Thank You All - You're Charter Subscribers
First, I’d like to thank you for subscribing to Enjoying Philadelphia Events, and for your interest in the site. You’re all charter subscribers, in fact - this issue – January 2011 - is the charter issue of Enjoying Philadelphia Events, and I hope that you enjoy reading it, as much as I do, writing it.
What’s New at Enjoying Philadelphia – January 2011
As we enter 2011, there remains no shortage of things to do in and around Philadelphia. Here are some of the upcoming events, and the pages that we’ve built around them:
January 2011 Events Main Page, and New, January Event-Specific Pages
January 2011 Events Page
This constantly updated guide lists many of the popular, important events in January, in and around the city.
You Can Stay in the Christmas Spirit At Byers’ Choice in Chalfont, Bucks County
Although the Dickens Village at Macy’s has shut its doors till Black Friday 2011, you can still walk through another engaging version of Dickensian London at Christmastime, at Byers’ Choice, in its very own Christmas Museum – and like Dickens Village, it’s free.
Byers’ Choice is located in Chalfont, Bucks County, at 4355 County Line Road, Chalfont, PA – their phone number is 215.822.6700. It’s open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Sundays, noon – 5:00 PM.
The Philadelphia Home Show Guide
The 2011 Philadelphia Home Show opens on Friday, January 15, and runs till January 23, 2011, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Our guide to it:
2011 Philadelphia Home Show
The Philadelphia Auto Show
The Philadelphia Auto Show will roar into the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Saturday, January 29, up to and including Sunday, February 6 (also the date of the Super Bowl). Eventually, we’ll have a complete guide to the Auto Show, as well.
Philadelphia Auto Show 2011
Happy Birthday, Ben! Franklin Turns 305 On January 17, 2011
There are many activities celebrating the most famous Philadelphian’s 305th birthday, during the week in which it falls. They can all be found on the January Events page.
Franklin’s Birthday Shifted By 11 Days, During His Own Lifetime! Seriously. Would You Be Willing to Change Yours?
Benjamin Franklin was born in Massachusetts, on January 6 (not January 17), 1706.
The Julian Calendar / The Gregorian Calendar
However, that was prior to Great Britain - and its colonial possessions - accepting the alteration of the Julian Calendar (originally decreed by Julius Caesar in ancient Rome, during the first century, BC). 1500 years later, the Julian calendar was lagging behind the seasons, by 10 days, due to a small mathematical error, that had compounded over the centuries. Namely, the Roman calendar was off, by about 11 minutes, per year – which eventually accumulated into entire days.
1582 - The Gregorian Calendar Drops 10 Days, As A Correction
In order to correct this flaw in the Julian calendar, Pope Gregory XIII decreed in the late 16th century – a millennium and a half after Caesar - that 10 days would be dropped from the calendar, as a correction. Accordingly, Roman Catholic European nations adopted the new Gregorian calendar, and dropped 10 days from October 1582. You went to sleep on the night of October 4, and the next morning, it was October 15, 1582.
Britain Continued to Use the Julian Calendar Until 1752
However, due to the Protestant Reformation, not every European country adopted the new Gregorian calendar. Protestant Great Britain – and its American colonies – continued to use the “Old Style Calendar”, without the adjustment, for nearly two centuries after the Gregorian calendar was first proclaimed – they didn’t adopt it until 1752!
Britain's Delay Meant That 11 Days Had to Be Dropped
Since it was now 167 years, after the proclamation of the Gregorian Calendar in 1585, it was now necessary to drop 11 days, rather than 10, to bring Britain and its colonies up to speed with the rest of the world, in terms of the calendar.
To implement the change, if you were in Philadelphia at the time, you went to sleep on the evening of September 2, and woke up on the morning of September 14, 1752. September 3-13 simply did not exist in 1752.
Franklin's Birthday Moved From January 6 to January 17
When Britain and British America finally adopted it, Franklin was already 46 years old. However, this meant that his birthday – January 6, Old Style – was now January 17, New Style (the 11 missing days made his birthday fall 11 days later). But Franklin accepted and endorsed Britain’s change, as it was now broadly accepted throughout Europe, by both Catholic and Protestant countries. And he was a practical-minded individual.
Henceforth, Franklin’s birthday would be January 17 – and it has been observed as such, since then. (To minimize confusion, it was common in the 18th century for those British subjects born, prior to 1752, to have two official birth dates, for record-keeping purposes – one Old Style, one New Style.)
In Honor of Franklin’s Birthday – A Partial List of Franklin-Themed Places
Franklin Court – The Most Underrated Attraction in the City
Franklin Court – the captivating, subterranean museum on the site of Franklin’s old house, in Old City – is scheduled to be closed for three years, and receive an $18 million face lift during that time.
The original plan was for Franklin Court to close in the fall of 2010, but it’s been pushed back indefinitely – the current estimate is that it will close, at the earliest, in the spring of 2011.
But make sure that you go to see it, before it changes forever.
Friday, January 14 - Special Evening Event For Franklin's Birthday
There’s also a special event for Franklin’s Birthday, there, on Friday night, January 14 – two actors will be presenting Franklin and Edgar Allan Poe, screening a 1928 silent movie of Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher. Franklin had invented a “glass armonica” – and a talented glass-armonicist will be performing, to accompany the movie.
Our page -
The Franklin Institute
Much more well-known, is the Franklin Institute at 19th and the Parkway.
When you enter, you’ll see the giant Benjamin Franklin statue on its throne, with Franklin’s famous quotations illuminated on the walls.
While its blockbuster temporary exhibit – Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt - closed on January 2 - there’s still plenty to keep you busy. There’s an IMAX theater, the Fels Planetarium, more science bells and whistles than you can imagine, and, of course, the Giant Heart, its huge size specifically designed for you to walk through it.
The Giant Heart - A Temporary Exhibit That Became The Signature Attraction
Designed to let you follow the path of blood cells in and out of the heart, it has guide signs up to let you know the chamber, through which you are passing. It also has been newly renovated for the 21st century. (Originally built in the 1950s as a temporary exhibit, it’s the most popular attraction in the Franklin Institute).
Our page -
The Franklin Institute
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Named after the illustrious man, it is lined with flags of all of the world’s nations. It is the location of cultural institutions such as the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Rodin Museum, in addition to the Franklin Institute itself. A highlight is the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan Circle.
Our page -
Ben Franklin Parkway
Franklin’s Grave at Christ Church Burial Ground
Franklin’s grave is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Located in the Christ Church Burial Ground at 5th and Arch Streets, you can see it through a wrought-iron fence, even when the Burial Ground isn’t open for tours.
Franklin Lived From 1706-1790
While you’re there, you can read the plaque with the endless list of Franklin’s accomplishments, inventions, and feats during the 84 years of his life, which spanned nearly the entire 18th century.
Tossing Pennies Onto the Grave
Tradition says that you should pitch a penny onto the grave, which houses Franklin and his wife, Deborah, for good luck - and the pennies help Christ Church to maintain the burial ground. (Worth noting: Christ Church isn’t adjacent to its Burial Ground – the Church is located on American Street, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, just above Market Street – a couple of blocks away from its Burial Ground.)
Our page –
Franklin’s Grave – Christ Church Burial Ground
Liberty 360 at Lights of Liberty on Washington Square – See Franklin in 3-D
One of Philadelphia’s newest attractions is Liberty 360, a 15 minute, 3-D movie in a 360-degree, circular theater (hence the title) - the PECO Theater, at the Historic Philadelphia Center at 6th and Chestnut Streets, just off Washington Square, the location of Lights of Liberty. The first of its kind, the movie is hosted by none other than Franklin himself. The technology is amazing, and very entertaining. Franklin, a prolific inventor, would undoubtedly be astounded if he could attend it today, and admire the technology.
Our page –
The National Constitution Center – Signers’ Hall
Franklin was 81, when the Constitutional Convention met at Independence Hall, from May – September 1787. As a Pennsylvania delegate and official elder statesman, he helped broker the Great Compromise – proportional voting power for states in the House of Representatives, equality of voting for states in the Senate – that permitted the U.S. Constitution to be ratified, eventually, by all 13 states.
You can see the bronze, life-size, 81-year-old version of Franklin in Signers’ Hall, along with all of his colleagues.
Our page -
National Constitution Center
Looking Ahead to February 2011 - Enjoying Philadelphia Events
We’ll have our second issue, covering February 2011 Enjoying Philadelphia Events, as soon as the relevant information becomes available. In the meantime, as the February events pages get built, you can check them for updates.
February 6, 2011 - Super Bowl XLV Parties
Once the bars and taverns start announcing their big-time parties, we’ll have a guide to watching the crowning of yet another Super Bowl champion.
February 11-14, 2011 - Valentine’s Day Weekend
Our Complete Valentine’s Day Weekend Guide will be arriving, with hotel and dining specials for you and your significant other.
February 21, 2011 - Presidents’ Day
Honor our two greatest Presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – with ceremonies and events in their honor.
If You Have Questions About Events and Things to Do in Philadelphia, Ask The Editor!
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