Creator, Amber Hood, shares a little history about National Puppy day and you get to meet her pup, Chopper!
Bonne année! Shana Tova! Feliz año nuevo! Felice Anno Nuovo or Buon anno! Happy New Year!
World of Liberty is excited to say hello to 2017 and start January off with a bang! That expression comes from the way several countries ring in the new year. Literally with a bang. The bang of a pan. The bang of a pistol. The bang of a firecracker. Why such
loud noises? Ancient cultures used gunfire and fire power to ward off bad spirits that might hinder their fresh start. It’s thought that the loud noise would scare off the demons or send them on a different route, allowing people to enter the new year free of evil. Gives a whole new meaning to banging pots and pans in the street right? And you just thought it was for fun. You can also try ringing a bell like they do in Italy, beating a drum like they do in Switzerland, or party horns like they do in North America. Whatever you can find to make a loud noise, use it to join in the tradition of centuries ago. Leave the bad behind, and let the goodness and wealth pour in!
Not only do we like to fill the air with noise to celebrate the new year but many countries also have food traditions to help them start the year off right. In Spain, people eat 12 grapes, one for every stroke of the clock at midnight and for good luck in each month of the new year. Armenia has a special bread that has luck and good wishes kneaded into the dough before it’s baked. Talk about made with love. While in Ireland, they throw the bread at the wall to ward off evil spirits rather than eating it. The Swiss also have a funny food tradition where they drop cream or ice cream on the floor to bring good luck in the new year. Other countries believe in eating round foods like doughnuts to signify coming “full circle” and bring good fortune in the new year. There’s so many ways to begin the new year. All in all, it’s about getting rid of any negativity of the previous year and putting your best foot forward. So make some noise and eat up. Try adopting some fun new traditions this year to spice things up in 2017.
One day this month that will surely bring a smile to your face is Winnie the Pooh Day. January 18th is the birthday of A. A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh and his friends, a day in which fans can celebrate their love of Pooh Bear. People all over the world can celebrate this most cuddly of days by putting together a teddy bear picnic and venturing out into a park or nearby woods. A menu of honey, nuts, and fruit would surely settle a rumbly in your tumbly as Pooh might say. Bring your favorite A. A. Milne storybook about the adventures in the 100 Acre Wood and read it with your favorite teddy bear and friends. You can talk about the traits of your favorite characters whether it’s Tigger’s ability to have fun, fun, fun, fun, fun or Eeyore’s constantly disappearing tail. It might even be fun to draw a picture of what your house would look like if you lived in the 100 Acre Wood. Whatever you decide to do remember…
That Winnie the Pooh was a wise bear.
If Winnie the Pooh day didn’t meet your love quota for the month, fear not for Hug Day is here. Mark your calendar for January 21st to get your hug on. Rev. Kevin Zaborney founded National Hug Day in 1986 in Michigan. He chose this day between Christmas and Valentine’s Day as a time when he felt people might need their spirits lifted. Number one rule on
Hug Day, ask before you hug, as not everyone is so inclined to be touchy feely. That’s exactly why this day was created though, Kevin Zaborney felt that Americans needed an opportunity to show their emotions and not keep it all inside as our society tends to do. Hugs have been scientifically known to reduce stress by increasing the hormone oxytocin in your blood. Hugs also lower the risk of depression as well as lower your blood pressure. There are so many benefits that come with such a simple hug. So embrace this day, pun intended. Go hug your parents, your friends, your teachers, your neighbor, if they are ok with the gesture, and spread that love.
There’s no better way to kick off 2017 than with hugs and Winnie the Pooh. This year already sounds like it’s starting off on the right foot. World of Liberty wishes you the best in achieving all of your goals. Let’s make this world a more loving place filled with happy people.
Brrrrrrrrrr! It’s that time of year where it’s frosty outside and toasty inside. There’s cheer in the air and a spirit of sharing at World of Liberty. It seems as though the calendar saved the
best dates for last. We can’t think of a better way to end the year than on a giving note.
Before we get to the biggest holiday of the year, there is another special day that is celebrated across the world. You have all heard of St. Nicholas, right? Well, December 6th is St. Nicholas Day, also known as Feast Day. St. Nicholas is a real person from 4th Century Greece known to help the needy by placing coins in their shoes. His name means “bearer of gifts” and there are several stories about him bestowing gifts to children that are well behaved. When the children knew he was coming they would leave carrots for his donkey in their shoes or boots, and St. Nicholas would leave sweets, fruit, nuts, and coins inside of their shoes in return. Many parts of this worldly tradition are represented in our modern day Christmas celebrations. For instance, this is where the tradition of hanging your stockings originated. This day is meant to remember the kindness and giving nature of Saint Nicholas rather than focus on what you have received, be grateful for what you have been given.
We are very blessed in America, but December 7th reminds us of a day “that will live in infamy.” Can you name the President that spoke those famous words? That would be Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, in response to the surprise attacks from Japan on the naval base at Pearl Harbor inHawaii. Over 350 Japanese fighter planes bombed Pearl Harbor early that morning, upon which America was forced to declare their entrance into World War II. Eight battleships were damaged, 4 sunk, in efforts to expand the Empire of Japan. The USS Arizona was the only battleship unable to be raised and is memorialized forever underwater off the shore of Oahu. You can visit the site of this historic attack and the museum in the USS Missouri. Even though the 7th is not an official federal holiday, we will always remember and honor the thousands of lives lost in the fight that day.
On a lighter note, let’s talk about the Festival of Lights known as Hanukkah. This 8 day long Jewish celebration can start as early as November depending on the Hebrew calendar for that given year. Each day an additional candle is lit on the 9 branched menorah, representing the 8 days and nights the oil burned on what was supposed to be only a day’s worth of oil. This miracle took place after the successful Maccabean revolt and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Truly a miracle to celebrate! Hanukkah is full of tradition such as reciting three blessings before lighting the candles each night. It is also customary to play a game of dreidel after the candles are lit. Playing dreidel represents the games the Jews would play to disguise the fact that they had gathered to read the Torah which has been outlawed back in 2nd century BC. The soldiers would think they were gambling rather than learning. Can you imagine having to hide the fact that you were learning? Take the opportunity to find a dreidel of your own and play at home. You might also want to enjoy foods made in oil such as latkes and doughnuts as they do traditionally. Sounds yummy right? It’s all done to remember the importance of oil all those centuries ago. If you aren’t Jewish yourself, perhaps you can join in the festivities with a friend and experience the wonder that is Hanukkah.
One of the newest holidays in the month of December, full of culture and community, is Kwanzaa. It was first celebrated in 1966 as a specifically African-American holiday that starts on December 26th to January 1st. It was created by Maulana Karenga to honor African heritage. Each of the 7 days of the holiday represent a core principle. Unity, Self-Determination, Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Every day of Kwanzaa you can discuss what these principles mean in your everyday life and their importance. It’s great culmination of food and gift-giving. World of Liberty thinks Kwanzaa is fantastic addition to creating community and enjoying the abundance this season brings.
That brings us to the biggest holiday of the year, Christmas. December 25th is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. They celebrate by attending church on Christmas Eve and enjoying the retelling of the Christmas Story through the display of a nativity. This was the original reason for Christmas over 2000 years ago. Over the years traditions have been added to what we know today as Christmas, which brings us back to St. Nicholas. Remember him? Even though he is celebrated on December 6th in the rest of the world, in America we have celebrate the legend of St. Nick with Santa Clause on the 25th. He is indeed the gift giver as children well know. And just like St. Nicholas, Santa Clause only rewards kids that have been good all year. While St. Nicholas would leave a stick in the shoe of the bad children for their parents to punish them with, Santa Clause is known for leaving a lump of coal to those that are naughty. In the end, it’s all about being kind to one another and being on your best behavior. Instead of focusing on what you will receive this Christmas, try doing something for others. Make an ornament for your best friend. Create a Christmas card for your parents. Go caroling to spread cheer in your neighborhood. There’s so many wonderful ways to celebrate Christmas!
No matter what you believe in, this month is all about celebration with family and friends. So gather together and get festive. Put up a tree and decorate. Light up your home with candles with the help and supervision of an adult of course. Make your favorite food and cookies. And most importantly, share with those around you. There’s nothing quite like seeing your loved ones smile because of something you did for them. Enjoy the rest of 2015 and let there be peace and joy around you this season.
Tis the season to be thankful here at World of Liberty. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, you can just feel a change of spirit among us. To prepare us for the biggest holiday of the year, November brings us a few days that remind us to be thankful. World of Liberty loves how Veterans Day and Thanksgiving seemingly go hand in hand. Thanks to the soldiers that protect our great country, we can gather with our family and friends to celebrate all of the wonderful things we are so blessed to have in our lives.
We ease into the grateful mood with Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, which is always observed on the 11th day of the 11th month for a very cool reason. At 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I was officially declared “over.” That was the original intention behind Veterans Day, to honor the dedication and sacrifice of the living soldiers that fought for our freedom in WWI. But then as more wars were fought, legislation changed this legal holiday’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, so that ALL of the soldiers from ALL of the wars are celebrated for their service to our country. In efforts to bring more recognition to this very significant day, World of Liberty would like to help clear up the confusion people have with Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They are often thought of as the same type of day. However, Memorial Day is to remember those that lost their lives fighting for our country, while Veterans Day is to honor the living soldiers among us that have contributed in times of not only war, but also in times of peace. Here’s a great website that offers ideas to show your appreciation for Veterans on this special day of recognition. Our favorites include writing thank you cards to veterans and asking your teacher to honor them by having a veteran come to class for a visit. We don’t need to wait for November to honor our veterans though, World of Liberty encourages you to do it all year long!
Thanksgiving is another great time to show your gratitude. The “first” Thanksgiving took place in 1621 in celebration of a successful corn harvest. Planting corn was a new skill the Native Americans taught the settlers and the bountiful crop called for a harvest festival that took place over 3 days. Three days of Thanksgiving…that sounds like our kind of party! The menu back in these times wasn’t what we have at our Thanksgiving tables today. No mashed potatoes or green bean casseroles or even delicious pumpkin pie, it was only what they were able to harvest that year. So there was definitely lots of corn dishes and most likely lots of fish since they lived on the New England coast. Probably even some lobster. Yum! The menu wasn’t the only thing different from the traditional Thanksgiving we know and love today. In fact, the 2nd Thanksgiving wasn’t even the following year due to a drought. Actually, Thanksgiving wasn’t just a once a year event, it could happen several times throughout the year depending on how many harvests they had. If they didn’t have a harvest at all they would have to fast, which is probably why when they did have a great harvest, they feasted for days. Remember, they didn’t have refrigerators back then to keep perishable items from rotting. So you had to eat up! Feast or famine as they say. Yet, another thing to be thankful for when you gather with your family and friends this year.
As you know, Thanksgiving is an American
holiday, but the idea of a harvest festival to give thanks for the crops and abundance of blessings is a worldwide notion. Tet Trung Thu, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, is an ancient festival in Vietnam that celebrates the children. The festival was a way for parents to make up for the time they lost with their children while they worked on the crops and produced the harvest. They would have parades for the children to dance and sing in and the kids would carry lanterns of all shapes and sizes such as fish, stars and butterflies. Moon cakes were the treat of choice to be given out during the festivities. You can find these festivals being held across America where the spirit of Vietnamese culture thrives. It might even be something you want to do in your own community. Perhaps this Thanksgiving when you are gathered with your friends and family you can make your own lanterns and parade about singing and dancing. There is so much to celebrate this time of year. Be grateful for this season of plenty and share the goodness with those who need it.
Changing leaves, crisp apples, and pumpkin everything is all around. It’s officially fall… or autumn depending on which you prefer. Fall is the only season with two names, or actually 3 depending on how far back you want to investigate. The original name for this season was “harvest” since the months of the fall season are when the farmers reap all of the crops grown over the summer. “Autumn” is a reference to the autumnal equinox, when the sun shines on the equator for an equal amount of time during the day and night. Then “fall” comes from the idea of the falling leaf which is a typical sign of the season depending on what climate you live in.
Speaking of falling, this month World of Liberty celebrates Columbus Day which honors the discoveries made by the great explorer Christopher Columbus. His brave quest in 1492, upon 3 ships proved that we should not fear falling off the edge of the earth because the world is actually round, not flat. Can you imagine thinking that you would fall off the face of the earth if you sailed too far out into the ocean? Seems silly to us now, but back in 1492 things were a lot different. The whole point of the voyage was to discover the New World. Columbus did find a New World, but it was not India as he originally thought. It was America! Native Americans were the actual founders of America and inhabited the land prior to Christopher’s search. We commemorate October 11th as Columbus Day, also referred to as Discoverer’s Day, in celebration of the discovery and voyage to find the New World and proving the world is round.
United Nations Day also celebrates the world and it’s people on October 24th. Do you feel a theme happening in October? World of Liberty is a big fan of the organization known as the United Nations and their efforts towards world peace and the betterment of humanity ranging from world hunger to the environment and health issues. This year United Nations Day, which is always on the 24th and Make a Difference Day, which is the 4th Saturday of the month, will be one in the same. Make a Difference Day was started back in 1990, and created to encourage people to volunteer in their communities by helping others. So whether it’s helping a neighbor with household chores, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or donating old clothes to the goodwill, get out there and make a difference in your very own community. You can even make it a monthly activity with friends.
Now to reward yourself for making a difference, grab your friends and a pumpkin for Carve a Pumpkin Day which also falls on Halloween, October 31st. The most popular day for pumpkins all over the world. Under the supervision of an adult, carve out a Jack O’ Lantern face of your own design, or trace a pattern onto your orange gourd for a more intricate look, or just go silly with glitter, glue, and markers for the most outlandish porch buddy you can imagine.
In the spirit of traditional Halloween festivities, walk your neighborhood to check out all the other pumpkins while participating in the long time custom of trick or treating. Have you thought of your costume yet? Dressing up is one of the best parts of Halloween. The whole act of wearing a costume stems back thousands of years when the Celtic people believed ghosts roamed the earth on this one night a year. So the townspeople would wear masks and dress up as ghosts and ghouls to fool the spirits. Over time different traditions developed, such as bonfires and parades in which people would beg for treats like pastries and money. Sounds very similar to what we now know as trick or treating right? Well, trick or treating came into existence when Halloween came to America and the immigrants from Europe started their own version of Halloween festivities. As years went by, Halloween lost it’s religious and superstitious overtones and became more about the community and fun. Get your creative juices flowing and craft up a fun costume.
While you’re in the pumpkin spirit don’t forget to check out our 1st app, It’s Raining Pumpkins in Delaware!