At Cinco de Mayo festivals and parties across the United States you can find traditional Mexican and Spanish foods being served. This includes tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, empanadas, fajitas, and paella. Mexican deserts are also another favorite including sweet and sticky churros and flans in a wide variety of flavors.Photo by SweetOnVeg
Claddagh jewelry is part of a tradition that started in Ireland just over 300 years ago. The Claddagh ring has three components to it: the hands that circle the ring holding the heart, the heart shape at the center front of the ring, and the crown that sits atop the heart. The hands represent friendship and being together. The heart is the universal symbol of love and hope. The crown in the design represents loyalty. These three things togetther are very powerful. [Read more…]
In most Christian and many non-Christian families Easter basket are given out to children. These baskets are usually filled with fake grass, excelsior or some other packing material and filled with chocolate, jelly beans and other candies, and no basket is complete without a few Easter eggs. Some families also include a few gifts as well.
Some adults and corporations are also giving out Easter Gift Baskets where appropriate. The most appreciated ones are these tailored specifically to the recipient like gourmet cooking items, golf equipment, beauty and healthcare products, even some personal development and business books. There are no hard and fast rules it’s all about being creative.Photo by PersonalCreations.com
People born in the year of the rat are quick witted and intelligent, they are ambitious, charming and very persuasive. This combination often makes them very persuasive with members of the opposite sex. They also have a tendency to be a perfectionist, and be very thrifty with money. Many people born in the year of the rat love to gossip.
Photo credit: Mike Raybourne
May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go and guide you in whatever you do –
And may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Photo credit: pixaby
Christmas Gift Baskets are one of the more popular items to give during the holiday season. The gift baskets range in size from small handheld baskets to large overflowing corporate gift. Traditionally the baskets were filled with fruits and nuts and decorated with bow. Today however the choices are endless. Many women give beauty or self pampering gift baskets filled with lotions, creams, perfumes and other related products. Another popular basket is the gourmet basket filled with specialty foods like pasta, hot peppers and sauces or chocolates. Gift baskets have also entered into the corporate world with golf or exotic coffee themes. Don’t forget gift baskets also make perfect gifts for children as well, you can build them around a favorite sports team, or toy like Barbie. If you are considering giving a Christmas gift basket the only limitation is your own imagination.
For the earth to rotate about the sun takes exactly 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 45.9678 seconds, or 365.242199 days. Many ancient civilizations grappled with how to account for the extra .242199 days a year. The French add a day every so often as a celebration, the Mayans tried to incorporate it mathematically but were unsuccessful. Julius Cesar came up with the best plan he added an extra day every four years for leap Year. The problem is that adds .25 days not .242199. Over time that little inaccuracy builds up, at the rate of 7 days for every thousand years. Now this caused a tremendous amount of trouble for farmers who needed to know when to plant, and priests who needed to know when to celebrate holidays like Easter. So in 1578 Pope Gregory XIII convened a committee to fix the problem. The head of this committee was a Jesuit priest named Christopher Clavius. The solution Clavius came up with was neither complex nor elegant, but it did solve the problem. So in 1582 Pope Gregory eliminated 10 days from the calendar. The day after October 5, 1582 was October 15 1582. In addition he changed the start of the year from April 1st to January 1st. People who continued to believe April was the first day of the year were called ‘April fools’
The second problem was how to keep the inaccuracy from creeping back into the calendar. The solution they proposed was taking back the extra day added by leap year at regular intervals. So for every century that is divisible by 400 has a leap year every century that isn’t won’t have a leap year. For example 1600 and 2000 will have a leap year, 1700, 1800, 1900, and 2100 will not. This solution was known as the Gregorian calendar and is still in use to this day.There is still one problem, this doesn’t completely fix the problem, there are an extra 25.86 seconds every year. That small 25.86 seconds adds up and o
September’s birthstone is the Sapphire. Sapphires come in many colors but the most desired is color is a deep rich blue. Sapphires are said to protect its wearer from evil spirits and against poison.
The Sapphire has a long history that dates back to the ancient Persians who believed the blue color of the sky was created by a giant sapphire that supported the earth. It was also believed that the sapphire protected its wearer from harm and envy and attracted the attention of the gods. The gem was also said to protect it wearer from poison and venomous snakebites. A sapphire is September Birthstone
Origins of the word sapphire come from the Greek word Sappheiros that translates to blue. Sapphire are an alternate stone used in engagement rings, in fact when prince Charles proposed to lady Diana he gave her a sapphire engagement ring.
Sapphires like rubies belong to the corundum family of gemstones. They are mined in Myanmar, Columbia, Southeast Asia and the United states. Sapphires are very durable having a 9 rating on Mohs Hardness Scale.
During the earliest times Christmas tress were left bare or decorated with natural items such as apples, pears or other fruits, nuts, or candies. Eventually as society began to advance other items such as candles, ribbons, and decorated paper were used.
One the most famous first decororated Christmas Trees was the one brought by Prince Albert to Windsor Castle after he married Queen Victoria. The tree was decorated with glass ornaments made by the finest craftsman of day. The next year hand blown glass ornaments were the most sought after ornament. The fondness for German made glass Christmas ornaments made its way across the pond to the United States, some of the most sought after ornaments were imported by the F.W Woolworth Company. This lasted until the start of World War I.
In the 1960’s with the space race was in full swing it was very trendy to have aluminum Christmas Trees with aluminum Christmas ornaments all over the tree. With the boom stock market in the 1980’s it became fashionable to have expensive finely crafted ornaments made of glass, ceramic or other materials. Additionally novelty ornaments became extremely popular with companies like Hallmark starting multi year collector series.
This holiday is all about celebrating and here a few St. Patrick’s Day fun facts you can share with your friends and family.
- Saint Patrick was born in England not Ireland
- St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD.
- The oldest Irish Brewery still in existence is the Guinness Brewery in Dublin from 1759. Some of the oldest breweries have been around for over 1,000 years. Irish beer is popular all year not just on St. Patricks Day, and many towns have popular Irish Pubs, the oldest is McSorley’s Ale House established in 1854.
- The original color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day during the 19th century.
- Green, in Irish legends were worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow. The national color of Ireland is green
- The most famous legend regarding St. Patrick is that he rid Ireland of snakes by ringing his bell from the top of Croagh Patrick, the 2500 feet tall, conical mountain near Westport. Of course this isn’t a true fact, but makes for an amusing anecdote. The mountain however has become a place of annual pilgrimage. There is an ancient church at the top and at the base a natural spring well known as Patrick’s well or Tobair Padraig – St. Patrick supposedly baptized the first Irish converts at this well.
- Saint Patrick did not actually drive the snakes out of Ireland, the snakes represent the pagans that he converted to Christianity.
- Saint Patrick used the shamrock to teach converted Christians about the holy trinity.
- In 1903 James O’Mara, a member of the Irish parliament, had a new law passed that recognized that St. Patrick’s Day was a religious holiday and because of this all pubs were closed for the next 67 years when the law was overturned and the holiday was no longer a religious observance.
- The city with the largest population of Americans of Irish descent is Boston (23%)
- Over 8 million St. Patrick’s Day cards are exchanged in America making today the ninth-largest card selling occasion in the US.
- The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737.
- 36 million The number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (slightly more than 4 million). Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
- Some American towns have “Irish” names. You could visit: Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia; Shamrock Lakes, Indiana; Shamrock, Oklahoma; Shamrock, Texas; Dublin, California and Dublin, Ohio.
- Today New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the longest running civilian parade in the world. This year nearly three million spectators are expected to watch the spectacle and some150,000 participants plan to march.
- Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is little more than 75 years old
- More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States; New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.
- Chicago is famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river— enough to keep it green for a week!
- In 1948, President Truman attended New York City ‘s St. Patrick’s Day parade, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and racial prejudice to find acceptance in America.
- When General George Washington’s troops seized Boston from the British on March 17, 1776, the word “Boston” was used as the password and “St. Patrick” as the reply.
- Traditional Irish greeting on St. Patrick’s Day: “Beannacht na feile Padrig oraibh,” which means “May the blessings of St. Patrick be with you.”
- An Irish toast: “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.
- Finding a four-leaf clover. Each leaf on the clover represents something: hope, faith, love and luck. Throughout history four-leaf clovers have been thought to bring luck, mostly because they are so rare, as there are no clover plants that naturally produce four leaves.
- Leprechauns are little old men who make shoes for fairies. They are about two feet tall and very mischievous. Legend has it that you can find a leprechaun by listening for his hammer, as they are always hard at work. If you catch one, you are entitled to his pot of gold. However, they’re very quick, and if you take your eyes off of them for a split second they will disappear with their treasure.
- What do you call the stick leprechauns carry? Shillelagh. The leprechauns use the shillelagh to gain access to their rainbow. The stick is crooked and made of wood.
- What type of tree do leprechauns supposedly live in? Hawthorn. The Irish would dance around hawthorn trees and hope to catch a leprechaun coming out for good luck. Leprechauns are good luck… if you can catch one…