The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays

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OUP USA, 22 апр. 2004 г. - Всего страниц: 224
What is the connection between May Day and the Statue of Liberty? Between ancient solstice fires and Fourth of July fireworks? Between St. Valentine, the Groundhog, and the Virgin Mary? Why do people behave so bawdily during Mardi Gras? How has the significance and celebration of Christmas changed over the centuries?
In The Book of the Year, Anthony Aveni offers fascinating answers to these questions and explains the many ways humans throughout time have tried to order and give meaning to time's passing. Aveni traces the origins of modern customs tied to seasonal holidays, exploring what we eat (the egg at Easter, chocolate on St. Valentine's Day), the games we play (bobbing for apples on Halloween, football on Thanksgiving), the rituals we perform (dancing around the Maypole, making New Year's resolutions), and the colorful cast of characters we invent to dramatize holidays (Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the witches and goblins of Halloween). Along the way, Aveni illuminates everything from the Jack 'O Lantern and our faith in the predictive power of animals to the ways in which Labor Day reflects the great medieval "time wars," when the newly invented clock first pitted labor against management. The calendar and its holidays, Aveni writes, function as "a kind of metronome that keeps the beat of human activity tuned to the manifold overlapping cycles of life," to the ebb and flow of birth, growth, decay, and death
Vividly written, filled with facts both curious and astonishing, this engrossing book allows us to hear that beat more clearly and to understand more fully the rhythms we all dance to throughout the year.
 

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THE BOOK OF THE YEAR: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays

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A muddled chronology of annual holidays that connects, among other things, Groundhog Day to an Irish saint and May Day to 19th-century labor legislation in the state of Illinois.Aveni (Astronomy and ... Читать весь отзыв

Содержание

Creating Organizing and Transforming the Holidays
1
Happy New Year But Why Now?
11
Februarys Holidays Prediction Purification and Passionate Pursuit
29
Spring Equinox Watching the Serpent Descend
47
The EasterPassover Season Connecting Times Broken Circle
63
May Day A Collision of Forces
79
Summers Solstice Feasts of Fire Water and Feminine Affairs of the Heart
91
Labor Day Remembering the Great Time Wars
107
Halloween Dead Time
119
Thanksgiving Transcending Pilgrims Progress
135
Christmas From Resurrection to Rudolph
149
What Goes Around
165
Notes
171
References
177
Index
183
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Anthony Aveni is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University and the author of several books, including Empires of Time and Conversing with the Planets.

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