May 252012
Celebrating Alphabet Creators and Faith Bringers

Yesterday, May 24th, was Saints Cyril and Methodius Day, an important holiday for Bulgarians and Macedonians, commemorating the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet and generally their culture.* Members of the Podkrepa Bulgarian and Macedonian Association celebrated the big holiday at the Podkrepa Hall in North Portland with a potluck and folk-dancing party. I learned about the event from the Northwest Balkan Events Google Group, where Kathy Fors, a member of both Kafana Klub and Krebsic Orkestar, posted the announcement. I showed up right at 7, and the Bulgarians made me feel […] Continue reading >

Mar 172012
St. Patrick's Day and Immigrant Holidays

Official, or federally recognized, American holidays derive from historical events (Independence Day/Fourth of July), religious traditions (Christmas), and national heroes (Martin Luther King Day). Among the unofficial but widely recognized and celebrated holidays, which include Mardi Gras, Easter, and Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day holds a special place: it celebrates the culture of an immigrant group.  Every March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day commemorates Ireland’s patron saint and the arrival of Christianity to Ireland in 12th century. About 12% of U.S. population, or more than 36 million people, reported Irish ancestry in 2008; the Irish diaspora […] Continue reading >

Nov 262011
In Remembrance of Tanks

Another Thanksgiving is over and tanks won’t be haunting me for at least another year. Every year the holiday’s name makes me think of tanks, which is why I secretly call it Tanksgiving. Tanks play a role in a Central European’s, and particularly a Slovak’s or a Czech’s, life story and imagination. If you ask any Slovak or Czech with memories of living in socialist Czechoslovakia about tanks, I guarantee he will share at least one memory about a particular tank. (Please do share your tank story in the Comments.) ‘My tanks’ […] Continue reading >

Oct 312011

Halloween (or Hallowe’en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31, which commonly includes activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. —Wikipedia Today is Halloween and other than bonfires, which I have yet to see anyone do, there just is nothing to Halloween that connects with me. I know my history enough to appreciate Martin Luther King, Presidents, Memorial, Independence, Labor, Columbus, and Veterans Days. I’ve learned the basics of American football rules […] Continue reading >