History of the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree

The tradition of bringing evergreen boughs and even whole trees indoors during the winter solstice began in Europe well before there were reliable written records. These early indoor trees were not adorned with fanciful decorations as Christmas trees are today. Read More...

‘Julia’ honors those who served in World War I

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, just three years following the Civil War. General John Logan proclaimed the day as an important opportunity to honor the graves of soldiers by decorating them with flowers. Read More...

It’s the most wonderful time … to bake cookies

What is Christmastime without cookies? The tradition of baking holiday cookies began in the early 1800s and was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch. They embraced the Christmas spirit of giving by baking hundreds of cookies in a variety of shapes to share. The cookie cutters they used were handmade of tin by local tinsmiths. These cookie cutters were used to create the unique cookie shapes found throughout many Pennsylvania Dutch homes. Read More...

The girl, the witch and the old oak tree

It’s that time of year when pumpkins appear on doorsteps, the moonlight casts eerie shadows across the land, and people have imaginings of hauntings, ghosts, and other unworldly creatures that can sometimes get the best of them. Read More...

The history and art of the Easter egg

Eggs have been a staple in the diets of humans since ancient times. Early civilizations not only survived on eggs as a food source, but they also regarded eggs as deep symbols of fertility, life, and a rebirth of the land after the cold winter months. Read More...

Smithfield’s wreath raffle benefits Monroe Historical Association

Fifty people gathered in the Smithfield Township Municipal Center on Dec. 17 for a festive Silent Auction Wreath Raffle to benefit the Monroe County Historical Association. Infusing the air with the scent of fresh evergreens, more than 30 wreaths — trimmed with everything from ribbons and pinecones to holly boughs and mountain laurel — along with other holiday décor adorned the walls. Read More...

Miniature holiday villages have rich history

Many people today enjoy setting up a miniature village and/or nativity scene as part of their holiday decorations. This custom was embraced throughout central Europe, particularly in present-day Germany by the Moravians, a Protestant denomination. By the early 18th Century, many Moravians had left Europe for America and settled in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania. With them came the tradition of celebrating the nativity that was the inspiration for the Christmas “Putz.” Read More...

Wreaths auction to benefit MCHA

Wreaths of every description, Christmas carols sung to the accompaniment of the Pocono Dulcimer Club and free refreshments will be featured during a Smithfield Township fundraiser Friday for the Monroe County Historical Association. Read More...

Grateful daughter sparks first Father’s Day

The recognition of Father’s Day grew out of the celebration of Mother’s Day. The first observance of Father’s Day occurred on July 5, 1908 in West Virginia (the same state that held the first Mother’s Day) at the Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont.
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The beginning of Mother’s Day

The celebration of Mother’s Day unofficially began in the early 1900s. Anna Jarvis was born outside the small town of Grafton, W. Va., in 1864 to Granville and Ann Marie Jarvis. As a child, young Anna watched her mother volunteer for a number of social causes to better their hometown. For example, Anna’s Mom, Ann Marie, worked to provide nursing care to Civil War veterans and fought for better sanitation practices for her community. Read More...

History of the Moravian Star

During the holiday season, many families decorate their homes with a Moravian star. While these unique multi-pointed stars are beautiful, they also have a rich history. The star originated in the German towns of Niesky and Kleinwalka in the 1830s. The stars were used as craft projects to help demonstrate geometry lessons to young boys attending Moravian school. Read More...

History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day was established to honor servicemen (and now service-women) who had enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces. The day, however, was not always called Veterans Day; its original name was Armistice Day, and it was created following World War I to honor those veterans who had served in the “War to End All Wars.” Read More...

The Pennsylvania Christmas Tree

The tradition of bringing evergreen boughs and even whole trees indoors during the Winter Solstice began in Europe well before reliable written records. These early indoor trees, however, were not adorned with fanciful decorations. Relatively modern Christmas tree traditions began in the 16th Century, with the Protestant reformer Martin Luther being credited with first decorating a small evergreen tree with candles. These candles represented the stars in the sky that twinkled over Bethlehem. Read More...