One of the most popular Irish traditions is kissing the Blarney Stone. While most people have heard of this tradition, very few know how the tradition began or how one should go about kissing the stone. [Read more…]
On November 25th 2005 at 9am EST Macy’s will hold its annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade starts on 77th street and Central Park West and ends on 7th Avenue and 34th street. The parade can be viewed from different location throughout Manhattan but some of the best spots are 70th street Columbus circle to 65th Street, anywhere on Columbus circle, Broadway between 59th and 38th streets, and 34th street anywhere between Broadway and 7th Avenue.
If you are interested in viewing the parade you should plan on staking out a spot somewhere between 5 and 6am in the morning. Be sure to wear lots of layers and warm clothing as it can quite often be cold. You will be able to purchase bagels, hot chocolate, and coffee from nearby street vendors. If you are viewing from the start of the parade route it will take about 90 minutes to see the entire parade, if you are at the end of the route it will take almost 3 hours to see the whole parade. Television coverage is scheduled to begin at 9 AM. For a sneak peek at some of the balloons as they get blown up visit Central Park near the Museum of Natural History the day before between 3pm and 10pm.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was started in 1924 as a thank you gift to the residents of Manhattan from Macy’s. The first helium balloon appeared in 1929. The first Mickey Mouse Balloon appeared in the parade in 1934. During 1942 through 1944 the parade wasn’t held and all of the balloons were donated to the war effort, as rubber was a rare and valuable commodity at the time. In 1945 the parade returned and was more amazing and spectacular than any of the parades before. This was the first parade to be televised and had over 2 million spectators. !957 marked one of the parades unusual accidents, the Popeye balloon filled with water from a rain shower earlier that morning, during the parade the extra weight caused the balloon to veer off course and bump into a nearby building. The collision caused the water to dump out all over parade bystanders. In 1958 there was a helium shortage so the balloons were suspended from construction cranes and filled with air. In the early 1960’s some of the older and more popular balloons were introduced including underdog, Bullwinkle, snoopy and Kermit the frog. 1969 marked the first year that parade floats were included in the parade. Parade floats are generally built on the chassis of an old school bus. In 1976 the parade was an extravaganza that the country had never seen before. It had a battalion of minuteman to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the United States independence. Earlier that year Macy’s started the Fourth of July fireworks display, a tradition that is carried on till this day. Today over 2.5 million people line the 2 and half mile parade route and another 40 million viewers watch the parade on TV. In addition to the floats and balloons, the parade now has broadways shows, and other popular musical acts performing in the parade. It’s been a long running tradition to end the parade with Santa’s sleigh every year.
The Pilgrims left England in 1620 for the Virginia coast. However do to a storm they were thrown off course and landed in Plymouth. They decided to stay in this new location rather than navigate back to Virginia. Winters in the area proved much harsher than those in Virginia and the settlers were unprepared. They began to construct houses, but not enough were built before the onset of winter, and many pilgrims had to remain on the ship throughout the bitter winter. By the time spring had emerged nearly half of the pilgrims had died do to lack of food, proper housing, and medical conditions.
A Native American named Massasoit from the neighboring Wampanoag tribe visits the Plymouth colony and welcomes the new settlers. He speaks English that he learned from other fishermen who had visited the area. He introduces the tribe to Squanto another Native American who speaks English, and the chief of the Wampanoag tribe Chief Massasoit. The Chief welcomes the new settlers, they exchange gifts and a treaty of friendship is made.
In 1621 the Mayflower sails back to England and all of the Pilgrims stay in the new land. The Wampanoag teach the colonists about hunting fishing and farming the land. Later in the year Massasoit and Squanto are captured by another Native American Tribe the Narraganset. The pilgrims send a rescue party and are able to retrieve Squanto and Massasoit.
In the fall of 1621 the colonists have their first harvest. To celebrate Governor William Bradford decides to celebrate and give thanks with a three day feast. The 52 colonists and 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe take part in the celebration. This was the first Thanksgiving celebration.
Photo credit: wikipedia
The history is rooted in Norse Mythology. The god balder had a recurring dream of his own death and became very depressed. This caused his mother Frigga to worry about her son. As a solution she went around to each item on the Earth and made them swear never to harm her son Balder. They all agreed except for the mistletoe plant. Being a small and insignificant plant she wasn’t worried, and her son was relieved and happy again. With his new found invincibility the other gods playing a game throwing objects at Balder who was unable to be harmed by them. The chief protagonist of Norse mythology, Loki learned of Balder’s weakness for mistletoe and began to construct a magical spear made from the plant. He then tricked Baldar’s brother into hurling the spear at him and killing him. His dream had come true and his mother wept tears of white berries. To bring her son back to life she vowed that she would kiss anyone who stood
Since ancient times the First Day of Spring has been an important day. It marks a change in temperatures and is also known as the vernal equinox. In the northern hemisphere, it is the emergence from the darkness of winter. For the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true and marks a time to begin preparation for rest. [Read more…]
Breweries have been an integral part of the culture of many countries for centuries. The following are a series of 17 of the oldest breweries in the world.
St. James Gate Brewery
Located in Ireland and established in 1759, the Guinness factory consists of the main western entryway to the city of Dublin that was used in the middle ages. They are world renown for their most famous beer, Guinness. Arthur Guinness, in 1759, signed a lease for 9000 years with the price being 45 pounds each year.
Established in 1040, the Weihenstephan brewery located in Weihenstephan, Germany is considered to be the oldest breweries in the entire world. It received its license in 1040 but its historical lineage can be traced back to 768 when there is documentation stating that a hop garden was located on the area.
Bolton has been in existence since 1266 although its modern existence began in the year 1753 when a man named Peter Bolten leased the location.
Also located in Germany, Weltenburg has been making beer for practically a millennium. The original abbey was established in 620 leading to some debate that this may be the oldest brewery in the world.
Established in Austria in the year 1454, Hubertus became less popular after WWI and the loss of the war. Regardless, wonderful beer is still brewed in this location.
Brewery in Stiegl, Austria
In 1492, Stiegl was established as one of the oldest in Austria. The most famous of its brews are Hefeweizen and light lager.
Established in 1478, Warka is the most famous of all breweries in Poland and has recently received extensive renovations.
St. Francis Abbey
The land, which once belonged to a Franciscan Abbey that had brewed ale since the 14th century, was purchased by John Smithwick in 1710 and went on to be the birthplace of the famous brew, Smithwick’s. This beer is owned by the same parent company as Guinness.
Samuel Smith Brewery
Originally established in England in 1758, it was later purchased in 1852 by Samuel Smith for his son, John. It was was named after one of the descendants of the family who was named Samuel as well.
Although it is often confused with the American beer, Budvar is an older beer that was named for Budweis, the city in the Czech Republic in which the Budvar brewery is situated and was established in 1785. This beer is the reason why the American company, Budweiser, is not able to be Budweiser this except in the U.S.
Established in England in the year 1777 by William Bass, Bass is well known for Red Triangle beer.
The oldest brewery in North America is Molson’s in Canada. It is the second oldest Canadian company and is still managed by the Molson family. It remains in its original location where it was established in 1786. Molson’s has recently been well known for its Coors brew.
Established in 1784 as Lithuania’s oldest beer maker, Svyturys has spent considerable time as a part of Germany.
Sinebrychoff was founded by Nikolai Sinebrychoff, a Russian immigrant to Finland, and is believed to be the oldest in Northern Europe. Sinebrychoff is also responsible for the bottling of several popular soft drinks such as Coca-Cola for the country of Finland.
Cascade, which is the oldest in Australia, was founded in 1824 by the English Peter Degraves. Although it is considered a part of Australia, it’s located on Tasmania and operates malting with local grown barley.
Zatec, which was constructed in the year 1800, is believed by some to be in existence in one way or another since 1004. Evidence exists that shows that the location was paying beer taxes as long ago as the 11th century.
D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery
The oldest American brewery in the United States was established in the year 1829 and is known as D.G. Yuengling & Son. They are well known for Yuengling, its traditional lager. The brewing company is still managed, operated, and owned by the Yuenglings family with the current owner being Richard L. Yuengling.
Brewing has been an integral national and cultural tradition that has been respected and appreciated for centuries upon centuries. Great beers can be found throughout the world. Beer has been, continues to be, and will be an essential part of people’s lives for centuries to come.
Photo credit: Mikelo
Hardness is the measure of one structure hardness against another. French mineralologist proposed a relative scale to measure one substances ability to scratch another’s. The lower the number the softer the material, the higher the number harder the material. [Read more…]
Easter Island was named by Admiral Rogeveen who ‘discovered it’ in 1722. Its people and language are called Rapa Nui and they know the island as ‘te Pito o te Henua’ or the navel of the world. Easter Island has been an archeological mystery ever since it was first discovered. The island is covered with giant monolithic stone statues known as Moai. Much like the pyramids of ancient Egypt modern scholars are uncertain how the primitive people were able to construct, transport and erect the giant statues with limited technology. Many scientists have tried to re-enact erecting the statues, but none have met with success. To this day the moai remain and enigmatic unsolved mystery
Easter, unlike Christmas is a movable holiday. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical moon after the vernal equinox. There are some differences between a full moon and an ecclesiastical moon. Generally these two fall on the same day, but this was not the case in 1876. When pope Gregory the XIII standardized the calendar in 1582 the primary reason was to get Easter back in synchronization with the calendar (10 days in October had to be entirely skipped). According to Butchers algorithm Easter can fall between March 22nd and April 25th
Irish beers, stouts, and ales offer up excellence in a bottle. The richness of the flavors satisfies the palate. Ranging in strength from light to powerful, both overtones and undertones of coffee, caramel, and chocolate make these drinks a wonderful gourmet experience. Of course, some are better than others. The following is a guide to various Irish beverages. [Read more…]