Juneteenth And National New Beginnings

The holiday is a reminder of the Civil War's larger meaning, the unfulfilled promise of Reconstruction, and the reinforcement of democratic values.
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Thanksgiving Has Been Reinvented Many Times

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, Thanksgiving was very different from the holiday we know now.

The Fourth of July Has Always Been Political

The question is which vision of America it’s being used to advance.

What Could Go Wrong for Trump on July 4th? In 1970, Protests and Tear Gas Marred the Day.

"Honor America Day" was designed to showcase support for President Nixon at a time of bitter division.

The Sounds of Independence

How was the Fourth of July celebrated during the Revolutionary War?

Baby, Christmas Songs Have Always Been Controversial

Long before “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” holiday songs played a part in the War on Christmas.

The Surprisingly Sad True Story Behind 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'

Copywriter Robert L. May dreamed up Rudolph during a particularly difficult time in his life.
Illustration imagining the first Thanksgiving.

A Brief History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday about food – but it is more specifically a holiday about food’s absence.

The Troubling History of the Fight to Honor Leif Erikson—Not Columbus—as the Man Who 'Discovered America'

It wasn't simply a matter of getting the history right.

When the Fourth of July Was a Black Holiday

After the Civil War, African Americans in the South transformed Independence Day into a celebration of their newly won freedom.
Drawing of Ann Reeves Jarvis carrying blankets in a hospital.

The Mother of Mother's Day

The American commercialized version of Mother's Day isn't what the founder intended.

The Heart of the Matter: A History of Valentine Cards

A digital exhibit from the collections of the Strong National Museum of Play.
Intricately painted Easter eggs.

Why Easter Never Became a Big Secular Holiday like Christmas

Hint: the Puritans were involved.
Title page and verso of the first edition of "A Christmas Carol."

A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories

Though the practice is now more associated with Halloween, spooking out your family is well within the Christmas spirit.

The Unintended Consequences of Veterans' Day

In hindsight: A day created to commemorate peace has been transformed into one that perpetuates war.

When Halloween Mischief Turned to Mayhem

Nineteenth-century urbanization unleashed the nation's anarchic spirits.

The Necessity of Juneteenth

The most famous Emancipation holiday is more necessary now than it has ever been.
Billy McComiskey (right) performing Irish music at the Library of Congress with his sons Mikey McComiskey (left) and Patrick McComiskey (center) in 2016. Library of Congress photo by Shawn Miller.

A Few Examples of Dads’ Traditions

Stephanie Hall provides examples of folklore and storytelling within a fathers' relationship to music.

Cinco De Mayo Isn’t What You Think it Is

It’s not just “Cinco De Drinko,” and it isn’t Mexican Independence Day.

Informed Archives: The Environmental Action Coalition and the Birth of Earth Day

January 2017's Women's March wasn't the first time Fifth Avenue in New York City hosted an enormous demonstration.