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Upcoming Holidays and Events

Washington, D.C., April 17, 2019 – The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), announced the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month theme: “Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation.” The theme invites to reflect on Hispanic American’s service and contributions to the history of the United States.

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On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event.

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Christmas Culture and Traditions in U.S.

Many people in the United States celebrate Christmas Day on December 25. The day celebrates Jesus Christ’s birth. It is often combined with customs from pre-Christian winter celebrations. Many people erect Christmas trees, decorate their homes, visit family or friends and exchange gifts.

The U.S. has numerous different traditions and methods people in celebrate Christmas, due to the multi-cultural nature. Many customs act like ones within the U.K., France, Italy, Holland, Poland and Mexico.
The standard meal for European families is turkey or ham with cranberry sauce. Families from Eastern European origins favour turkey with trimmings, keilbasi (a Polish sausage), cabbage dishes, and soups; plus some Italian families prefer lasagne!
Some Americans use pop-corn threaded on string to assist decorate their Christmas Tree!
In Colonial (the American States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Nh and Maine), you will find shops called ‘Christmas Shops’ that only sell Holiday decorations and toys all of the year round!
As Christianity is among the major religions within the world, Christmas culture and traditions is spreading all around the world and it is interesting to see how Christmas is well known all around the world diversely.

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What is the origin of the first Thanksgiving?

In the fall of 1620, a group of 102 men, women and children—now referred to as the Pilgrims—left Plymouth, England aboard the Mayflower and set sail for the New World to find religious freedom.
After 66 days at sea, they finally landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. They had a rough first winter living aboard the ship as they had no other shelter—they lost half their passengers to the elements, as well as to scurvy and other contagious diseases.
In spring of 1621, the Pilgrims were able to move ashore to start establishing a settlement. Soon after moving to land, they were surprisingly greeted in English by two Indians, one a member of the Abenaki tribe and Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe. Squanto had been previously taken into slavery to England where he learned the language, but was able to escape and make his way back to America.
Squanto played a pivotal role in the Pilgrim’s survival. He taught them how to grow corn, extract sap from maple trees, fish in nearby rivers and streams, and pick safe plants to eat. Squanto also helped the Pilgrims nurture a relationship with the Wampanoag tribe—an alliance that lasted more than 50 years.
By the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, or Plymouth colonists, and the Wampanoag Indians were celebrating their fruitful harvest. They shared a three-day feast, offering thanks for the successful growing season—a festival that is now remembered as the “first Thanksgiving.”
A feast of thanksgiving was celebrated off and on for two centuries until finally in 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a federal holiday on the last Thursday of November
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Why Celebrate Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is celebrated to pay tribute to the Veterans (living Military Servicemen) of the country who have contributed their selfless services for the country without any fear or greed for the betterment and welfare of the country. Thus it is the moment to acknowledge and honor these brave military soldiers for their immense contribution on the war field.

Veterans Day also pays tribute and prays for the late Veterans who lost, sacrificed their lives in the war fields.  Thus, on this great occasion, best wishes, prayers, and charities to the disabled veterans are offered.

Veterans Day History
Veterans Day comprises of a long lasting History which was originated as “Armistice Day” on 11th November 1919. The History of Veterans Day denotes that on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the month of 1918, an armistice between the two nations allied and Germany took place. It was in the year 1921, during the World War I period American Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Also similarly an unknown American Soldiers were buried in England at Westminster Abbey and at France at the Arc de Triomphe. November 11th, the day was commemorated with the end of the “war to end all wars”.

Congress in the year 1926 came into a resolution to officially declare November 11 as the “Armistice Day”. It was soon in the year 1938; the day was announced as a National Holiday. During the same era, the Second World War erupted in the European continent.
The end of the World War II and the Korean War, Raymond Weeks organized “National Veterans Day”. The day which was earlier known as the Armistice Day was renowned as the Veterans Day. During the Second World War, the US armed forces experience the largest mobilization in the history with more than 16 million from all branches of services. Also, more than 5.7 million American Soldiers served in Korea. It was the glorious moment when in the year 1954, the 83rd United States Congress amended the 1938 declaration of Armistice Day a holiday, thereby changing it to Veterans Day with President D. Eisenhower signing it into legislation on 1st June 1954. Thus November 11, became the US Veterans Day, a National Holiday to honor and respect the American Veterans.

 

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Halloween is a secular holiday combining traditional harvest festival celebrations with customs more peculiar to the occasion such as costume wearing, trick-or-treating, pranksterism and decorative imagery based on the changing of the seasons, death, and the supernatural.

What does the name “Halloween” mean?
The name Halloween (originally spelled Hallowe’en) is a contraction of All Hallows Even,meaning the day before All Hallows Day (better known today as All Saints Day), a Catholic holiday commemorating Christian saints and martyrs observed since the early Middle Ages on November 1.

Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows
by Jack Santino
Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.
The festival observed then was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead could mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons—all part of the dark and dread.
Samhain became the Halloween when Christian missionaries attempted to change the practices of the Celtic people. In an effort to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. The Christian feast of All Saints was assigned to November 1st. The day honored every Christian saint, especially those that did not otherwise have a special day devoted to them. This feast day was meant to substitute for Samhain, to draw the devotion of the Celtic peoples, and, finally, to replace it forever. That did not happen.
Samhain, with its emphasis on the supernatural, was decidedly pagan. As representatives of the rival religion, Druids were considered evil worshippers of devilish or demonic gods and spirits. The Celtic underworld inevitably became identified with the Christian Hell.
The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the new, more abstract Catholic feast honoring saints. Subsequently, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe’en–an ancient Celtic, and up to the present day Halloween.

In old England cakes were made for the wandering souls, and people went “a’ soulin'” for these “soul cakes.” Soul cakes were traditionally baked as a gift for the spirits of the dead. In many European countries, the idea of “Souling” became an acceptable alternative for Christians:
A soul cake, a soul cake
Please, good missus, a soul cake
One for Peter, two for Paul
And three for Him that made us all

Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. Halloween also retains some features that harken back to the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as the customs of bobbing for apples and carving vegetables.
Today Halloween is becoming once again an adult holiday or masquerade, like Mardi Gras. Men and women in every disguise imaginable are taking to the streets of big American cities and parading past grinningly carved, candlelit jack o ‘lanterns, re- enacting customs with a lengthy pedigree. Their masked antics challenge, mock, tease, and appease the dread forces of the night, of the soul, and of the otherworld that becomes our world on this night of reversible possibilities, inverted roles, and transcendency. In so doing, they are reaffirming death and its place as a part of life in an exhilarating celebration of a holy and magic evening.
September 1982; updated 2009

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Each year, the United States honors the contributions that Latinos have made to our country with a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration that runs from September 15 to October 15. This annual month long celebration began years ago, but its inception stretches back farther. Congress first passed a resolution to celebrate Hispanic heritage at the national level as a weeklong event on September 17, 1968. Nearly 20 years later, on August 17, 1988, President Ronald Reagan stretched the celebrations to a month, from September 15 to October 15.

Artwork by Guy Arceneaux/CRS
National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. September 15 was chosen as the start date in order to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile observe their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
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On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the Unites States. They hijacked four airplanes in mid-flight. The terrorists flew two of the planes into two skyscrapers at the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact caused the buildings to catch fire and collapse. Another plane destroyed part of the Pentagon (the U.S. military headquarters) in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Officials believe that the terrorists on that plane intended to destroy either the White House or the U.S. Capitol. Passengers on the plane fought the terrorists and prevented them from reaching their goal. In all, nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

How did America respond to 9/11?
In October 2001, the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda was based. The extreme Islamic group that ran Afghanistan’s government, known as the Taliban, was protecting Bin Laden and allowing Al Qaeda to run training camps in the country. U.S.-led forces soon brought down the Taliban. They are are still working to help rebuild and stabilize the nation. Since 2001, many Al Qaeda members have been captured or killed. On May 1, 2011, U.S. troops killed Bin Laden where he was hiding in Pakistan.

How did America change after 9/11?
Following 9/11, the U.S. government took many steps to try to make the country safer. It tightened security at airports and in public buildings. A new cabinet-level department—the Department of Homeland Security—was created. It works to protect the United States from terrorism.
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Friday, September 1st, 2017 is Labor Day, in the U.S.  The holiday will be celebrated by families around the country with picnics, barbecues, road trips, and sports events.  It is the last blast of the summer vacation season.  Labor Day now is a federal holiday and most Government offices, schools, and, businesses are closed.  

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“I Have a Dream” Speech  – MLK

August 28, 1963
I Have a Dream” is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who also spoke that day as the President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, “Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations.”

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4th of July

U.S. Independance Day

The Fourth of July is also called Independence Day. It is a federal holiday. Schools, banks, post offices, and government offices are closed on the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July is our most important national holiday because it celebrates the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence announced America’s independence from Britain. It was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence.

 

National Moment of Remembrance –The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

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Spring is the season of new beginnings. Fresh buds bloom, animals awaken and the earth seems to come to life again. Farmers and gardeners plant their seeds and temperatures slowly rise. The timing of these changes varies depending upon location.
What most people call spring relies on the astronomical definition of the word. Spring is generally considered the period between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Defined by the angle of Earth’s tilt toward the sun, astronomical spring relies on equinoxes and solstices to define it.
Equinoxes are special days during the year when day and night are almost equal. There are two equinoxes, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring, or vernal, equinox occurs around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere and around September 22 in the Southern Hemisphere.

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May your blessings outnumber

The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
–An Irish Toast
 
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th, the traditional religious feast day of St. Patrick and the day he is believed to have died in 460 A.D.  The Irish have observed this religious holiday for thousands of years.

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International Women’s Day is March 8.  It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

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Mardi Gras
in New Orleans
The great city at the mouth of the Mississippi is one of the most colorful, most cosmopolitan and most European of American cities. New Orleans prides itself on its French heritage, and the historic center of the city is known as the French Quarter, and the city is famous across the U.S. for its restaurants and its “Mardi Gras” celebrations. ________________________________________

BLACK HISTORY MONTH–  FEBRUARY                     

Established as Negro History Week in the 1920s by Carter G. Woodson, February was chosen for the celebration because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in this month. Extended to a month-long celebration in 1976, Black History Month is an opportunity to emphasize the history and achievements of African Americans.

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VALENTINES DAY!

The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD.

Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought it made bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.

Every year on February 14th, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by many couples.  Here are some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day that you might not know!

  1. The average American man spends a little over $100 on their girlfriend or wife on Valentine’s Day. They spend most of that money on buying chocolate, flowers, or a nice evening out at dinner or a movie.
  2. People are increasingly buying Valentine’s Day presents for their pets! Americans spent about $700 million on presents for their pets on Valentine’s Day in 2015. About 3 per cent of pet owners buy presents for their pets each year.
  3. People send a total of about 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards ever year. The only holiday where people send more cards is Christmas.

Overlooking the reflecting pool from the Linclon memorial that hot Wednesday in August 1963, Martin Luther King spoke to a crowd of 200,000 and announced to the world he had a dream. The audience, part of a demonstration that descended on Washington demanding voting rights, economic opportunity and an end to segregation, was filled with optimism that the world would abandon discrimination and finally live in harmony.



 

 


CHRISTMAS – Many people in the United States celebrate Christmas Day on December 25. The day celebrates Jesus Christ’s birth. Many people erect Christmas trees, decorate their homes, visit family or friends and exchangslider_christmase gifts.

Christmas in the Caribbean is a magical time.  Christmas traditio924387_tn_shadowns include non-stop celebrations with friends and family. The music of the season reflects local culture, so it’s not surprising to hear Salsa or other Christmas tunes along with the popular music of the season!   “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano, is one of those fun songs to sing and enjoy.  No matter where you spend Christmas, you’ll be treated to images of Santa, Nativity scenes, and messages of joy and goodwill to all!

christmas-celebration

Other celebrations, such as Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, take place during the month of December.worldcelebrationsdec

 

 





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Thanksgiving d89395aec3e22cc6fbb2fd6fca13d16e2016!  CELI took part in the Celebration!

Celebrated annually in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November, the holiday of Thanksgiving was first observed in 1621 and continues to be an American tradition today. Thanksgiving means many things to different people but for most, the holiday of Thanksgiving is synonymous with festive mealsfirst-macy-s-thanksgiving-day-parade_cb2bab2e68ec0a5a, parades, football, family and friends, and, of course, turkey. For many, it’s also about spending time together, catching up and enjoying one anothers company. The Thanksgiving holiday is a reminder to give thanks for the good things, people and providential events in our lives.

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