Archives For Holidays

Please don’t take my manners or holidays away by Felina Silver Robinson

Today I read an article and shared it on my blog “Marshfield Residents Want Christmas Vacation Back.”  It made me remember the first time I heard it our schools in Brookline Massachusetts as “Winter Vacation”. It made me further remember various schools not wanting Halloween celebrated at their locations.  Newton Schools have continued to ban Halloween activities. Here is a small collection of some earlier articles speaking to these bans.

1. Newton (MA) Elementary School Bans Halloween (Newton, MA – 10/27/2005)

2. Banned at the schoolhouse door: pint-size ghosts and goblins (Raleigh NC – 10/31/2005)

3. Massachusetts Principal Takes Aim at Fall Holidays, Says They’re Insensitive (Somerville, MA – 10/15/2011)

4. Valentine’s Day Candy Banned By Horace Mann School In Massachusetts (VIDEO) (Newton, MA – 02/12/2012)

My daughter recently came home and told me that her and a group of her friends got in trouble for hugging each other during school. Hugging is no longer in Brookline Public schools. I remember reading an article back in August about a Student punished for saying “bless you”.

While I certainly agree that some holidays can be offensive, like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.  I believe that there is a difference when a holiday directly affects the emotional well-being of an individual such is the case with Native Americans and their feelings as they relate to Christopher Columbus, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. However, taking an opportunity away that one has had since birth whether it be a 100 years or 10 years is just preposterous.

Taking away Halloween and any celebrations around Halloween is just so sad. Just because someone chooses to celebrate Halloween, it does not make them a witch or a devil worshiper. Personally, I attended church and Sunday school my entire childhood, well into adulthood. I have never given up on my Christian beliefs and no Holiday will change that. Some of my fondest memories are attached to Halloween.

Taking away holidays and renaming holidays is one thing. To add salt to existing wounds, people have moved on disallowing touch and disallowing the use of the term “bless you” when someone sneezes. Personally, I try really hard to just say “bless you” instead of “God bless you”, but there are those that are still upset with that, to the point of suspending a student for it as noted in the article mentioned in paragraph two. Being raised to say “God bless you” since childhood upon the sound of a sneeze, it feels quite rude when it is not said. I will always find myself compelled to say it and I don’t intend to apologize for that.

My closing thoughts: I have never thought for one second that I had the right or felt the need to take part in removing any holiday celebrations aside from Thanksgiving and/or Columbus Day as it directly affects who I am. I would never expect anyone to give up their own beliefs for mine. None of us have the right to dictate what others believe in. We all try to find a place where we fit in. Sometimes this doesn’t come easy. We all want to feel comfortable. The best way to do this is to allow others to be themselves as long as they are not hurting anyone. Changing life long tradition should not be the goal just because a small group of people prefer to think badly or be frightened by kindness.  While we all realize that change is necessary and will come no matter what we say or do,If things change too much we lose too much of where we come from, then we lose a sense of ourselves as well as a sense of belonging.

Boston Pops concert cut short

Esplanade evacuated after fireworks as storms neared

Tropical Storm Arthur forecast to pass off Massachusetts coast


Regular averaging $3.70/gal in Mass.


From I share this Easter prayer with you.

From the darkness of the grave
Blood poured out, a crown of thorns
Christ the Lord is risen to-day
ALL: Alleluia!

From the triumph that is won
Over the power and fear of death
Christ the Lord is risen to-day
ALL: Alleluia!

Walking from the empty tomb
Opening wide the gates of life
Christ the Lord is risen to-day
ALL: Alleluia!

Lord of life
You defeated death
To show that we can rise
From all that binds us to the world
Pride, envy, anger, fear
The debt of sin that holds us here
Christ the Lord is risen to-day
ALL: Alleluia!

Lord of life
You defeated death
To demonstrate a love that is
Beyond our understanding
That reaches out even to me
Saving Grace to all who hear
Christ the Lord is risen to-day
ALL: Alleluia!

Lord of life
We pray for all who bring your word of life
As a light to those in darkness
For those who bring your word of peace
To those enslaved by fear
For those who bring your word of love
To those in need of comfort
Lord of love and Lord of peace
Lord of resurrection life
Be known
Through our lives
and through your power
Christ the Lord is risen to-day
ALL: Alleluia!

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st patricks day 2014

When I was young I only remember going to a few Boston Parades here and there.  The thing I enjoyed most was all the different people and colors that I saw.  I’m almost certain that I wasn’t always aware of the purpose or message that was being given if there was one. The most important thing that was obvious was that everyone enjoyed themselves in some ways. I always thought that parades were meant for all people.  I know the definition of parade is “a public procession, especially one celebrating a day or event and including marching bands and floats.” Its synonyms are processionmarchcavalcademotorcadespectacledisplay,pageant.  No where in its definition do you find words of exclusion of any person or group.  As for St. Patrick’s Day itself, while it is said to be “a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March which is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland.” We know that not only people in the Catholic faith celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. A great deal of interracial marriages have occurred over the years. Therefore resulting in a number of various religions celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  This also means that some of those celebrating the day may not be heterosexuals. You don’t see those celebrating Gay Pride day saying that only gay people can take part in their parade. A parade should be in place allowing all interested parties to take part and attend as long as they don’t mean harm to those taking part in the celebration.

It is a shame that who gets to take part in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is even up for debate, especially when the debate comes from a school or house of faith. We all have our beliefs and are committed to them and no one should or can take that away from us.  However, there are several times and occasions where we should all be able to put aside our feelings and if so needed, our beliefs, so that we ALL have the opportunity to celebrate holiday’s whether by a parade, march, breakfast, dance, day of observation, etc. We essentially all came from the same place, and should deserve the same rights. We were all created equal. This can not be used or said when it is convenient, it has to apply at all times otherwise we are all hypocrites.

If you have pride in who and what you are and what you believe in stand up for that, but not in a way that takes away from someone elses pride or beliefs.  We can all be happy and celebrate together. For more information on how Boston will be celebrating click here.

By Felina Silver Robinson

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Cities around the world welcome 2014 with fireworks.

By Erik Ortiz, Daniella Silva and Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News

A massive, exuberant crowd of revelers from all over the world packed New York City streets to watch the crystal-covered ball in Times Square descend in a celebration of 2014’s arrival, capping off a global wave of festivities that also included a record-breaking fireworks display in Dubai and edibles falling from the sky in London.

When the 12-foot-wide ball dropped in Manhattan, the crowd erupted in cheers and shouts of “Happy New Year!” Some in the crowd had been staked out in the frigid cold since early morning.

“This is the best New Year’s Eve of my life,” said Marcus Ix, 34, after confetti started raining down. “It was worth the 13-hour wait in the cold.”

The New Year celebrations begin first on the other side of the world with New Zealand and Australia followed by China welcoming in 2014 with their own spectacular firework displays. ITN’s Neil Connery reports. Click here to watch “New Year’s Celebrations Around the World“.

“TV doesn’t do this justice,” said Kerrie McConaghy, 20, a tourist from Ireland. “You have to be here to believe it.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor led her native city’s 60-second countdown and pushed the button to start the trigger the drop of the famous Times Square New Year’s Eve ball.

Beforehand, pop artists such as Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Blondie revved up up the crowd with chart-topping fan favorites.

More than a million revelers were herded into pens in 28 degree cold to catch a glimpse of the crystal-covered orb and possibly just to claim they did it that one time.

“Once in a lifetime for me, for sure. I mean, if I even survive. I can’t wait to get out of here,” said Jerry Bender, who came from California with his granddaughter.

Still, some stood in Times Square for the sake of tradition. “Every time I say it’s the last. But then I come back,” said Yasmina Merrir of Washington, D.C., who was attending her fourth Times Square ball drop.

A regular at the ceremonial New Year’s bash, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said he would not be attending the event for the first time in a decade and would instead spend the evening with friends and family.

“Thank you, New Yorkers, for the honor and privilege of serving you these past 12 years,” Bloomberg said in a tweet before 2013 — and his time in office — came to a close.

His successor, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, rang the new year by being sworn into office outside his home at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Kicking off 2014 in style, the United Arab Emirates’ city-state of Dubai attempts for the largest-ever fireworks display by shooting off 500,000 fireworks in five minutes.

By the time Wednesday morning arrives in New York, many around the world will have already welcomed 2014, and their celebrations will become memories — even the one that handily broke a world record.

Dubai, the Persian Gulf city-state known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements — like the world’s tallest skyscraper — accomplished another record by creating the largest fireworks show ever for its celebration of 2014.

“Dubai saw in 2014 in unforgettable style last night, with a successful attempt at the world record for the largest ever fireworks display,” Guinness World Records announced in a statement.

The dazzling 30-minute show, designed by U.S. firm Grucci, was capped off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city’s manmade, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights.

Organizers beat a record set in 2012 in Kuwait that included more than 77,000 fireworks. Dubai set off enough fireworks within the first minute of its show to squash Kuwait’s benchmark, Guinness World Records said.

In total, the extravaganza was slated to include half a million fireworks from 400 firing locations synchronized by 100 computers, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists, which was managing the event. The company also organized the grand fireworks for the Atlantis hotel opening on Dubai’s Palm Island in 2008.

A massive fireworks display in Sydney Harbor rings in the new year Down Under.

Fireworks were also heavily featured in celebrations in Sydney, Australia — where a massive fireworks display lit up the sky around the city’s famed Harbor Bridge and Opera House — and in Hong Kong.

While London couldn’t boast the world’s largest fireworks display, organizers arranged for edible banana-flavored confetti and strawberry mist to fall from the sky as their fireworks show illuminated the River Thames.

On Kiev’s main square, at least 100,000 Ukrainians sang their national anthem in a sign of support for integration with Europe. The square has been the scene of massive pro-European protests for more than a month, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to ditch a key deal with the European Union.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis used his year-end prayer service of thanksgiving to urge people to ask themselves: Did they spend 2013 to further their own interests or to help others?

In Japan, thousands of locals and visitors, prayed, rang bells and tossed coins as offerings wishing for health, wealth and happiness for the traditional ceremony. Temple bells were to ring the customary 108 times, for the 108 causes of suffering according to Buddhism, and welcome in the Year of the Horse.

More than 260 people were injured by festive firecracker blasts and gunfire in the Philippines, celebrating the end of a year that brought a devastating storm and a subsequent typhoon that killed thousands and left more missing.


When 2014 began in Colorado, some celebrated more than the New Year. A new law went into effect in the state at midnight that makes it legal for residents to buy an ounce of marijuana at a time.

In San Francisco, one of the last places in the world to see the clock strike midnight, about 200,000 people were expected to gather on the waterfront for a fireworks display illuminating the city’s world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.

Simultaneously, the 335,000 who flocked to Las Vegas would celebrate by flooding out of casinos and clubs into the 4-mile Las Vegas Strip —which had been blocked off to traffic since 6 p.m. — to watch an eight-minute fireworks display illuminate Sin City even more than usual.

President Barack Obama celebrated a low-key New Year’s Eve with his family at vacation rental in Hawaii.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Kiwis ring in 2014 with fireworks in the country’s largest city, Auckland.


This story was originally published on Wed Jan 1, 2014 2:10 AM EST

Watching video: New Zealand first to welcome in New Year – via @nbcnews