Friday, November 1, 2013

Holidays for November 1st 2013

All Saints' Day/All Hallows Day

Many churches in the United States celebrate All Saints' Day to honor all the saints, particularly those who do not have their own special feast day, on November 1.

Some eastern churches in the United States celebrated this day on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is also known as All Hallows Tide, All-Hallomas, or All Hallows' Day.

All Saints' Day is celebrated in many areas of the United States, including where there are large Roman Catholic populations. In New Orleans, for example, people gather in local cemeteries and decorated the graves with flowers. The descendants of the French Canadian settlers around St Martinsville, Louisiana, observe this day in the traditional French manner by laying wreaths and bouquets on even the most obscure graves and, as darkness falls, by lighting candles throughout the anticipation of All Souls' Day on November 2.

In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is observed on the first Sunday in November to remember deceased members of the local church congregation. A candle is lit as each person's name is called out, followed by a prayer offered for each soul. Many Latin American communities in the United States hold celebrations around November 1 and 2, linking with All Saints’ Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). These celebrations are part of the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos.

According to some sources, the idea for All Saints' Day goes back to the fourth century when the Greek Christians kept a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June) in honor of all martyrs and saints. Other sources say that a commemoration of “All Martyrs” began to be celebrated as early as 270 CE but no specific month or date is recorded. Pope Gregory IV made All Saints' Day an authorized holiday in 837 CE. It is speculated that the chosen date for the event, November 1, may have been an attempt to supplant the pagan Festival of the Dead (also known as Samhain or the feast of Saman, lord of death).

All Saints' Day, which is celebrated globally, is closely tied with All Souls’ Day, which was first instituted at the monastery in Cluny in 993 CE and quickly spread among Christians. All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are also closely linked with Halloween, which is a shortened for the name “All Hallows' Even”.

National Author's Day

The idea of setting aside a day to celebrate American authors came from Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement (Illinois) Women's Club in 1928. McPherson was a teacher and an avid reader throughout her life. During World War I, when she was recuperating in a hospital, she wrote a fan letter to fiction writer Irving Bacheller, telling him how much she had enjoyed his story, "Eben Holden's Last Day A'Fishin." Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story, and McPherson realized that she could never adequately thank him for his gift. Instead, she showed her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author's Day to the General Federation of Women's Clubs, which passed a resolution setting aside November 1 as a day to honor American writers. In 1949 the day was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Sue Cole, McPherson's granddaughter, was largely responsible for promoting the observance of National Author's Day after her grandmother's death in 1968. She has urged people to write a note to their favorite author on this day to "brighten up the sometimes lonely business of being a writer." Flying the American flag on November 1, according to Mrs. Cole, is another way of showing appreciation for the men and women who have created American literature.

Old Celtic New Year/Feast Of Samhain/Celebration Of All Celtic Saints

November 1 is the Celtic feast of Samhain. Samhain, Gaelic for "summer's end," was the most important of the ancient Celtic feasts.

The Celts honored the opposing balance of intertwining forces of existence: darkness and light, night and day, cold and heat, death and life. The Celtic year was divided into two seasons: the light and the dark, celebrating the light at Beltane on May 1st and the dark at Samhain on November 1st. Therefore, the Feast of Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, since it marked the beginning of a new dark-light cycle. The Celts observed time as proceeding from darkness to light because they understood that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Therefore, the Celtic year began with the season of An Geamhradh, the dark Celtic winter, and ended with Am Foghar, the Celtic harvest. The Celtic day began at dusk, the beginning of the dark and cold night, and ended the following dusk, the end of a day of light and warmth. Since dusk is the beginning of the Celtic day, Samhain begins at dusk on October 31. Samhain marks the beginning of An Geamhradh as well as the New Year.

Whereas Beltane was welcomed in the summer light with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of Samhain was at night. Oidhche Shamhna, the Eve of Samhain, was the most important part of the celebration. Villagers gathered the best of the autumn harvest and slaughtered cattle for the feast. The focus of each village's festivities was a great bonfire. Villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. (Our word bonfire comes from these "bone fires.") Personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing the wishes of supplicants or ailments to be healed were cast into the fire. Many sacrifices and gifts were offered up in thanksgiving for the harvest. With the great bonfire roaring, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the one great common flame, bonding all families of the village together. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, people surely felt a sense of the kindling of new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come.

The gods drew near to Earth at Samhain, as at all the turning points of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that Oidhche Shamhna was a very holy time, when the boundaries between our world and the Otherworld were broken and the dead could return to the places where they had lived. Many rituals of Oidhche Shamhna involved providing hospitality for dead ancestors: Celts put out food and drink for the dead with great ceremony, and left their windows, doors, and gates unlocked to give the dead free passage into their homes. Bobbing for apples, another traditional Samhain pastime, was a reference to the Celtic Emhain Abhlach, "Paradise of Apples," where the dead, having eaten of the sacred fruit, enjoyed a blissful immortality. Swarms of spirits poured into our world on November Eve, but not all of these spirits were friendly. Celts carved the images of spirit-guardians onto turnips and set these "jack o'lanterns" before their doors to keep out unwelcome visitors from the Otherworld.

In the agricultural year, Samhain also marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable and byre. The hay that would feed them during the winter must be stored in sturdy thatched shelters, tied down securely against storms. Those destined for the table were slaughtered, after being ritually devoted to the gods in pagan times. All the harvest must be gathered in -- barley, oats, wheat, turnips, and apples. Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth. It was a joyous time of family reunion, when all members of the household worked together baking, salting meat, and making preserves for the winter feasts to come. The endless horizons of summer gave way to a warm, dim and often smoky room; the symphony of summer sounds was replaced by a counterpoint of voices, young and old, human and animal. Divination of the events of the coming year was another prominent feature of Samhain. Celts used hazelnuts, symbols of wisdom, to foretell the future.

There was also a lighthearted side to the Celtic New Year rituals. Young people would put on strange disguises and roam about the countryside, pretending to be the returning dead or spirits from the Otherworld. Celts thought the break in reality on November Eve not only provided a link between the worlds, but also dissolved the structure of society for the night. Boys and girls would put on each other's clothes, and would generally flout convention by boisterous behavior and by playing tricks on their elders and betters.

For centuries Christian people have commemorated the intercommunion of the living and the dead in the Body of Christ by honoring the dead who had professed faith in Christ during their lives, especially those who had crowned their profession with heroic deaths. Historic documents show the observance of a festival of martyrs as early as the year 270, although no month and date are attached to it. In the 4th century, an observance of this type is noted on the date of May 13th. John Chrysostom, who died in 407, says that a festival of All Saints was observed on the First Sunday after Pentecost in Constantinople at the time of his episcopate. It is believed by many scholars that the commemoration of all the saints on November 1 first originated in Ireland, spread from there to England, and then to the continent of Europe. That it had reached Rome and been adopted there early in the ninth century is attested by a letter written by Pope Gregory IV, urging that such a festival be observed throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year. The night before became popularly known as Halloween, or All Hallows Eve. In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oíche Shamhna, while in Wales it is Nos Calan Gaeaf, the eve of the winter's calend, or first. November 2nd became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who the departed and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven.

Many ancient Celtic customs proved compatible with the new Christian religion. Christianity embraced the Celtic notions of family, community, the bond among all people, and respect for the dead. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry (hodgepodge) of celebrations from October 31st through November 5th, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery.

National Family Literacy Day

National Family Literacy Day is celebrated across the U.S. to showcase the importance of family literacy programs, build awareness and ensure the cycle of learning and progress passes from generation to generation. It promotes literacy and the importance of parent engagement in their child's education.

Congress designated Nov. 1, 1994, as National Family Literacy Day and has continued annually. The national day was inspired by the statistics of 20 to 27 million adults of the American work force in 1994 that lacked basic writing, reading and math skills necessary to perform in any complex job.

According to Love, family literacy is a proven intergenerational approach that improves the literacy, language and life skills of both parents and children. Children's reading scores improve dramatically when their parents are involved in helping them learn how to read.

"Studies show that family, home and community are the major factors in a child's education," said Love. "Reading aloud to children establishes a love of reading and creates a lifelong habit."

In support of National Family Literacy Day, the base library promotes early literacy with two weekly programs that bring parents and children together. They also have phonic kits, educational activity books and picture books families can enjoy and read together.

Give Up Your ‘Should’s Day

Sometimes we expect things that aren't actually necessary, or even desirable, because we think this is how things "should" be. And when asked why things should be this way, we may not have an answer that can be put into words. We may come to realize that this expectation doesn't actually serve us, and holding onto it is making us feel dissatisfied, frustrated, and stressed. This type of "should" holds many people back from enjoying life, in ways that are sometimes subtle, and sometimes glaring.

November 1st is officially "Give Up Your 'Should's Day," and celebrating it as such can bring you some real relief from stress. What does it mean to "give up your 'should's?" It means re-examining your assumptions about how to set your goals, how to judge yourself, and how stressed you want to make yourself feel.

When I was studying to be a counselor, we were told to "stop shoulding all over yourself," and to help clients "stop shoulding all over themselves" as well. Operating under an excessive number of "shoulds"--unexamined standards of behavior and judgement that came from other people and don't really represent our values, or needs, or our goals--is a common cognitive distortion that many people live with. Becoming aware of what expectations are unrealistic to expect from ourselves or others can be freeing. The process of giving up the shoulds is simple, once you become aware that it is necessary.

Today, I'd like to encourage you to begin the process of giving up your shoulds. (Try it even if "today" is NOT November 1st--why should this only be a good idea if it happens to be the exact official day that urges you to take action?) How is this done? One simple and effective strategy is as follows: the next time you find yourself frustrated because things aren't going as you wish they would (for example, someone's not doing what you'd like them to do; your circumstances aren't shaping up as they might), and you feel wronged, take a minute to think:
  • Is this other person really doing something that objectively any human being would know to be wrong?
  • Have you ever found yourself doing something similar? (Be honest.) Are there rational reasons that someone would do something other than what you think they should, without malicious intent?
  • When looking at circumstances that "should" be different--what makes you so sure they should?
  • Are there any advantages to how things actually are?
  • Is there another way to look at things, if you accept that things are okay as they are?
Here's another strategy that works well:
  1. Make a list of things you believe you should do, that perhaps you're not. (Bonus points if these are things you feel you should do, that you are not doing. Extra bonus points if you are feeling stressed because you aren't doing them.) You can start each item with "I should...," and write as many as you feel comfortabel writing.
  2. Now look at each item and write why you should do them. Go with your gut, your first instinctual response. Is it because someone else thinks you should? Is it because you think you won't be good enough if you don't? Or is it because dire consequences will result?
  3. Now evaluate which items seem reasonable to expect from yourself. If dire consequences would result if you don't do something ("I should feed my children dinner each night," for example), it's obviously a reasonable "should." But there may be a long list of "should"s that really aren't as important to maintain as you habitually think they are. Should you maintain a friendship with a difficult person? Should you fit into size two skinny jeans or have washboard abs before you allow yourself to feel good about your appearance? You get the idea. These are the ones to start letting go.
  4. Repeat this exercise, but this time choose "shoulds" that involve other people. Let's give them a break, too.
One final strategy that can help? When you hear yourself "shoulding," change the "should" to "could." Many of your shoulds aren't necessarily bad ideas, but they are not the beat-yourself-up-if-you-don't-do-them mental mandates that we can make them out to be. Give yourself a break, and remember that your "shoulds" are a choice.

Re-examining your shoulds is a way to let go of stress, to let go of thought patterns that cause stress. Here are some other common cognitive distortions you may want to reconsider as well--how many of them are familiar? What "shoulds" can you let go of today?

National Go Cook For Your Pets Day

Our pets bring us so much joy and give some much of themselves shouldn't we give back?

This November 1st show your pets how much you care by focusing on their health and nutrition and cooking for them. You can make a day of meals or a simple treat, whatever you make they are sure to love it!

With all the pet food recalls and tainted food ingredients pet parents are paying more and more attention to what they feed their pets, but with all the information out there it can be hard to know where to start.We are not suggesting that the only way to make sure your animal is well fed is cooking for them everyday, the best diet for you and your pet is best decided by you and your veterinarian, but we want to raise awareness about your pets nutrition.

It can all see daunting at first and that’s how National Cook for Your Pets Day came into being if you start with focusing on your pets nutrition just one day it’ll be better for you both, and of course they will love you all the more for it!

Prime Meridian Day

November is best associated with the Thanksgiving holiday but there are many lesser but fun holidays also celebrated in November. Have you heard of Prime Meridian Day?

November 1st is Prime Meridian Day.

History of the Prime Meridian Holiday:
On November 1st, 1884, delegates from 25 nations met in Washington, D.C. and established time zones for the world with every 15 degrees of longitude equaling one hour.

So how can you celebrate Prime Meridian Day at home or in the classroom?
  • Get out a globe or world map book and find the Prime Meridian. Find out what lines of longitude you are closest too.
  • Extend the learning reviewing your city, state and country with young children. For older children have them name the seven continents.
  • You can find World Atlases for children to peruse at the Charlottesville area J-MR libraries and you can find a free printable world map for labeling that includes the prime meridian from Enchanted Learning.
World Vegan Day

World Vegan Day is an annual event celebrated on 1 November, by vegans around the world. The Day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of The Vegan Society UK to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

Speaking in 2011 Louise said: "We knew the Society had been founded in November 1944, but didn’t know the exact date, so I decided to go for the 1st November. Partly because I liked the idea of this date coinciding with Samhain/Halloween and the Day of the Dead - traditional times for feasting and celebration. Both apt and auspicious"

2013 marks the 69th anniversary of the term 'vegan' (and thus the verbally clarified concept of 'veganism' and of the establishment of The Vegan Society).