Review by Booklist Review
Tobin provides an abundance of festive holiday trivia, garnishing it with a Catholic twist. Beginning with Advent and roughly following the liturgical year, he not only explores the Catholic origins of acknowledged sacred holidays but also uncovers the often-surprising religious foundations of a host of secular holidays, celebrations, and festivals. Although some of the connections he makes between the spiritual and the secular there is similar confusion about exactly when Jesus was born and exactly when our nation was born, but December 25 and Fourth of July are both immovable feasts are tenuous at best, most of the information is solidly grounded in religious, cultural, and historical fact. Entertaining, enlightening, and chock-full of fun facts and colorful anecdotes, this is a book with mega-browser appeal.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Writing in a fashion similar to Michael P. Foley in Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday?, Tobin (Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections), who has written on Catholic issues for many years and has also authored religious novels, explores the origins of Catholic holidays according to the church's liturgical calendar. Starting with Advent and ending with Thanksgiving and Christ the King Sunday, Tobin capably describes each holiday, including its origin and adaptations to it that were made over the years. Since the book starts with the winter season, the question "Was Jesus really born at Christmas?" is answered by the second chapter, leaving readers to decide whether to read the rest of the book. But Tobin is engaging enough that most will continue. VERDICT Although the book is written with Catholics in mind, most of the holidays mentioned are celebrated by the general population; only toward the end does Tobin venture into information in which only devout Catholics will be interested. Catholic collections as well as most general collections will benefit from this engaging and readable book.-Holly Hebert, Brentwood Lib., TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
The origins of major Western holidays, from a Catholic perspective.Former Catholic Advocate editor Tobin (Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections, 2003, etc.) makes the argument that virtually all aspects of the modern Western calendar are derived from Roman Catholic sources (with a good deal of help from pagan culture). Much of the information here is readily available elsewhere, but he does a service by collecting these facts into a single volume. Tobin begins with the start of the Christian liturgical yearAdventand moves on to Christmas, tackling the book's title question (no, Jesus was apparentlynotborn on Christmas, as is now widely known). The author moves along chronologically through the year, treating both well-known holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving,as well asless widely celebrated ones, such as Christ the King Sunday. Tobin provides interesting tidbits and trivia throughout, making for a quick, entertaining read. Along with an explanation of various holidays, the author explores the origin of the Gregorian Calendar. In all cases, Tobin brings his readers back to the Catholic perspective. For instance, when discussing Thanksgiving (which, he wryly points out, "is not a Catholic holy day, per se"), the author provides a family prayer for use around the Thanksgiving table, approved by the Catholic bishops of the United States. Tobin also devotes a chapter to the effects of the Second Vatican Council on the church calendar. Woven throughout the narrative are references to or reminders of how secular society has made use of various holidays for commercial means ("The greeting card, flower, and candy industries love, love, love St. Valentine, for he provides substantial cash flow in the first quarter of the year, the first major spending holiday after Christmas").Nothing groundbreaking, but Tobin provides a light, fluffy, fun read.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.