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From the banks of the Red Sea comes a holiday celebration of Biblical – make that
Torahesque - proportions. It’ s Passover, the most important holiday of the Jewish month
of Nisan (that’ s either March or April on modern calendars). The holiday commemorates
the escape of the Hebrews from Egypt, named in honor of the God’ s “ passing over” of
the Hebrew first born immediately before their departure – as opposed to the Egyptian
first born, who God, shall we say, didn’ t pass over. The holiday celebration lasts an
impressive seven days total. And while modern Passover is generally a bit more relaxed
than its Exodus origins, it’ s still a big effort to pull off. But ultimately, the celebration
is rewarding for those in the Jewish community and all who observe it, a time to cherish
family ties and traditions, and definitely not something to pass over.
As is the case with many Jewish holidays, the rituals of Passover are intricate enough
to require a graduate level college course. Chief among the Passover ceremonies is
the baking of the Matzo bread, left flat to honor the lack of cooking time the Hebrews
had before the Exodus, as well as in recognition of the fact that fully cooked bread is
sometimes associated with inflated egos. By tradition, Matzo has to be cooked within
twenty-two minutes, resulting in whirlwind kitchen sessions. But thankfully observers of
Passover are allowed more time to buy the ingredients; perhaps the original observances
of Passover foresaw the disastrous supermarket lines that would exist in modern times.
Other important Passover traditions include the Seder dinner on the first night, the
Counting of the Omer on the second night, the retelling of the Red Sea parting on the
seventh night, and one more Seder on the final night.
For those in the family who might not be able to make the festivities, it’ s a good time to
send a Passover greeting card. It’ s always been traditional to send wishes for a warm and
joyous Seder with a card, and your family will love that you wish them Chag Sameach
even as you’ re rushing to get the Matzo done on time.
Springtime is here, and what better way to recognize the changing of the season than to combine solemn religious ceremony with delicious chocolate bunnies? We’re talking Easter! The holiday commemorates what is arguably the most important event in Christian tradition, even if it is overshadowed a bit by a certain other Christian holiday. But even outside the circles of the faithful, Easter is the perfect time to send a greeting to friends and family, and to celebrate that you won’t have to shovel your sidewalk for another six months.
As the history goes, Easter traces back to the year 33, which Christian scholars generally agree to be the year in which Jesus died and came back to life. After Christianity became a widely recognized religion in Rome, Christian leaders decided that the date of Easter each year would be determined by a complex calculation involving the vernal equinox and the lunar cycle, thus making any hope for an Easter equivalent of advent calendars next to impossible. While religious ceremonies reflect as much as possible the Christian teachings surrounding the holiday, popular Easter traditions also include key elements of Pagan springtime celebrations. The use of rabbits and lilies as symbols of Easter stem from their use as fertility symbols in Norse mythology; thankfully, the other Norse springtime tradition of slaughtering oxen did not endure. Comparatively little is known about the history of Easter egg hunts, though some have speculated that the tradition of hiding chocolate eggs for children to find is a way for them to let out their repressed rage after not getting an advent calendar.
After religious services, many families traditionally hold a large meal on Easter day. It’s also common to send greetings to distant family members, ranging from bible verse cards for the more faithful to playful or funny cards for others. For Easters which fall earlier in the year, it may even be cool enough to observe the slightly goofy tradition of one member of the family dressing in a giant rabbit suit, though this of course requires the wearer to be free of rabbit allergies and to have a high tolerance for humiliation.
While most holidays are geared toward amateur celebrations, there’s one that’s clearly much more professional: Administrative Professionals’ Day! The holiday celebrates everyone in the workplace who contributes to the general administration of office tasks, and conducts themself professionally. It is scheduled every year to fall on the Wednesday of the last full week of April, a formula whose calculation is complicated enough to occasionally require the help of an administrative professional. This scheduling exists to allow each Administrative Professionals’ Day to happen during the work week, though scheduling it two days earlier would have also helped to alleviate various cases of “the Mondays”. With a long and rich tradition of office merriment and thoroughly justified recognition of hard working staff members, Administrative Professionals’ Day is a holiday for every professional to administer some good times.
Administrative Professionals’ Day traces back to 1952; it was originally founded as “Secretaries’ Day”, which also included an entire Secretaries’ Week happening simultaneously. Initially it was held in June but three years later the date was moved up to April and the surrounding Secretaries’ Week was dropped. In 2000, the decision was made to change the title to “Administrative Professionals’ Day to encompass a broader range of job descriptions, and because “Secretaries’ Day” was a little too evocative of the Mad Men era. Today the holiday is observed around the world and is administered, as it were, by the aptly named International Association of Administrative Professionals. The day is typically celebrated with light-hearted or funny cards and small gifts; among the most popular are coffee mugs inscribed with cheesy sayings like “World’s Greatest Administrative Professional.”
Celebrated around the world, Nurses Day is a time to recognize the long nights, double and tripple shifts, and difficult patients. It's easy to send a simple card for the nurses in your life. Browse our collection of Nurses Day cards and find the perfect way to say thanks.
The mother of all holidays, Mother's Day is a time for all of us to appreciate the most
important person in our lives. Mother's Day comes every second Sunday of May, as
the flowers begin to bloom again and the animals of the forest come out of hibernation.
During this season, we take time to remember our mothers, who incidentally tend to like
flowers and cuddly animals. And although we may not always appreciate their phone
calls or their opinions on who we date, Mother's Day is the perfect time to thank our
moms for all the good things they've done for us, and remind them that we really did turn
out better after eating our veggies.
How did Mother’s Day come to be? As it turns our, Mother’s Day has its own mother:
Anna Jarvis, who founded the campaign for a national day honoring mothers in 1908.
Jarvis propelled the idea forward with her unwavering determination, writing letters
to state governments and enlisting allies such as Philadelphia businessman John
Wanamaker. In 1914, Mother’s Day was officially designated as a national holiday by
President Woodrow Wilson, perhaps hoping to appease his own mother in case she
disapproved of his foreign policy. Since then, Mother’s Day has become a tradition
which is as American as, well, mom and apple pie. Mother’s Day is also the busiest day
of the year for long distance phone calls, perhaps proving that mothers are still easier to
talk to than fathers.
It’s a holiday at the end of May that is absolutely unforgettable: Memorial Day, a day
whose solemn objective of remembrance is made more joyous by the thoughts of the
summer barbecues and pool parties soon to follow. Scheduled to occur the last Monday
of every May, it has traditionally been a celebration in honor of all soldiers who have
fallen in the line of duty. But owing to its position on the cusp of vacation season, it is
also a time for many to make use of their time off by holding get-togethers, and staying
in touch with their friends and family with a Memorial Day greeting, poem or greeting card. That
way, Memorial Day can truly be memorable.
The history of Memorial Day dates back to the end of the Civil War. Adopted by
individual states originally as “Decoration Day”, the title eventually evolved into
Memorial Day in the early 20th century, though it remains a holiday with decorative flair.
Many events are arranged to honor fallen service members; 3 P.M. local time across the
country is recognized as the official moment of remembrance, and events are held at
military cemeteries throughout the country. Another event held in honor of Memorial
Day is the Indianapolis 500, a form of observance that would at first seem a bit of a non
sequitur until you consider that tearing down a piece of asphalt in an overpowered vehicle
has become thoroughly enshrined as a part of classic Americana. But while you’re out
firing up the grill and watching the events of the big race unfold, take a moment to of
friends and family, and perhaps send them a warm Memorial Day message or greeting –
it doesn’t even have to be NASCAR themed.
April Fools’ Day: a day of gags and gotchas, a day when the most reputable news sources run fake stories and even the most stiff-lipped, Ben-Stein-in-Ferris-Bueller boring among us show a bit of humor. It’s a day for pranksters far and wide to exercise their funny bones and a day for the more credulous among us to believe phony headlines saying that their local municipality has been attacked by Godzilla. A day when everyone has their eye out for stink bombs and soda cans stuffed with spring snakes. April Fools’ Day: the perfect time to send a joke message to old friends – or at least leave a flaming bag of something unpleasant on their doorstep.
There are many differing histories of April Fools’ Day, most of which are hoaxes themselves. One story holds that the holiday goes back to Noah’s ark; when Noah sent out one of the doves too early, the story goes, he was effectively playing the first April Fools’ prank in history. Luckily for Noah, he knew better than to play any pranks against God. Another story claims that the holiday goes back to ancient Druid festivals in Scotland, while one of the more accepted theories maintains that the tradition began after the shifting of the New Year’s celebration from Spring to Winter in 16th Century France. During this time, villagers who had received news of the new date would send others who didn’t know about it to do phony New Year’s tasks, or “fool’s errands.” Today, fool’s errands are performed throughout the year.
Whether you’re a goofball or the sullen serious type, take a moment on April Fools’ day to revel in the jokes, pranks, and merriment. But be sure to remember that the photo in your local paper of a three-headed sea monster attack is probably just some clever Photoshop work.
Planet Earth: where would we be without it? Most likely floating around in space, constantly being bumped by asteroids and space monsters, light years away from the nearest internet connection. That won’t do! In recognition of our beautiful blue and green planet’s noble task, why not take some time out to celebrate Earth Day? And while you’re at it, spend just a little time making sure it stays green: Earth Day’s April 22 celebration includes events and gatherings dedicated to preserving the planet and helping to organize for the environment. Because without a good environment, Earth is just a big asteroid with more earthquakes.
Relatively new on the national and international holiday scene, Earth Day traces its roots back to US Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who first got the idea in 1962, but was spurred to take action in 1969 after witnessing a terrible oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. The first earth day focused on college demonstrations; April 22 was chosen so as not to coincide with students’ breaks or finals, and to give them adequate time to calm down from two days earlier. Earth Day was first observed in 1970, but originally intended only to be a one-time event. The day was then picked up again in 1990, and by 1995 had been organized into a yearly holiday that extended to countries covering all parts of, well, the Earth. Today, every Earth Day is a chance to join up with environmentally friendly folk, and perhaps send a greeting to any tree-hugging friends or relatives you might have. If you send a card, you can be sure they’ll keep it, or at least recycle the paper.
All of Card Gnome's cards are created using wind power, and we only print with organic ink and recycled paper. Feel good about sending someone one of our cards on Earth Day!
Hold on to your sombreros, Cinco de Mayo is here! It’s everyone’s favorite Mexican-
American (well, mostly American) holiday for Latinos and gringos alike. Cinco de Mayo
is the perfect time to throw a fiesta, take a baseball bat to a piñata, throw some meat
on the asada, and since this is an American holiday too, drink an enjoyable yet prudent
amount of cerveza. And even though historically our two countries haven’t always gotten
along, it’s a good opportunity to study up of the history and culture of our southern
neighbor. Of course, Cinco de Mayo is also a good time to think of your amigos by
sending them a greeting or perhaps going out for a burrito.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the defeat of the French army in Mexico in 1862 on (you
guessed it) May 5. Irate at the prospect of being forced to eat croissants and wear berets
all the time, Mexicans in the city of Puebla took up arms against the French invaders,
and won a decisive victory. Despite ultimately succumbing to French rule, the Mexican
victory diverted their resources and ensured that their stay would be short. This victory
was important for the United States as well since it kept the French from taking a side in
the Civil war; as difficult is it is to imagine, the haut couture French were on the verge of
supporting the decisively not haut couture Confederacy. Today, the holiday is not widely
celebrated in Mexico outside of Puebla, but is a huge deal throughout the United States.
It is very common to meet with family or organize parties, many of which feature recipes
unique to Cinco de Mayo. For relatives who don’t live nearby, many people choose to
send a card with Cinco de Mayo-themed images or a gift; Cinco de Mayo But the day is
enjoyable even for people with no family nearby, because after all, they could be eating
quiche instead of quesadillas.