United States

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Noah Webster, America’s first lexicographer, was born on October 16, 1758. We remember Webster as the author of the first American dictionary, but he was also the first authority to advocate American English. His American Spelling Book, published in 1783 (later known as Webster’s Elementary Spelling Book), was the first to Americanize the spelling of English words such as colour and labour by dropping the u. He also espoused American pronunciation and usage.

In a very real sense, Webster gave us the language that Americans think of as English. An estimated 60 million copies of Webster’s speller were sold during its first hundred years in print. In 1828, Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language was published, with 12,000 more words and about 40,000 more definitions than any previous English dictionary.

This is an excellent day for divination involving the use of letters, words, or books. Here are a few links to get you started:

  • Dictiomancy – divination  by randomly opening a dictionary
  • Alphabetical divination – divination by random choosing of the letters of the alphabet.
  • Literomancy  – divination by a letter in a written language
  • Notarikon – divination by  initials
  • Onomancy  – divination by letters in a name

Found at: Almanac.com

Formerly called “I am an American Day” (1940) and then “Citizenship Day” (1952), this observance’s long new name (2004) is called Constitution Day for short. Celebrated on Sept 17 , it marks the anniversary of the date in 1787 when the final draft of the Constitution of the United States was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention after months of wrangling.

The framers of the Constitution had been arguing constantly as they met in secret, but they had leaked reports to the press indicating that all was well. “So great is the unanimity, we hear, that prevails in the convention, upon all great federal subjects, that it has been proposed to call the room in which they assemble ‘Unanimity Hall.'” The Federalists (as they came to be called) argued through June and most of July and reached an agreement on July 16.

After deciding to leave out a bill of rights — because everyone was worn-out and they thought there was no need for such a list — the framers completed the final draft on September 17 and made it ready for submission to the states for ratification.

The American Bar Association and other organizations make an effort to mark this anniversary by sponsoring symposia and, in some cases, offering free legal advice.

From: Almanac.com

  • Themes: Work; Rest; Recreation; Prosperity
  • Symbols: All the Tools of Your Trade
  • Presiding Deity: Ka-blet-jew-lei-hat

About Ka-blet-jew-lei-ha: The Assam goddess of the marketplace and merchants takes a much deserved rest from her labors today and focuses on rewarding tasks that have been well done throughout the last eight months.

To do today:

For most folks in the United States, Labor Day (celebrated the first Monday in September) represents a long weekend without normal workaday activities. From a magical perspective, this holiday offers us a chance to thank Ka-blei-jew-lei-ha for our jobs (which keep a roof overhead and food on the table) and ask for her blessing on the tools we use regularly. For example:

  • A secretary might empower his or her pen and steno pad.
  • A musician can charge his or her instrument.
  • A shopkeeper might anoint the cash register.
  • A book dealer might burn specially chosen incense near goddess-centered books (and in the business section).

Some potential herbal tinctures and oils to use for inspiring Ka-blei-jew-lei-ha’s prosperity and watchfulness include cinnamon, clove, ginger, mint, orange, and pine. To partake of the goddess’s abundance by energizing your skills with her magic, blend all of these (except pine) into a tea. To bless your home or your workplace blend the above oils with water and wash the front steps with it.

The goddess can help with job searches too. Just tell her your need then review the newspaper and see what companies catch your eye. Then get on the phone or get the resume out so Ka-blei-jew-let-hat can open that doorway.

Source: 365 Goddess

Note: The only reference to this goddess that I could find was the one in the book 365 Goddess. More commonly, Oya and Ayizan are the goddesses associated with the marketplace.

Formerly known as Woman Suffrage Day, August 26 marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1920), granting women the right to vote. Ratification came in Tennessee, where suffragist (Anitia) Lili Pollitzer, age 25, persuaded Tennessee state legislator Harry T. Burn, age 24, to cast the deciding vote.

“I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for a boy to follow,” he said, “and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.”

The country’s 26 million voting-age women were enfranchised by this change in the Constitution. Longtime suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt summed up her experiences in the battle this way: “Never in the history of politics has there been such a nefarious lobby as labored to block the ratification.”

Upon ratification, Catt founded the League of Women Voters, an organization now dedicated to providing impartial, in-depth information about candidates, platforms, and ballot issues.

From: Almanac.com

July 24,  Pioneer Day commemorates the day in 1847 when Brigham Young led his “pioneer band” of Mormons into the Salt Lake valley to establish a settlement–their new Zion. The Mormons had been driven from New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois and had spent four difficult months traveling 1,073 miles overland to reach the Great Basin, chosen by Young because of its remoteness.

It was the most organized and disciplined westward migration in American history, and unlike most emigrants intent on their destination, the Mormon pioneers were equally concerned with improving the trail for those who would follow.

Pioneer Day is celebrated as the second most important date in the Mormon calendar, behind April 6, the day Joseph Smith established the church. Parades, fireworks, rodeos, and other festivities help commemorate the event.

From: Almanac.com

A great recipe to celebrate Independence Day in the United States:

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped dill
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated red onion
  • salt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 garden fresh red tomatoes
  • 10 borage flowers

Combine all the ingredients except for the tomatoes and flowers. Slice tomatoes and arrange them, overlapping, around the edge of a serving platter. Mound the cucumber mixture in the center of the platter, just covering the inner edge of the tomatoes. Chill well, and place the borage flowers decoratively on the salad just before serving.

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe by Di-Di Hoffman

Emancipation Day, also called Juneteenth, celebrates the end of slavery and freedom on June 19, 1865 in eastern Texas and portions of the surrounding states. On that day, General Gordon Granger landed with Federal troops in Galveston, Texas, with the intention of enforcing President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.

The end of slavery was a gradual process, occurring as news of the proclamation reached outlying towns and states. Juneteenth was probably a shortened version of June 19th. A proclamation from the president stated that all slaves were now free, and the relationship between master and slave was now employer and employee:

“The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Beginning the year following this Texas event, 1866, large celebrations to rival the Fourth of July began, including prayer services, inspirational speakers, reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, storytelling by former slaves, and traditional food and games. Soon neighboring states such as Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma were adding celebrations. Throughout Texas, ex-slaves purchased land for their Juneteenth gatherings.

June 19 was declared a legal holiday in Texas in 1980.

Whatever your ethnicity, it is always good to recognize that you have freedom – or if not, Juneteenth reminds you to work hard at obtaining it. If there are bonds tying you down, such as debt, addictions, or unwanted relationships, create a list that marks out a strategy that leads toward freedom.

Celebrating the Day:

  • Wear white on Juneteenth – it is the color of spiritual strength.
  • Fire is important.
  • For dinner have a barbecue featuring your favorite foods.
  • Be sure to include some tasty roasted tubers and root veggies like sweet potato and sweet onion.
  • Have an extravagant soft drink. It is the tradition to have strawberry soda, but sparkling cranberry juice or berry flavored mineral water will do as well.

As the coals of the fire turn white with heat and the sun settles in the west it is time to turn to ritual. It is appropriate to purge things holding you down. Burn old unnecessary papers. Set yourself free from the past by clearing clutter. You’d be surprised how much this improves your mental health!

Sources: Almanac.com and Four Seasons of Mojo

What we know fondly as the “Stars and Stripes” was adopted by the Continental Congress as the official American flag on June 14, 1777, in the midst of the Revolutionary War.

Colonial troops fought under many different flags with various symbols and slogans–rattlesnakes, pine trees, and eagles; “Don’t Tread on Me,” “Liberty or Death,” and “Conquer or Die,” to name a few. The first flag had 13 stars on a blue field and 13 alternating red and white stripes for the 13 original colonies. Now there are 50 stars, one for each state in the Union, but the 13 stripes remain.

Although many people believe that Betsy Ross designed and sewed the first flag, there is no proof of that. Flag Day was first celebrated in 1877, on the flag’s 100th birthday.

From: Almanac.com

00628.Kamehameha-Statue

Hawaii is the only American state that was once a kingdom with its own monarchy. One of the greatest kings was King Kamehameha I, also called, appropriately, Kamehameha the Great. His name means “the very lonely one” or “the one set apart.” A statue of him can be found in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

King Kamehameha I probably was born some time around 1758, the year when Halley’s comet became visible over Hawaii. A courageous warrior, the king conquered and united the entire Hawaiian islands into one kingdom. During his reign, which lasted from 1782 to 1819, Hawaii became an important center in the fur and sandalwood trades.

The last king in the Kamehameha dynasty was King Kamehameha V, who ruled from 1863 to 1872. During this time, the king proclaimed June 11 as a day to honor his grandfather, King Kamehameha I.

The most important ritual of the celebration dates back to 1901 after the Territory of Hawaii was established. It is the afternoon draping ceremony in which the Kamehameha Statue in front of Aliʻiolani Hale and ʻIolani Palace on King Street in downtown Honolulu is draped in long strands of lei. The same is done at the Kamehameha Statue on the former monarch’s home island, the Big Island of Hawaii. Outside of the state, a similar draping ceremony is held at the United States Capitol where the Kamehameha Statue there is also draped in lei in the company of federal officials.

Late 19th century celebrations of Kamehameha Day featured carnivals and fairs, foot races, horse races and velocipede races. Today, Kamehameha Day is treated with elaborate events harkening back to ancient Hawaii, respecting the cultural traditions that Kamehameha defended as his society was slowly shifting towards European trends.

The King Kamehameha Hula Competition attracts hula groups from all over the world to the Neil S. Blaisdell Center for the two-day event. Prizes are awarded on the second night.

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A floral parade is held annually at various locations throughout the state of Hawaii. On the island of Oahu, the parade runs from ʻIolani Palace in downtown Honolulu past Honolulu Harbor and the Prince Kūhiō Federal Building through Kakaʻako, Ala Moana and Waikīkī, ending at Kapiʻolani Park.

June 11 is also the anniversary of the dedication of Kapiʻolani Park. The floral parade features local marching bands—including the Royal Hawaiian Band (the oldest municipal band in the United States)—and artistically designed floats using native flowers and plants. Many local companies enter floats for their employees.

A favorite floral parade feature is the traditional royal paʻu riders. They represent a royal court led by a queen on horseback, followed by princesses representing the eight major islands of Hawaii and Molokini. Each princess is attended by paʻu ladies in waiting. Paʻu women are dressed in colorful and elegant 19th century riding gowns accented with lei and other floral arrangements.

After the parade, the state celebrates a Hoʻolauleʻa, literally celebration, or block party with food and music. Cultural exhibitions are also scattered throughout Kapiʻolani Park—arts and crafts, games, sports, and other events planned by the Bishop Museum, the premier Hawaiian cultural institution.

On the Island of Hawaii, there are three floral parades held. One between the towns of Hawi and Kapaʻau and one in the town of Hilo. There is a King Kamehameha Day Celebration Parade and Ho`olaule`a in Kailua Kona on Ali`i Drive each year. There is also a lei draping ceremony in Kapaau at the statue of King Kamehameha there.

Sources: Almanac.com and Wikipedia

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