Happy Thanksgiving

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe

History

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times.[1] The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day.

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”, including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden. Now called Oktober Feesten, Leiden’s autumn thanksgiving celebration in 1617 was the occasion for sectarian disturbance that appears to have accelerated the pilgrims’ plans to emigrate to America.[11] In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned the colony’s thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.

In modern times the President of the United States, in addition to issuing a proclamation, will “pardon” a turkey, which spares the bird’s life and ensures that it will spend the duration of its life roaming freely on farmland.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

Daylight Savings Ends

Daylight saving time (DST) or summer time is the practice of advancing clocks during summer months by one hour so that in the evening daylight is experienced an hour longer, while sacrificing normal sunrise times. Typically, regions with summer time adjust clocks forward one hour close to the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn to standard time.

New Zealander George Hudson proposed the modern idea of daylight saving 1895.
 Germany and Austria-Hungary organized the first nationwide implementation, starting on 30 April 1916. Many countries have used it at various times since then, particularly since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

The practice has received both advocacy and criticism. Putting clocks forward benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but can cause problems for evening entertainment and for other activities tied to sunlight, such as farming. Although some early proponents of DST aimed to reduce evening use of incandescent lighting, which used to be a primary use of electricity,  modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly and research about how DST affects energy use is limited or contradictory.

Happy Halloween

Halloween, or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween,  All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.

According BBC Online, it is “widely believed” that many Halloween traditions originated from the ancient Celticharvest festival Samhain, and that this Gaelic observance was Christianized by the early Church. Samhain and other such festivals may have also had pagan roots. Some, however, support the view that Halloween began independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.

Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfiresapple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, colcannonpotato pancakes and soul cakes

Columbus Day

First Landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World; painting by Dióscoro Puebla (1862)

Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’s voyage since the colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.

Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries in the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘ arrival and Discovery of America, which happened on October 12, 1492. The landing is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race”) in many countries in Latin America and as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain, where it is also the religious festivity of La Virgen del Pilar. It is also celebrated as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colomboor Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy and in the Little Italys around the world. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century and officially in various countries since the early 20th century.

Equifax: More Fallout

‘The company failed at the one thing it absolutely must be good at. It failed in appalling and disastrous fashion.’

‘Should the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and any other governmental agency wipe Equifax from the earth? Maybe.

At this point, I think it depends on how Equifax handles this, and early returns are that the company is screwing up its response to the data breach just as much as it screwed up by exposing people’s data in the first place.

First off, the company found out about the breach in late July, but didn’t tell people about it until September 7 – more than a month after the breach was discovered.

But as Bloomberg reported Thursday evening, three of the company’s executives dumped their stock in the mean time.’

Read the rest HERE

Equifax reveals huge data breach 

Equifax, which supplies credit information and other information services, said Thursday that a data breach could have potentially affected 143 million consumers in the United States.

The population of the U.S. was about 324 million as of Jan. 1, 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which means the Equifax incident affects a huge portion of the United States.

Equifax said it discovered the breach on July 29. “Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files,” the company said.

Read the rest HERE

Labor Day

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.