Tag Archives: Memorial Day

May, for many a month for mothers and many celebrations

At least the sun is showing it warmer rays and embraces us like mothers do. In several countries the month of May is the month where mothers are honoured. In several Catholic countries or regions the 15th of August is mothers day. (In our family the 15th of August was always that special day for coming together with the whole family honouring the mother who spent so much energy of her life in taking care of the next generation.)

In Dutch there  is the saying: “In mei leggen alle vogels een ei”, “in May all birds lay an egg” pointing out to the season where good thoughts and many new adventures get their start.

English: Brocken Spectre from the summit of Me...

Brocken Spectre from the summit of Meall an Fhudair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Walpurgisnacht or Heksennacht or Hexennacht (literally “Witches’ Night“) the night of 30 April,when the people in Northern Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Estonia) remember how the witches came together at the Brocken spectre the highest peak in the Harz Mountains (3,747 ft or 1,142 m high), a range of wooded hills in north central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe. The Brocken spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown on to a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken.

In Germany the holiday is celebrated by dressing in costumes, playing pranks on people, and creating loud noises meant to keep evil at bay (You can compare it with Halloween). Many people also hang blessed sprigs of foliage from houses and barns to ward off evil spirits, or they leave pieces of bread spread with butter and honey, called ankenschnitt, as offerings for phantom hounds.

In Catholic countries many of those traditions are taken into the church rituals and people put ‘palm’ (buxus cuttings) around the house to protect their belongings.

People at a Vappu picnic in Kaivopuisto in 2008

In Finland Walpurgis Night and May Day are effectively merged into a single celebration that is usually referred to as Vappu and that is among the country’s four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). It is the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. Initially, Walpurgis Night was celebrated by the Finnish upper class. Then, in the late 19th century, students (particularly engineering students) took up its celebration.  Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni (who are thus traditionally assumed to be university bound), wear a cap. One tradition is to drink alcoholic beverages, particularly sparkling wine or  sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked funnel cakes

Children dancing around a maypole as part of a May Day celebration in Welwyn, England

Walpurgis Night bonfire in Sweden

In many regions it is a special month to celebrate the gods and to invoke their goodness.
May Day on May 1 is such an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday. After having looked at the witches and having hold ‘revels with the devil’, people now turn to their masters and gods of nature. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called “Easter fires” (Osterfeuer).

In several villages the goddess of the flowers and of the renewal of nature is celebrated and Maypole dancing is part of the “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” or “Month of Three Milkings“. Also known as Ashtoria Day in northern parts of rural Cumbria people hope for nice weather to have a celebration of unity and female bonding.

In several places where there is water a Flower Boat Ritual is hold, like in Kingsand, Cawsand and Millbrook in Cornwall.

In Edinburgh, the Beltane Fire Festival is held on the evening of May eve and into the early hours of May Day on the city’s Calton Hill. An older Edinburgh tradition has it that young women who climb Arthur’s Seat and wash their faces in the morning dew will have lifelong beauty.

GentseFloralien_fleurmagazine.be2This year the Floralia Gent show or the 35th edition of Floralies took place from 22 April to 1 May 2016, in the Arts Quarter of Ghent (Citadelpark, Sint-Pietersplein, Leopoldskazerne and Bijlokesite) where flowers and plants intertwined with prestigious landmarks in the city.

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In the capital of Belgium it will be in the Summer that a carpet of 75m x 24 m brings 1,800 m2 of begonias, or around 300 cut flowers per m2! Every other summer, on the weekend of August 15th, the Flower Carpet offers a chance to stroll across the Grand-Place, a jewel of Gothic architecture, to inhale the fragrant scent of the begonias and admire its details. This extraordinary spectacle is made complete by a visit to the balcony of the Town Hall, which offers a wide-angle view of the work. A musical theme is especially composed for each edition. A concert is given on the Grand-Place every evening and accompanies a magnificent sound-and-light show. A hundred volunteers assemble the carpet in 4 hours. The first Flower Carpet of Brussels was created in 1971 and has been a showstopper every two years on the Grand-Place since 1986.

De socialistische bewegingen trekken door de straten. - Foto Rutger LievensVakbond ABVV | ActiesFor atheists or those who did not believe in gods the day, being a holiday was taken to come together to talk about our society and how work and family-time had to go together.  Labourers and the working classes are put in the picture that day. The date was chosen for International Workers’ Day by the Second International, a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties, to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. { Foner, Philip S. (1986). May Day: A Short History of the International Workers’ Holiday, 1886–1986. New York: International Publishers. pp. 41–43. ISBN 0-7178-0624-3.}

Various socialist and communist organisations hold parades in different cities on that day to react to what is going wrong in the country and for telling the politicians what is really needed for the people.

eerlijker is beter

After the 1st of May, labour day, when no labour is done for most of the people, they soon could find themselves either in a full week free (half term holiday or bank holiday) or could face a long free weekend starting with the 4th or Vetran Day or with the 5th of May (for Catholics the feast of Jesus bing taken up in the skies), in several countries the special “Cinco de Mayo“,  the Mexican army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, followed by the May 8 “Mother’s Day” and on the 15th of May for many “Pentecost” followed by Pentecost Monday. In several countries one or the other day of the month is also taken to remember the war days and as such we had yesterday and today Remembrance and Veteran days plus on May 21 “Armed Forces Day” followed by May 30 for many countries another “Memorial Day”

In the Chinese Zodiac, 2016 is the year of the Monkey (Yang Water) whilst for the Native American Zodiac the 5th and 8th of May, 2016 shall fall under the Beaver.

Hope all you moms had fun today!

Moms to look at! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On that mother’s day, people can remember the birth of Harry S. Truman (US President), David Attenborough (British broadcaster), Sonny Liston (Boxer) and Enrique Iglesias (Singer). By that day of mothers, from the writing of this article, 345,600 seconds will have passed between now and the 8th of May, the earth having travelled approximately 178,329,600 miles through space whilst perhaps 4,147 meteors shall have entered the earth’s atmosphere.

We all have a special connection with our mother, she being the one who brought us unto this life. We can never never outgrow her and no one shall ever be able to deny the roots of that special person who is responsible that we are. It is to that person we should be grateful for what we are today. Your mother made you. Thanks to her you got an education, got to know things about yourself and those around you.

Often it are also those mothers who take care that there is plenty of food on such festivals as mentioned above. Mostly it are they who make the best of a special day by providing the best of food.

In a way every day of the year should be a mother’s day.
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Preceding articles: All things seem possible in May

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Further reading

  1. Floraliën Gent don’t miss out
  2. Floralies Ghent
  3. Anniversary: 20th Flower Carpet! An ephemeral show on the world’s most beautiful central square
  4. Celebrating the Netherland’s King’s Birthday.
  5. Best of days: 2016 May 8
  6. April Writing & Reading Goals Check (May Goals)
  7. Hello May
  8. 1 May: Blind, Unknowing, Zealous Jenny
  9. How Do You Set Your Goals?
  10. Monthly Goals
  11. May Goals. 1
  12. May Goals 2
  13. May Goals 3
  14. May Goals 4
  15. May 2016 Goals! 5
  16. May 2016 Goals 6
  17. May Goals 7
  18. May Savings with Georgine
  19. Mother’s Day Sentiments
  20. When Your Friend Is Grieving On Mother’s Day
  21. My mother is strong, fierce—and fragile
  22. Mom
  23. Before It Is Too Late
  24. 12 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts (that she’ll actually like)
  25. Mothers’ May – 5/4/16
  26. Writing Prompt Wednesday
  27. Mother’s Day Card 2016
  28. Clear the List: May 2016
  29. Change of Plans
  30. June Goals

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A war with an end

Remember

  • soldiers who have served and fallen, especially those who served in World War One.
  • Veterans Day began as a peace celebration on November 11, 1918, with the end of the pitiless conflict known as World War One.
  • signing of a multinational peace agreement, or Armistice, triggered massive spontaneous jubilees in many places worldwide.  In Europe, the States, Canada, even New Zealand and Australia, vast crowds gathered in the ceremonial centers of cities to cheer the end of a struggle that had cost the warring nations many millions of lives.
  • Once US had entered the war: Over a million men were mobilized >  By the end of the war, 18 months later, American forces had suffered some 320,000 casualties, the majority being wounded, with tens of thousands being lost to death and disease.
  • Being at war demanded something from all society, taxing the economy to its limits and requiring sacrifice on the part of civilians, as the signs around the Philadelphia square suggest.

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  • US Pays Annual Tribute to Military Veterans (voanews.com)
    A free concert in Washington broadcast around the world capped off the Veterans Day celebration in the United States.

    Hundreds of thousands came out for the first-ever Concert for Valor, featuring such superstars as Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Eminem.

    The concert was aimed at raising awareness of the problems American servicemen and servicewomen face when they return home and leave the military.

    One disabled Vietnam War veteran said the show marked the first time he’d ever felt honored for his service.

    The show climaxed a day of events across the country saluting U.S. veterans of all wars.

  • A Huge Collection Of Photographs From World War One (youviewed.com)
    Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge.
    See all 89 pictures at American Heroes
  • In Flanders Fields and Other Poems of Remembrance Day (teleread.com)
    The poppy has become a symbol of remembrance in Canada, and most schoolchildren have the poem memorized by the time they finish primary school.

    I was interested to note that when I spent the year in New Zealand—a fellow Commonwealth country—many moons ago for graduate school, they had a different poem for their Remembrance Day services. “For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon was their standard.

  • Is There a Better Way To Observe Veterans Day? (defenseone.com)
    This year’s Veterans Day is particularly significant, accompanying not just the centenary of World War I, but also the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. It is also the first U.S. military holiday since the Obama administration launched a new offensive, however limited, against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Such circumstances would seem to call for contemplation of the costs and consequences of conflict. And yet, as on every Veterans Day, many Americans will do little or nothing to commemorate the occasion.
  • Is There a Better Way to Observe Veterans Day? (theatlantic.com)
    In the United Kingdom and Canada, people customarily wear a red poppy—a nod to the poppies that dotted the battlefields of the First World War—on their jacket lapel or blouse on Armistice Day in tribute to those who have died in military service. In a nationwide survey of adults by Viewsbank, a U.K. consumer-research firm, more than 80 percent of respondents said that they planned to wear the poppy this year. In Canada, more than half of the population usually wears the poppy, according to the Royal Canadian Legion. The U.K. and Canada also observe a two-minute moment of silence at 11 a.m. on November 11 (as with Veterans Day in the U.S., the British and Canadian holidays mark the World War I armistice of November 11, 1918)—a practice that workplaces and schools follow across both countries. In Russia, many people observe a minute of silence on May 9 (Russia’s Victory Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe) as it is broadcast on television and radio stations, according to Natalia Moroz of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Washington, D.C. Israelis observe moments of silence on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust remembrance day) and Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), with drivers going so far as to pull over to the side of the road and stand at attention as sirens sound across the country.
  • Veterans Day is one confusing holiday (stripes.com)
    yes, it is a holiday — unlike some of those quasi-holiday observances we sometimes confuse with the real deal, such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween. Veterans Day is a federal holiday. However, it is not a holiday that everybody takes.
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    Now, what is the correct way to write this holiday? Is it

    A. Veteran’s Day
    B. Veterans’ Day
    C. Veterans Day

    The correct answer is C. Veterans Day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explains that if the word were to have an apostrophe it would imply the day belongs to a single veteran (Veteran’s) or all veterans (Veterans’). But the holiday is not possessed by anybody. It is a holiday to honor veterans — therefore it is plural (Veterans).

  • Armistice Day (phylor.wordpress.com)
    Before WWII, most nations had renamed the day. In 1931, the United States made November 11th All Veterans Day, then shortened to Veterans Day.

    It is a day to remember veterans; those who have served and continue to serve their country. At 11:00 am, many nations observe a minute or two of silence in honour.
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  • Meaning of Veterans Day (onenewspage.us)
    The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War i when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words: veteran’s give up a 3 lot to serve our country — how do they feel about our celebration of veteran’s day? how has america’s treatment of veteran’s changed over the YEARS?Veterans have been treated very differently depending on the way in which they fought.For example — after the Vietnam War, veterans were treated very badly, since public opinion of the war was so low.

American Inquiry

Massive crowds gathered around a replica of the Statue of Liberty near Philadelphia's city hall to celebrate news of the Armistice, November 11, 1918.
On this day, many nations pause to remember their war dead, the soldiers who have served and fallen, especially those who served in World War One.

What the US celebrates as Veterans Day began as a peace celebration on November 11, 1918, with the end of the pitiless conflict known as World War One.  The announcement that the war had ended with the signing of a multinational peace agreement, or Armistice, triggered massive spontaneous jubilees in many places worldwide.  In Europe, the States, Canada, even New Zealand and Australia, vast crowds gathered in the ceremonial centers of cities to cheer the end of a struggle that had cost the warring nations many millions of lives.

This marvelous photograph shows Philadelphians celebrating the word of peace that day.  Horrible as the war was, the photograph conveys a feeling of pride, even as it commemorates a sort of war unfamiliar to…

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