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America's Favorite Holidays

Candid Histories

Bruce David Forbes (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 232 pages
ISBN: 9780520284722
October 2015
$24.95, £18.95
Other Formats Available:
America’s Favorite Holidays explores how five of America’s culturally important holidays—Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving—came to be what they are today, seasonal and religious celebrations heavily influenced by modern popular culture. Deftly distilling information from a wide range of sources, Bruce David Forbes reveals often-surprising answers to questions about each holiday’s traditions. Was Christmas always as commercialized as it is today? Is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday? When did we begin trick-or-treating on Halloween? Appealing and insightful, America’s Favorite Holidays satisfies our curiosity about the origins of our holidays and the fascinating ways in which religion and culture mix.
List of Illustrations

1. Christmas
2. Valentine’s Day
3. Easter
4. Halloween
5. Thanksgiving

Bruce David Forbes is Professor of Religious Studies at Morningside College, author of Christmas: A Candid History, and coeditor of Religion and Popular Culture in America.
"After you read all five chapters of 'America’s Favorite Holidays' you will not only be more reflective, you will be poised to win the trivia contest at all of your holiday parties this year and beyond."—Hilary Levey Friedman Providence Journal
"This slender book, which is adorned with whimsical drawings of Cupid and Santa Claus, is deceptively thought-provoking. Bruce David Forbes, a professor of religious studies, writes in a style that is more confessional than that of the typical academic. . . . He excels in providing entertaining tidbits. . . . The book is presented as light and entertaining, and Forbes readily delivers on this promise."—Jennifer Jensen Wallach TLS
"This new book by Forbes discusses the particulars of our now widely accepted cultural practices surrounding Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. The nature of folk and cultural traditions is such that we often assume that present-day customs have always been the norm. Forbes presents a genial and ably written corrective to that tendency. . . . This accessible work deserves a wide readership."—Graham Christian Library Journal
"This is a delightful book, full of history presented with a gracious and light touch—in other words, a perfect holiday present. . . . Highly recommended."—CHOICE connect
"America’s Favorite Holidays is an immensely readable book that provides a very engaging history of five widely-celebrated holidays in the United States."—Samira K. Mehta Reading Religion
“Lucid and lighthearted, Americas Favorite Holidays presents observations about various US holidays in a meaningful way. Both in tone and content, the book is an authoritative companion to our most popular holidays, festivals, and celebrations.”—Amy Frykholm, associate editor of The Christian Century and author of Rapture Culture: Left Behind in Evangelical America

"Think you know what America's major holidays are all about? Think again. Bruce Forbes will make you see the traditions you've grown up with in surprising and intriguing new ways. Perfect for book groups, America's Favorite Holidays is sure to become a favorite read around the holidays, or any day."—Sarah McFarland Taylor, Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, Northwestern University

“Clear, engaging, and accessible. Exploring scholarship and folklore, Bruce Forbes lays out the historical development of five major American holidays in a direct and charming fashion.”—Eugene V. Gallagher, co-general editor of Nova Religio and Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies at Connecticut College


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