21 Forefather's Day Always December 21
Forefather's Day commemorates the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620. They left for the New World, to escape religious persecution. After a late fall start, the Mayflower set sail from England and landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts just before Christmas. This holiday is celebrated largely in New England. If you are not from New England, chances are you this is the first you have heard of Forefather's Day.
The pilgrims originally set sail from England in two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell leaked so badly, that they were forced to return to England; ultimately, they all crammed into the Mayflower, and set sail from Plymouth, England. It was much later than they had planned. Strong fall west winds also delayed their arrival in the New World. Finally, on December 21, 1620 they landed.
Origin of Forefather's Day:
Forefather's Day was first celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1769. A group of descendants gathered to have a feast in honor of the pilgrims. This group shared a meal together, which included many Native American delicacies.
21 The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. (1620)
21 "Snow White" premiered at theaters. (1937)
23 The transistor was invented by U.S. physicists John Bardeen, Walter H. Brittain, and William Shockley. (1947)
24 National Chocolate Day Always December 24
We hope that you haven't quite had your fill of chocolate during the holidays, as today is National Chocolate Day.
As we researched this day, we were a bit perplexed. Most of us have been enjoying chocolate treats all month long. All of the holiday parties have ample supplies for chocolate candies, cookies and other treats. Christmas get-togethers and Christmas stockings have plenty of chocolate. Wherever you go this month, chocolate of some kind has been less than an arms length away.
Equally confusing is the fact that National Chocolate Anything Day occurs earlier in the month. We wonder why there are two practically identical holidays so close together.
Then the answer dawned on us...... Chocoholics! If you count yourself in this group, and we hope you do, then every day should be National Chocolate Day!
Origin of National Chocolate Day: Our extensive search has yet to discover any factual content on this very special day. We have little doubt the candy industry or a confectioner created this chocolaty day.
There was some reference to this as a "National Day". We found no congressional records or presidential proclamation.
24 Christmas Eve - 'Tis December 24, the day before Christmas, and all through the land, families will send excited children to bed with a reading of Clement Moore's classic poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas."
Moore is thought to have composed the tale, now popularly known as "The Night Before Christmas," on December 24, 1822, while traveling home from Greenwich Village, where he had bought a turkey for his family's Christmas dinner.
Inspired by the plump, bearded Dutchman who took him by sleigh on his errand through the snow-covered streets of New York City, Moore penned A Visit from St. Nicholas for the amusement of his six children, with whom he shared the poem that evening. His vision of St. Nicholas draws upon Dutch-American and Norwegian traditions of a magical, gift-giving figure who appears at Christmas time, as well as the German legend of a visitor who enters homes through chimneys.
24 Franz Joseph Gruber composed "Silent Night". (1818)
25 Celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ
Nativity Scene Illumination [detail], photograph of an illuminated manuscript pageTheodor Horydczak, photographer, circa 1920-1950.Washington as It Was, 1923-1959
On December 25, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ. The origins of the holiday are uncertain; by the year 336, however, the Christian church in Rome observed the Feast of the Nativity on December 25. At that time, Christmas coincided with the winter solstice and the Roman Festival of Saturnalia. Today, observations of Christmas incorporate the secular and religious traditions of many cultures, from the ancient Roman practice of decorating homes with evergreens and exchanging gifts at the New Year to the Celtic Yule log.
For Margaret Davis, born in Clarke County, Georgia in 1887, Christmas brought to mind memories of the food and family that filled her parents' home between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. She recalled:
Mama killed turkeys, chickens, and cooked cakes for two weeks…That was the way we spent our Christmas then, eating and dancing, and parties all through the week…There was not so many things for children to get then, as they have now, but we got many nice things.
"Mrs. Margaret Davis,"Grace McCune, interviewer, December 9, 1938.American Life Histories, 1936-1940
Alan Wallace of Brookfield, Massachusetts cherished his mother's tradition of making Christmas gifts by hand. When she was a girl during the Civil War, he recalled, her family "couldn't afford to spend money on anything but food…The habit stuck to her and so, when my brothers and I came along she taught us to do many things that ever since makes Christmas to me." Preparations began, Wallace remembered, when the family went to the seashore for their summer vacation:
Half the fun of going was the finding of shells to take home to make into Christmas presents. We'd pick up the prettiest clam shells and scallop shells, a whole basket full, and then when we got back home, we'd paint them in the evenings—make ash trays, pin trays and—and—oh, yes, paper weights and sometimes door stops…As I look back on it now I realize that some of them were pretty awful but Mother always seemed delighted with our efforts, no matter how feeble they proved to be…To Father and Mother Christmas meant love and love means happiness—doesn't it?
"Alan Wallace,"Louise G. Bassett, interviewer, December 1, 1938.American Life Histories, 1936-1940
Children with Tricycle and Wagon Next to Christmas Tree, circa 1920-1950.Washington as It Was, 1923-1959
· Listen to Christmas music sung in a variety of languages. Search on Christmas in California Gold: Folk Music from the Thirties, 1938-1940.
· Search on Christmas in the following American sheet music collections to find songs appropriate to the season, such as the undated song sheet "Christmas Carol" and "Christmas and New Year Musical Souvenir" (1863):
· Music for the Nation, 1870-1885
· Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
· America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets
· View the film TR calls on neighbors at Christmas, 1917 in the collection Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film.
· The American Memory collections contain a panoply of holiday pleasures, from festive photographs of Christmas cards, to Christmas trees, decorated homes, choirs, nativities, and Santa Claus. To locate more images, search the American Memory photographic collections on Christmas.
St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Altar at Christmas, Washington, D.C., circa 1920-1950Washington as It Was, 1923-1959
· Search the American Life Histories, 1936-1940 collection on Christmas or Christmas Day to find more memories of the season. After retrieving a list of hits, go to any item and use the BEST MATCH link in the page header to jump to the most relevant segment of the piece.Topics range from Christmas in Cuba, described by Miami resident "Mr. Pedro Barrio," to a native Spaniard's perspective on Christmas in Vermont in "From Quarry to Cemetery." "I Have Talked with Grandma Handy" includes recollections of Christmas in South Carolina during the Civil War from the perspective of a white woman who lived through it; in "Ella Lassiter (Life and Songs in Slavery)," a woman born in 1859 describes Christmas on a Georgia plantation.
· Search on the term Christmas in Prairie Settlement, 1862-1912 to learn how the holiday was celebrated by settlers on the Great Plains. Read, for example, Ella E. Oblinger's January 12, 1880 letter to her grandparents in which she tells them about her Christmas gifts, including a "red oil calico dress" and a candy apple.
25 William the Conqueror is crowned the King of England. (1066)
26 James Mason invents the coffee percolator. (1865)
27 Radio City Music Hall in New York City opens. (1932)