Monday, May 25, 2009

African Methodist Quarterly Meeting Day

The Big August Quarterly of the African Union Methodist Protestant Church takes place annually in Wilmington, Delaware. It honors the establishment of the A.U.M.P. Church in 1813 as the ‘‘Mother Church’’ for African Americans. The first independent black congregation in Wilmington was started by an influential black religious leader named Peter Spencer, who, along with 41 like-minded African Americans, left the town’s Asbury Methodist Church in 1805 because its white members refused to let them participate fully in the services. In the years before the Civil War the Big August Quarterly drew slaves from all around, who obtained special passes permitting them to attend the weekend of gospel music, impassioned preaching, and family get-togethers.
Its founders modeled the Big August Quarterly on the quarterly meetings held by Quakers. Many thousands of people from Delaware and its neighboring states came to these stirring religious festivals. Although it no longer draws the crowds it used to, the Big August Quarterly has undergone a resurgence in recent years. It features soul food, musical entertainment, and an opportunity for people to reminisce about the Big August Quarterlies of the past.

FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 350 RelHolCal-2004, p. 100

African Liberation Day

While other holidays seek to commemorate the events and achievements of the past, African Liberation Day focuses attention on a goal that has not yet been fully realized: the liberation of all African people. The observance of this day can be traced back to April 15, 1958, when the Conference of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana. Attendees declared April 15 African Freedom Day, and between 1958 and 1963 this observance was supported by leaders worldwide, including President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Senator Hubert Humphrey in the United States.
As British and European colonies in Africa continued to win their independence during the 1950s and 60s, and as the civil rights movement in the United States began to achieve some success, 31 independent African countries met on May 25, 1963, to form the Organization of African Unity. They changed the name and the date of what now became African Liberation Day. In 1999 the group reorganized into the African Union.
Today, observances worldwide include marches, parades, rallies, and conferences. These events focus on celebrating freedom from colonialism, educating people about the progress of the African liberation movement, and speaking out against oppression. There are also sporting contests and tribal dances, particularly in Chad, Zambia, and other African states where it is a public holiday.

African Union
P.O. Box 3243
Addis Ababa W21K19 Ethiopia 011-251-1-51-7700; fax: 011-251-1-51-7844

Africa Malaria Day

Africa Malaria Day is sponsored by an international organization called Roll Back Malaria, whose members include representatives from the World Health Organization, UNI-CEF, the United Nations, the World Bank, and various member countries, organizations, and agencies. The goal of this organization is to reduce the worldwide number of Malaria cases by one half by the year 2010.
Malaria kills about 3,000 people a day, which adds up to about 1,000,000 people per year. Most of these people are children, and nine out of ten of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa Malaria Dayis a day dedicatedtoraising public awareness about malaria prevention and treatment, as well as the economic and social toll the disease takes on poor countries. Activities include special media campaigns, demonstrations of the proper use of treated mosquito netting, lectures about the disease, and other educational events. Roll Back Malaria chose April 25 as the date of their newly created holiday in order to commemorate the April 25, 2000, Summit on Malaria, held in Abuja, Nigeria. The first Africa Malaria Day was held the following year in 2001. The United Nations has declared 2001-2010 as the Decade to Roll Back Malaria.

World Health Organization Ave. Appia 20 Geneva 27 1211 Switzerland 011-41-22-791-21-11; fax: 011-41-22-791-3111

Advent in Germany

Many German households observe Advent with an Advent wreath. Traditionally fashioned from a fir branch entwined with gold and silver ribbons or bits of red thread, the wreaths also contain holders for four candles. German families dis-play the wreath on a tabletop or suspend it from the ceiling. One candle is lit on each of the Sundays in Advent. An old Roman Catholic tradition called for lighting the candles on Saturday instead. Many German households light a ‘‘Star of Seven,’’ a seven-branched candelabrum, on Christmas Eve, and at midnight carry the lit ‘‘star’’ though the dark to the village church for the Christmas Eve service.

BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 128 EncyChristmas-2003, pp. 3, 6,
7, 10, 276 FestWestEur-1958, p. 79 FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 680 OxYear-1999, p. 598

Friday, May 22, 2009


From the Sunday closest to November 30 to December 24 in West; from November 15 to December 24 in East

The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year in Western Christianity. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, beginning on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew’s Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Eve.
In the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Anglican Communion the third Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday, from the first word of the introit, ‘‘Rejoice.’’ Rosecolored vestments may replace the purple, and flowers may be on the altar. Originally a period of reflection and penitence in preparation for Christmasin much the same way that Lent is in preparation for EasterAdvent has sometimes been referred to as the Winter Lent. But over time the restrictions of Advent have become greatly relaxed. Today it is usually associated with the Advent calendars that parents give their children to help them count the days until Christmas.
In Orthodox (Eastern) Christianity, the church year begins on September 1, and Advent begins on November 15. The Advent fast is called the Little Lent, because it’s shorter than the Great Lent preceding Easter.

AmerBkDays-2000, p. 802
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 127
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 302
DictWrldRel-1989, pp. 5, 154, 175
EncyChristmas-2003, pp. 3, 7, 8, 10
EncyRel-1987, v. 3, p. 441
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 680
OxYear-1999, p. 598
RelHolCal-2004, pp. 83, 115
SaintFestCh-1904, p. xiii

Admission Day

Many American states celebrate the anniversary of their admission to the Union by observing a public holiday on or near the actual day. Sometimes the day is referred to by the name of the state as in Colorado Day, Indiana Day, Nevada Day, or West Virginia Day and is marked by special celebrations. Other states let the anniversary of their admission pass unnoticed. In Vermont, Admission Day coincides with Town Meeting Day.
For a listing of all states, see Appendix A.

Administrative Professionals Week

Professional Secretaries Week was started in 1952 by Profes-sional Secretaries International—now called the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)—an organization devoted to the education and professional devel-opment of secretaries, executive assistants, information specialists, and office managers. It takes place during the last full week in April, with Administrative Professionals Day observed on Wednesday. Many IAAP chapters sponsor spe-cial events throughout the week—such as educational semi-nars or luncheons with guest speakers for secretaries and their bosses—but Wednesday is the day when managers and executives are supposed to give their office support staff a special token of their appreciation.
How do secretaries want to be recognized on this day? Ac-cording to the 2001 IAAP survey, most of them want com-pany-wide special events or training and educational ses-sions. What do they get? Lunch is the most common form of recognition, followed by flowers or other gifts.

International Association of Administrative Professionals
10502 N.W. Ambassador Dr.
P.O. Box 20404
Kansas City, MO 64195-0404
816-891-6600; fax: 816-891-9118