Valentine’s Day history

Valentine’s Day has gone and passed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a history lesson on it.

It started as a feast to honor saints and to celebrate romance. In the 18th century, it became less of a feast to celebrate saints and more of a day to give the people you loved chocolates, roses, and heart-shaped cards.

In the 19th century, hand-written cards were largely replaced with mass produced Valentine’s cards from companies. People also started giving keys to their valentine to show that they “unlocked their heart,” and they were also given to children to ward off epilepsy. The Orthodox and Lutheran are often the most to celebrate it.

The 1800s was when most companies started selling what we use today to celebrate: boxes of chocolates, roses, and cards with Cupids.

Around 190 million cards are sent in the United States, and that doesn’t include the millions that children in schools hand out to their classmates. It is a HUGE source for money in the country.

There’s also many movies and cartoons based around Valentine’s Day. The TV show Parks and Rec also made their own “Galentine’s Day,” which is a day to celebrate your female friends.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day for romance, it’s also meant to celebrate anyone you deem important in your life.

Chinese Lunar New Year

The Chinese Lunar New Year occurs every year around January or February and lasts for about 15 days. This year, the lunar new year will start on February 5th, lasting till the 19th. The Chinese calendar goes according to the moon and each year is represented by an animal.

The usage of animals originally came from the worship of animals, but there are also many legends that tell a story of a race between the animals that were ordered by the Jade Emperor. There are twelve animals that are, in order: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The zodiac animals repeats after twelve years, and this year is the last animal of the twelve: the pig. Each zodiac animal has their own traits, and some are more compatible with others while each has a zodiac animal it is not compatible with at all. People believe that the zodiac signs can determine your fortune, marriage, career, and many more.

On the last day, there is a huge festival celebrated called the Lantern Festival. To prepare for the Lantern Festival many children, through the celebrations, create colorful lanterns as a tradition that has been around for over 2,000 years. In the earlier years people would light lanterns as gifts and offerings for the gods to their heavenly place.

The Lantern Festival, also known as the Spring Festival, is mainly celebrated for a reunion with your family. Many people from all around the world come back to China to celebrate the new year. Not only do relatives visit their family but also their in-laws or maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend. Over many years there have been many different variations of lanterns. Different lanterns have different meanings to bring fortune to them.

There are many other activities that the Chinese do for their Lunar New Year, but before even celebrating the new year families will clean their houses, set up couplets (poems), and prepare for a great dinner feast. Foods that are normally eaten for the New Year’s celebration will each have a meaning to them. For example, fish is eaten to represent prosperity and when you eat long noodles you are not to bite them off because the noodle represents the length of your life.

Each day until the Lantern Festival, is a celebration of something. According to nationsonline.org, the first through the seventh day is the celebration of birthdays from the different zodiac animals. The eighth day is a completion day of reunion and praying to the Jade Emperor, and the ninth day is celebrating the Jade Emperor’s birthday. The tenth through the twelfth day is feasting, but the thirteenth day is to rest and and eat things that’ll help your dignstive system. The fourteenth day is the preparation day for the Lantern Festival, and last, but not least, the fifteenth day is the Lantern Festival celebration.

Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February; Presidents’ Day 2019, occurred on Monday, February 18. George Washington was the first president of the U.S.A. His first term as president lasted from 1789 to 1793 and his second term as president lasted  from 1793 to 1797. Washington is often known as the “Father of the United States” and is one of the best known American politicians ever.

Washington’s Birthday was celebrated  first as a holiday in the District of Columbia in the 1880s, then it became an holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally celebrated, in 1971, on the anniversary of George Washington’s birth, on February 22. This holiday was moved to the third Monday in February later.

The idea behind the name change was to create a holiday that did not recognize a specific president, but rather celebrated the office of the presidency.

This holiday is known as “Washington’s Birthday,” but is best known as Presidents’ Day. Washington’s Birthday honors the first president of the U.S.A, and the life work of George Washington. We recognize George Washington in many ways on currency, statues, and portraits. George Washington inspires us to this day, particularly federal workers who uphold what he helped create.

For more information, please visit:

Things to do in Minneapolis over winter break

Winter break is here, and you’re probably wondering what to do over this long winter break. Here are a few events that will be taking place in Minneapolis.

1. A Christmas Carol

This event will be taken place on Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 7:30 PM at the Guthrie Theatre, located at 818 South Second Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415. This event has been happening for the past 44 years, making Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol a Twin Cities holiday tradition.

2. Holidays at Flyover America

This event will take place on November 23, 2018 – January 01, 2019 at
Mall of America. This event will be fun. Guests will help Santa find missing elves, while flying over America and the North Pole. It’s a ten minute flight, and it will have holiday decorations and activities.

3. Holidazzle

Holidazzle is a Minneapolis tradition. It celebrates the Minnesota winter season, and  event include: shopping, food and drinks, along with ice skating, and visits with Santa Claus. The event this year will be on Thursdays-Sundays, November 23 – December 23 at Loring Park.

4. Festival of Light

This Festival of Light is a fabulous light show with music and other things to enjoy, this event will be held on Fridays-Sundays, November 23-December 23 at Sovereign Estate Winery, 9950 North Shore Road, Waconia, MN 55387.

5. Gingerbread Wonderland

This event will be held on November 21-January 7 at 10 a.m. at the Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404. This event is a fun activity to do with your family. You will be decorating gingerbread houses and they will be selling gingerbread cookies, and ornaments. The fee is $5 for adults and children older than 12. Children under 12 will be free.

For more info, please visit:

Holidays in December you might not know about

Christmas. Hanukkah. New Year’s Eve. Are these the only three holidays in December? Many might forget that there is more to the month than menorahs and mistletoe. To shed some light on forgotten festivities, we curated a list of lesser known holidays this December.

Kwanzaa began being celebrated in the late 1960s. After the Watts riots, Kwanzaa was formed as a celebration of harvest: similar to Thanksgiving. In fact, the title “Kwanzaa” comes from the term “first fruit.” The holiday includes: meals, dancing, singing and storytelling. It spans seven nights.

Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26. It originated in the UK, and is the day where church collection boxes are opened. The money is given to the poor, and workers are given the day off to spend with their family.

World AIDS day takes place on December 1. It is used to spread awareness on aids and mourn the loss of those who have died from it.

Saint Nicholas Day is on December 6. It could be considered a Christmas holiday, and it is considered a day to focus on giving rather than receiving. The holiday tells the story of a Catholic saint and his morals.

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is a yearly event on December 2, organized by the United Nations General Assembly. The day was first celebrated in 1986. The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 2, 1949. Also, by resolution 57/195 on December 18, 2002, the Assembly proclaimed 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It has been observed with varying degrees of success around the planet. The observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. It was originally called “International Day of Disabled Persons” until 2007. Each year the day focuses on a different issue.

Each year, on December 8, brownie lovers across the nation enjoy one of their favorite baked goods on National Brownie Day. Brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century. A cross between a cookie and cake, they soon became very popular across the country. Though it is unclear of who created this holliday, would you miss an opportunity to eat you’re favorite treat?

International Migrants Day is observed on December 18, in accordance with Resolution 55/93 of the United Nations General Assembly which was adopted on December 4, 2000. On December 18, 1990, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution on the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (resolution 45/158). This day is observed in many countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations through the dissemination of information on human rights and fundamental political freedoms of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrants.

Bacon Day is observed annually on December 30th. Everything’s better with bacon. Someone said that once. Within our research, we have found very little to dispute this assertion. In the United States and Canada, bacon is made from the pork belly. Elsewhere in the world, the side and back cuts of pork are used. The meat is cured in either a salt brine or in a salt pack. It is then either dried, boiled or smoked. Bacon is a very popular food in the USA. You can find many items also flavored or scented with bacon including popcorn, soap, candles, air fresheners, and much more. Tthe proper way to celebrate it is by surrounding yourself with bacon!

Did you know some of these? What was your sore out of 9? Share with your friends and find out if you got the best score!

NaNoWriMo

by: Vivian S

Image taken from: https://nanowrimo.org/press Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

In July 1999, 21 people in the San Francisco Bay Area challenged one another to write 50,000 words in one month. Surprisingly, they found it fun and decided to continue on doing it. It has grown since then, with 394,507 people participating in 2017, in 646 regions.

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is a challenge that anyone can take on to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. They have a website where you can sign up and make an account, and it tracks your progress and tells you how many words you should write each day to complete that goal. With the website, you can receive pep talks from other authors, get support, meet other writers online, find out about events in your area, and all around challenge yourself. NaNoWriMo awards badges that you can earn over the month for your achievements.

Some novels written over the course of NaNoWriMo have been published and become successful. Examples include Marissa Meyer’s Cinder and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

NaNoWriMo is run by a non-profit organization that hosts other events as well. They have a Young Writers Program and a Camp NaNoWriMo. They used to do a script writing event, but they don’t do it any longer.

In the Young Writers Program, you can participate alone or in a classroom. You can set word count goals and work toward them. Educators can create online classrooms where they can keep track of student progress.

In April and July, Camp NaNoWriMo is hosted, and it is where you set your own word count goals and work toward them.

Even after November, you are still urged to continue to work on your NaNoWriMo novel. In January and February, they host “Now What?” months where you can work on revising and publishing your novel.

NaNoWriMo is an event that anyone can take on to put words on paper (or computer) and challenge themselves.

For more information, go to https://nanowrimo.org

A brief history of Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving day is celebrated by millions of Americans around the United States. This year, it will be celebrated on Thursday, November 22. On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers known as the Pilgrims. They explored the shores of Cape Cod, far from their destination at the Hudson River. A month later, the Mayflower ship crossed Massachusetts Bay, and there they began working on establishing a village at Plymouth.

In the year of 1623, there was a terrible drought, and the Pilgrims prayed for rain to come. They celebrated a day of Thanksgiving after the rain came, but it was more of a prayer than a day of parties.

Between 1789 to 1863, American presidents tried to proclaim that November 26 should be celebrated as a national day of Thanksgiving, but it failed to become a tradition. Every president after George Washington tried tried to make Thanksgiving an annual tradition.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, declared that Thanksgiving should be celebrated on the last Thursday of November for a ‘‘day of Thanksgiving and Praise’.’ Lincoln ordered government departments to close on Thanksgiving, and it has been celebrated by the nation ever since.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, he moved Thanksgiving one week earlier, because sometimes the last Thursday of November was the fourth, and sometimes the fifth. Thanksgiving has been the fourth Thursday in November ever since this change.

For more information visit these cites:

https://www.history.com/news/abraham-lincoln-and-the-mother-of-thanksgiving

https://www.surfnetkids.com/thanksgiving/52/history-of-thanksgiving-a-timeline/

https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/thanksgiving/timeline/1621.html#

MEA Conference

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/search?q=mea+minnesota+educators+association&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwj4vPjshpreAhVqgoMKHQPPAN0Q2-cCegQIABAC&oq=mea+minnesota+educators+association&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.3..33i299.16885.22395..22686…0.0..0.135.2285.30j2……0….1………0j0i67j0i8i30j0i30j0i24j30i10j33i10.i8gHDBBWZBo&ei=D8PNW7j5CeqEjgSDnoPoDQ&safe=strict&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS813US813&prmd=nmiv&biw=1024&bih=653&hl=en-US#imgrc=X_6xjNDSiKi3CM

The week after MEA, I’d always listen to my friends and their interesting stories about their vacations. Their families went to Duluth, or they went to apple orchards, or they had movie marathons. I, however, being the daughter of a teacher, spent part of my MEA break at the Xcel Energy Center for the MEA Statewide Teachers Conference. The oddest part was that I wasn’t envious of my friend’s fall breaks. I liked the conference. Then again, I was a weird third grader.

The event is an annually held conference that teachers and educational workers statewide can attend. It offers workshops, speakers, a job fair, educational exhibits, and much more. It’s Minnesota’s biggest (professional) event for teachers and educators.

I remember getting up at 7:00 AM for the event, and driving through painfully terrible traffic to get to the conference. We’d eat breakfast muffins there, and then walk around the educational exhibits. Being one of the only children there, I received prizes, candy and loads of much wanted attention. Being the age I was, we often didn’t stop to listen to the speakers or sign up for workshops.

This year, the 2018 MEA Fall Conference was held at the Saint Paul RiverCentre on Thursday, October 18. For the first time, it was only open to Minnesota educators. So, while some teachers will be in classrooms and schools, others will be at the Saint Paul RiverCentre this Thursday.

Hispanic Heritage month

By: Daniela Fernandez

Every year, there is Hispanic Heritage month throughout the months of September and October. It takes place September 15 – October 15. This year’s theme was “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions” according to Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s theme was about reflecting on traditions, culture, and the history of Hispanic Americans. The theme was announced by The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers.

This year’s Hispanic Heritage month had many events going on. The events listed below are according to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website. One of these events was Realm of the Jaguar, that took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on September 22. This event was about honoring the jaguar found in artistic traditions from Mexico to the Amazon. There were many dances from places like Bolivia, Guatemala, and Mexico. At this event people could see how masks are made, and how traditional ceramics were made too.

Another event this year, was on September 23, at the National Zoo, called the ZooFiesta. At this event they had live music and activities that were educational, and that focused on conservation in South and Central America. During this event there were presentations and demonstrations, and feedings from animal keepers about sloths, tamarians, golden lions, golden frogs, and Panamanian and Andean bears.

A third event was on September 27, and it was a conversation with Congressman Pete Aguilar. He is a representative of the 31st Congressional District of California, and he is on the House Appropriations Committee. This conversation was about issues that Latinos are faced with today. This also included talks about his experience as a Latino person in congress. This event took place at the Library of Congress.

Another event that took place this year was on September 28, and it was the 2018 Americas Award Ceremony at the Library of Congress. This was an awards ceremony for two authors who wrote books portraying Latinos in the United States. These writers were Duncan Tonatiuh, for writing and illustrating Danza!, El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, and Amalia Hernández, and author Ibi Zoboi for writing American Street. They received the 2018 America Award for their writings.

The fifth event was on September 29, called Nuestra Ciudad (Our City). This was an event where people could meet local artists, dancers, and musicians. This was an event where people from Washington D.C. could learn about their local hispanic culture. This event took place at the National Portrait Gallery.

Inktober 2018

No, I did not misspell October.

Inktober is a month long drawing challenge that takes place during October. The challenge is to fully complete one ink drawing every day from October 1st through the 31st. The challenge was created by Jake Parker back in 2009 to help artists develop their skills and get in the habit of drawing every day. There aren’t many rules, just draw and complete a full piece every day, and upload it onto Instagram or any social media platform.

Some people wonder why Inktober is a challenge. Why not just draw every day? What makes Inktober more challenging than “drawing every day” is that you must fully complete the drawing. Personally I draw every day, but most commonly the drawings are just sketches, and not inked and completed pieces.

How do you come up with an idea every day? On the official Inktober website there is a prompt list. The first prompt list was created in 2016. Each year the prompts change, although I have noticed many of the prompts tend to be fall/Halloween themed. There is a different prompt for every day, and although most people follow these prompts it is never required. Some groups also make alternative prompt lists. Feel free to come up with your own ideas, or only follow your favorite prompts!

Now, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy right now. Thirty one days of drawing? If a whole month is too much for you, people also do a “half-marathon” (One drawing every other day) or a “5k” (One drawing a week). There is also some confusion about which art supplies to use. Originally, the challenge was to do just black and white ink. Now, people do color as well, but the official rules suggest limiting the amount of color that you use to one or a few colors. People have also done calligraphy, lettering, watercolors, and more. If you do decide to participate this year (It’s not to late!) or in the future, just remember that you are the artist – do this challenge to help yourself and have fun!

For more information on Inktober, or to see what other people are drawing, check out Inktober.com, @inktober, #inktober, and #inktober2018.