Special days will always be marked on the calendar: New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, Labor Day. Americans have many ways of celebrating all of the holidays, but a few have fallen by the wayside.
While Memorial Day is still considered the beginning of the camping and boating season, it once was celebrated in more sacred ways. Established after the Civil War as a way to remember fallen soldiers of that conflict, communities would come together to deck all of the veterans' graves with the beautiful flowers of early summer. There were even picnics in the cemeteries.
Arbor Day is another nearly-forgotten holiday. It was established clear back in 1872, and because of a later proclamation by President Teddy Roosevelt, aimed at children, it became popular for school groups or Scouts to plant trees at the end of April. Maybe you were part of a group who did this as a child.
On the first of May, May Day was often celebrated with handmade baskets filled with spring flowers, like violets, cornflowers and roses. The children who made and filled the baskets would creep silently to the front doors of their neighbors, hang a basket on the door, ring the bell and run away! Knowing that the gift was a secret added to the giver's pleasure.
Birthday celebrations have come a long way, and maybe not all for the better. In the 1940s, a child might get a special cake, made by a relative, not a bakery, and after blowing out the candles, could also get playful (and non-painful) "spankings." A five-year-old could get "spanked" five times and then "one to grow on." How was your birthday celebrated when you were little?
Community Coordinator, Residence 600
600 E. Elm, Salina KS 67401
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