Holiday

Father’s Day 2010 Is Centennial: How Did Holiday Start?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 18, 2010   View Article

As Father’s Day hits its centennial on June 20, 2010, sons and daughters around the world are expected to open their wallets wider—slightly—in celebration. Because of the slowly recovering global economy, people are expected to spend about 4 percent more than in 2009 on cards, ties, tools, clothes, and other Father’s Day gifts.

But the first Father’s Day, a hundred years ago, was decidedly humbler, and refreshingly noncommercial.

How the ancients celebrated the solstice

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: June 18, 2010   View Article

At sunrise on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year – the summer solstice– thousands of modern-day druids, pagans and partiers gather in the countryside near Salisbury, England, to cheer as the first rays of light stream over a circular arrangement of stones called Stonehenge. The original purpose of the ancient monument remains a source of academic debate. The large stones erected about 4,000 years ago are aligned with the summer solstice sunrise, leading scholars to suggest a link to an ancient sun-worshipping culture. Click the “Next” arrow above to learn about seven more ways ancient cultures marked the solstices – the longest and shortest days of the year.

The business of Mother’s Day

Publication: MSN/SwitchYard Media   Date: May 2, 2010   View Article

As holiday spending goes, only Christmas eclipses Mother’s Day.

The second Sunday of May — May 9 this year — is a big day not only for America’s 83 million moms, but also for sellers of things that smell nice, look pretty, taste yummy or feel good. All told, the run-up to Mother’s Day 2010 is expected to bring in $14.6 billion in U.S. sales, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation. (Preliminary U.S. sales figures for last year’s Christmas season totaled $446.8 billion.)

It’s estimated that sons and daughters will shell out an average of $126.90 each on the mother figures in their lives. Most — 83% — will focus their shopping on their moms or stepmoms, though wives, daughters, grandmothers and sisters make many lists as well.

Earth Day at 40: How it Began, Where It’s Going

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 22, 2010   View Article

From grassroots beginnings in 1970, Earth Day—which celebrates its 40th anniversary today—has blossomed into a global tradition.

Organizers expect more than a billion to honor Earth Day in 2010—but many will do so with Facebook rather than megaphones.

As part of the Billion Acts of Green, an initiative organized by the Washington, D.C.-based Earth Day Network’s Green Generation campaign, more than 30 million people will use social media to encourage green activities. One commenter on the Earth Day Network Web site named “Elroy,” for example, plans to “shower with a friend”—presumably to conserve water and electricity.

St. Patrick’s Day 2010: Irish Shamrock Shortage and More

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 17, 2010   View Article

Today, St. Patrick’s Day 2010, millions of people will don green and celebrate the Irish with parades, good cheer, and perhaps a pint of beer. But pinning a shamrock to your lapel in 2010 may require a heaping helping of the luck of the Irish.

Find out why shamrocks are in short supply, what St. Patrick really did, and more in our no-blarney roundup of St. Patrick’s Day facts.

7 ghoulish archaeological discoveries

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 30, 2009   View Article

Remember the haunted house in grade school where your hand was guided into a bowlful of “brains”? Those skinned grapes have nothing on what happened to Rachel Cubitt of the York Archaeological Trust in England.

Statue of Liberty Facts: July 4th Reopening and More

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 2, 2009   View Article

This Fourth of July visitors will once again be free to visit the Statue of Liberty’s crown for the first time since 9/11.

The New York City landmark’s upper reaches are set to reopen after being closed for safety reasons after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The move follows the reopening of Liberty Island in late 2001 and of the statue in 2004.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach