June 16 is Bloomsday (also Blooms Day) in Dublin, but it’s not a spring or solstice festival and it has nothing to do with Irish wildflowers.
Irish wildflowers © Jenny Seawright
No, Bloomsday honours Leopold Bloom, who spent a day traipsing through the streets of Dublin on June 16, 1904—in James Joyce’s classic novel Ulysses.
Each year on Bloomsday, Joyce lovers retrace the steps of the fictional characters Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Many old landmarks remain, …Read more
Saint Anthony of Padua
Cities and countries around the world celebrate St. Anthony’s Day, from Lisbon, Portugal to Wilmington, Delaware, not to mention cities in Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and even India!
The Brazilians get the jump on the celebrations by commemorating June 12, the day before his feast, as Día dos Namorados, or Day of the Lovers, a Brazilian Valentine’s Day, in honor of the matchmaker saint.
St. Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal in …Read more
March 25 Happy New Year!
For over six centuries, England celebrated March 25 as the first day of the new year, up until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752.
Being stapled to one solar calendar for so long, it’s hard for us to understand how this is possible. I mean, March 25 isn’t even the first day of the month, let alone the first month of the year.
But remember, for much of antiquity, …Read more
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
The Annunciation, da Vinci, c. 1475
Happy New Year!
Up until 1752, March 25th was the first day of the New Year in much of the English-speaking world. It was also known as Lady …Read more
Las Fallas has been described as a “pyromaniac’s dream” and a cross between “a bawdy Disneyland, the Fourth of July and the end of the world.”
Mascleta, March 2004
So how did the next-best-thing to the Apocalypse come to be celebrated on the feast day of Saint Joseph, adoptive father of Jesus?
Well, though St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated as Father’s Day across Italy, Spain, and Portugal, the Valencians chose to celebrate another calling of …Read more
I’m tired of these @#$%! snakes on these #$%@$! Irish plains! – St. Patrick, 433 AD
When the going gets tough, the tough go green. And the hard times haven’t dimmed the green glow (or watered down the green beer) of St. Patrick’s Day from the Emerald Isle to North America.
For a run-down of the slave-turned-priest who we celebrate today, check out last year’s St. Patrick’s Day post: Green is …Read more
March 17 Everyone knows where the world-famous Saint Patrick is from. Scotland.
That’s right. Patrick was a wee lad by the name of Succat living in Scotland when he was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16 ["Kidnapped by pirates is good!" - Fred Savage, The Princess Bride] and sold as a slave. In Ireland he herded a Celtic chieftain’s sheep for six years, until one day he ran away and traveled 200 miles across Ireland to escaped to …Read more
Second Monday in March March 12, 2012
Here’s a geography quiz:
1. What is the official language of Belize?
2. Whose portrait adorns the Canadian loonie?
3. What comprises 53 countries, covers over a fifth of the world’s land area, and accounts for 2 …Read more