1st March

St David’s Day (Wales):

Make daffodils out of egg cartons:

daffodil lollipops:

daffodil candy cups:

daffodil windmills:

daffodil cupcakes:

Or try some St David’s Day Welsh food, like Glamorgan sausages:

and Welsh cakes:

Eat them up with Welsh love spoons:

Martenitsa (Bulgaria): On 1 March, Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta Day. Baba Marta is a mythical old woman whose moods affect the weather in March. They make martenitisi and give them away to friends and family.

They tie them round their wrists as a symbol of good fortune, health and prosperity. When they see a tree in blossom, or a stork or swallow, they remove the bracelet and put it on the tree or under a stone. The wearing of the bracelet is also supposed to be a wish for spring, to make winter pass more quickly.

Romanians celebrate Martisor in a similar way, with red and white or black and white bracelets that they wear for the first 12 days of the month to represent prosperity for the next 12 months. They often have little talismans tied onto them to represent what they want in the year ahead. They also make a Martisor tort.

1810 Frederick Chopin born

National Pig Day (US): Make a piggy bank:

or learn about the Three Little Pigs:

Other events that might inspire your play today:

Iceland’s Beer Day – see 17th June

Bosnia-Herz Independence Day – see 25th November

S. Korea 1 March Movement Day (celebrates resistance to Japanese occupation)

28th February

1820 John Tenniel born – so print and colour in some Alice in Wonderland pictures

1824 Blondin, tightrope walker, born – so try some balancing games:

Kalevala Day (for Finnish Culture: The Kalevala, a collection of epic folk poetry, was collected by Finnish folklorist Elias Lönnrot and is now considered the national saga of Finland.)

India National Science Day (Indian inventions include an ancient form of chess, chaturanga, ludo, snakes and ladders, and kabaddi; incense clocks; Indian ink; rulers – made of ivory; all kinds of fabric like calico, muslin, etc.; sugar refining; the number zero)

Taiwan Peace Memorial Day

27th February

Dominican Republic Independence Day

In about 650 A.D. Tainos came from South America to the Dominican Republic. Then Caribs drove the Tainos to the north-east Carribean in the 15th century.

In 1492 Christopher Colombus arrived, bringing the Spanish, smallpox and measles, and generally conquering by disease. His brother Bartholomew built the city of Santo Domingo, Western Europe’s first settlement in the New World.

The Spanish used the island for plantations and to launch other conquests around the Americas. By the 18th century the population had risen from a few thousand to 40,000 white landowners, 25,000 black freedmen, and 60,000 slaves.

French buccaneers arrived and took the western side. France eventually owned the whole island, but the west bit, then named Saint-Domingue, revolted against France and became independent Haiti.

In 1805 Haitians invaded Santo Domingo. In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain, and Santo Domingo’s Spanish settlers revolted against French rule. Britain helped, and that part of the island was returned to Spain.

They later declared themselves independent as Spanish Haiti, and wanted to be part of Gran Colombia, but Haitians invaded and took over.

The Haitians, led by Jean-Pierre Boyer abolished slavery and nationalised a lot of property owned by settlers, the Spanish Crown and the Church. Boyer drafted all young men into the army, collapsing the university system, and taxed everyone heavily.

In 1838 Jean Pablo Duarte led the fight for independence with a secret society called La Trinitaria, comprising him, Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez.

On 27th February 1844 they declared themselves independent from Haiti (who of course carried on invading, but still…), backed by Pedro Santana, a cattle rancher who became general of their army.

Santana, and a wealthy official named Buenaventura Báez, both decided they were now in charge. Santana wanted to reunite Santo Domingo with Spain, Báez with America.

Santana succeeded, leading to the War of Restoration in 1863, this time helped by Haiti who didn’t want to live next door to a colonial power again. Spain gave up in 1865.

In 1916 America thought the Dominican Republic were doing a terrible job by themselves and invaded. They controlled the republic until 1922, building roads but not really gaining popularity.

The republic then had a dictator, Trujillo, who did a lot of good like improve healthcare and housing, education, etc., but was also a bit murdery as dictators often are. He ordered El Corte, the murder of any Haitians living on the Dominican border (we won’t mention that he was a quarter Haitian himself).

On 25 November 1960 Trujillo murdered 3 Mirabel sisters for opposing his regime. He also tried to assassinate the Venezuelan president, and in 1961 was assassinated himself.

Worried that another Communist Cuba might be created, America invaded to supervise elections. In 1960 Joaquin Balaguer became president and was quite oppressive, killing 11,000 people, but at least he wasn’t Communist, eh? Besides, they liked him and he was President on and off until 1996. Since then they’ve started to get the hang of things, and their economy and democracy seem to work.

The national dance is Merengue; the national music is Bachata; baseball is their favourite sport, while tourists love their year-round golf courses.

25th February

1897 Peter Llewelyn Davies born (after whom Peter Pan was named)

Kuwait National Day:

Kuwait was part of the Parthian (Iranian/Persian) Empire from 123 B.C. and the Sassanid Empire (the last pre-Islamic Persian empire) from 224 A.D.

By the 14th century it was part of the Muslim caliphate (religious rule). It was part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire from the 17th century.

The current ruling family in Kuwait are descendants of its ruler in 1756, Sabah I bin Jaber.

In 1899, the Sheikh worried that the Ottoman Empire would take over completely, and so Kuwait became a protectorate of the UK.

Large oil reserves were discovered in 1937 and after WWII the country became quite wealthy because of it.

In 1961 Kuwait became independent. Iraq cheekily said, well, now Kuwait is ours, but Britain said haha, no. Kuwait then tried a bit of democracy and then the emir said haha, no.

Magically – even though when the UK was in charge it did a terrible job of negotiating Kuwait’s boundaries and left it sharing swathes of land with Saudi Arabia – and even though that land is full of oil – magically, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia share it without warring about it. Which I love.

In the 1980s Iran and Iraq were at war with each other, which helped Kuwait as they could focus on selling oil while those two messed about with guns.

Kuwait supported Iraq, and Saddam Hussein, and deported thousands of their Iranian Shi’ite expats to avoid internal terrorism protests.

However, Kuwait did expect to paid back for supporting Saddam ($65 billion), which he did not like, and he invaded them in 1990. This led to the first Gulf War, with America and 34 other countries bombed Iraq and Kuwait until Iraq pulled out, setting fire to all the oil wells they could find as they did.

Kuwait paid the US coalition $17 billion to say thanks. The destruction caused by the Iraqi army had filled the Persian Gulf sea with oil and the smoke and damage from the fires was atrocious.

Over two-thirds of people living in Kuwait aren’t Kuwait citizens, which is a bit weird. They have the best freedom of press in the Middle East, and women can vote, stand in Parliament and don’t have to wear a burka.

Pearl fishing used to be a very important trade for Kuwait until the Japanese started pearl farming – so make little pearl oyster cakes.

Or try this ‘pearl sensory play’ with tapioca pearls from bubble tea or water beads from a florist’s:

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Kitano Baika-sai – geishas perform a tea ceremony beneath the plum blossom;
  • Philippines People Power Day – see 30th December
  • Georgia Soviet Occuption Day – see 26th May

24th February

1786 Wilhelm Grimm born – so study some Grimms fairy tales; here’s a Pinterest page of activities and here are some games. The best thing to do, though, is try and re-enact a Grimms fairy tale with your dolls. Maybe video it.

Dragobete (Romanian Valentine’s Day, celebrating the day the birds are said to find their mates and start building nests)

Mexico Flag Day – see 16th September

Estonia Independence Day – see 23rd June

Thailand National Artist Day - see 5th December

23rd February

1455 Gutenberg Bible first printed with moveable type – so print some letters

1633 Samuel Pepys born – so start a diary

1685 Handel born – his most famous works are Messiah, and Music for the Royal Fireworks

Why not listen to his Water Music while doing water experiments?

Brunei National Day:

Brunei comes from ‘Baru nah!’, meaning ‘It’s there!’, which the founder shouted when he saw it.

There isn’t much known about it before Europe discovered it, but it seemed to have been owned by the Indonesian empire of Majapahit, and was Islamic.

Spain invaded in 1578, but the sailors caught cholera and left again.

In 1846 Brunei was having a little conflict over who should be Sultan, and Britain thought ‘Yeah that’s totally our business’ and attacked, but we didn’t take Brunei for ourselves.

In the 1880s the Sultan granted land to the British adventurer James Brooke, who founded Sarawak and became the first White Rajah. He and his heirs took more land and Brunei grew smaller.

In 1888 the Sultan asked to become a British Protectorate to stop the White Rajahs taking more land. Britain signed a treaty with them then totally didn’t help them, and Brunei carried on getting smaller until it was just the two little chunks it is today. What Britain did do was send in ‘advisers’ (or, ‘colonists’).

From 1929 Brunei found its river Seria to be a valuable source of oil.

In WWII Japan took Brunei and Britain didn’t help cos we were busy. Australian and American forces bombed Brunei until the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

After WWII a British Military Administration helped revive the economy and put out the oil well fires started by the Japanese as they left.

Brunei gained independence from the UK in 1984.

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Russian Day of the Defenders of the Motherland – celebrating the formation of the Red Army to defend Russia in 1919.
  • 1905 Rotary Club founded in America
  • 1927 Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle first described