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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/06/16

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL FROM CHINA!!





    Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival, or the August Moon Festival - they are the different names of the same festival, which is popularly also known as the Mid Autumn Festival. It is a celebration of abundance and togetherness. The Chinese believe in praying to the moon god for protection, family unity, and good fortune. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the solar calendar.On this day the moon is unusually bright, clear and round. Historical accounts are silent about the exact origin of this festival, but as far as the assumption of the scholars are concerned, it is related to the two customs in China.
The first customs concern the Chinese farmers. China is an agricultural country and farming in China is intricately associated with the seasons. In the ancient times, the farmers used to worship Earth God and prayed for a good harvest when they sowed the seeds during spring. Once again during autumn, the farmers worshipped the Earth God and offered their gratitude on having reaped a good harvest. This was known as the autumn reward. Some people believed that the Mid -Autumn Festival orginated from the autumn reward ritual.
    The second custom is related to the worship of the moon. The Mid Autumn Festival occurs at the autumn equinox when the sun shines vertically on the equator, equally dividing the day and the night in the northern and the southern hemisphere. At this time, the sunlight shines vertically on the equator, equally dividing the day and night in both the southern and northern hemispheres. In the evening the moon appears with gentle winds and the sky is clear, apart from the light clouds. This is the perfect time to watch the moon. This day was later assigned to the worship of the moon.










    This custom of worshipping the moon,called xi yue in Chinese, can be traced back to the ancient Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 BCE-1066 BCE). In the Zhou Dynasty too (1066 BCE-221 BCE), the people celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival to worship the moon. This practice became very prevalent during the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) and people enjoyed and worshipped the full moon. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), people started making round moon cakes, as gifts to their relatives as an expression of their best wishes for a familyreunion. At night, they came out to watch the full moon to celebrate the festival. Since the Ming (1368-1644), and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911), the custom of Mid-Autumn Festival celebration has become extremely popular and is being grandly celebrated.
    The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinesecalendar, the other being the Chinese Lunar New Year, and is a legal holiday in several countries.

Myths and Legends

    The most popular legend about the origin of the Mid Autumn Festival goes like this:- Once the earth was scorched by ten suns and the people suffered a lot due to this. The crops were parched and the people were plunged into penury. A strong and powerful young man called Hou Yi was quite worried about the entire situation. He ascended the summit of the Kunlun Mountain, exercised his superhuman powers and shot down nine suns one after the other, with his bow and arrow. He also ordered the last sun to rise and set according to a time set by him. Hou Yi was respected and loved by people for his




Moon cakes


great feat that rescued the lives of many. Lots of people of ideals and integrity came to him to learn martial arts from him. A person named Peng Meng lurked among them.
Hou Yi had a charming and beautiful wife named Chang E whom he loved immensely and with whom he never wanted to part. Once on his way to the Kunlun Mountain , Hou Yi stumbled upon the Empress Wangmu who was touched by his love for his wife, gave him a parcel of elixir, at the intake of which one would ascend immediately to heaven and become a celestial being. However the elixir was only good to make only one person immortal. Hou Yi however hated to part with his wife and asked Chang E to keep the elixir with her for the time being. Chang E kept it in a treasure box and hid it in secret place. But it could not escape the watchful eyes of Peng Meng.
    A few days later, when Hou Yi went for hunting, Peng Meng grabbed the opportunity he has been waiting for. He rushed into Chang E's chamber, sword in hand and demanded the elixir. Aware of the fact that she was unable to measure up to the strength of Peng Meng, Change E made a prompt decision at a critical moment. She opened her treasure box, took up the elixir and swallowed it in one gulp. After a moment, she felt light and her body floated off the ground, rose higher and reached the sky. Chang E landed on the moon and became an immortal goddess. Peng meng escaped.





Lighting up the night with the launching of lanterns




    Hou Yi could not believe the misfortune that had befallen him. Overburdened with grief, he looked up at the sky and called out the name of his beloved wife. He noticed that the moon was unusually bright and clear that night and on it there was a swaying shadow that resembled his wife. He tried to chase the moon but the moon eluded him.
Huo Yi began to miss his wife terribly. He had an incense table arranged in the back garden and put fresh fruits and sweet meats on it, that Chang E loved and held a memorial ceremony for her.
    When people heard that Chang E has transformed into a celestial being, they made arrangements for incense table in the moonlight and prayed to her for good fortune and peace. This is how the custom of worshipping the moon became popular among the people.











    Today couples declare their undying love for each other under the full moon of this mid autumn day. Estranged lovers pray for their reunion.
    Another legend concerns Wu Kang, a restless fellow who found it difficult to concentrate on a particular thing. One day he decided that he wanted to be immortal and went to live in the mountains where he met an immortal and asked him to teach him the secrets of immortality. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness. But a few days later his characteristic restlessness surfaced and Wu Kang asked the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while his enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was asked to go through books on immortality. As usual, Wu Kang became bored with it in a short while and asked whether they could travel to some new and exciting place. Fed up with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished him to the Moon Palace commanding him to cut down a huge cassia tree before





Chinese men enjoying some food and drink




returning to the earth. Though Wu Kang continued to chop the tree day and night, yet the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and therefore he is there still chopping the tree.
    China was ruled by the Mongolian people during the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1280-1368). Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D. 960 - 1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set to coordinate a secret rebellion. As the Moon Festival was drawing near, the leaders of the rebellion ordered the making of special cakes.
    At the back of each was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.











    According to the legend of the "Jade Rabbit", three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged to eat something from the fox, a rabbit and the monkey. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit who had nothing to offer, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they allowed him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."


Significance of the Moon Cake

    There is an interesting story behind the popularity of the Mooncakes. During the Yuan Dynasty (1280 A.D - 1368 A.D), China was ruled by the Mongols. They were very oppressive rulers and were overthrown by the Chinese. It might sound curious but the fact remains that the mooncakes played a significant role in the rebellion. The Mongols did not eat mooncakes and the Chinese were quick to take advantage of that. They found an innovative way of coordinating the revolt. Leaders of the revolt





A Moon Festival play in progress



distributed the mooncakes among the common people under the pretext of celebrating the Emperor's long life. Each mooncake had an outline of the attack baked within its skin. The secret message informed the people to revolt on the 15th of the 8th moon (also the Autumn Moon festival). On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. Since then the mooncakes became a national tradition of China.

LABOR DAY FACTS AND TRADITIONS!





    Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the prosperity and well-being of our country.
    It was hard times in the days of depression that hit the country in the 1880s. It led to widespread wage cuts and unemployment in the traditional pattern of the economic cycle. This was when the
Knights of Labor
came into being. It was their initiative that Labor Day turned out to be a civic event with parades and meetings.        


   The First Labor Day Contrary to the present practice the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, l883.









 

    However, it was in l884 when the first Monday in September came to be selected as the holiday, as originally proposed. The Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in l885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.


The Founder

    There is a difference of opinion regarding the original founder of the day. Two views, both backed by documentary evidence, are prevalent.
    Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was the first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
    But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

 







   Irrespective of the dispute over the name of the initiator it is clear that the Labor Day proposal was initiated in the United States by the
Knights of Labor. Accordingly a committee was formed to plan a demonstration and picnic. In 1882 the Knights of Labor held a large parade in New York City. In 1884 the group held a parade on the first Monday of September and passed a resolution to hold all future parades on that day and to designate the day as Labor Day.
    However the state recognition of the day was yet to come.

The Recognition
       


   Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 2l, l887. During the year four more states -- Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York -- created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
    National Labor Day was born off the labor movement during the late 19th century. The Day is a milestone in the history of
American labor movement.








Labor Day Celebrations

    The founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, once said "Labor Day differs in every essential from the other holidays of the year in any country....All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
    It was in 1884 when Labor Day was first proclaimed to be a federal holiday in the U.S. More than 100 years after, the occassion is going from strength to strength and is still held as the holiday that honours and appreciates the contribution of each worker on whose shoulders the nation rests.









 

    The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday -- a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This set a pattern for the future celebrations of Labor Day.
    Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday in September, a custom that has been followed since the inception of the holiday. It is a day of rest for every American worker.
    As for public celebrations, Labor Day is observed mostly through parades. Parades are annually organised in places like Manhattan, Brooklyn and Detroit. In many places rallies and political demonstrations are organised which highlight the problems faced by workers and strives to find ways for the betterment of their lives. Speeches by union leaders and political figures in these rallies attempt to create a general awareness about the condition of American labourers.










    However, festive celebrations form the main and the most joyous part of Labor Day observances. Be it Detroit or Manchester, working families take part in rallies, march in the parades and even organise picnics with their loved ones. Meat delicacies, especially barbecues, form the main attraction of the Labor Day feasts. For kids and teenagers, it is the last opportunity to have some clean festive fun before schools reopen and they have to go back to their studies.


Labor Movement

   The labor movement took its root long back in the colonial regime spanning between 1619 and 1776 plus. Initially the social set up was overwhelmingly rural with abundant land. A vast majority of the population of the Eastern US, then called New World, were self employed as independent farmers and artisans, or later in urban retail trade and professions. Then with the shift in agricultural pattern from food crops to cash crops and from local consumption to global sale, demand for labor rose.








   To satisfy the demand potential employers turned towards indentured servants and African slaves. The servants and slaves apart skilled craftsmen at first plied their trade independently. But with the growth of urban concentration master workmen set up small retail shops and employed journeymen and apprentices against wage payment. After all, the bustling seaport cities had always needed casual laborers and hired craftsmen.
Before 1840s the workers' income was based on price, the remuneration they received for the sale of end product of the labor. The payment of wages came about through introduction of machine into a factory. Around mid 18th century the labor scarcity abated with the growth of population and a curb in the supply of lands. As the fruits of industrial era started to yield people migrated to urban area where manufacturing was booming.
    As the erstwhile skills were broken down the competition for these factory jobs increased. On one hand there was trade specialization and developed urban conditions, on the other, the growing fear of unemployment spelled increasing want and discontent. Then with the accumulation of capital by a special class the factory workers lost their independence and also their dignity. This change of status was the basic reason for workers' protests at its earliest form. Evidence of protests with the modern flair was seen as early as 1768 by journeymen tailors. They were joined in by a number of similar organizations later. However, none of them could be termed as labor union.
The 1830s saw the workers demanding social reforms as far as their rights are concerned. In 1827 a Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations came up in Philadelphia. It was the country's first labor organization.
    During the 1840s it took a defensive form and changed to a state of uprising as the workers sought to cling to the traditions and methods of the past. The protests acquired a new face as the social reformers of the era soon joined hands with the workers.
However the attitude soon changed. As the workers in the '50s learnt to accept the loss of status they sought to organize around their crafts for the purpose of bargaining collectively with their employers.









   By the '60s large portions of America had become industrialized with around 5 millions wage earners in industry, commerce and agriculture. Keeping pace with this industrial boom unions too kept flourishing. The depression in the late '60s intensified the employers' resistance to any reduction of working hours. The utility of trade unions became more apparent each day. In 1872 New Yorkers were to unleashed the most formidable labor struggle of the epoch. However the movement eventually failed
It was 1882 when the next significant labor stir came. The
Knights of Labor under the Central Labor Union held a large parade in New York City on the occasion of the national Knights of Labor conference. In 1884 the group held a parade on the first Monday of September and passed a resolution to hold all future parades on that day and to designate the day as Labor Day.
    By the 1890's, when the K of L had all but disappeared, the American Federation of Labor created the 'business union' movement. Although the AFL affiliates encountered vehement employer and judicial opposition, they succeeded in organizing millions of skilled crafts personnel. Courtesy, the able leadership of Samuel Gompers. It soon earned statutory rights to organize for collective bargaining purposes from the federal government.
The creation of the industrial union movement through the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations in the late 1930s led to the organization of mass production industries. Competition between AFL and the affiliates of newly created Committee for Industrial Organization generated significant union growth throughout 1940s and '50s. In mid 1950s with the AFL-CIO merger unions represented approximate 35 per cent non-agricultural labor force. Even though the private sector union participation rate has declined over the recent past public opinion surveys demonstrate that most American workers continue to believe that employment interest can be advanced through unionization.

NATIONAL FOOD HOLIDAYS IN SEPTEMBER!






    Each day in America is a national food holiday and what better way to celebrate by enjoying those foods. Now, you don't have to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy a delicious food filled holiday. In this article you will find a list of national food holidays for the month of September. Along with each day, you'll also find a delicious idea on how to celebrate that particular holiday.








National Cherry Popover Day September 1: If you aren't sure how to make cherry popovers, just skip the popover part and make muffins with dried cherries and chocolate chips.

National Blueberry Popsicle Day September 2: Blueberry popsicles can be so easy to make. Just combine fresh blueberries with vanilla yogurt and a splash of your favorite juice. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until set.

National Welsh Rarebit Day September 3: Welsh Rarebit is basically a cheese sauce poured over buttered toast. You can find many recipes online that are made using canned soups. But, you can also find authentic recipes as well.

National Macadamia Nut Day September 4: This holiday is so easy to celebrate. Just buy some chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Or, you could also prepare white chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies.








National Cheese Pizza Day September 5: Take it easy on this food holiday and just order a cheese pizza from your favorite pizza restaurant.

National Coffee Ice Cream Day September 6: Coffee ice cream is so delicious and there are so many different companies that make it. But, on this food holiday, I highly recommend the Ben & Jerry's brand. Why not take things a bit further and make a coffee ice cream pie or cake?

National Acorn Squash Day September 7: Acorn squash is a wonderful fall dish. All you need to do is roast the squash until tender and then top with a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and toasted pecans. Top off this food holiday with turkey cutlets and homemade cranberry sauce.

National Date Nut Bread Day September 8: Date nut bread is so delicious and can easily be found in your grocery store. But, if you want to make this food holiday extra special, make a cream cheese frosting to top off the bread.

Weinerschnitzel Day September 9: Weinerschnitzel is a lovely dish of fried veal chops. Of course, you don't have to fry veal. Pork chops can easily be substituted. Top off this delicious food holiday meal with a simple squeeze of lemon juice, which helps to cut the grease.








TV Dinner Day September 10: This is obviously an easy food holiday to celebrate. Just prepare your favorite brand of TV dinner and kick back with your favorite TV show.

National Hot Cross Bun Day September 11: Hot Cross Buns can easily be prepared at home, especially if you have a bread maker. But, you can also find this delicious treat in many bakeries if you don't have time to make them from scratch.

National Chocolate Milkshake Day September 12: Chocolate milkshakes are so fun and easy to make at home. Just take a high quality chocolate ice cream and allow it to soften on your counter. Once the ice cream has softened pour a splash of chocolate milk into the blender and then add two scoops of ice cream. Blend until the ice cream and milk combine. If you want to make an even better milkshake, add crushed peppermints.

National Peanut Day September 13: Peanuts are a yummy snack, but we all know that peanut butter makes some of the best desserts. Enjoy this food holiday by preparing a delicious sweet treat. For example, take a warm tortilla and fill it with peanut butter, sliced bananas, and mini chocolate chips.

National Cream Filled Donut Day September 14: This is another food holiday that is easy to celebrate. All you need to do is hit your favorite bakery, donut shop, or grocery store. I highly recommend Krispy Kreme Boston Cream donuts.








National Linguini Day September 15: Pasta is such an easy meal to prepare. On this special holiday, just combine linguini along with your favorite pasta sauce, meat, and cheese.

National Guacamole Day September 16: Be adventurous and make guacamole from scratch. Serve it with homemade tortilla chips or on top of tacos.

National Apple Dumpling Day September 17: Apple dumplings are so delicious and require very few ingredients. Make a big batch and serve with vanilla ice cream.

National Cheeseburger Day September 18: On this food holiday, take your cheeseburger to the extreme. Try new flavors and new ingredients. For example, add blue cheese and peppered bacon.

National Butterscotch Pudding Day September 19: Sure you can buy butterscotch pudding at the store, but you can also make it yourself with ease. You may also want to use your homemade butterscotch pudding to prepare a butterscotch pie.








National Rum Punch Day September 20: Obviously this isn't a food holiday that everyone in the family can enjoy. If you don't drink alcohol, try adding rum flavoring to one of your desserts instead.

National Pecan Cookie Day September 21: You can make delicious pecan cookies with only a few ingredients, but why not take it easy on this food holiday and purchase some Pecan Sandies instead?

National Ice Cream Cone Day September 22: There are several creative ways to use ice cream cones.

National White Chocolate Day September 23: There are so many different ways to use white chocolate. But, on this food holiday, why not try a recipe you've never made before? Just do a search for "white chocolate recipes" and pick one that sounds irresistible.

National Cherries Jubilee Day September 24: Cherries Jubilee is another dessert that isn't family friendly, but you can make this dessert family friendly simply by heating cherry pie filling and pouring it over vanilla ice cream.




 



Crab Meat Newburg Day September 25: If you love seafood, this is the food holiday for you. You can serve Crab Newburg over pasta, rice, or even toast points.

National Pancake Day September 26: Go all out with your pancakes and add cherry pie filling and whipped cream.

National Chocolate Milk Day September 27: Is there a better food holiday? Just grab a big glass of chocolate milk and relax.

Strawberry Cream Pie Day September 28: This happens to be my favorite food holiday, because it falls on my birthday. Just combine strawberries with strawberry pie gel. Pour into a baked pie shell and top with a generous portion of whipped cream.

National Coffee Day September 29: Treat yourself to a delicious coffee drink on this food holiday.





 
 



National Hot Mulled Cider Day September 30: This is the perfect drink for cool autumn nights. Just heat apple cider with cinnamon sticks and any other spices you enjoy such as cloves and nutmeg.

SEPTEMBER UNUSUAL HOLIDAYS AND OBSERVANCES!





Image result for september






September 1: Chicken Boy's Day - Buy a chicken suit and wear it all day to commemorate Chicken Boy.

September 2: V-J Day - V-J...Is that like PJ day? Oh, no - I guess it stands for Victory in Japan.

September 3: National Lazy Moms Day (2010) - Are you a lazy mom? Then this day is for you!

September 4: Give the dog a break and carry in your own newspaper for once.





September 5: Be Late for Something Day - This gives you a sound excuse to be late for something.

September 6: Labor Day - Go to work and labor...oh, wait - most people have the day off from work. Never mind.

September 7: Google Day - Google yourself.

September 8: International Literacy Day - This is good news if you don't know how to read; today you will learn how.

September 9: Wonderful Weirdoes Day - For all those wonderful weirdoes out there.






September 10: Swap Ideas Day - Got an idea? Swap with someone!

September 11: Remembrance Day - Be extra careful not to forget anything.

September 12: Video Games Day - Oh, great, now the guys have an excuse to play video games all day...

September 13: International Chocolate Day - Gee, seems like there is a day dedicated to chocolate at least once a month! Must be popular.

September 14: Wild Card - Create your own holiday today.






September 15: Felt Hat Day - Buy felt in your favorite color and make yourself a funky hat to wear.

September 16: Step-Family Day - If you don't have a step-family, create one for the day.

September 17: Citizenship Day - Be a good citizen. Maybe you'll win an award.

September 18: National Respect Day - Hopefully, some of us will learn what the word means.

September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day - Oy, matey! Yes, I'm talking to you.






September 20: National Women Road Warrior Day (2010) - If you are a woman, sign up to become a warrior.

September 21: International Day of Peace - I hope you can have a peaceful day.

September 22: Dear Diary Day - Start each sentence you say with, "Dear Diary."

September 23: Earth Overshoot Day - This means we have used up all our resources for the year; guess you'll have to do without until January 1st.

September 24: Punctuation Day - Make sure to punctuate every sentence you speak.




September 25: National One-Hit Wonder Day - To take the words right out of Holidaypedia's mouth, "Give a little boogie love to all those artists who hit it big once and then faded into oblivion."

September 26: Johnny Appleseed Day - Plant an apple tree in honor of Johnny Appleseed.

September 27: Ancestor Appreciation Day - Make a family tree and list all your ancestors up until 20 generations ago. You thought it was gonna be easy, didn't you?

September 28: World Maritime Day - Research and write a paper on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment for World Maritime Day.

September 29: National Attend Your Grandchild's Birth Day - Since we all have grandchildren being born today.







September 30: Shemini Atzeret Day - Tell me what Shemini Atzeret Day is. In just one word.