Gardiner Public Library will be closed Thursday, November 23rd thru Sunday, November 26th. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your families and friends!

April Fools tradition popularized

On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.
April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Happy Holidays!

Just because I’m a bit confurious (confused + curious) sometimes, I decided to search the library catalog using the word “holiday”.  My reasons are a bit convoluted, but it boils down to – “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”.

Doing a subject search of the word holiday* with the asterisk, brings up 43 different headings.  There are a couple of Billie Holiday entries, so let’s say 40 holiday entries.  Granted many of the items listed under holiday are items about Christmas, but there are many about other various holidays celebrated in the United States as well as other countries.  Not all of the holidays are Christian, either.
So, Christmas is a holiday, but not the only holiday listed in the library catalog.
Next I did a Google search using the search terms “December holiday*”.  853,000,000 results are listed. WOW!
Like most people worldwide, I click on the link to the Wikipedia entry.  I jump to the December entries.  Wikipedia very nicely separates its entries by several categories.  In total, I count 42 holidays.  42 in December alone!
Again, confurious, I count 25 holidays listed for the last 10 days of December.  Okay, several of the holidays are celebrated on the same day.  As an example, Anastasia of Sirmium feast day, Decemberween, Malkh, Newtonmas, Quaid-e-Azam’s Day and Christmas are all celebrated on December 25th.  Again, WOW!
I can be a traditionalist, I do, and will say “Merry Christmas”.  I also have no problem saying “Happy Holidays!”
As I finish writing this, I guess I will be more apt to say “Happy Holidays”, as I have no idea which of the 6 you may celebrate on the 25thof December.
So, in the end “Happy Holidays to you, and yours!”
Ann Russell, Technology Librarian

Thanksgiving Recipe

How about something different on the Thanksgiving table this year.  The library has a wide selection of cookbooks to peruse.  Try something new!  It may become a new family classic.

From Celebrate! by Sheila Lukins, here is a very easy recipe for
Orange-Ginger Cranberries
2 pounds fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
4 cups sugar
2 cups fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1.       Divide the ingredients evenly between two heavy saucepans and stir well.  Cook over medium heat until the berries pop open, about 10 minutes.
2.       Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon.  Cool to room temperature.  Then refrigerate, covered, for as long as 2 months.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Note:  I prefer to cook the cranberries in small batches for better texture
Happy Thanksgiving!
 Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Grandparents Day!

In celebration of Grandparent’s Day – Sunday September 13th– here are a few items about grandparents, grandchildren and or families!
Ann Russell, Technology Librarian

Celebrating Labor Day

In recent years Labor Day has lost some of its old, and original, meanings, but it still stands as the one day in which we celebrate an important American belief.  This belief is in the importance and necessity of hard work to achieve success.  Once a holiday tied to the militancy of the Labor movement, Labor Day now honors all who work.

Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day officially on February 2, 1887.  President Grover Cleveland signed a congressional bill on June 28, 1894, making Labor Day a legal holiday.
As labor and management moved closer together and the U.S. workingman’s stand of living rose above that of any in the world, the tie between Labor Day and labor unions gradually diminished.
It has evolved especially into a family festival – the last big celebration of summer, vacation’s end, the final fling before the start of a new school year, and end of summer and prelude to fall.  It has become not just a day, but a weekend – a time for taking to the out-of-doors for trips, picnics, and sporting events.  It is an occasion of togetherness and a time, too, for remembering the multitude of abilities and efforts that made this country great.
from Celebrations: the complete book of American holidaysby Robert Myers available at the Gardiner Public Library.

Valentine’s Day – Did You Know?

“More than two thousand years ago, a holiday similar to Valentine’s Day was celebrated in Rome. But in those times the Romans did not call it Valentine’s Day.  They called the holiday Lupercalia.  Lupercalia means ‘feasts of Lupercus’”.
“Celebrations of Valentine’s Day spread to other countries.  During the Middle Ages, people in England believed that birds returned from the south to choose their mates around February 14.  So Valentine’s Day seemed like a perfect time to choose a sweetheart.”
“In Italy, young men and women gathered together in flower gardens on Valentine’s Day to listen to music and poetry.  In France, fancy dress balls were popular.  Young Frenchmen were often expected to present their Valentine’s Day dance partners with bouquets of flowers.”
“The very first valentine was written at this time, about four hundred years ago, by a French nobleman named the Duke of Orleans.  He was taken captive during a war and imprisoned in a tower in England.  He missed his wife very much, and wrote her many love letters.  Many of the letters mentioned St. Valentine.”
“As more and more people learned how to read and write, they decided to send this kind of letter to their sweethearts.”
“Valentine’s Day was particularly popular in England while Queen Victoria ruled the land.”
All of these facts are quoted from “Valentine’s Day” by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Susan Estelle Kwas.  This book is available in the children’s room at the Gardiner Public Library.
Charlene Wagner, Children’s Librarian