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Venezuela Declares Fridays Are Holidays

At least for a while, to save money on energy

(Newser) - In the US workplace, we have "casual" Fridays; in Venezuela, they now have "don't bother coming in" Fridays. President Nicolas Maduro announced that Fridays for the next 60 days will be official state holidays to save energy in a country that's been plagued by blackouts and... More »

Here Are 3.14-Plus Fun Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Including checking out old-time pie pics, learning how to cut the perfect slice

(Newser) - Time is a flat circle in which we do the same things over and over again—or, in the case of Pi Day, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, celebrated over and over again each year on March 14. Here's 2016's homage... More »

The Surprising Traditions of Jewish Christmas Eve

Toilet paper, abstinence, and persecution

(Newser) - For many people—religious and non-religious alike—Christmas Eve means hot cocoa with family, watching Love Actually, or furiously wrapping last-minute gifts. But for centuries of Jews, Christmas Eve was all about abstinence, tearing toilet paper, and the occasional poker game. Slate has a fascinating look at the little-known—even... More »

Obama Turns Down Muslim Holiday Request

Congress is the one that establishes federal holidays, says White House

(Newser) - The good holiday news: President Obama has signed an executive order that makes Christmas Eve a half-day for federal employees. The bad: Obama will not make the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr federal holidays. The White House said so after a We the People petition asking... More »

Abolish Columbus Day? 5 Takes on the Holiday

Italian-American group may suggest renaming it

(Newser) - Today is Columbus Day, but is this a holiday on the way out? USA Today notes that nine cities across the US have now named this Indigenous Peoples Day, including Albuquerque and Portland, Ore., and the movement looks likely to grow. Some samples of the back-and-forth about the second Monday... More »

Obama Declares Dec. 26 Holiday

Federal employees will get the day off

(Newser) - Federal employees just got a Christmas present from President Obama in the form of a four-day weekend. Obama issued an executive order giving the workers off on Dec. 26, reports the Washington Post . Because it's a Friday, that means an extra-long weekend. An online petition on the White House... More »

Sorry, Columbus: Seattle Honors Native Americans

City council redesignates 2nd Monday of October

(Newser) - Columbus Day is no longer "Columbus Day" in Seattle. The city council yesterday redesignated the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day. Reuters reports that the measure notes that Native Americans inhabited North America long before Columbus showed up in the New World; further, it points out that... More »

There Is No Such Thing as Presidents Day

Today is actually called 'Washington's Birthday': Peter Grier

(Newser) - Enjoying having Presidents Day off? No, you're not, because today is not Presidents Day, writes Peter Grier in the Christian Science Monitor . In fact, "there is no such thing as Presidents Day," he writes. The official name for the federal holiday you may currently be celebrating is... More »

Today Is the Last 'Thanksgivukkah' for 78K Years

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah in rare alignment

(Newser) - Happy Thanksgivukkah! And enjoy it while it lasts, because we’ll have to wait nearly 80 millenia for the next one. This year, Thanksgiving happens to fall on the first day of Hanukkah, pitting the turkey against the dreidel for the first time since 1899. The once-in-a-lifetime combination has spurred... More »

Right Slaps Google Over Cesar Chavez Doodle on Easter

Search engine celebrates leader's birthday

(Newser) - Yesterday's Google Doodle completely ignored Easter in favor of Cesar Chavez's birthday, and conservatives are livid, Politico reports. "While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the... More »

Cost of Freedom: Everyone's Selfish

From hippies to capitalists, US has embraced individual liberty: Kurt Anderson

(Newser) - The 1960s brought a raft of cultural freedoms, from women's rights to new attitudes about drugs. But anyone dreaming of economic equality has been sorely disappointed; old-school free market ideas have only gotten stronger. Kurt Anderson has a theory to explain the divide: On both the cultural and economic... More »

4 Weird Fourth Facts

3 presidents died and one was born on the holiday

(Newser) - As you're watching fireworks tonight, consider this: If John Adams had had his way, you would have had a three-day weekend. That's because the second president believed Independence Day should have been celebrated on July 2, when the Founding Fathers voted for independence, rather than the day John... More »

Chicago Kicks Off St. Pat's by Dyeing River Green

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears at St. Patrick's Day ritual

(Newser) - The city of Chicago has dyed its river green in a much-beloved yearly St. Patrick's Day ritual that brought thousands of revelers to downtown. Cheers erupted this morning as a motor boat sped around in a circle and a man on board dumped the secret dye mixture that in... More »

Spare Me, I'm Irish

Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams explains why she hates St. Patrick's Day

(Newser) - Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon has strong Irish roots, but you can keep your parades, "kiss me" buttons, and shamrock shakes to yourself on this St. Patrick's Day, thank you very much. She hates the annual pseudo-holiday, the day when "'Irish' becomes simultaneously synonymous with '... More »

RI Christians Revolt Over 'Holiday Tree'

Carolers crash tree lighting as Catholics hold competing event

(Newser) - When Scott Walker rechristened Wisconsin’s Capitol "holiday tree" a "Christmas tree," the atheists revolted ; now, in Rhode Island, the opposite is happening. When the governor unveiled the Statehouse "holiday tree," angry carolers crashed last night's tree lighting, interrupting a children's chorus to... More »

Tomorrow Is Nigel Tufnel Day

Holiday for Spinal Tap goes all the way up to 11

(Newser) - Spinal Tap fans, turn up your amps: Tomorrow is Nigel Tufnel Day. Last year, one hardcore Tap devotee chose 11/11/11 as the perfect day to celebrate the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. In one classic scene, guitarist Tufnel informs the filmmaker (Rob Reiner) that his amplifiers have extra power... More »

Let's Have Halloween on Saturdays

Connecticut state rep says it would boost community spirit

(Newser) - One state lawmaker wants to boost the economy and help out harried parents by legislating that Halloween always falls on a Saturday, the Hartford Courant reports. Connecticut Rep. Tim Larson says having Halloween on the last Saturday in October would also be safer for trick-or-treaters because parents could start earlier... More »

Hot Christmas Gifts: Ferrari, $45K Ping-Pong Table

Fantasy gifts for 2011 unveiled in 'Christmas Book'

(Newser) - It’s that time of year again: time for Neiman Marcus to say, “Recession? What recession?” and urge you to purchase a $250,000 mahogany speedboat for your beloved this Christmas. Yes, the Christmas Book was unveiled yesterday. To really get into the holiday spirit, read on for the... More »

British Businesses Grumble About Wedding Day Off

Public holiday predicted to cost economy almost $10B

(Newser) - Guillotine-wielding protesters aren't the only people in Britain not entirely thrilled about today's royal wedding. The British are getting an extra public holiday for the occasion and business owners complain that they're losing revenue at a time when they're trying to recover from recession. The... More »

5 Least Healthy Holiday Drinks

Unfortunately, your peppermint mocha still contains calories

(Newser) - Beverages are liquid, so people seem to forget that they still have calories—especially holiday beverages, with their added peppermint, chocolate, and caramel. The New York Post lists five of the worst holiday drinks, courtesy of Eat This, Not That! author David Zinczenko:
  • Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha: A venti
... More »

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