Archive for November, 2013
When is Wright Brothers Day?
Wright Brothers Day is held every December 17th to celebrate the aviation achievements of Orville and Wilbur Wright. This is also the same day in 1903 when the Wright Brothers made aviation history with their famous 12-second flight that would change the world.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were brothers who both had aspirations in aircraft. December 17, 1903 proved to be their lucky day. On this date, the brothers launched “Flyer,” a mechanical propeller plane, for a total of 12 seconds. Flyer also managed to stay in flight for about 120 feet. This historic event occurred in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Part of the success of this flight was the Wright brothers’ use of aircraft controllers. While they weren’t the first Americans to test planes, the Wright Brothers are the first to be credited with this type of success in aviation.
The first Wright Brothers Day was established on December 17, 1963. Since then, the United States continues to observe the historic flight that occurred over a century ago. While not regarded as a public holiday, celebrations are held in numerous ways in both government and private sectors.
Celebrations in Flight
Wright Brothers Day encompasses the American pioneering spirit. With this mood in mind, the President of the United States makes a Proclamation every December 17th to commemorate this holiday. It is a speech that not only alludes to the story and success of Orville and Wilbur Wright, but the President also officially proclaims the day to be Wright Brothers Day.
The spirit of Wright Brothers Day is extended to public schools, where teachers prepare special lessons about aviation. Public celebrations also take place in the brothers’ hometown of Dayton, Ohio. A 60-foot national memorial currently stands in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, which is near the area of the famous flight. While the memorial is open to visitors any time of the year, attendance is particularly high on Wright Brothers Day. Other celebrators choose to visit aviation museums, as well as air shows that often take place during the holiday.
Facts and Controversies
While the Wright brothers made significant contributions to aviation, these achievements are often overshadowed by critics who think that Orville and Wilbur Wright get too much credit. They weren’t technically the first to test out aircraft, so stating that they were the “first in flight” often angers critics. However, the Wright brothers were the first to invent and successfully use navigation steering, which paved the way to modern aircraft.
The Wright brothers are often included in National Aviation Day celebrations because of their contributions to modern-day aviation. In fact, National Aviation Day is held every August 19th to coincide with Orville Wright’s birthday. Still, the two holidays are not the same. Some people who celebrate National Aviation Day focus on the Wright brothers, which often adds fuel to controversies. There’s no disputing, however, the fact that the brothers’ contributions to flight navigations changed aviation as we know it today.
By: Kristeen Cherney
When is World Day for Slavery Abolition?
World Day for Slavery Abolition is observed every December 2nd to promote awareness and action against slavery worldwide. Better known as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, this is a United Nations holiday that is noted around the globe.
Worldwide Slavery Facts
In the United States, slavery that stemmed from the infamous transatlantic trade was officially abolished during the Civil War. However, forced labor isn’t the only type of slavery, nor is it just a problem in a few countries. Slavery is a worldwide problem that comes in numerous forms, including human trafficking, forced prostitution, body organ trades and forced marriages. . All of these types of slavery occur worldwide, even in developed and “free” countries.
Among the worst types of slavery are those that involve children. Child sex trades are a horrific worldwide problem, as well as armies who force children to fight in wars. Nearly half of all slaves are children.
History of the Holiday
World Day for Slavery Abolition was first established in 1985. The United Nations chose December 2nd because it was the same date that the General Assembly adopted a resolution for the “Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others” back in 1949. Throughout the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, the holiday was known as World Day for Slavery Abolition. In the late 1990s, the United Nations chose to refer to the day as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Awareness and Action
At its core, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is a human rights holiday. The United Nations takes the opportunity to raise awareness of slavery and all of its forms every December 2nd in an effort to promote action against these human rights violations. Every year the Secretary-General makes a speech about the importance of slavery abolition as well as the significance of global efforts to stop it.
World Day for Slavery Abolition is a different type of holiday in that it isn’t celebrated in the traditional sense. Instead, the holiday is more of an opportunity to raise awareness and promote action. Individual countries take home messages from the United Nations about the world slave trade, as well as solutions to help stop it. Public schools often teach special lessons to students about the history of slavery. Non-profit groups help call attention to the problems of modern-day slavery. More importantly, much work is done to help the public identify possible victims and perpetrators of the slave trade to help stop it in its tracks.
When is Feast of the Immaculate Conception?
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Christian holiday celebrated every December 8th. Observed primarily in Catholic churches, the holiday upholds the belief that Jesus was conceived without sin by the Virgin Mary. The types of celebrations vary by region, as well as various sects within Christianity.
According to Christian scripture, Jesus was conceived by the Virgin Mary. It is often referred to as an “Immaculate Conception.” However, there was much debate about the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth throughout the history of Christianity. Some questioned whether the circumstances, as well as whether Mary was born without original sin.
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX cleared up the controversies through his Ineffabilis Deus. Through this written piece of work, Pope Pius IX declared that Mary was not born through original sin, and that God would not have chosen her to be the mother of Jesus of this wasn’t the case. Since then, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has become an important holiday for many Christians across the globe.
Types of Celebrations
The most common way people celebrate this holiday is by attending special church events and masses. This is particularly the case in Catholic churches. Preachers and priests prepare special sermons about the importance of the Virgin Mary, and to uphold the idea of Immaculate Conception.
Some households may also hold individual celebrations for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This can be in the form of an extended family get-together, a large family prayer, or a special dinner. Such celebrations are more common in Catholic families. Symbols of the Virgin Mary are prevalent during this holiday, primarily in the form of paintings of her with stars above her head. Another important symbol of the holiday is the Our Lady of Camarin statue, which was found in Guam during the 1700s.
Extent of Celebrations
The extent of the celebrations often varies by region. In the continental United States, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception isn’t considered a public holiday because of secularism in the country. If December 8th falls on a weekday, government employees still go to work, and students to still go public school. Some Catholic schools don’t have classes that day, but may instead require church attendance.
Guam, a territory of the United States, is an exception. Here the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a public holiday. This is partly due to the finding of the Our Lady of Camarin statue over three centuries ago. While the holiday has been challenged in the past, most citizens of Guam strongly support the extent of celebrations surrounding the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In Guam, the holiday is more commonly referred to as Our Lady of Camarin Day.
Some countries outside of the United States regard the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as a public holiday. These include heavy Catholic countries, such as Spain, Argentina and Peru. It is also a public holiday in Vatican City, the world’s Catholic center in Rome, Italy.
When is Epiphany?
Epiphany is one of the oldest holidays in Christianity. It is celebrated every year on January 6th, and it commemorates the visit to Jesus by the Three Wise Men shortly after his birth. Epiphany is older than Christmas, but ties into the holiday season in the Christian church. The types of celebrations vary based on faith, family customs and region.
History of Epiphany
Epiphany marks the day when the Three Wise Men made their journey to Bethlehem to see Jesus, the newborn king. According to the Holy Bible, the men followed a star to the stable where Jesus was born. This is often regarded as a sign from God. Each of the men brought a gift for Jesus: frankincense, gold and myrrh. Epiphany is also the day in which Christians believe that Jesus was baptized.
This is considered one of the holiest of holidays, which was identified early on in the history of Christianity – less than two centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, Christian scholars believe that Epiphany was celebrated well before Christmas Day, the latter of which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Epiphany is also the old holiday that celebrates the nativity.
Celebrations and Customs
The types of celebrations also vary between Eastern and Western Christians. The Eastern Orthodox Church primarily commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River around Epiphany. In Western sects of Christianity, such as Catholicism and Protestantism, the journey of the Three Wise Men is the center of celebrations.
All churches have special services on or around Epiphany. If the holiday doesn’t fall on the traditional day of Mass, then a church may decide to hold its celebrations on the date closest to January 6th. Other churches may have sermons on both days. The focus on the service is on Jesus’ birth, with variations based on Eastern and Western beliefs.
Celebrations of Epiphany also vary by family. Many Christian households conduct special prayers on January 6th, while others cook a feast in celebration of the sacred holiday. To some Christians, Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas holiday season. This is why many families choose to take down their Christmas decorations on or around January 6th. Another traditional custom is the reenactment of baptism ceremonies.
The star that guided the Three Wise Men to Jesus’ place of birth in Bethlehem is the most important symbol of Epiphany. Replicas are placed in churches as well as Christian homes. Some families also commemorate Epiphany by replicating the three types of gifts given to Jesus by the Three Wise Men.
Extent of Celebrations
Epiphany is not considered a government or public holiday in many countries. This is especially the case in western countries like the United States, where secularism is upheld. In such cases, workers typically don’t take the day off. However, the holiday is more commonplace in deeply religious nations such as Peru, Russia and Spain. Some businesses and schools close so that citizens may have the opportunity to participate in Epiphany customs and celebrations.