St. Patrick’s Day Parades have been traditional for many cities, towns, and villages for over 250 years. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was not held in Ireland, but America, by Irish honoring their roots. St. Patrick’s Day Parades are now held all over the world. [Read more…]
Saint Patrick, whose feastday is celebrated on the 17th of March, is the patron saint of Ireland and was born in 387 A.D. and died in 461 A.D. St. Patrick is set apart from the other saints due to its recognition in the secular as well as religious world. The only other two saints which are recognized by the secular world is St. Valentine and St. Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus. Throughout the world, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th. [Read more…]
Tanzanite is a very new gemstone and does not have the lore and legends that many other gemstones have. Tanzanite was discovered in Africa in the early 1960’s. Once a stable commercial supply had been discovered Tiffany & Company became the major distributor of Tanzanite.
Tanzanite was named after Tanzania the country in which it was discovered and to this day is the only place it has been found. The price of tanzanite is very unstable due to Tanzania’s unstable government and social problems.
Tanzanite displays a quality called plechroism, which means its color changes depending on the viewing angle. The colors range from violet to violet-blue with the most sought after color being pure blue. Tanzanite has a 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Tanzanite is especially sensative to thermal shock so care should be taken when wearing it.
photo credit: wikimedia
November’s Birthstone is Topaz. The colors range from red and orange to pink, yellow and gold, and bright blue . Wearing Topaz will increase friendship, and love and ensure fidelity in the one you love.
Topaz has been thought to have medicinal and healing properties. In some cultures it was thought to cure blindness and stave of death. During the black plague clerics thought you could cure someone by touching the stone to the open sores. To prevent asthma it was sometimes ground into a powder and added to a glass of wine. Topaz is November Birthstone and the traditional gift for the twenty-third anniversary.
Topaz’s colors range from red and orange to peach, pink yellow and gold, and in some cases fluctuate according to temperature changes. Discoveries from Brazil in 18th century were brilliant pinks and reds. These stones were used by the Russian czar’s and became known as Imperial Topaz.
Topaz is found in Mexico, Brazil, Africa and China. Topaz has a rating of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
The Continental Congress voted to approve the a motion for independence in a secret meeting on July 2nd. Over the next two days the worked and revised the text while Thomas Jefferson worked through the night writing the Declaration of independence. On the morning of July 4th at a little after 11 am the Congress voted and adopted on July 4th. Word of the declaration began to spread through Philadelphia and on July 8th printed copies began to circulate in Philadelphia.
The new government of the United States didn’t recognize July 4th until 1781, and it was first known as independence day in 1791. In 1804 the Federal Government recognized July 4th as an unpaid federal holiday.
July 4th History
Independence Day July 4th is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of the United States of America. Since the Declaration of Independence was adopted by congress on July 4 of 1776 it is that day we celebrate.
Richard Lee of Virginia started the Declaration of Independence as a resolution on June 7, 1776. The resolution called for the Continental Congress to declare the United States free from British Rule. A committee led by Thomas Jefferson was appointed to prepare a document to detail the resolution. Jefferson was chosen because he was considered to be the most eloquent writer in the committee. Other famous members of the committee included Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Rodger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. The completed declaration was officially adopted by the Congressional Congress on July 4th of 1776. The first newspaper to print a copy of the declaration of independence was the July 6th edition of the Pennsylvania Evening Post.
On the first anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1775 a celebration was held. People celebrated with friends and families by starting bonfires and then setting off fireworks. Eventually the celebration spread throughout the new nation and began to include parades, processions, games, picnics, and fireworks. In 1941 the congress of the United States declared July 4th as a legal federal holiday. Most businesses and federal offices are closed on July 4th in observance of the holiday. Today over 200 years later people still continue to celebrate with family and friends with picnics, parades, bar-b-ques and fireworks.
The Easter bunny like Santa Claus is a loved mythical children’s figure. How the bunny came to be associated with Easter is a little bit of a mystery. In the pagan festival of Esostre hares were considered sacred. As hares and rabbits are easily confused it is quite likely rabbits and hares were often used in place of one another.
Photo credit: flickr
The origins of Mother’s Day and honoring Mothers began with some of the earliest civilizations of man. One of the earliest celebrations comes from the time of the ancient Greeks. Rhea was the mother of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods. The ancient Greeks paid tribute to her every spring in a festival known as Kronia. Ancient Rome celebrated a festival to Cybele their mother goddess. [Read more…]
The earliest artificial Christmas trees can be traced back to Germany around the 1800’s. The trees were made from feathers, of geese, swans, turkey’s and even ostriches. The feathers were removed and dyed green to look like traditional evergreen trees. In the early 1900’s artificial tress took a leap forward and were made of other man made materials. Some companies even produced artificial novelty trees made form a variety of products. One of the most famous being the Addis brush company’s tree made from toilet bowl brushes.
With the development of plastics in the 1950’s and 1960’s the next generation of artificial trees was born. The tree limbs were made of lightweight aluminum and had plastic needles to simulate pine needles. While many of the early trees look somewhat primitive by today’s standards they were quite revolutionary at the time. Design and improvements in materials science have continued to produce more lifelike and natural looking trees. Today you can artificial trees with a host of other options such as built in lighting, motorized turntable bases and special effects lighting. While some trees are made less than 6 feet in height the vast majority of trees sold today are in the six to eight foot range, however specialty trees exist up to 14 feet in height. Another option is color, while natural green is the most popular color trees also come in white, blue, pink and several other colors.
While most people prefer a real Christmas tree there are some places where an artificial tree is more desirable, such as warm climates, where natural trees would dry and become a fire hazard quickly. Additionally some people prefer the convenience of natural trees, assembly, storage and cleanup.
Photo credit: trekkyandy
The word shamrock is derived from the Irish word ‘seamrog’, which means little clover. Shamrocks, more definitively, are the plant species Trifolium repensa. This plant is a three-leafed white clover that grows primarily in Ireland during the summer season. Shamrocks grow from bulbs and they bloom with a white flower. Shamrocks are classified as weeds, but like the thistle they are beloved weeds that symbolize a nation’s heritage. Shamrocks can be kept as houseplants, but should be trimmed back and stored in a cool dark place periodically because shamrocks need a dormant season to thrive indoors. [Read more…]