Holy Holidays: The Catholic Origins of Celebrations

by Greg Tobin

A fun and fascinating guide to the Catholic roots of holidays and celebrations

How did Sunday become the "Sabbath Day?" Why did St. Valentine become the patron saint of lovebirds? Most people happily participate in Mardi Gras, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day with very little knowledge of the origins and meanings of those celebrations. Was Jesus Really Born on Christmas? is a smart and concise guide to the hidden heritages of the special days that make up contemporary life. Tobin unearths the religious roots of the seemingly secular, offering historical trivia and the sometimes bizarre origins of the days throughout the year that bring people together.

In these pages, readers will discover that:

· Jesus was not born on Christmas Day, the winter solstice, in the Year 0 . . . but possibly on April 17 in 6 BC, according to archaeological and astrological evidence.

· The Easter Bunny is a deeply pagan tradition and a seemingly indelible symbol of fecundity that simply could not be suppressed by the Church. Same with Easter eggs.

· It is no accident that our celebration of Mother’s Day falls in early May, which is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Catholic symbol of motherhood.

· Saint Patrick is not only the patron saint of Ireland--and the Irish throughout the world--but the patron saint of Nigeria, too (thanks primarily to Irish missionaries).

Greg Tobin is the author of several books on the Catholic Church. He was the editor of The Catholic Advocate, and during the April 2005 papal transition he appeared frequently on national radio and TV programs as an expert commentator on the popes and the papal election process. His books Selecting the Pope and Holy Father were widely used as authoritative resources on the subject and were quoted in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, as well as the Associated Press. He lives in West Orange, NJ.

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