The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Holidays

Overview

What is the connection between May Day and the Statue of Liberty? Between ancient solstice fires and Fourth of July fireworks? Between St. Valentine, the Groundhog, and the Virgin Mary? Why do people behave so bawdily during Mardi Gras? How has the significance and celebration of Christmas changed over the centuries?
In The Book of the Year, Anthony Aveni offers fascinating answers to these questions and explains the many ways humans throughout time have tried to order and give ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $60.00   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$60.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(113)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$65.75
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(42)

Condition: New
2002 Hardcover New New in new dust jacket. BRAND NEW. Excellent condition. Never read or opened. No remainder mark.

Ships from: Bella Vista, AR

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$129.51
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(205)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 0195150244 New Condition ~~~ Right off the Shelf-BUY NOW & INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE...

Ships from: Geneva, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

What is the connection between May Day and the Statue of Liberty? Between ancient solstice fires and Fourth of July fireworks? Between St. Valentine, the Groundhog, and the Virgin Mary? Why do people behave so bawdily during Mardi Gras? How has the significance and celebration of Christmas changed over the centuries?
In The Book of the Year, Anthony Aveni offers fascinating answers to these questions and explains the many ways humans throughout time have tried to order and give meaning to time's passing. Aveni traces the origins of modern customs tied to seasonal holidays, exploring what we eat (the egg at Easter, chocolate on St. Valentine's Day), the games we play (bobbing for apples on Halloween, football on Thanksgiving), the rituals we perform (dancing around the Maypole, making New Year's resolutions), and the colorful cast of characters we invent to dramatize holidays (Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the witches and goblins of Halloween). Along the way, Aveni illuminates everything from the Jack 'O Lantern and our faith in the predictive power of animals to the ways in which Labor Day reflects the great medieval "time wars," when the newly invented clock first pitted labor against management. The calendar and its holidays, Aveni writes, function as "a kind of metronome that keeps the beat of human activity tuned to the manifold overlapping cycles of life," to the ebb and flow of birth, growth, decay, and death.
Vividly written, filled with facts both curious and astonishing, this engrossing book allows us to hear that beat more clearly and to understand more fully the rhythms we all dance to throughout the year.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Why do we celebrate Easter by telling children that a rabbit will bring them eggs and candy? Why do we make New Year's resolutions? Why do we engage in rituals like bobbing for apples on Halloween, watching football on Thanksgiving, and giving chocolate on Valentine's Day? Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate, provides answers to these and many other questions in this delightful little book about the origins and modern development of our holidays. Our red-letter days, he contends, have evolved over the centuries as various cultures use them to reflect specific cultural concerns. For example, Halloween can be traced back to the Celtic festival Samhain, the official first day of winter in early medieval Ireland. On that day, spirits roamed the earth, revisiting their homes, pleading with their relatives for prayers, and eating a warm meal before they returned to their graves. While the modern celebration of Halloween resembles Samhain, Aveni argues that the holiday provides adults with an opportunity to cope with the fear of the unknown by allowing children to dress as ghosts, goblins and spirits. Overall, Aveni contends, we try to gain some control over nature and our lives by capturing the rhythms of the seasons on our calendars and by dividing our lives into segments governed by special days. Although not a thorough and definitive study of seasonal holidays, Aveni's book provides entertaining glimpses into the cultural evolution of holidays, and explores our human desire to make time work in our favor. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A muddled chronology of annual holidays that connects, among other things, Groundhog Day to an Irish saint and May Day to 19th-century labor legislation in the state of Illinois.

Aveni (Astronomy and Anthropology/Colgate Univ.; Behind the Crystal Ball, 1996, etc.) follows the usual routes back through Babylonia, ancient Egypt, and Rome to pinpoint the origins of modern celebrations and trace their distortion over time by the vagaries of social change. Organized by month, this begins with a chapter considering the question of why January launches the new year. "February" explores the origins of both Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day, "April" covers Easter/Passover, "June" portrays a time of mating, "October" unleashes the spirits of the underworld (Halloween), and "November" (The Day of the Dead) contemplates mortality. Not surprisingly--Aveni is an astronomer, after all--most of the holidays are tied historically to a solstice or an equinox, or to long-forgotten agricultural calendars. (The first of February, for example, began the new year in old Celtic reckonings.) The author uses myths and legends from China, Arctic peoples, and the Maya, among others, to compare how various civilizations recognized or organized the course of the sun’s annual journey. A dramatic description of Serpent Day, celebrated at the spring equinox at the great pyramid of Chichen Itza, shows the sun’s course bringing to light an image of a great serpent along one of the pyramid’s edges. Unfortunately, such rewarding moments are rare; Aveni too often mixes his solid nuggets of information with pompous attempts at humor and commentary on such over-obvious aspects of contemporary culture as the (oh, no!)commercialization of Christmas.

Relating familiar material in self-conscious prose, this falls between the cracks of scholarly work and engaging popular history. (20 b&w illustrations, not seen)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195150247
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 6.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Aveni is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University and the author of several books, including Empires of Time and Conversing with the Planets.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1 Creating, Organizing, and Transforming the Holidays 1
2 Happy New Year! But Why Now? 11
3 February's Holidays: Prediction, Purification, and Passionate Pursuit 29
4 Spring Equinox: Watching the Serpent Descend 47
5 The Easter/Passover Season: Connecting Time's Broken Circle 63
6 May Day: A Collision of Forces 79
7 Summer's Solstice: Feasts of Fire, Water, and Feminine Affairs of the Heart 91
8 Labor Day: Remembering the Great Time Wars 107
9 Halloween: Dead Time 119
10 Thanksgiving: Transcending Pilgrims' Progress 135
11 Christmas: From Resurrection to Rudolph 149
12 "What Goes Around ..." 165
Notes 171
References 177
Index 183
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)