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Happy New Year


We at Aaron Coaches would like to wish you all things good for 2012. We hope that 2017 is a happy, productive, healthy, fun year for you. We hope that the world economy improves; we hope for more peace and less war between people and between countries; we hope for a world that is kinder and more tolerant. And closer to home, we hope you continue to improve your English with us.




Productive: making or doing something
Tolerant: open-minded, accept other perspectives


Words and phrases you just heard
People in the
A picnic and maybe a barbeque
New Year’s holidays usually mean
Enjoy the holidays

Cinco de Mayo Day



El Cinco de Mayo (“The Fifth of May” in Spanish) is a national celebration in Mexico and increasingly, as the Latin population of the United States grows, in the U.S., too. Cinco de Mayo is especially widely celebrated in the southwestern United States. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of Mexican forces, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, over French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.


Many people incorrectly believe that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, but that holiday is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th in remembrance of the legendary battle Battle of Puebla.


Historical background
On May 5, 1862, a Mexican force of 4,500 men was greatly outnumbered by 6,000 men from the well trained forces of Napoleon III’s French Army. The four hour battle that would be known as the Battle of Puebla ended in both a moral and physical victory for the Mexican Army under 33 year old General Ignacio Zaragoza.


Mexican and U. S. observances
Of course, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated vigorously in the state of Puebla, Mexico. There are some observances across Mexico to varying degrees, but none that match the celebrations in Puebla. These observances focus largely on food and drink, as well as music and dancing.


In the United States, much like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo is observed by many Americans regardless of their ethnicity. This is particularly true along the Border States where there are large Mexican populations. The largest of these celebrations are found in big cities such as Los Angeles, California; San Antonio, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Although Cinco de Mayo is no more an official holiday than St. Patrick’s Day in the United States, many cities nonetheless display Cinco de Mayo banners while their school districts hold special events to educate students about the occasion, especially in the Spanish language classes.


Commercial interests in the United States and Mexico now capitalize on the growing popularity of Cinco de Mayo by advertising their products and services with an emphasis on foods, beverages, and music. However, many multi-ethnic communities hold special events and celebrations that instead focus upon Mexican culture, especially its music and regional dancing. The ballet folkl?rico and mariachi demonstrations that are held annually at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles near Olvera Street in Los Angeles, California, are an example of this highlighting of Mexican tradition.


This page is based on a page from Wikipedia entitled Cinco de Mayo Day. You can find the page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo. Wikipedia is an open source. That means anyone is free to use it and alter it as long as they credit the source. Wikipedia is not copyright, it is leftright. The Cinco de Mayo Day related text on this page is also leftright. You are free to use it as you like as long as you credit Aaron Teaches and Wikipedia for our authorship. This means that if you want to use this, you must include a statement crediting us and provide links to Aaron Teaches and Wikipedia.

Mother’s Day


Some of the material on this page is from Wikipedia’s Mother’s Day page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day, Mother’s Day Proclamation at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day_Proclamation, and Mother’s Day (United States) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day_%28United_States%29. As always, we recommend the reading and researching of Wikipedia for our advanced and beyond TOEIC students.


How did Mother’s Day get started?
Different countries celebrate Mother’s Day on various days throughout the year because the day has a number of origins. One school of thought claims this day emerged from the ancient Greek custom of mother worship. Mother worship – which included a festival honoring Cybele, a great mother of the gods, and Rhea, the wife of Cronus – was held around the Vernal Equinox in Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself, from the Ides of March (March 15) through March 18. We cannot definitively answer the question of Mother’s Day origin because the answer is forever tangled up in many histories. However, we can see how the roots of this contemporary holiday have flowed from the Middle East to Egypt to Greece to Rome through Europe to England to the United States today.


American Mother’s Day history
In 1870, Julia Ward Howe issued her Mother’s Day Proclamation in Boston. In 1872, Howe issued a national call for the day to be observed annually. Julia Ward Howe, a social activist, conceived of Mother’s Day during the American Civil War as a vehicle to unite women against war. She wrote her Mother’s Day Proclamation during that time. As originally envisioned, Howe’s “Mother’s Day” was a call to women to support pacifism and disarmament. The original Mother’s Day Proclamation text was as follows:


Mother’s Day Proclamation
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn?
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.?
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country?
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
“Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means?
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,?
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask?
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality?
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient?
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.


Unfortunately, Howe failed in her attempt to obtain formal recognition for a Mother’s Day for Peace. However, her idea was influenced by Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she had called Mothers’ Work Days. During the Civil War, Jarvis had mobilized women to work for better sanitary conditions on both sides of the conflict. In 1868, Jarvis began working to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.


The first Mother’s Day celebrated in the United States
The first known observance of Mother’s Day in the U.S. occurred in Albion, Michigan, on May 13, 1877, the second Sunday of the month. According to local legend, an Albion pioneer, Juliet Calhoun Blakeley, stepped up to complete the sermon of the Rev. Myron Daughterty, who was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son and two other temperance advocates to spend the night in a saloon and become publicly drunk. In the pulpit, Blakeley called on other mothers to join her. Blakeley’s two sons, both traveling salesmen, were so moved that they vowed to return each year to pay tribute to her and they embarked on a campaign to convince their business contacts to do the same. In the early 1880’s, at the urging of the Blakeley men, the Albion Methodist Episcopal Church set aside the second Sunday each May to recognize the special contributions of mothers.


Early Mother’s Day celebrations

Early “Mother’s Day” celebrations were largely marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.


First modern Mother’s Day
In 1907, modern Mother’s Day was first celebrated in a small, private way by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, to commemorate the anniversary of her mother’s death two years earlier on May 9, 1905. Jarvis’s mother, also named Anna Jarvis, had long been active in Mother’s Day campaigns for peace and workers’ safety and health. The younger Jarvis launched a quest to get wider recognition of Mother’s Day. The celebration organized by Jarvis on May 10, 1908 involved 407 children with their mothers at the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, now the International Mother’s Day Shrine. It is because of this that Grafton is recognized as the birthplace of modern Mother’s Day.


The spread of Mother’s Day
After that, the custom caught on – spreading eventually to 45 states.
Part of the campaign to promote Mother’s Day was financed by clothing merchant John Wanamaker. As the custom of Mother’s Day spread, the emphasis shifted from the pacifism and reform movements to a more general appreciation of mothers. The first official recognition of the holiday was by West Virginia in 1910. On May 14, 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.


Only nine years after that first Mother’s Day holiday, commercialization of the U.S. holiday had became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of the holiday. Mother’s Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. holidays.


Mother’s Day Today
Today Mother’s Day is a day for celebrating motherhood and thanking mothers. In the United States, it is held annually on the second Sunday in May. Tradition calls for the wearing of roses or carnations on Mother’s Day – a red one if one’s mother is alive, white if she has died, and pink if one is not certain.


Mothers typically receive cards, flowers and gifts on this day. Some people bake cakes to show their mothers how much they are appreciated. Although some gifts, like cakes, are homemade, the majority are store-bought. It is no accident that clothing merchant John Wanamaker worked so hard to bring Mother’s Day into the consumer mainstream.


People also call and write their mothers. In 1973, the U.S. Postal Service was delayed for eight days because of the amount of mail. Telephone networks are also at their busiest on Mother’s Day and it is not unusual to hear an “all circuits are busy” message when trying to place a call on this holiday.


Mother’s Day is the number one holiday for floral purchases in the entire year, trumping even Valentines Day. Originally intended to spread the message of pacifism, Mother’s Day has become yet another part of the commercialism that runs rampant in modern American life.



Here we have links to many American holidays on our Aaron website. We talk about well known holidays, such as New Year’s Day. We also talk about some unusual holidays that you may not have heard of, like Blame Someone Else Day, a fairly recent holiday that was invented in Michigan in 1982.


The word holiday comes from two separate English words being joined together. Can you guess what they are? If you guessed “holy” and “day,” you are right! Most holidays have their origins in various religions, including some ancient religions and Christianity. As society has become more and more secularized, new holidays, such as Groundhog Day and Buy Nothing Day, are developing. Some of these modern holidays that have nothing to do with religion are based on humor, such as Blame Someone Else Day. The holiday is no longer always a holy day.


We hope that you enjoy reading the pages below and that you can learn something new. Please come back now and then for new holiday pages. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please let us know. And, remember, Happy Holidays!