Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from September 15 to October 15, is an annual tribute to the history, cultural contributions and continuing vibrant presence of Hispanic-Americans, those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Formerly known as Hispanic Heritage Week, the celebration was initiated under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 and expanded to a 30-day event by President Reagan in 1988.
The Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the English speaking world, has brought recognition and vastly expanded readership to novelists for over fifty years. The Prize is open to works by writers of any nationality, written in English and published either in the United Kingdom or Ireland.
Baseball is back! Unlike last summer, fans of the national pastime once again fill the stands while scarfing down hot dogs and cheering themselves hoarse. Have you wondered why baseball is referred to as the national pastime? It comes in a distant third to football and basketball in television ratings, yet, ratings aside, the game remains the national pastime because it resonates more deeply in America’s heart than any other sport, inciting fierce passions and loyalties that span generations.
August can be a challenge. If you love summer, you dread losing those lingering hours of sunlight and relaxed routines. Fans of fall, however, find the 31 day month an endless slog and long for the renewed surge of energy inspired by cooler temps and riotous colors. August is also an interesting month historically. The month was named after Augustus Caesar, first emperor of the Roman Empire and grand-nephew of Julius Caesar.
Welcome to the Dog Days, the time of year synonymous with the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” The name conjures images of dappled dogs dozing in the sun but have you ever wondered where the term originated and what it actually means? The “Dog Days,” which officially begin on July 3 and end on August 11, coincide with Sirius, the Dog Star, rising and setting with the sun. Known as the Dog Star because it is part of the constellation Canis Major, Latin for “Greater Dog,” Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky.
Did you know that the seventh month of the year is notable for celebrations of freedom and independence? July 1 is Canada Day, which celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada; July 4 is American Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress and announcing the colonies' separation from Great Britain; and July 14 is Bastille Day, the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.
June is Audiobook Month, a celebration created by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) to acknowledge the significant role of audiobooks not only in the lives of busy people needing to multitask but also as an indispensable tool for the vision impaired and to advance literacy.
The Fourth of July, aka Independence Day, is surely the most iconic of all the American holidays. The official birthday of the United States has long been celebrated with fireworks and family gatherings but the day did not officially become a federal holiday until 1941. A bit of background: on July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.” Tim Russert
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month was established by the Federal Government nearly three decades ago to commemorate the many contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders to the history and culture of the United States. The month of May was specifically chosen because it coincides with two historic events for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. On May 7, 1843, a fourteen year old boy named Manjiro was the first Japanese immigrant to arrive in the United States.
Mother’s Day is upon us again and, thankfully, this year’s celebration finds us in a happier place than in 2020. With tentative steps we can now reach out to each other for hugs and limited family gatherings, a reality that would make Anna M. Jarvis, founder of the special day, very proud. Following the death of her mother in 1905, Philadelphia resident, Anna M.
April is National Poetry Month
Women’s History Month, which occurs every year in March, celebrates the extraordinary contributions of women to American history and culture. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month and each year a special Presidential Proclamation is issued in honor of the national celebration. The theme for 2021 National Women’s History Month captures the spirit of these challenging times.