October, like most months, has its share of ‘Holidays and Special Events.” Some are better known than others. Most holidays have a story or history behind them.
The goal of this column is to provide information on each of the forthcoming “special days.”
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS
The ‘Blessing of the Animals’ is a beautiful annual ceremony celebrating the human-animal bond, originating from a Roman Catholic tradition as part of the “Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi”, the patron saint of animals and the environment. St. Francis is one of the most beloved Catholic saints.
These events are normally held at an Episcopal Church, but sometimes they are held at non-church locations. You do not have to be a member to attend and bring your pets. Any kind of pet is allowed if you can get them there.
For the ‘Blessing of the Animals’, most churches use an animal-themed call to worship, with Scripture from Genesis 1:20-25 and Matthew 6:25-29. They give thanksgiving for God’s creation and ask a blessing on our pets, living and deceased.
This is normally done on the first Sunday in October, but some churches prefer other dates.
In Boone, St Luke’s Episcopal Church holds such a service on Sunday, Oct. 2 just outside their church in their community shelter. It begins at 3 p.m.. You are welcome to bring your personal pets including chickens, birds, snakes, and even a gecko (belonging to the Church secretary’s child) will be there. Some children bring stuffed animals – because they are pets, too. Some people bring photos of pets that have passed away because “we bless those we have lost”.
St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Boone is located at 170 Councill Street, behind the Earth Fare store on West King.
A Day of Atonement
Oct. 4, 2022
Yom Kippur is a holy holiday of the Jewish people. It is held on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei and the date is different every month.
This year the event starts at sunset on 12:29 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 continues until nightfall on Wednesday, Oct. 5. (The date changes from year to year). Jewish people normally observe this holiday day with 25-hours of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of their day in synagogue services.
Yom Kippur is also known as The Day of Atonement. It is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. It is a day for atonement and repentance.
Yom means ‘day’ in Hebrew and Kippur comes from a root that means ‘to atone’, which is related to the biblical name of the covering of the Ark (called the kapporet). Yom Kippur is usually expressed in English as the ‘Day of Atonement’.
Yom Kippur is ‘the tenth day of the seventh month’. Tishrei is regarded as the most ‘Sabbath of Sabbaths’. Rosh Hashana (refered to in the Torah as Yom Teruah) is the first day of the month according to the Hebrew calendar. On this day forgiveness of sins is also asked of God.
Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (or the Days of Awe) that commences with Rosh Hashanah.
According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, or Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to seal the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs against God and other human beings. The evening of Yom Kippur is set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt. At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.
Traditions of Yom Kippur include:
- No eating and drinking
- No wearing of leather shoes
- No bathing or washing
- No using perfumes or lotions
- No marital relations
Yom Kippur is just one of several Jewish holidays, such as:
- Rosh Hashana
- Shmini Atzeret
- Simchat Torah
- And others...
COFFEE WITH A COP DAY
“Coffee with a Cop” is always observed on the first Wednesday of October. This year that is Oct. 5. This day fosters the relationships between area civilians and their police officers. The first “Coffee with a Cop” day was held in 2011 in Hawthorne, Calif. when members of that police department were looking for a way to interact with their citizens.
On this day, many local businesses give free coffee to police and other first responders, including other members of the medical community. Check out Starbucks and Krispy Kreme Donuts to name a few.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
There is a new holiday proposed for the same day Columbus has reigned for the past 200+ years. In fact, 2015 was the first year many cities have celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day (Ipd) which recognizes native American Indians on Columbus Day. There is actually a movement to change the name of the holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of indigenous cultures of this country. The campaign says the federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus overlooks a painful history of colonialism, enslavement, discrimination and land grabs that followed the Italian explorer’s 1492 arrival in the New World. The IPD holiday attempts to take into account the history and contributions of American Indians for a more accurate historical record.
The first two cities to adopt this new holiday were Minneapolis and Seattle in 2016. Since then, other cities, including, Albuquerque, Portland, St Paul, and Olympia, Wash., have adopted this day as a holiday.
Columbus Day supporters say their day celebrates centuries of cultural exchange between Europe and America and honors Italian Americans.
The Native Community says “we were here first” and we have contributed just as much, if not more.
So, feel free to celebrate both holidays on this day.
Columbus Day is now celebrated on the 2nd Monday of the month of October, but it has not always been that way.
Columbus Day celebrates the anniversary of the day Christopher Columbus discovered America (but he never actually discovered America). That day is also referred to Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race), Discovery Day, Fiesta Nacional (in Spain) and Day of the Americas in other countries. This day has been celebrated in the U.S. since the Colonial Period. In 1792, New York and other cities celebrated the 300th Anniversary of his landing in the “New World.” President Benjamin Harrison asked people to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th Anniversary in 1892.
Many Italian Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage. The first such celebration was in New York City on Oct. 12, 1866. The first statewide Columbus Day was proclaimed in the State of Colorado in 1905. As a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, in 1934, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt made October 12 a Federal Holiday called Columbus Day. (There are four states that do not recognize Columbus Day. They are Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and South Dakota.)
Since 1970, the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October. Many businesses close, such as, government offices, schools, the post office and most banks. (Coincidentally, this is the same date Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving.)
There are normally parades and special events on this date. San Francisco claims to hold the oldest continuously celebrated Columbus Day parade since 1868. New York City boasts the largest celebration along with its large Italian American community.
THANKSGIVING in CANADA
Thanksgiving (or Thanksgiving Day) is an annual Canadian holiday and harvest festival, held on the second Monday in October--which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year and has nothing to do with religion or the Pilgrims.
Outside of Canada it is sometimes called “Canadian Thanksgiving” to distinguish it from Thanksgiving in the United States, held in late November.
Thanksgiving has been officially celebrated as an annual holiday in Canada since Nov. 6, 1879. While the date varied by year and was not fixed, it was commonly the second Monday in October.
On Jan. 31, 1957, the Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey issued a proclamation stating: “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the second Monday in October.”
DEER SEASON OPENS
Hunting Season for deer (with guns) in North Carolina opens October 15.
The most common deer in the Boone/ Watauga County area are the white- tailed deer.
Deer are found in 48 of the contiguous United States. Every county in North Carolina has deer, although not distributed equally. The larger numbers are in the upper areas of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont. Fewer numbers are found in the Mountain Region (believe it or not). Wake and Mecklenburg counties seem to have the largest populations of deer, averaging 45 deer per square mile.
The white-tailed deer is the only species found in North Carolina. Today, the population of these animals in North Carolina is estimated to be between 1 and 1.5 million deer.
Bob Griffin is a Banner Elk resident.