This week in history
For the week of Oct. 26, 2014
Miriam Kressyn (1912-1996): Jewish American Yiddish actress. Born in Bialystok, Poland, Kressyn came to the United States in 1025 and, along with her husband, Seymour Rechtzeit, was a primary force in the survival of Yiddish theater in the United States. Together, they were known as the romantic idols of Yiddish musicals. Considered by many to be the first Lady of the Yiddish Theater, Kressyn taught Yiddish theater at Queens College in New York and for * 40 years she and her husband broadcast in Yiddish on WEVD in New York City. *This is the day of her death.
So Jae-P'il (Philip Jaisohn): (1866-1951) Korean American. Physician and activist. After participation in a failed political movement in opposition to Korea's Japanese rulers, So Jae-P'il fled to the United States, where he eventually earned a medical degree. He returned to his country and founded a newspaper, The Independent, but was asked to leave again. So jae-P'il eventually settled permanently in the United States, where he practiced medicine and continued to be active in the Korean independence movement. He was able to return to his country for a visit after it was liberated from Japanese rule in 1945.
Ohi Day: Greece. This day commemorates the resistance of the Greeks during World War II to the Italian army's invasion in 1940.
Republic Day: Turkey. After World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Treaty of Sevres established the current boundaries of Turkey and declared Turkey a republic. Kemal Ataturk became its first president, ruling until 1938. Ataturk westernized and secularized Turkey, creating the basis for a modern nation state.
Francisco Madero (1873-1913): (Mexican.) Revolutionary leader and statesman. Madero called for and uprising in 1911 to depose the dictator Porfirio Diez and establish democracy in Mexico. After Diaz was driven from office, Madero became Mexico's president, serving from 1911 until his deposition and death at the hands of a rival faction in the revolutionary movement.
Halloween: United States. This festival, which takes its name from All Hallows Eve (the eve of the feast of All Saints) originated among the Celts of Britain and Ireland, foe whom October 31 was new years eve. On this night it was believed that the souls of the dead revisited their earthly homes, and huge bonfires set to frighten away evil spirits. With the rise of Christianity the autumn festival came to be associated with All Saints Day. Secular Halloween customs, vestiges of pagan observance, were introduced to the United States by immigrants especially the Irish, in the nineteenth century. These customs included mischief-making, sometimes resulting in serious damage to property. Today, whoever, the most widely observed Halloween custom is a benign version of trick or treat, in which costumed children go from door to door collecting sweets or Money for UNICEF.
Reformation Day: Protestant. This day commemorates the Protestant Reformation, the movement that led to the establishment of the Protestant denominations of Christianity. Reformation Day is the anniversary of the act that began the movement in 1517-Martin Luther's nailing of the manuscript of his 95 theses to the door of the place church in Wittenberg, Germany. These statements denounced a number of practices then common in the Roman Catholic Church, including the selling of indulgences, or documents granting the forgiveness of sins. This is a public holiday in Protestant parts of Germany.
National American Indian Heritage Month. The term American Indian incorporates hundreds of different tribes and approximately 250 languages. Starting in 1976 as Native American Awareness Week, the period was expanded by Congress and approved by President Bush in August 1990 by designating the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. In his proclamation for 1996, President Clinton noted, Throughout our history, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples have been an integral part of the American character. Against all odds, America's first peoples have endured, and they remain a vital cultural, political, social, and moral presence. For more information, contact the Bureau of Indian of Indian Affairs, 202-219-4150
All Saints Day: Christian. This Christian holiday celebrates the memory the memory of all the early martyrs and saints. It is a Roman Catholic holy day of obligation.
Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos): Mexico. Beginning on the evening of October 31 and celebrated through November 2 by Mexican and Mexican Americans, this holiday has its roots in two traditions: the Christian observance of All Saints and all Souls Day, and two Aztec festivals on which the souls of the dead were welcomed back to visit those who remembered them. Central to the observance is the creation of an ofrenda, or altar, in the home, with flowers, food and favorite possessions to honor the memory of deceased loved ones and to welcome their visiting souls. The holiday is celebrated with family and community gatherings, music, and feasting, and the festivity of its observance acknowledges death as an integral part of life.
All Souls Day (Day of the Dead): Christian. This is a Christian holiday to remember those who have died.