Happy Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for?

Take some time this weekend to think about it.  Thanksgiving is more than just eating turkey, visiting family and having a Monday off.  Take some time to reflect on  your life and consider what you are thankful for.  Count your blessings and enjoy them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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International Women’s Day 2018

 

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe every March 8th. International Women’s Day is a celebration of the contributions of women to society, especially in politics, culture, economics and other areas traditionally closed to women or where the achievements of women were ignored. IWD is also a chance to focus on the continuing battle for gender equality.

The inequality of opportunity for women, and of course outcome, is unacceptable in modern democracies, and worse in other parts of the world. According to the United Nations, “Today, gender inequality is rife: 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes; and only 1 in 4 parliamentarians worldwide are women. It will be 2086 before we close the gender pay gap if present trends continue with no action.” Those are just a fraction of the statistics which demonstrate the continuing need to stand up against inequality.

The struggle for women’s rights is a struggle for human rights. All people, men as well as women, should stand together and demand change.

Find out more:

 

 

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year begins this Friday. It is known by many names around the world, including the Spring Festival; the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year; Shogatsu (Japan); Tet (Vietnam); Seolial (Korea); and many other New Year’s observances in Asia. People in Canada, especially people of Asian descent, will join with people around the world to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

Find out more:

 

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Auschwitz Death Camp
source: Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

In 2005 the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The term “Holocaust” refers to the period in history in which the Nazi regime of Germany murdered over 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other victims, including Roma, homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, and more. The Nazi persecution of the Jews began in the early 1930’s and reached its most horrific and brutal peak during the period of 1941-1945, as the Nazis adopted as official policy the “Final Solution,” the attempt at completely annihilating the entire Jewish population.

Children selected for extermination
source: wikimedia commons / public domain

 

The Holocaust is not the only example of genocide in human history. What makes the Holocaust stand out amongst the long and plentiful list of human atrocities and evil?  Germany was amongst the most powerful nations of the world and a leader in science, technology, medicine and engineering.  The German contributions to art, music, literature and philosophy put German culture at the heart of what we would call Western Civilization. And yet this supposedly civilized people turned their great achievements and progress towards planning and carrying out ruthless genocidal murder with scientific and economic efficiency.

For more on the Holocaust:

Yad Veshem

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Jewish Virtual Library

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

Robbie Burns Day

source: robertburns.org

The beloved Scottish poet was born on this day in 1759. From Scotland to all parts of the world where you will find people with Scottish roots,”Burns Night” is not just a celebration of the man, but also of Scottish heritage.

“‘Burns Night‘, also termed a ‘Burns Supper,’is a celebration of the life and works of the poet Robert Burns; Scottish by birth and held in fond regard by Scots all over the world, his life and poetry speak to the struggles common to all people. It is an evening of food, drink, entertainment, and friendship.  It is an event that transcends time, geographical borders, political, and religious beliefs to bring people together in celebration of the everyman.” (From burnsnight.net)

For more information on Robbie Burns and “Burns Night”:

RobertBurns.org

Burns Night at Scotland.org

Robbie Burns Tribute

Orthodox Christmas

source: wikimedia commons / CC / GFDL

Merry Christmas to Eastern Orthodox Christians in Canada and around the world who celebrate the birth of Christ on this day. The Orthodox Churches of Russia, the Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe continued to follow the Julian Calendar after most of the rest of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian calendar from the 16th century and onward. While most of the countries of Eastern Europe eventually adopted the western calendar for political and economic purposes, some have maintained the Julian Calendar for religious and cultural purposes.

Epiphany

Also known as King’s Day or Twelfth Night, Epiphany is a Christian celebration that traditionally brought a close to the Christmas Season. In the western Church, King’s Day commemorates the visit of the Magi, the “Wise-Men” or Kings of the East, to the infant Christ, God’s revelation of the Messiah to the Gentiles (non-Jews.)  In bygone traditions, the “Twelve Days of Christmas” were marked from Christmas Day to Epiphany.

Adoration of the Magi by Mantegna (Public Domain / WIkimedia Commons)

This holiday is not prominent in Canada, but is a significant event in many Catholic areas, including parts of the Europe, Central America and South America.

For more:

Catholic Encyclopedia

It’s Twelfth Night…

Epiphany 2015