Q: When and how did Mother’s Day become a holiday?

A: The origin of Mother’s Day has been associated with a Miss Anna M. Jarvis. Miss Jarvis was an especially devoted daughter, who was concerned about the neglect shown to mothers by grown children. When her mother died in 1905, Jarvis was relentless in establishing a national memorial day dedicated to all mothers – alive and deceased.

Jarvis was successful in getting the West Virginia governor to proclaim a statewide Mothers’ Day in 1910. By 1911, all of the states in the union had Mother’s Day proclamations.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day an annual national observance.

Q: What is the holiday Cinco de Mayo?

A: Cinco de Mayo, or the Fifth of May, is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the victory of outnumbered Mexican troops, under Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, over a well-organized French army, at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This holiday is observed in many regions of Mexico, but Sept. 16, which is Mexico’s Independence Day, is celebrated on a much broader base.

In this country, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in many areas with festivals, and special Mexican foods and drinks.

Q: Are refried beans really fried twice?

A: Despite the name, refried beans are not fried twice. In fact, the Spanish “frijoles refritos” actually means “well-fried beans.” Refried beans are actually beans that have been cooked, and then mashed and fried with seasonings.

Q: Do you know how old the Earth is?

A. The earth is at least four and a half billion years old according to many estimates. Evidence for this age is contained in rocks exposed on the Earth’s surface. The ages of the rocks vary widely; but, like pages in a long and complicated history, the rocks have recorded Earth-shaping events of the past, such as mountain building, cycles of erosion and deposition and sea encroachments.

Q: What does a karat of gold mean?

A: A karat is the unit of measure for the amount of gold any article contains. Pure or solid gold is designated as 24-karat. The most commonly used weight of gold in jewelry is 14 karats (14 parts of gold mixed with 10 parts of another metal). However, 18- and 22-karat golds are also used in many jewelry designs. Gold can be mixed with other metals to change them to varying shades of gold. Gold, when alloyed with silver, produces a paler and green-tinted gold. Gold mixed with copper is redder in color, and white gold is an alloy with nickel or palladium.

Write to Farmers’ Almanac, P.O. Box 1609, Lewiston, ME 04241 or send e-mail to: [email protected]

Copyright 2004, Almanac publishing Company, Farmers’ Almanac. Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


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