Category Archives: Holiday Lore

International Day of Peace 2017

Peace Now

Peace Now holiday greeting card. Click for more info.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The first official observance of the day was in September 1982.

The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”

The theme honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. TOGETHER unites the organizations of the United Nations System, the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants. It was initiated during the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.

“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.”

This year, the International Day of Peace will focus on engaging and mobilizing people throughout the world to show support for refugees and migrants. Its messages will be shared with communities hosting refugees and migrants as well as people concerned that refugees and migrants may bring physical and economic insecurity to their lives.

The Day will highlight solidarity with refugees and migrants and showcase the shared benefits of migration to economies and nations, while also acknowledging legitimate concerns of host communities. Ultimately, it will be about bringing people together and reminding them of their common humanity.


Sign up now…receive-news-3

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Happy Summer Solstice! — Eratosthenes’ Inspiration

Seasonal changes are such a delight to the senses. The summer solstice marks longer days, if you live in the northern hemisphere, and ushers in fragrant blooming plants, delicious summer fruit, and adventures with friends and family. But the summer solstice also shares an anniversary of a scientific achievement. Here’s an excerpt from “Summer solstice: the perfect day to bask in a dazzling scientific feat” by Stuart Clark posted on The Guardian: Continue reading

World Environment Day — June 5th

Image from our Call of the Wild 2018 wall calendar featuring photography by Chris Burkard. Click image for more info.

World Environment Day is a chance to reconnect with nature and celebrate the places that matter most to you.

How will you celebrate World Environment Day? Here’s some wonderful information from the UN website about this international celebration and the 2017 theme: Continue reading

National Bike Month — Bike to Work

Bicycle Bliss 2017 wall calendar

Images from our Bicycle Bliss 2017 wall calendar. Top to bottom credits: Russ Roca, Stephen St. John, Jef Maion

To me the bicycle is in many ways a more satisfactory invention than the automobile. It is consonant with the independence of man because it works under his own power entirely. — Louis J. Halle, Jr.

Our hometown of Portland, Oregon, is a wonderfully bike-friendly town, so the celebration of National Bike Month is a big deal here. The Bike More Challenge is among the tons of activities around town this year. As of today, the Bike More Challenge has 902 organizations and 13,225 people registered to see who can log the most miles for the month!

The League of American Bicyclists originated Bike to Work Day (3rd Friday in May) as part of Bike to Work Week in 1956. Here’s more from their website:

National Bike Month includes an ever-expanding diversity of events in communities nationwide — but the biggest day of the month is Bike to Work Day. In 2017, Bike to Work Week will be May 15-19, with Bike to Work Day on May 19.

40% of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent.

Hundreds of American communities have been successful in increasing bicycle commuting by providing Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day events.

In fact, among the 51 largest U.S. cities, 43 hosted Bike to Work Day events in 2010. The City of Denver reported the highest rate of participation with one out of every 28 adults participating in its 2010 Bike to Work event. That effort makes a difference: Many people who participate in their Bike to Work Day promotion as first-time commuters become regular bike commuters.

But Bike Month is more than one day — or week! From fashion shows to group rides, local groups find unique ways to celebrate their diverse bike cultures and community pride.

We hope you join in the fun by searching for events in your area or even just by dusting off your bike and going for a joy ride. #ridemore Continue reading

Beltane — The Dance of Spring

Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth.

Ceilidh – The Dance
Excerpt by Jen Delyth from the Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar — Within ancient and modern spiritual traditions, dance is a metaphor for life, an ancient choreography moving with the rhythm of the earth to the music of the cosmos. Within Celtic tradition, the Ceilidh is a gathering to celebrate music, storytelling, and dance. The long winter nights are passed to the music of the fiddle, the whistle, and the beat of the bodhran drum. Traditional Celtic dances weave intricate patterns of circles, spirals, and squares in arrangements of threes and fours – a dynamic expression of the eternal knot. In ritual dances such as the annual Beltane Maypole dance, men and women weave ribbons in ancient spiral patterns around the sacred tree to raise and manifest the fertile earth energies. Morris dancers continue the tradition of shaman dances. They wear antler headdresses and costumes of red and white representing the colors of the Otherworld. Their clogs, sticks, and bells stamp out rhythms in circular and square patterns in celebration of the ancient Horned God of fertility and strength. The Lord of the Dance is one of the oldest gods of the natural world. Within the Christian religion, he is still honored as the force at the center of our spiritual and metaphysical lives. Continue reading

Arbor Day — A Time for Celebration and Action

Wanderlust 2017 wall calendar

Image from our Wanderlust 2017 wall calendar featuring photography by Chris Burkard.

Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees. — Karle Wilson Baker

On April 28, communities across the country will to come together to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. What is the origin of this celebration for this natural wonder?

Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), one of the earliest American conservationists, settled on the treeless plains of Nebraska in 1855, where he edited the Nebraska City News and developed a lifelong interest in new agricultural methods. Believing that the prairie needed more trees to serve as windbreaks, to hold moisture in the soil, and to provide lumber for housing, Morton began planting trees and urged his neighbors to do the same. On April 10, 1872, when he first proposed that a specific day be set aside for the planting of trees, the response was overwhelming: a million trees were planted in Nebraska on that day alone. Continue reading

Happy Pi Day

Pi Day Pie by Jo Harrington

Photo by Jo Harrington | @jojoromancer on Instagram

March 14 is a celebration of pi. Not pie 🙂 Although many make and enjoy pie to celebrate the number pi. Yum.

Here’s some fun tidbits from CNN:

• Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It’s not equal to the ratio of any two whole numbers, so an approximation – 22/7 – is used in many calculations.

• Pi is essential in architecture and construction and was used frequently by early astronomers.

• Pi has been known for about 4,000 years, but it started to be called by the Greek letter only in the 1700s.

• There are no occurrences of the sequence 123456 in the first million digits of pi.

• The true “randomness” of pi’s digits – 3.14 and so on – has never been proven.

• Pi Day started 28 years ago at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Physicist Larry Shaw, who worked in the electronics group at the museum, started celebrating pi on March 14, 1988, primarily with museum staffers. The tradition has grown to embrace math enthusiasts from all walks of life. For more about Pi Day, visit www.piday.org.

• To 31 decimal places, the celebrated irrational number that never ends is 3.1415926535897932384626433832795. If you want to appreciate what it looks like to 10 thousand digits, click here.

• March 14 also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday.


Sign up now…receive-news-3

Women’s History Month — International Women’s Day

Women of Myth and Magic

Image from our Women of Myth & Magic 2017 wall calendar featuring artwork by Kinuko Y. Craft.

In 1987 Congress declared March National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special presidential proclamation is issued every year to honor the extraordinary achievements of American women.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is (March 8). Not only is this commemorative day one of the most widely observed holidays of recent origin, but it is unusual in that it began in the United States and was adopted by many other countries, including the former U.S.S.R. and the People’s Republic of China. This holiday has its roots in the March 8, 1857, revolt of American women in New York City, protesting conditions in the textile and garment industries, although it wasn’t proclaimed a holiday until 1910. Continue reading