Encyclopedia of American Holidays and National Days [2 volumes]

Encyclopedia of American Holidays and National Days [2 volumes]

by Len Travers


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Did you know that the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas? That trick or treating on Halloween began in the late 1930s? That Kwanzaa was created in the mid-sixties by Ron Karenga, a radical Black Nationalist and Black Panther? That Anne Marie Jarvis, the force behind getting Mother's Day, proclaimed a national holiday, later repudiated the holiday for its crass commercialism and strove to undo her handiwork until the day she died? Every holiday has a history, and this set sets out to describe them all. A chronologically organized reference guide to the history of American celebratory days, past, present, and emergent, the books focuse on each holiday's cultural and political significance. It includes major, minor, and bygone holidays, both civic and religious. The work has a distinctive multi-cultural tone, with special emphasis on recent additions to the national holiday pantheon, such as Kwanzaa, Cinco de Mayo, Gay Pride and Passover, among others, in addition to the more traditional Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Veterans Day. New holidays, like The Superbowl and Mardi Gras, are included as well. Each entry tracks the changes in the celebration of the day, its origins, and its wider cultural significance.

Presented chronologically, a range of holidays are examined. Some were once widely observed but have faded over time, some are currently widely accepted and celebrated, and some are emerging and gaining in popularity. Covered holidays include:

Every entry is signed, and concludes with suggested further readings. Sidebars offer brief overviews of many holidays, such as Presidents' Day, whose history is relatively straightforward. The Introduction provides an overview of the history of holidays in America, their uses and controversies. Illustrations, a robust bibliography, and a comprehensive index complete the work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313331305
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/30/2006
Pages: 638
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 10.30(h) x 2.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Len Travers is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He is the author of Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic (1997) and The Paradox of 'Nationalist' Festivals: The Case of Palmetto Day in Antebellum Charleston, in William Pencak, et al, eds., Riot and Revelry in Early America.

Table of Contents


Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday by Claybrooke Carson

Holidays for Heroes of the Lost Cause: Lee, Jackson, and Davis by Karen L. Cox

Super Bowl Sunday: An American Holiday? by Mark S. Dyreson and Peter Hopsicker

Mardi Gras and Carnival by Samuel Kinser

St. Patrick's Day by Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair

Passover in America by Erika Meitner

Easter by Bruce T. Morrill

VE and VJ Day by J. Stanley Lemons

Earth Day by J. Brooks Flippen

May Day in Urban America by Donna T. Haevrty-Stacke

Cinco de Mayo and 16th of September by Louis M. Holscher

Mother's Day by Kathleen W. Jones

Memorial Day by Matthew Dennis

Powwow by William K. Powers

Gay Pride Day by Timothy Stewart-Winter

Independence Day by Matthew Dennis

"Agitate, Educate, Organize:" Labor Day in America by Ellen M. Litwicki

American Indian Day by Nicolas G. Rosenthal

Arbor Day by Shaul Cohen

Columbus Day: The Navigation of Uncharted Waters by Claudia L. Bushman

Halloween by Jack Santino

Pope's Day/Guy Fawkes' Day by Brendan McConville

Veterans Day by G. Kurt Piehler

Thanksgiving by James W. Baker

Hanukkah in America by Dianne Ashton

Forefathers Day by James W. Baker

Christmas by Penne Restad

Kwanzaa by Keith A. Mayes



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