In 1981 the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 36/67 declaring an International Day of Peace. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a new resolution 55/282 declaring 21 September of each year as the International Day of Peace. The intention of the resolution is to have the entire world observe a day of peace and nonviolence.
In the Netherlands, Black Peter is Santa's helper who judges which children were bad during the year. Children are told that Black Peter will enter the house through the chimney and leave a bundle of sticks or salt in their shoes instead of candy if they have been bad. Extremely bad children, they are told, will be put into Black Peter's gunny bag and carried off.
Originally in May, All Saint's Day was moved to November 1st by religious leaders in the hopes of overshadowing the Pagan holiday All Hallow's Eve (Halloween). All Saint's Day recognizes and honors all the saints of the Christian church. Historically, this day is referred to as Hallomas.
Saturnalia, or the festival of Saturn, was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of the vintage and harvesting to honor Saturn, the god of agriculture. As part of the festivities, masters served their slaves--an acknowledgment of the equality of rank and lack of class distinctions which existed during the golden age (supposedly ruled over by Saturn). Other observances included the exchanging of gifts, offering of sacrifices, and unrestrained merrymaking.
Established in California by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is a 7-day festival celebrating the African American people, their culture, history, and community. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance and is now celebrated all over the world--especially in the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean. Despite some misconceptions, Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious in nature and is not a substitute for Christmas. Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and continues until New Years Day, January 1st.
The very first Father's Day celebration took place in Spokane, Washington in 1910. A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea while listening to a Mother's Day sermon. Having lost her mother at an early age, Sonora was raised primarily by her father and thought he deserved a day of appreciation. Because her father was born in June, she chose June 19, 1910 to hold the first Father's Day celebration. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made it official, proclaiming the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.
In 1605, Guy Fawkes conspired in the Gunpowder Plot to blow up King James the First and members of both Houses of Parliament. He was caught red-handed in the cellar below the House on November 4, 1605, tortured and executed. Guy Fawkes Day is still celebrated in Britain every year on November 5 with bonfires, fireworks and the burning of the "guy", usually a grotesque effigy.
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year and the creation of the world. It is one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. The Bible refers to this holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday was instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.
The ancient Romans believed that Lemures, or Larvae, vampire-like ghosts of the dead, returned to haunt their living relatives and cause them harm. In order to exorcise these malevolent spirits and banish them from the home, ritual observances called Lemuria were held annually on May 9, 11, and 13. These rituals required the father of every home to rise at midnight, purify his hands, toss black beans for the spirits to gather, and entreat his dead ancestors to return to the spirit world.
Juneteenth Day celebrates and symbolizes the end of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. But, it was not until June 19, 1865, when General George Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with his troops and issued Order Number 3, that all slaves were finally freed.