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The luck of the Irish be with ye on St. Patrick’s day, unless of course you forget to wear something green, in which case you’ll have to endure endless mockery. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day (alternatively known as St. Patty’s Day, Saint Paddy's Day or St. Pat’s Day) is closely associated with the color green. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s environmentally friendly; St. Patrick’s Day has famously been celebrated in Chicago by dumping green dye into their river, not to mention the rampant littering at celebrations across the country. And while St. Patrick’s Day remains best known for its parades and festivals, as well as being the most difficult day to get a reservation at an Irish pub, it’s also an occasion to share some of the merriment with friends and family, one St. Patrick’s day card or cheesy green plastic hat at a time.
St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t always green, initially its official color was blue. But in the 1700s, green became increasingly popular as the public became more aware of the history of St. Patrick, who was said to use the shamrock to demonstrate Christian beliefs to the people of 4th century Ireland. Eventually, many other practices of St. Patrick became incorporated into the March 17 festivities as well, though the tradition of pinching people who don’t wear green remains firmly rooted in American elementary schools. St. Patrick’s day has also become a recognition of Irish pride, with prominent celebrations held in cities with large Irish communities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago. So if you can’t join family or friends celebrating, be sure to send them St. Patrick’s day cards from Card Gnome. Parades, Irish craft festivals, greeting cards, and Celtic music concerts abound, make St. Patrick’s day in America the next best thing to kissing the Blarney Stone.
From the land of 1001 Nights comes one night that can’t be missed. It’s the night of Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year! Famous in the West for their cuisine and elegant rugs, the Persians use their New Years festival to prove to the world that they also know how to cut a rug. Elaborate celebrations and festivals abound, in Persia and in Persian communities around the world. There are concerts, celebrations, and fine cuisine; thankfully, you don’t have to be a sword swallower to enjoy Persian food. But it’s also fairly common to take this time to stay in touch with friends and family, Nowruz greeting cards are often sent wishing a happy night of celebration. And the best part about a greeting card for Persian New Year is that you don’t have to deal with the time change for family on the other side of the world.
The Persian New Year is calculated to take place during the spring equinox, but since it’s calculated by the Persian calendar, it can take place on between March 20 and March 22. Traditionally the New Year has been a time for cleaning; Persians actually refer to their tenacious tidying as “shaking the house”, though that could also come from the fact that Persia is prone to periodic earthquakes. Tradition also dictates that the time after the New Year should be reserved for a twelve day long visit with family, followed by a picnic. But some of the most rowdy celebrations for Persian New Years are actually held by the Kurds, who celebrate by lighting a large fire and jumping over it – this tradition became a lot more practical after the invention of the fire extinguisher. But no matter how you celebrate it, Persian New Year is a great time to keep in touch with friends and family. By sending a greeting or a card, you can help ensure that the New Year will be good for you and your family. Don’t forget to wish them luck in hopping over the fire!
It’s a Jewish holiday that’s a blessing in disguise, or perhaps a blessing with plenty of disguises. Purim! The holiday celebrates the liberation of the Hebrews from the Persian Empire and is generally celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar; Jewish law holds that the holiday should be celebrated on the 15th in cities with a protective wall built around them, but today this law only applies to those who live in gated communities. To observe the holiday, Jews are required to do four things: listen to a public reading of the history of the holiday from the book of Esther, send a gift of food to family, perform a charitable act, and eat a festive meal – this means no fast food. But there are plenty of other traditional Purim activities as well, such as plays, wearing masks, sending greeting cards, and the consumption of alcohol, though the latter is noted for being traditional at other times as well. Purim is a great time to get together with friends and family, and while you’re fulfilling your food-giving obligation, why not send a few Purim cards as well? It may not taste as good, but sending a Purim card will mean a lot more.
The history of the Purim celebration traces back to ancient Hebrew history, and early celebrations were recorded by the Roman historian Josephus. Since the day celebrates the liberation of the Hebrews from the Persian king Haman, the celebrations are generally tinged with an anti-Haman theme, and some choose to celebrate the holiday by burning him in effigy. Another tradition is to make loud noises during the scripture reading to blot out Haman’s name, or in some cases to replace “Haman” with “expletive deleted”. However the tradition of wearing masks for Purim didn’t come about until the 16th century, when Italian Jews began to use them. The practice was then picked up throughout the rest of Europe, especially in countries that already celebrated Halloween and were looking for something to do with their costumes the rest of the year. For the tradition of the gift of food, it’s common to send a festive basket, but remember not to include any perishables unless you’re also willing to include a festive refrigerator. And of course, it’s also a perfect opportunity to include a greeting or Purim card, perhaps with the traditional Purim greeting of “Chag Purim Semach!” - a phrase which fortunately makes no use of the name Haman. So browse Card Gnome’s selection of Purim cards and celebrate!
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.
Break out your stethoscopes and EKGs, it’s time to celebrate National Doctors’ Day!
Doctors’ Day is a time to show appreciation for MDs of all stripes: general practitioners,
surgeons, dermatologists, optometrists, even dentists – though it’s best not to thank
dentists while they’re cleaning your teeth. Naturally, the epicenter for Doctors’ Day
celebrations is at hospitals, some of which throw themed parties in honor of their scrub-
wearing servants to society. Free band-aids and reflex testers abound, but it’s still just
as hard to get an appointment. Nevertheless, Doctors’ Day is the perfect time for people
around the country to send their doctors a healthy “Thank you” and “Hope to see you
In the United States, Doctor’s Day was first observed in 1933. The choice of March 30
originated in recognition of the first use of anesthesia in surgery; for a day celebrating
doctors, it’s an appropriate milestone. The idea of making Doctor’s Day a national
holiday began in 1958, when a bill officially recognizing it passed through the House of
Representatives. However, the bill flatlined in the Senate for the next thirty-two years,
until finally passing into law in 1990. Doctor’s Day has come to be symbolized by red
carnations, which are seen as an emblem of charity, courage, and bravery, in addition
to helping lower your heart rate. Recommended dosage for Doctor’s day is to take one
of each: doctor’ s thank you cards, surgeon’ s thank you cards, and a thank you card for
any medical specialist you feel is special. Side effects of Doctor’s Day include a better
relationship with your health care professional and maybe a sticker as you leave the
Saint David is the patron saint of Wales, and, as a fiercely patriotic nation, the Welsh celebrate St David’s Day on March 1st. Saint David’s Day greeting cards are sent, not just within Wales, but in Welsh communities all over the world.
The Welsh national symbols, Red Dragons and Daffodils, make for colorful greeting cards but the leek is also a Welsh symbol, originating, apparently, from a battle that took place in a field of leeks, the Welsh warriors stuffing leeks in their hatbands to distinguish themselves from the enemy.
Leeks also feature in Saint David's Day meals, along with Welsh Cakes and Bara Brith and maybe even Laverbread.
Even in the very Anglicized part of South East Wales, near the border with England, young children wear the picturesque Welsh costume to school on Saint David’s Day and mini-eisteddfods (a kind of music and drama festival) are held in school. You can see examples of the Welsh national costume, which often features on greeting cards.
Elsewhere Saint David’s Day parades still take place.
Mardi Gras is the largest annual celebration in New Orleans and a continuous season of carnivals, parades and celebrations held there during the month of February. The schedule consists of wonderful parades filled with handmade floats, special competitions and awards, all taking place during the second and third week of February.
The celebration culminates in the final event of the Mardi Gras– which takes place on February 21st on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. hotels, restaurants and the entire town stops to participate in this historic celebration. Visitors travel miles to be part of this grandest party of the south – reminiscent of ancient French costume holidays and carnivals of the past. Exhibits and live entertainment highlight this rich tradition with Gulf coast Cajun cuisine, laughter, celebration and nightlife, nightlife, nightlife!