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Hanukkah, or Chanukah, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev, at sundown. Lasting eight days, Hanukkah usually occurs during December, but sometimes begins in November. This Jewish holiday is known as the Festival of Lights, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C. after three years of war. Hanukkah means "dedication."
Jerusalem at the time was part of the Hellenistic empire and was ruled by Antiochus IV. His government instituted a different religion from Judaism. When the Temple became a site of sacrifices and icons, the people resisted, sparking three years of fierce rebellion. The Maccabees led the rebellion and were triumphant in 164 B.C.
Brimming with the fruits of the harvest, the cornucopia has become an important symbol of American Thanksgiving. Its origins go further back in time to the ancient Greeks. According to their myths, young Zeus gave his foster mother Amalthaea a goat's horn that could be filled with whatever she wished.
Everybody knows that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, right? Well, probably not, but it was the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving that gave us our Thanksgiving holiday as we know it today.
The Pilgrims came to the New World looking for a way to worship God as they wished. They were not Puritans. Puritans wanted to change the Church of England to do away with its bishops but keep its ties to the government. The Puritans went on to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Pilgrims at the Plymouth Colony were Separatists.
The purpose of magic has changed since temple priests in ancient times used mechanical devices to make wine pour from statues' mouths and doors open with the sound of thunder. Entertainers in the Middle Ages would try other techniques such as sleight of hand to mystify the crowds as they traveled from city to city.
Gather your family together for an hour or two of face-to-face gaming with a twist: you can make the games yourselves to match your family's interests.
What do nannies, billies, and kids have in common? They're all goats! Nannies are the moms, billies are the dads, and of course, kids are the kids!
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
--Isaac Watts, Against Idleness and Mischief
Do you like honey on your toast? Thank a bee! Actually thank about 100,000 bees. That's how many can live in one hive! "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…" (It would take you about 27 hours of non-stop thanking to thank each bee in one hive.) Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and carrying it back to their hive. They put it in a little wax cell. Then bees fan their wings over the nectar to help the water evaporate from it. When most of the water has evaporated, what's left is honey. They cover the cell with wax to save the honey for later. When a beekeeper's hive has more honey than the bees need to eat, the beekeeper harvests it.
Do you think that Father's Day is another Hallmark holiday, created just to sell greeting cards? Not so! In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd, in Spokane, Washington, was listening to a lecture on Mother's Day, and thinking about her father's incredible accomplishment in raising his six children alone after the death of her mother. Sonora wanted to honor her father in the same way that mothers were already honored, and she worked with local clergy and the YMCA to host its Father's Day celebration on June 19, 1909.