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Holidays Trivia

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“Within the Walls Rodeo Day” is when prisoners wear black and white striped outfits and take part in volunteer rodeos within the walls of the prison.

Mother's Day Symbolism: The pink carnation is a gesture to honor a living mother, while a white carnation is worn to symbolize remembrance.

Pashka is a Russian Easter cake decorated with molded reliefs depicting the Passion. It traditionally has candied fruits that form the initials X and B (for Khristos voskress, meaning “Christ is risen”) in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Pooch Passion: According to a pet owner survey, 79 percent of Americans give their dogs holiday and/or birthday presents.

St. Swithin's Day, July 15: During the 900s, a man named Swithin (spelling also recorded as "Swithun") was the Bishop of Winchester in England. Some years after his death, and for reasons not documented, Bishop Swithin's remains were transferred to Winchester Cathedral on July 15, 971. That same day, there was a tremendous rainstorm. Legend has it that Bishop Swithin was so angry about the move from his final resting place that he caused the storm. According to old English folklore, if it should now rain on July 15th, St. Swithin will make it rain for 40 days thereafter.

A “distich” is composed of two poetic lines matching both sound and sense. It is used during the Chinese New Year to express the people's wish for a peaceful and happy new year.

A baked ham has graced traditional Easter tables in America for centuries. The tradition of ham served at Easter dates back to the 1600s. The colonists got the idea from their Native American neighbors. Every year the Native Americans welcomed spring with a planting festival that included the practice of smoking meats, especially venison. The colonists were fascinated with the process and decided to try it on the hogs they had raised. They salted, smoked, and stored the meat through the winter until it was perfectly cured and ready for the table in the spring, just in time for Easter.

A shofar is a ram's horn used in ancient times as a signaling trumpet, and is still blown in synagogues on Rosh Hashana and at the end of Yom Kippur.

A tiny village in Quebec is named Saint-Valentin, reportedly because the first mass was held there on Valentine's Day in 1810. Today, the town named for the patron saint of lovers is a popular destination for letters sent by stamp collectors looking for unusual postmarks to add to their collection. Permission was granted by the Canada Post to let Saint-Valentin use a special heart-shaped postmark. In 1999, collectors throughout Quebec and other Canadian provinces sent more than 6,000 Valentine's Day cards to get the special stamp.

About 75,600,000 pumpkin pies are baked each winter holiday season in the United States.

About 99 percent of pumpkins marketed domestically are used as jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween.

According to a survey, the most popular day for eating out in the United States is one's own birthday — 49 percent of American adults do. The worst holiday for eating out is Grandparents' Day, with less than 5 percent participating.

According to the Data Group, grandparents spend an average of $82 per grandchild for a holiday gift, $42 for a birthday gift, $74 for a special occasion such as a graduation, and $19 for other occasions like Easter or Valentine's Day.

Americans purchase an estimated 20 million pounds of candy corn for Halloween each year, and 93 percent of American children go trick-or-treating.

Americans spent about $6 billion on Halloween in 2000, making it the second-biggest holiday – after Christmas – in terms of dollars spent.

An AT&T survey estimated that 122.5 million phone calls to Mom are made on Mother's Day. Other Mother's Day findings revealed that 11 percent never call their mothers, and 3 percent of the 68 percent planning to ring Mom up called her collect. AT&T's query didn't include how many Mother's Day e-mails were sent to Mom.

An organization called SCROOGE was formed in 1979 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The acronym stands for the "Society to Curtail Ridiculous, Outrageous and Ostentatious Gift Exchanges."

Annually on October 13, the ancient Romans celebrated the Fontinalia, a feast in honor of the blessing of good water, in which wells and fountains were garlanded and had sacrificial offerings made to them.

Approximately 165 million Easter cards are purchased each year in the United States.

Approximately 80 percent of Americans spend Independence Day — the Fourth of July — with their families.

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