednesday, either by being sprinkled over their heads or, in English-speaking countries, more by being marked on their foreheads as a visible cross; the words used traditionally to accompany this gesture are, "Memento, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris." This custom is credited to Pope Gregory I the Great. In the 1969 revision of the Roman Rite, an alternative formula was introduced and given first place "Repent, believe in the Gospel" and the older formula was translated as "Remember that you are dust, to dust you shall return." The old formula, based on the words spoken to Adam and Eve after their sin, reminds worshippers of their sinfulness and mortality and thus, implicitly, of their need to repent in time.
The newer formula makes explicit. Various manners of placing the ash
Harriet Tubman Day
Harriet Tubman Day is an American holiday in honor of the anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman, observed on March 10 in the whole country, in the U. S. state of New York. Observances occur locally around the U. S. state of Maryland. The holiday was approved as Public Law 101-252 by the 101st Congress in a joint resolution on March 13, 1990; the law was considered and passed by the U. S. Senate on March 6, 1990 and was considered and passed through the U. S. House of Representatives on March 7, 1990. U. S. President George H. W. Bush gave Proclamation 6107 on March 1990 proclaiming the holiday. In February 1995, Christ Episcopal Church, Great Choptank Parish, in Cambridge, Maryland celebrated Tubman's nomination, the previous year, to the liturgical Calendar of Saints of the Episcopal Church; the parish is the home of Dorchester County's Harriet Tubman Coalition. Final approval of naming her a saint occurred at the 1997 General Convention, Tubman is now commemorated together with Amelia Bloomer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth in the calendar of saints of the Episcopal Church on July 20.
The calendar of saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America remembers Tubman and Truth on March 10. Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist, an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue seventy enslaved families and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad, she helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women's suffrage. When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, as an armed scout and spy; the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 slaves. After the war, she retired to the family home on property she had purchased in 1859 in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents.
She was active in the women's suffrage movement until illness overtook her and she had to be admitted to a home for elderly African-Americans that she had helped to establish years earlier. After she died in 1913, she became an icon of American freedom. Public holidays in the United States Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Malcolm X Day Rosa Parks Day Rosa Parks Day National Girls and Women in Sports Day Susan B. Anthony Day International Women's Day, Helen Keller Day Women's Equality Day Official website