Happy National Macaroon Day or Macaron Day. Either way they are both delicious. Macaroons are delicious coconut confections. Dipped in choc they are magnificent. Macarons on the other hand are French and made from meringue. They are light, delicate and have amazing flavors such as lavender and rose. They are a wonder. 🥰Either way you can’t go wrong. Grab yourself a cup of tea and a celebratory bit of heavenly confection.
National Mint Julep Day is celebrated every year on May 30th. This southern classic is the traditional drink of The Kentucky Derby where almost 120,000 are served in two days. The classic drink is made with mint leaf, bourbon, sugar and water. Grab a tall cool drink and set yourself down in the shade and imbibe. What a nice way to spend an afternoon or evening on the porch.
Try this yummy Mint Julep recipe from The Chunky Chef
Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, is a multi-day Jewish holiday that began as a harvest festival celebrating the end of the barley harvest (spring) and the beginning of the wheat harvest (summer). It also holds religious significance as being the time God gave the people of Israel the gift of the Torah.
Dates for celebrating this holiday vary as it is observed on the 6th - 7th of the month of Sivan in the Jewish year. In 2020, Jewish Year 5781, Shavuot begins at sunset on May 28 and ends at nightfall on May 30.
As with other Jewish holidays, this is a time when work is prohibited (days of rest) in order to put one's attention and emphasis on what is being celebrated. Jewish people attend synagogue services that focus on special readings and study the Torah. The practice of studying the Torah all night is called Tikkun Leil Shavuot, something many do during this time.
On the first and second evenings of Shavuot, women and girls light holiday candles. Synagogues and homes are decorated with flowers and sweet smelling plants to honor the holiday. The typical greeting for Shavuot is "Chag Sameach" which means happy holiday or happy festival.
Special meals for the celebration of Shavuot center around dairy. Milk is a symbol of the Torah - a nourishment of the people. Foods may include casseroles, quiche, blintzes, and cheesecake. Find Shavuot recipes HERE.
An official U.S. federal holiday since 1971, Memorial Day is more commemorative than festive. For instance, it is not really appropriate to wish someone a "Happy Memorial Day" because of the solemn nature of the holiday. Still, many people do say that, not in defiance, but because there is also a sense of celebration associated with the day. Towns hold parades to commemorate the observance, groups and families plan picnics, and military gravesites are decorated with small American flags.
Many people confuse Memorial Day with Veteran's Day as being a time to thank military personnel and veterans for their service. While thanking those who serve our country is always a good thing to do, the primary focus on Memorial Day is to honor the men, women, and animals who died while actively serving in the U.S. military.
The American Civil War resulted in the most casualties of any U.S. conflict in history and was the catalyst for the establishment of the first military, or national, cemeteries. Americans in both the north and south would honor their fallen soldiers by decorating their graves and saying prayers. As a result, Decoration Day was officially established in 1868 by Union General John A. Logan specifically for this practice of remembrance. This expanded and evolved with subsequent wars to include all soldiers since who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.
May 30th was selected as the commemorative day, although it took some time for the northern and southern states to celebrate Decoration Day on the same date, but eventually they did. It remained set until the US Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing Memorial Day as being observed on the last Monday in May in order to give federal employees a three-day weekend. That law also decreed "Memorial Day" a federal holiday.
Remembering the Animals
Animals have long played a strong role in the military and those who lost their lives while in service are also included as Memorial Day honorees. Statues honoring war dogs are becoming more common in various cities, and there are a growing number of stories about military working dogs. Other animals that have served in our military throughout the years are horses, mules, cats, bats, bees, dolphins, sea lions, and birds. Countless human lives have been saved because of the work these animals did and continue to do.
How to Observe the Holiday
Because the coronavirus pandemic is still very active, many parades and celebrations involving crowds of people have been cancelled for 2020. If you do go out to an event or to visit a cemetery, please take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Here are some things that you can do to observe Memorial Day from home:
- Fly an American flag. Large or small. If you are able, the flag should be flown at half-staff.
- Attend a Memorial Day religious service virtually. Many churches are offering services via zoom or google. Check with your church for information.
- Participate in a "National Moment of Remembrance" at 3 PM local time to reflect on the meaning of the day and those who served.
- Visit the National Mall online for links to virtual wreath laying ceremonies taking place and other scheduled events.
- Visit Arlington National Cemetery virtually and find notable graves and sites with their Find A Grave search.
- Watch the National Memorial Day Parade on television at 2 PM (click the link to find times in your area).
- Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS at 8 PM (click the link to find times in your area).
Festival of Breaking the Fast, or Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim religious holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer. Eid al-Fitr begins at the first appearance of a waxing crescent moon and traditionally lasts for three days. The day starts with a ritual cleanse before morning prayers. Some people visit the burial places of loved ones to pray and clean the gravesites as well. People wear their finest clothes, and many decorate their hands with henna. They also enjoy special foods and gifts during this time of celebration.
Wishing all who celebrate Eid Mubarak - Have a blessed Eid!
It's National Taffy Day! Taffy has always been something I’ve loved. It reminds me of the boardwalk and going “down the shore” when I was a kid. I grew up in NJ. So enjoy some taffy on this Memorial Day weekend. Think about those days when you first tasted the stretchy, sticky utterly delicious treat.
Happy Cinco de Mayo or the 5th of May. This national holiday has been celebrated officially in the U.S. since 2005. But the history is a long one with lots of celebrating along the way.
A widely held belief is that it's the day to celebrate Mexican independence. It is not. Cinco de Mayo / May 5th commemorates Mexico's success in the Battle of Puebla against France in 1862. The French army, marching to capture Mexico City, was defeated 70 miles away by the Mexicans, who were thought to be the underdogs due to being outnumbered and under-supplied. It was an epic win for Mexico. Revelers partied to celebrate the victory, and when news of France's defeat reached California, they celebrated there, too.
The French eventually did capture Mexico City, but that did not dampen enthusiasm for celebrating the victory of May 5th. It became a thing - mostly in the United States. In Mexico, May 5th is known as "Battle of Puebla Day" or "Battle of Cinco de Mayo", and is not a national holiday. In fact, with the exception of the state of Puebla - where they hold fiestas, parades, reenactments of the battle, and other festivities - observation of the day is optional in the rest of the country.
Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of family, food and friends. What is more Mexican than that? So let's celebrate all things Mexican. Whip up your favorite Mexican dish, put on some festive colorful clothes, and celebrate. Even during a quarantine we can still have a little FIESTA!!!
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