Hanukkah: A Festival of Lights

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev, at sundown. Lasting eight days, Hanukkah usually occurs during December, but sometimes begins in November. This Jewish holiday is known as the Festival of Lights, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C. after three years of war. Hanukkah…
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An American Thanksgiving

Everybody knows that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, right? Well, probably not, but it was the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving that gave us our Thanksgiving holiday as we know it today.The Pilgrims came to the New World looking for a way to worship God as they wished. They were not Puritans. Puritans wanted to change the Church of…
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Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali, or Dipawali, is Hinduism's biggest and most important holiday of the year. It takes place in mid-October. Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith. Along with Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs may all celebrate Diwali.  The "Festival of Lights" gets its name from the rows of deepa, or clay lamps, that…
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Cherries Jubilee!

Tart or sweet, cherries are a favorite flavor, and there's more to cherries than meets the eye. Cherries actually belong to the rose family. Cherry's rosy relatives include other stone fruits such as almonds, apricots, plums, peaches, and nectarines. February is a terrific month to dig into cherries. For years, people have made cherry pies to celebrate…
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Help the Earth Every Day

How can you help the Earth?  There are lots of ways to get involved in conservation whether you're a kid, teen, or adult. Check out the local activities, Web sites and library materials listed below for some great ideas. Join a Club The Virginia Cooperative Extension Agency sponsors 4-H clubs. If you are between the ages…
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Make a Gingerbread House

Gumdrops, lollipops, chocolate squares, jelly bears, and peppermint candies. The sky is the limit as far as decorating your own gingerbread house. They are a ton of fun to decorate, but first, you need to make the house itself. You can put it together fast from graham crackers and store-bought icing, or you can make…
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Create a Cornucopia

Brimming with the fruits of the harvest, the cornucopia has become an important symbol of American Thanksgiving. Its origins go further back in time to the ancient Greeks. According to their myths, young Zeus gave his foster mother Amalthaea a goat's horn that could be filled with whatever she wished. Through the years, the cornucopia…
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The Longest Day: Traditions for the Summer Solstice

Take a moment to savor the summer delights and craft some new traditions while learning the legends of summer. Ancient Stargazers Humans in prehistoric times built monuments to commemorate both the winter and the summer solstices throughout the world. Solstice comes from the Latin words sol meaning sun and sistere meaning to cause to stand still. As the days…
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