Kicking off the holiday shopping season
The turkey has been devoured, the pie – all but gone, and now it’s time to look towards another holiday – Christmas. With just weeks to go before December 25th, doubtless we all still have much to accomplish. I mean, let’s be honest: have any of us really started our Christmas shopping yet? For the over-achievers who started back at the Labor Day sales, more power to ya. But for those of us who have been busy and put it off, there is still hope. Hope in the form of Black Friday shopping. Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving that begins the holiday shopping season when countless deals can be snagged. But do you know how far back Black Friday’s origins go?
Black Friday as we know it earned its name nearly 60 years ago in Philadelphia. Philadelphia police officers were daunted by the crowds of people visiting family for Thanksgiving, getting started on their Christmas shopping, and attending the Army vs. Navy college football game. Because of the increased traffic, crowding, and even shoplifting brought on by the hoards of people, the police dubbed that Friday after Thanksgiving “black”.
However, Black Friday as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season began largely thanks to Mr. Macy. In the early 20th century, department stores, like Macy’s, were the places to shop. Before shopping malls, they were the one-stop stores to get most of your shopping done. In an attempt to drive more shoppers to his department store for the holiday season, Mr. Macy began his Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. The result has become the Black Friday we are familiar with today.
And that’s a brief look at the history of Black Friday! For a more detailed read, take a look at the sources below.
Have any Black Friday deals that you’ve scored or are looking forward to getting? Comment below!
Source: MoneyCrashers.com , TheBalance.com
Thanksgiving – An American Tradition
Turkey, pumpkin pie, football – for many Americans that just about sums up Thanksgiving. It is the one day each November we set aside to gather with loved ones, reflect on all the blessings in our lives, and eat one slice too many of our favorite pie. But the original Thanksgiving was much different. We all know that it began with the Pilgrims after they sailed on the Mayflower from England to the New World, yet how did it become what it is today?
Since many of those that sailed on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, had strong religious beliefs, a day to give thanks was typically a solemn event. Such a day would be set aside for fasting, prayer, and reflection on the goodness of God. Pilgrims, Puritans, and Native Americans alike each had their own versions of Thanksgiving before it ever became a national holiday.
As far as how we celebrate Thanksgiving today, below is a progressive timeline of the holiday:
- 1621 – What we consider the first Thanksgiving was held as three days of feasting between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags.
- 1777 – The first national Thanksgiving was declared by the Continental Congress.
- 1827 – While each Thanksgiving day was traditionally declared by a President, Sarah Josepha Hale (editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book) lobbied to have it made a national holiday.
- 1863 – Hale’s efforts proved successful when President Lincoln initiated two days of thanks – one in August and another in November.
- 1939 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt finally established Thanksgiving as an annual, nationally-recognized holiday. He scheduled the date for the second-to-last Thursday in November.
- 1941 – Congress pushed the Thanksgiving date to the fourth Thursday in November.
Keeping Up with Tradition
Thanksgiving has come a long way over the centuries. Some years it was celebrated, and some years it was not. Although much of Thanksgiving has changed from the date to the customs, the heart of the holiday has remained the same: reflection and gratitude. This year, don’t stress so much over whether or not you’ll get that Black Friday deal, or if you burned the sweet potato casserole. Be sure to let the people in your life know how much they mean to you and reflect on all the ways God has blessed you. We have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!
Check out this link for an additional 15 Thanksgiving fun facts! Number 9 explains a lot about holiday traffic…*ick*
Sources: Plimouth.org , HuffingtonPost.com
Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – what does that mean? In 1918, it marked the time and date an armistice was signed to end World War I. “A war to end all wars,” as President Woodrow Wilson called this Great War. Today, the 11th day of the 11th month designates the day we honor veterans.
Veteran’s Day (not to be confused with Memorial Day in May) is the day we observe each November to honor those who have served in the U.S. military. Although this important day in our history was first recognized and is currently recognized on November 11th, it wasn’t always upheld on that date. Below is a list of the important dates involving Veteran’s Day:
- November 11, 1918: The signing of the armistice that ended World War I.
- 1938: November 11th legally became Armistice Day.
- June 1, 1954: Armistice Day changed to Veteran’s Day.
- 1968: Veteran’s Day moved from November 11th to the fourth Monday in October.
- September 20, 1975: Veteran’s Day moved back to November 11th.
Because the United States has come through more wars since World War I, November 11th has grown to include all veterans. What started as a celebration of the end of the first World War has become a celebration of all the men and women who have served our country. We must never take for granted the sacrifices others have made for the sake of our safety and freedom. To all veterans, today and everyday, thank you.
Click this link for a list of businesses offering free meals and other deals for veterans this weekend. Thank you again for your service!
Sources: Woodrow Wilson quotes , Military.com , FoxNews.com
A Look at the Origins of Halloween
Trick or treat! No tricks here, just treats of information. Welcome back to Fun Fact Friday! Since Halloween was earlier this week, let us recall the source of this night of spooky specters and candy consumption.
All Hallows Eve began as a Celtic celebration of the end of summer known as Samhain (sow-in). The Celts started this tradition thousands of years ago as a time to remember the dead. They believed that on the night of October 31st those deceased returned to the land of the living. The celebration usually consisted of bonfires, dressing up in animal hides, and predicting one another’s futures. Apart from dressing up in “costumes”, most of the original traditions from this Celtic holiday have evolved or vanished over the centuries.
When immigrants first arrived in America during the 1600s, Halloween went largely unrecognized due to the large Protestant population and their strict convictions. It wasn’t until the 1800s when the potato famine drove many Irish (Celtic) immigrants to the U.S. that Halloween became more nationally observed. As the holiday became more popular, much of its religious and superstitious roots were done away with in an attempt to make Halloween more community and family-friendly.
The early Celtic traditions of dressing in animal hides to ward off evil spirits and leaving food out for visiting ghosts became what we now call trick-or-treating. In the mid-20th century, trick-or-treating revived as a social activity among the community. Children began dressing in costumes and visiting the neighbors for candy and goodies. Now, Halloween is America’s “second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.” I guess people really like candy or something.
Well, there you have it: a brief overview of Halloween and its origins. Did you already know the history? Was there something I left out? Comment below!