A Handful of Holiday Histories

Historically Speaking Podcast

Sep 22 2021 • 36 mins

Everyone has their favorite holiday, but do you know how your favorite holiday came into being? The answers may surprise you. For instance, in 12th century England, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25th, but the ancient Celts celebrated their New Year (Sumhain) on November 1st. So why do we now celebrate the New Year on January 1st? And why do we now use the Gregorian Calendar as opposed to the Julian Calendar? Also, did the Druids really use human sacrifices during their celebrations? And why would shepherds be tending their flocks in the middle of December? Did slavery still exist after June 19, 1865? Here in our 30th episode we answer every single one of those questions and much more!

Episode Notes:

  • King Numa Pompilius (c. 700 BC) is credited with adding January and February to the old 10-month Roman calendar, but March 1st remained New Year’s Day for Romans until the Julian calendar was developed around 45 BC.
  • President Abraham Lincoln did not, in August of 1862, write to Horatio Seymour, former and future Governor of New York, about slavery and the Union, but rather to Horace Greeley, editor of The New York Tribune.
  • As promised, here is Rebecca’s Spotify playlist, “October Songs”.