November 5: Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks; image credit KSDigital at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kelvynskee/5155168711/I’ve been writing a daily holiday post for almost two years now. According to my wordpress stats, this is my 685th post (there are a handful of days I did two for). I think I can safely say that most holidays celebrate a great victory or other event, great cause, great person, or a great thing (like National Cheese Pizza Day or National Chess Day). Today’s holiday does celebrate a great event . . . sort of:

James_I,_VI_by_John_de_Critz,_c.1606.On November 5, 1605, the entire government of England did NOT get blown up.

Personally, I really do think that’s a great thing, but it’s not the sort of thing I would normally celebrate. Instead, I would tend to expect it, and we don’t usually celebrate what we take for granted. But England is different. Every year on November 5 they party – bonfires, fireworks, and, my personal favorite, burning Guy Fawkes in effigy. 🙂

Princess Elizabeth (Elizabeth of Bohemia, 'The Winter Queen'), 1596–1662, aged seven, by Robert Peake the elderFor a better explanation of what happened in 1605, see last year’s post on Guy Fawkes Day, but here’s your quick history: Several men secretly placed 36 barrels of gunpowder (enough to destroy the building and probably kill everyone inside) in the basements of the English parliament building, underneath the House of Lords. On November 5, King James was expected to officially open Parliament. Much of England’s royalty would be present. With them out of the way, the conspirators planned to replace King James with his young daughter, princess Elizabeth. 

Guy_Fawkes_in_Ordsall_Cave by George CruikshankThe plot probably would have succeeded, except that one of the conspirators  warned a friend to avoid the opening. This prompted a thorough search of the building, where the authorities found Guy Fawkes guarding the gunpowder shortly after midnight on November 5. The conspirators fled, but were soon caught and publicly, violently, executed.

“A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion;
those who anger him forfeit their lives.”

Proverbs 20:2

November 4: King Tut Day

November 4 is also one of my favorites: Use Your Common Sense Day! Check out last year’s post here.

King Tut's Funerary MaskOn November 4, 1922, British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter made one of the biggest archaeological discoveries of the century. Lord Carnarvon had funded several years worth of digs with very little in the way of results, but he decided to give Carter one more year. Then, they uncovered Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb!

King Tut is really not the most exciting of Egyptian pharaohs. He became king circa 1332 BC at age nine or ten, and died a mere ten years later, probably of natural causes. Nevertheless, his tomb is remarkable. Most tombs were raided for valuables repeatedly over the years, and, unsurprisingly, there’s been some decay in the intervening 2300 years. Tut’s tomb was robbed at some point, but the thieves primarily took perishables such as oils and perfumes, probably within a few months of burial. Then the tomb was forgotten, lost underneath stone chips and sand, left alone for centuries, until Carter, Carnarvon, and others peered through a crack by the light of a candle and saw gold reflecting back.

To celebrate, read more about King Tutankhamen and see lots of amazing pictures at kingtut.org. Or you can just start walking like an Egyptian!

“How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver!”

Proverbs 16:16

November 3*: Zero Tasking Day

“Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.”

Psalm 116:7

Happy Zero Tasking Day! What is zero tasking? Unlike the popular multitasking, or it’s well spoken of cousin, unitasking, zero tasking is when you do absolutely nothing.

rocking chairThe holiday was created by author Nancy Christie for the first Sunday of November, in order to coincide with the end of Daylight Savings in the U.S. Christie suggests that we use that “extra hour” to simply relax and breathe. When was the last time you tried that?

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Genesis 2:2-3

P.S. November 3 is always Housewife Day!

November 2*: Sadie Hawkins Day

*Sadie Hawkins Day is officially celebrated on the first Saturday in November, but Sadie Hawkins dances may be held whenever an organization decides.

Al Capp, self portraitFrom 1934-1977, Al Capp produced the Li’l Abner comic strip about the hillbillies of the fictional town Dogpatch, Arkansas. And, in November of 1937, Capp first produced one of his most memorable legacies – Sadie Hawkins Day.

When Sadie Hawkins, the “homeliest gal in all them hills” reached 35 with nary a beau in sight, she, and her father, had had enough. Hekzebiah Hawkins declared a new event – Sadie Hawkins Day. On Sadie Hawkins Day, every eligible bachelor got a bit of a head start before Sadie took off after them. If Sadie caught one and dragged him across the finish line by sundown, he had to marry her.

Li'l Abner coverThe event was so popular with people in the real world and the old maids of Dogpatch, that they decided to make it an annual event. For the next 40 years, the November comics for Li’l Abner always included a Sadie Hawkins race.

Within just a few years, people around the U.S. began celebrating Sadie Hawkins Day, either on the first Saturday in November, the Saturday after November 9, or whatever November date best fit their schedule. However, instead of matrimony, Sadie Hawkins Day usually resulted in women asking men to a dance instead.

“When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.””

Ruth 4:7-9

P.S. Book Lovers’ Day is also held on the first Saturday in November (and on August 9).

P.P.S. November 2 is also Look for Circles Day. Yes, you read that right. Look for Circles Day. If you know why, you are way ahead of me.

November 1: All Saints’ Day

All Saints Day is celebrated by dozens of Christian traditions in many countries around the world. Each different area has its own flavor, but most All Saints’ Day celebrations include some recognition of Christians who have recently passed away. For some, this means a special prayer and moment of silence in Sunday’s service,while others have a family picnic at their loved one’s graves.

 

“For All the Saints” by William Walsham How is the unofficial theme song for this day. Those living in the church today are known as the “church militant,” still fighting the evil one, while the dead saints are known as the “Church triumphant,” their fight over. Pretty cool, huh? Here are a couple of verses:

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

October 31: National Knock Knock Joke Day

Knock! Knock!

Who’s there?

Ya

Ya who?

Wow! You sure are excited to see me!

(joke thanks to Funology)

knocker-on-the-white-doorI know, hilarious, right? Okay, maybe I have a bit of a low laugh threshold, but I thought it was good.

October 31 is National Knock Knock Joke Day, so bring out your best and make your friends laugh (unless they groan). You might check these sites if you need any help finding some: Funology and Reader’s Digest.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

October 30: Checklists Day

Did you know there’s an entire holiday devoted to the glorious checklist! Yes! There is a holiday for those of us who write down what we’ve already done for the joy of crossing it off!

DC10Checklist, image credit JankeOne of the best known checklists, and the inspiration for today’s holiday, originated because of a plane crash on October 30, 1935. A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress never made it off the ground, due to pilot error – a gust lock was still engaged. In response, a group of pilots gathered and created a pre-flight checklist to prevent this type of catastrophe.

Today, checklists abound (See checklists.com if you don’t believe me!), and I love it. It seems to me that clears up brain space for other things, less easily added to a checklist, and, believe me, my brain space is at a premium!

“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

Numbers 15:38-40