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The Last Day in February

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Hey, Camp Folks!

Question for ya: What’s tomorrow? The first of March has a tendency to sneak up on folks, since February is always cut short two—but more often three days. So what happens to February 29 during Non-Leap years? And why is February the only month to come in at under 30 days? Let’s take a look into the matter.

It was the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, who tacked on two months to the calendar that would follow the month of December. The names of certain months give the calendar away as originally having just ten months. October, for example, is the tenth month, but octo means eight. It’s the same story with December—it’s the twelfth month though deca means ten.

February 30th
Along with the names of the months, the calendar got messed up in other ways thanks to the addition of these two added months, like the amount of days allotted to each month. There is record from a 13th century historian that claims there was a 37-year period in which February saw 30 days during leap years, but that was using the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian (which we use today).

Sweden Time
In the early 1700s, Sweden reverted back and forth between the Julian and Gregorian calendars which led to years that were observed as leap years because of errors. These error years left Sweden out of sync with the Julian calendar as well as the Gregorian. In 1712, they went back to the Julian calendar, adding two leap days to that year to make it work. Eventually, in 1753, they finally joined the rest of the world, returning to the Gregorian calendar by removing 11 days from the year so that February 17 was followed by March 1. Swedes were rather upset with the management, complaining 11 days of their lives were stolen.

USSR Holidays
The Soviet Union introduced a calendar in 1929 that tried to revolutionize the calendar year. Their calendar proposed five-day weeks—meant for industrial efficiency, eliminating the typical non-work days of Saturday and Sunday. Their calendar provided 30-day months consistently through the year aside from five or six days leftover that were left as “holidays” that belonged to no month. This calendar was used from 1930-1931.

It seems that a consistent calendar is pretty much impossible to create since leap days required to fill in the gaps of our year every four years. Time’s a tricky thing. Especially if your birthday is on March 29! Anyway, till next time, Camp Fans! And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

Today it’s time to wring out the old and ring in the new! Here we are in 2022, leaving the good and the bad of the previous year behind us and eager to build on an entire, fresh year that’s rolling out before our feet! From everyone here at Everything Summer Camp, we hope your New Year’s Eve celebration gave a warm welcome to 2022 and that you’re having a wonderful start to this new year!

Here’s a slight peek into how things are the way they are concerning New Year’s. Take a look…

Why do we celebrate on January First?
We first see New Year’s celebrations crop up around 2000 BC in the Middle East. New Year’s came along in March—the time of the vernal equinox—springtime! So what’s with the January 1st stuff? Well, our current calendar is based on the Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar), not so much the calendar they used prior to. So why do we celebrate on January First? Because Julius Caesar said so, that’s why.

Explan-uary the January
It's heavily speculated and widely spread that the month of January was named after the Roman god Janus. It’s actual origin, however, gives itself away in its root—the Latin word ‘ianua,’ meaning ‘door’. This is the name that was chosen to indicate the opening of a new door. What a way to describe the beginning of a new year—am I right?!!

Dietary Luck Down South
Tradition has it that eating leafy greens and legumes on New Year’s Eve brings good fortune for the upcoming year. Supposedly coming from a Jewish New Year custom, folks down south gobble down black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day thanks to this tradition!

Be sure you enjoy yourself this New Year’s Day and enjoy the last of your days off before your winter break comes to an end. Happy New Year once again and, as always, thanks for reading.


- John

New Year: How to...

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Hey, New Year’s Folks!

Congratulations! We did it! We made it to the end of 2021. Tonight we stand on the horizon and look out to the next one. We celebrate by staying awake until the new year arrives at midnight tonight. What you do in those late hours before twelve o’ clock strikes is up to you and the people you’re celebrating with. Here’s a look at a few different ways people celebrate.

The Weird Ways
In Finland, they burn metal in a pan for a ritual called ‘molybdomancy’. They inspect the shadows the metal casts by candlelight as they believe the shapes to predict the future. Ecuadorians will burn paper-filled scarecrows. The Swiss drop ice cream on the floor. Siberians plunge into frozen lakes while carrying a tree trunk. In Mexico, many eat a dozen grapes at midnight to bring themselves good luck in the coming 12 months.

Alotta ‘Fetti
Instead of ice cream, we like to drop lots of shredded paper on the ground—paper that’s super colorful and glittered. We like it so much that we drop 2,000 pounds of it in Times Square each year! It must be quite a sight to see for everyone there and tuning in on television, but can you imagine cleaning up all that celebratory mess?!

The ball drop is over 100 years old
A classy space around town known as One Times Square back in the day, its first New Year’s Eve ball drop was on December 31, 1907. Since then, it’s come gliding down each year (aside from a couple years while World War II was happening). Nowadays, over a million people flock to watch every December. 

Be sure you enjoy yourself this New Year’s Eve and enjoy the last of your days off before your winter break is over. Happy New Year once again and, as always, thanks for reading.


- John


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Merry Christmas Eve, Everybody!

Is your household blooming with the foliage of a large indoor conifer and the scent of chestnuts roasting over an open fire? Is your mind consumed with questions like what’s in those wrapped presents? And do people still roast chestnuts?

Read on with today’s Christmas Eve Blog post from Everything Summer Camp to learn about some holiday traditions that didn’t quite start out as we know them today.

A Delicious Peacock Dinner?
Before turkeys were brought into England over 500 years ago people used to eat a rather different menu. Traditional options for Christmas dinner were geese, boars' head, and peacock. When turkeys first arrived, it was King Henry VIII who was the first to enjoy a turkey dinner on Christmas Day. Many would still opt for goose, however, turkey found its spot on the table for its size and ability to feed a whole family.

No Lie Mince Pie
Nowadays mincemeat pies are traditionally filled with a spicy mixture of dried fruit, apple, candied fruit, spices, and suet. Aside from what’s in the suet, there is no meat in this pie. So why call it a minceMEAT pie, then? Because there used to be meat in it back in the day! Folks in medieval times believed that eating a mince pie daily throughout the 12 days of Christmas would bring great happiness for the coming year.

Oh, What Fun!
You may not think it was possible, but it’s true that some Christmas carols weren’t even about Christmas originally. ‘Deck the Halls’ was actually written about New Year’s Eve—which makes sense considering the lyric ‘Hail the new year lads and lasses.’ What’s more—‘Jingle Bells’ was actually intended to be a Thanksgiving song when it was written!—originally titled ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’!

No matter where these traditions came from or how they’ve changed, the important thing is that we keep the traditions alive in our celebrations today. Enjoy your festivities and, as always, thanks for reading. Merry Christmas!


- John

The Midwinter Moment

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Hey, Winter Wonderers!

This isn’t our first time discussing the Winter Solstice. In the past we’ve learned about our ancestor’s reaction to this shortest day of the year as well as its connection to Christmas trees. Today we’re taking a deeper look at this yearly phenomenon. You can call the Solstice by a number of names: The Shortest Day, The Longest Night, Solstice Night, Midwinter, Yule…

We get the word ‘Solstice’ from two Latin words: ‘sol’ meaning sun, and ‘sistere’ which translates ‘to stand still’. We also have the Summer Solstice (the Longest Day) on the opposite end of the year. The Winter Solstice is when we see the sun reach its southern-most position and seemingly stand still.  Makes sense, right?

When to Celebrate
Unknown to most folks, the Winter Solstice isn’t actually a day. It’s shorter than that. It’s that single specific moment of time when the sun sits seemingly still at its southern-most spot above the Tropic of Capricorn. The Winter Solstice arrives at 10:59 a.m., Eastern Time today.

No Rush
You would think that the Solstice must have the earliest sunset, but that’s rarely the case. The earliest sunset is typically a few days before the solstice. The reason that the earliest sunset and the solstice don’t align is because of the different measurements of time: solar time (which is based on the sun’s position in the sky) and manmade time (our measurement of time using clocks).

Only a Little Chilly
With the least amount of daylight, one could figure the Winter Solstice to be the coldest day of the year. But despite there only being about nine hours of sunlight today, temperatures typically have a ways to go down in the coming few weeks as winter deepens.

We all turn the darkest day of the year into the brightest with our natural, festive cheer that’s radiating from all of us like a furnace this time of year. Stay warm on this Winter Solstice night and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks.


- John