History Behind the Holiday: Day of the Dead

History Behind the Holiday: Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos—or Day of the Dead—is an often misunderstood holiday in the United States. Many believe this Mexican celebration is related to Halloween. While there are similarities, the two holidays originate from different sources. Our History of Halloween article, explains how Samhain—an ancient Celtic festival—evolved over thousands of years into the costumes and trick-or-treating we participate in today. Dia de los Muetos ,

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History Behind the Holiday: Halloween

History Behind the Holiday: Halloween

People have been celebrating Halloween—or some version of it—for more than 2,000 years. Today, many mistakenly associate this Americanized holiday with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). However, that is not quite true. The roots of Halloween reach much farther back, to Western Europe B.C.E. The Original Halloween Halloween originates from the Celtic New Year festival, Samhain (sow-in). The Celts, who lived during

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The Kelly Strayhorn Theater: A Place of Inspiration and Artistic Incubation

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater: A Place of Inspiration and Artistic Incubation

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty is named for two hometown legends: Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn. Gene Kelly—singer, dancer, actor, filmmaker, and choreographer—is best known for his role in Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and many other films. Billy Strayhorn was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger who collaborated with the likes of Duke Ellington. Both called Pittsburgh home during their

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Prominent Civic Associations in Pittsburgh

Prominent Civic Associations in Pittsburgh

  Civic Associations have a distinctive and vital role in a democratic society. These organizations work with the goal of improving communities. Many serve the important function of providing a collective voice to issues that affect the community. Pittsburgh is home to many civic associations whose missions are to enhance the Greater Pittsburgh area for residents and visitors. Below are some of the most notable.

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The History Behind the Holiday: Rosh Hashanah

The History Behind the Holiday: Rosh Hashanah

What marks a new year? Across most of the Western world, parties leading up to midnight of January 1st celebrate a new calendar year. Often, the first day of school in September marks a new year. In the business world, fiscal years can begin and end at any time. For the Jewish people, Rosh Hashanah is the two-day religious festival that honors the Jewish New

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The History Behind the Holiday: Labor Day

The History Behind the Holiday: Labor Day

We all look forward to that long weekend at the beginning of September. The one that celebrates Labor Day… or is it Memorial Day? Labor Day is the first Monday in September; it is a federal holiday that is often celebrated with day-drinking and barbecues. For a lot of people, it’s really just a long weekend. But, do you know why we get this extra

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The Johnstown Flood of 1889

The Johnstown Flood of 1889

Nearly a century and a half ago, a catastrophe befell the citizens and visitors of an area in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Johnstown Flood of 1889 has become a tragic slice of American history. The events leave anyone who decides to explore this piece of history astonished by the engineering malpractice that led to the incident and the lack of justice that followed. On May 31,

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Poetry Corner

Poetry Corner

Monthly Poem November The table is full, too crowded, in fact with food and family, but I’ve never minded that. While the weather outside is blistering cold, we listen to stories begging to be told. Hearty laughs, squeals, and smiles all around Happiness is such a beautiful sound. With the fire roaring and our stomachs all full, and my loved ones around, I need nothing

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The Siege of Fort Pitt

The Siege of Fort Pitt

Land has always been valuable and the source of much conflict amongst people, and the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers made this area, and what would later become Pittsburgh, choice real estate and the site of much violence. Initially in the 1740s, when English trader, William Trent, first came to the area and set up a trading post at the headwaters of the

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The History of the Allegheny County Courthouse & Jail

The History of the Allegheny County Courthouse & Jail

One of the most interesting things about visiting Europe is seeing the fortress cities, towns enclosed inside walls. Pittsburgh doesn’t have that, but the closest we would come to it is the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail complex in downtown Pittsburgh. The buildings on Grant Street are now dwarfed by the skyscrapers that have risen around them. However, back in 1888 when they debuted with

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