2 February, 2020: Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day 2014Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania GermanGrundsaudaagMurmeltiertag) is a day celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.

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20 January, 2020: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther KingMartin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15. The floating holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, though the act predated the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by 15 years.

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TEC Holiday, 13 January, 2020: Coming of Age Day

Coming of Age Day (成人の日 Seijin no Hi) is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority (20 years old (二十歳 hatachi)) over the past year, and to help them realize that they have become adults. Festivities include coming of age ceremonies (成人式 seijin-shiki) held at local and prefectural offices, as well as after-parties among family and friends.

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1 January, 2020: New Years Day

New Year’s Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year’s Day is the closest thing to being the world’s only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year

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25 December, 2019: Christmas Day

Christmas or Christmas Day (Old EnglishCrīstesmæsse, literally “Christ‘s mass“) is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated generally on December 25 as a religious and cultural holiday by billions of people around the world.  A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.

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TEC Holiday, 23 December, 2019 – 5 January, 2020: Winter Break

Target English Center (TEC): will be closed 23 December, 2019 to 5 January, 2020 for the winter Holiday season.  Enjoy the break.   We will resume classes from 6 January, 2019.

Happy Holidays and please have a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

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TEC Holiday, 28 November, 2019: Thanksgiving Day (U.S.A.)

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving in Canada falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated.

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-dayMassachusetts. There is also evidence for an earlier harvest celebration on the continent by Spanish explorers in Florida during 1565, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony. The initial thanksgiving observance at Virginia in 1619 was prompted by the colonists’ leaders on the anniversary of the settlement.The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. In later years, the tradition was continued by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623.While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this however, did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

In Canada, the origins of the first Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving celebration was not for harvest, but for homecoming. He had safely returned from an unsuccessful search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, Frobisher held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey.  Years later, the tradition of a feast would continue as more settlers began to arrive to the Canadian colonies.


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TEC Holiday, 23 November, 2019: Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō kansha no hi)

Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō kansha no hi) is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23. The law establishing the holiday cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks.

Events are held throughout Japan, one such being the Nagano Labor Festival. The event encourages thinking about the environmentpeace and human rights.

It is not unusual for early grade elementary students to create drawings for the holiday and give them as gifts to local kōbans, or police stations.  Labor Thanksgiving Day is the modern name for an ancient  cereal (ricebarley/wheatfoxtail milletbarnyard milletproso millet, and beansharvest festival known as Niiname-sai (新嘗祭), believed to have been held as long ago as November of 678.[citation needed] Traditionally, it celebrated the year’s hard work; during the Niiname-sai ceremony, the Emperor would dedicate the year’s harvest to kami (spirits), and taste the rice for the first time.

The modern holiday was established after World War II in 1948 as a day to mark some of the changes of the postwar constitution of Japan, including fundamental human rights and the expansion of workers rights. Currently Niiname-sai is held privately by the Imperial House of Japan while Labor Thanksgiving Day has become a national holiday.

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15 November, 2019: Shichi-Go-San (七五三) “Seven-Five-Three Day”

Shichi-Go-San is a Japanese festival held on 15 November to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children. As it is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the nearest weekend.

History

Shichi-Go-San is said to have originated in the Heian Period amongst court nobles who would celebrate the passage of their children into middle childhood. The ages 3, 5 and 7 are consistent with East Asian numerology, which claims that odd numbers are lucky.  The practice was set to the fifteenth of the month during the Kamakura Period.

Over time, this tradition passed to the samurai class who added a number of rituals. Children—who up until the age of three were required by custom to have shaven heads—were allowed to grow out their hair. Boys of age five could wear hakama for the first time, while girls of age seven replaced the simple cords they used to tie their kimono with the traditional obi.  By the Meiji Period, the practice was adopted amongst commoners as well, and included the modern ritual of visiting a shrine to drive out evil spirits and wish for a long healthy life.

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11 November, 2019: Veterans Day (U.S.A.)

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday honoring armed service veterans.  It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11th. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

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