Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Because you asked...

*In 1836, Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas an official holiday.  This happened 71 years before the last state — Oklahoma — followed suit in 1907. Christmas is the only legal national religious holiday in the United States.

**Early in the evening of June 17, 2 B.C., the brightest planets in the sky, Jupiter and Venus, merged into a dazzling "star" near the western horizon, according to calculations of modern astronomers. In countries to the east of what was then the kingdom of Judea, observers could have seen the fused planets as a beacon in the direction of Jerusalem.  Astrologers associated Jupiter with the birth of kings and Venus with fertility. The meeting of Jupiter and Venus took place in the constellation Leo the Lion, which the Old Testament of the Bible specifically associates with the Jewish people. And it happened near the brightest star in Leo, Regulus, most closely identified with kingship.  There has not been a brighter, closer conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in Leo so near to Regulus in the 2,000 years since.

***The first postage stamp for Christmas was issued in 1937 in Austria: the Rose and Signs of the Zodiac stamp.  The first official US Christmas stamp was launched in 1962.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Thanks for looking these up. You are such a diligent Book Club President. I am glad we elected you for another term.