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April 15, 2014

Good Friday – A time to remember

Filed under: Holiday — Sherry Bingham @ 7:39 am

Holy week, the week where Jesus returned to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, represents the events leading up to Jesus’ death.

Good Friday is celebrated by Christians annually to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  The full story of Good Friday is recorded in the Bible found in Matthew 26-27.

The word “good” relates to the belief that Christ died for the sins of mankind.

 

It is an important event in the Christian faith because this act brought salvation to all who believe in Him.   It is often a day of mourning, quiet prayer, and believers may choose to fast or attend church.

The Jewish calendar indicates Jesus died on the first day of the Passover, which according to the Gregorian (Western) calendar would be April 7. However, this holiday is not celebrated as a fixed date.  The flexible date of the Passover conforms to the Jewish luni-solar calendar.

Candles will remain extinguished and statues, crosses and paintings will be covered in purple, gray, or black cloth. Some Christians will bake and eat hot cross buns while others will avoid some types of non-vegetarian foods.  Depending on your faith, homes may maintain an atmosphere of reverence and silence with limited usage of electronic devices.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is remembered on Easter Sunday. This is the most joyous day of the Christian year commemorating when Christ arose from the dead and left the tomb very early in the morning. Many churches hold Easter services at sunrise on Easter morning.

East Carolina University observes Good Friday as a State Holiday and Greenville City offices will be closed on Good Friday.

March 14, 2014

Luck of the Irish Be With Ya’!

Filed under: Holiday — Mary Schiller @ 5:00 am

Monday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick's Day Clover

Saint Patrick’s Day, is only a ”legal” holiday in Ireland, but is widely celebrated around the globe and even at the International Space Station!  In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has been observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture since the 18th century!

Celebrations include wearing green, eating Irish food, drinking green beer, displays of shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold, religious observances, and parades. It’s popularity has been credited to the fact that it occurs during the Lenten Season and all Lenten restrictions on food and drink are suspended for the day in order to celebrate the “Feast of Saint Patrick.”  The lift of the Lenten restrictions is said to have “encouraged and propagated” the consumption of alcohol on St. Patty’s Day.

One of the biggest American displays of St. Patrick’s Day Pride is in Chicago, where they dye the Chicago River Green for the day!

Chicago River

Ever wonder where all these traditions about green, eating corned beef, pinching people and leprechauns come from?  Well here you go….

Wearing Green – There are many theories about wearing the color green:  It’s one of the colors of the Irish Flag; Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle,” Shamrocks are green, and green is the color of Spring.  Fun fact, long ago, the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue, the color associated with the Order of St. Patrick, but in 1681, green was adopted as the national color of Ireland and people started wearing green.

Shamrocks – Sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized rebirth and the arrival of Spring.

Corned Beef and Cabbage – Cabbage has been a long standing staple in the Irish diet (along with potatoes), but it was traditionally it was eaten with Irish Bacon on St. Patrick’s Day.  Once in America, many Irish immigrants couldn’t afford bacon, so they used the cheaper corned beef as a substitute.

Leprechauns – Linked back to Celtic beliefs in fairies, tiny men and women that had magical powers used for good or evil.  Leprechauns were cranky, short-bodied people, responsible for mending other fairies shoes and they were known for their trickery which was often used to protect their long-fabled treasure (pot of gold).

Pinching – Is only practiced as an American tradition!  It was once thought that wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns - fairy creatures who would pinch anyone not wearing green. People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.

So, there you go…St. Patrick’s Day debunked.  Hope you all have a fun day filled with trickery, pots of gold and plenty of green food and drink!

Green Fountain

January 31, 2014

Ring In The Chinese Lunar New Year!

Filed under: Holiday — Sherry Bingham @ 5:18 am

 Happy Lunar New Year : Your Questions Answered

A neon horse at the Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen temple in Klang, Malaysia welcomes in the Year of the Horse.A neon horse is lit up at the Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen temple in Klang, Malaysia,to welcome in the year of the horse. Photograph: Asyraf Rasid/Corbis

Who celebrates this event?

In China, the festivities are known as spring festival (春節) or Lunar New Year (農曆新年) — the new year is determined by the lunar calendar.

The Chinese aren’t the only ones who observe it. From late January to mid-February, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other countries celebrate Lunar New Year.

Families give out lucky money in red envelopes with their family name and good luck messages written on them in gold, but only to the unmarried and children of the family.

Why does the date of the Lunar New Year change each year?

Lunar New Year for 2014 begins today, January 31st and continues through February 14th. The first day of Lunar New Year is always between January 21st and February 21st, coinciding with the first new moon – the darkest day – between these two dates.

What is the Chinese Zodiac?

Each year corresponds with one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and animals. Each sign is believed to influence the personalities of those born in those years. In 2014, it will be the year of the Horse. Those born under this sign are known to possess good communication skills and are cheerful and stubborn. They crave success, and they are popular and talented. Which sign are you?

What are some wonderful Chinese Lunar New Year greetings?

Best wishes for the Year of the Horse : 马年大吉 Mǎ nián dàjí

Greet the New Year and encounter happiness : 迎春接福 Yíngchúnjiēfú

May you realize your ambitions. : 大展鴻圖 Dàzhǎnhóngtú

Enjoy good health: 身体健康 Shēntǐ jiànkāng

 

Celebrate By Attending These Local Events:

Saturday, February 1 : Oriental’s a town that celebrates New Year’s twice. First on December 31 and then again when the Chinese Lunar New Year happens, a date that depends on the moon’s phases. Since 2011, Oriental has marked this other new year with a dragon run down Hodges Street. This year, the crew is tweaking the Asian Lunar New Year because of the dose of cold reality from Mother Nature. The Chinese New Year Dragon Run is re-scheduled for Saturday Feb 1, at 1:30 p.m.  Oriental’s Chinese dragon will be running down Hodges Street to welcome in the Year of the Horse. For Directions to Oriental click here.

Tickets for 2014 Greenville Chinese New Year Celebration are on sale now. The celebration event will be held on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 3 p.m. The celebration consists of two parts – a stage show in ECU Wright Auditorium followed by a Chinese New Year buffet dinner in Hibachi Grill at 6 p.m. The admission for the stage show is free. Tickets are required for the celebration buffet dinner at Hibachi Grill. Note that Hibachi Grill has prepared a special menu for this event that features traditional Chinese dishes and, in addition, we have reserved the entire restaurant for that evening and tickets are required to enter this private event. This event is brought to you on behalf of Greenville Chinese School and ECU Chinese Student and Scholar Association.

The ticket price is $10 for adults, $5 for children (12 years old or younger) and free admission to children ages 3 or under.  You may purchase tickets at one of the following locations on ECU campus during working hours on weekdays, please note that exact change is very much appreciated. For Ticket Information on this event click here.

Other Events:

Sunday, February 2, Noon until 5 p.m.  Groundhog Day at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. Sir Walter Wally’s Shadow ceremony is at 1 p.m. This is a free event.

Sir Wally is pictured above courtesy of N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

 

 

 

November 19, 2013

Holiday Payroll Adjustments 2013

Filed under: Announcements,Holiday — Mary Schiller @ 5:00 am

As usual, we will be getting our last paycheck of the year early.  The December Payroll dates this year are December 13th (Friday the 13th, if you’re the superstitious kind ;) ) and then we’ll get our “end of the month” check on December 23rd. 

A big difference this year is that Direct Deposit is mandatory.  If you happen to be one of the few that still receive paper checks, your payroll will be mailed.  BIG NOTE – Make sure the payroll office has your correct address!  The payroll office will be closed until after the holidays, so if there is a problem with your paycheck, there will not be anyone available to assist you until AFTER THE HOLIDAYS! 

If you are an employee that still receives a paper check, and you DON’T want to wait for the mail or take the chance that something could go wrong, you can complete the direct deposit form (click here) from now until December 4th.  But, you must get your direct deposit set up BEFORE DECEMBER 4th, to ensure your December 23rd paycheck is processed.

——————–

Here is the Official Information from the Payroll Office:

Official notice has been received from the Office of the State Controller regarding final payroll dates for December.  ECU employees will be paid Friday, December 13th and Monday, December 23rd, not Friday, December 20th as anticipated.

This means that direct deposits will be available to the receiving banks no later than 12:00 a.m. Monday,  December 23rd.  Direct deposit funds are posted at the discretion of the receiving bank. Employees may contact their banks to learn the exact time that direct deposits will be posted to their accounts.

Because this is the first day of the ECU Holiday break, the Payroll Office WILL NOT be open on 23 December for check pick-up.  Further communication will be sent directly to those employees currently receiving paper checks.

We will be working closely with new employees to ensure that we have their Direct Deposits set up in Banner prior to finalizing payroll on the December 17th

Please feel free to contact the Payroll Office at 252-328-6955 with any questions.

November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving

Filed under: Holiday — Mary Schiller @ 5:00 am

We are currently inside the 10-day window for Thanksgiving 2013!   You will have to forgive my excitement…Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday!  Many people think I’m weird for loving Thanksgiving so much, after all, it’s not a commercially celebrated holiday, there aren’t any gifts to be given or received, and there are obligations to spend the entire day with family members that you may or may not care for.  Thanksgiving has gotten a really bad rap (Don’t believe me?  Check out some of definitions of Thanksgiving in the Urban Dictionary here).

I like the Webster’s definition MUCH better!:

Thanksgiving : the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S. or the second Monday in October in Canada celebrated as a legal holiday for people to be thankful for what they have

“For people to be Thankful for what they have.”  Maybe that’s why so many people don’t like Thanksgiving; in our materialistic society we have been programmed to always want MORE.  It’s not often that we’re asked to be thankful for what we already have….I mean, if people were thankful for what they have, why would they stand in line over-night to purchase the new iPhone, right?

This year, I plan to take full advantage of the 4-day break and especially Thanksgiving Day.  BUT enough about me – let’s get on to the good stuff!  Whether you are a Thanksgiving lover or hater, here are some ideas to help you make the most of YOUR Thanksgiving this year!:

  • Slow down and reflect on what is truly important.  Here are some Inspirational Quotes to help get you in the mood, then maybe you could share your Thanksgiving spirit by:  Creating a  Thankful Tree, a Gratitude Jar, or starting a Thanksgiving tablecloth.
  • Celebrate or create new family traditions – They don’t have to be serious or have some deep-seeded cultural significance, some of my family’s favorite traditions are watching the Macy’s Parade and sucking the canned cranberry jelly through straws (don’t ask me why, but the entire family looks forward to doing this and we all get the best laugh from it!).
  • Cook a Turkey feast!  If you are an experienced cook, get some additional inspiration here, here and here.  If you are not so experienced, check out these quick and easy recipes here, here and here.  Still not convinced it’s do-able?  Check out these retailers, so you can buy one and fake it!!  BoJangles, HoneyBaked Ham, Harris Teeter, and Lowes Foods (there are probably many more, but this was all I could find).
  • Break out the “good” dishes – If you don’t have a set of “good” dishes, pick-up some Thanksgiving placemats to dress up your everyday dishes, or just get festive disposable ones!
  • Start the day with a mimosa – Check out recipes here, here and here!
  • Drink wine with your feast!  Did you know Thanksgiving is the #1 holiday for wine sales?  I read that somewhere, but cannot find the source now…anyway, Check out some affordable wine options here and here.
  • Take an afternoon nap!
  • Watch a football game - Check the Thanksgiving NFL schedule here.
  • Start a family or neighborhood football game (what a great way to work off some of those extra calories!).  Find a Flag Football Set to purchase here or learn how to make your own here.
  • Get in the holiday Spirit – Thanksgiving night is the kickoff of the holiday season in our family.  We bring down all the holiday decorations from the attic, break out the holiday music, watch Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course), set up the DVR to record all the old claymation movies (like Frosty and Rudolph) and we enjoy turkey sandwiches and the other leftovers from the turkey feast!

Here’s hoping you and yours find many ways to enjoy Thanksgiving for what it is!  You still have 9 days to make your plan!!

Cheers!

 
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