Sunday Funday: It’s Holidays Time Edition

happy holidays lights

We suspend the usual format of timely news questions this week as your kindly old quizmaster is suspended in holiday frivolity. But if you haven’t noticed Americans have a lot of partying to do between last Thursday and sometime in early January when the holiday season slowly winds to a halt. At that time most Americans will notice that it is winter and national month of depression begins. So here is my feeble attempt to mix in some lore and some reality in a quiz about holidays that seem to happen nearly every day in December. Enjoy!

1) Let’s start with a little Thanksgiving trivia. The other night I was listening to an old time radio show where the story line was that there would be 2 Thanksgivings that year. What year was that?

2) The first Thanksgiving Day Parade was held by what store in what city?

3) Football and Thanksgiving go back a long ways. Any idea when the first Thanksgiving day football game was played? hint: think early college days.

4) Sara Josepha Hale was a magazine editor who pushed Abraham Lincoln hard to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. What nursery rhyme is Ms. Hale also credited with authoring?

5) What beverage sustained the Pilgrims on their voyage to America?

6) Now to some coming holidays. Next Saturday is the first of the Christmas related holidays. Dec. 6 is the feast of what saint in the Catholic calendar?

7) Partying, overeating and gift giving were hallmarks of what Roman holiday that occurred at the beginning of winter?

8) Dec. 8 is another big holiday in the Catholic Church. It is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Whose immaculate conception?

9) Advent begins 4 Sundays prior to Christmas. Advent is a word derived from Latin and means what?

10) Oddly, the sun begins setting later in the day around Dec. 13th. This makes the 13th a great day to celebrate what saint associated with light in the dark of winter?

11) Many religions have holidays in December. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day. This is the day that Siddhartha Gautama experienced what?

12) Many religions and societies in the northern hemisphere celebrate what holiday associated with the darkness either on or near the solstice?

13) The solstice is celebrated 2 times a year at the beginnings of what seasons?

14) The word solstice is of latin derivation and means what?

15) What ancient Nordic pagan feast lasted about 12 days from what is now late December to early January? Coincides roughly with the 12 days of Christmas.

16) A secular holiday in British commonwealth countries, what day after Christmas holiday is the day when service workers receive gifts?

17) “Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the Feast of Stephen” goes the old carol. The feast of Stephen is what day in December?

18) Some atheists and skeptics celebrate a holiday on December 25th named after the what 17th physicist who wrote “Principia Mathematica”?

19) Over in China and eastern Asia Dongzhi is celebrated. As with many holidays this time of year, it celebrates what?

20) Dies Natalis Solis Invicti is an ancient Roman holiday that celebrates the “return of the unconquered” what? (hint: translate solis)

21) one extra today: the 12 days of Christmas spans the time between what two holidays?

Thanks for letting me take a day off – my family appreciates it.


1) 1939 – Retailers wanted the 4th Thursday to be Tday to extend the buying season. Tradition then was the last Thursday of November , hence Nov. 30 that year. FDR declared the 23rd while many traditionalist celebrated on the 30th. Congress rectified this a couple years later.

2) Gimbel’s in Philly in 1920. Macy’s followed suit in 1924

3) 1869. Tday became a holiday in 1863. College football started shortly thereafter and the two were married quite early on

4) “Mary had a little lamb”

5) beer. Remember back the fermentation was the only way to get clean drinks

6) St. Nicholas

7) Saturnalia

8) Jesus mother Mary – born without original sin according to the Catholic church.

9) to come

10) Lucia (Lucy). Lucia is derived from latin for light (Santa Lucia in Italian). Mostly celebrated in Scandinavia

11) enlightenment

12) longest night usually on the 20th

13) summer and winter

14) sun stands still

15) Yule (Jul)

16) boxing day

17) 26th

18) Isaac Newton the feast is ‘Newtonmas’ – Newton was born (old calendar) Dec. 25, 1643

19) the return of the sun and the new flow of energy

20) sun

21) Christmas (Dec. 25) to the Epiphany (Jan. 6)

Dec. 6th – the feast of St. Nicholas – is also known as ‘little Christmas’ in some European countries. Good enough reason to celebrate I’d say.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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