16th October

1854 Oscar Wilde born – so read his fairy tales.

1950 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe published – here’s an abridged version.

Dashain (2017; the week-long national festival of Nepal)


12th October

Columbus Day: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. San Francisco, with a large Italian-American population, has a Columbus Day parade (although Columbus was working for Queen Isabella of Spain, he was Italian. And he was really called Cristoforo Colombo).

Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day celebrating the Polynesians, and South Dakota celebrates Native American Day; Dia de la Raza or Day of the Race is celebrated in a lot of Latin America. Venezuela celebrates Day of Indigenous Resistance; Spain does Dia de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacionale. The Bahamas do Discovery Day. Activities here and here, or try a boat race or do the 10 best Columbus Day crafts.

Fiesta Nacional de España – see 6 December

UN Spanish Language Day – so learn Spanish!

Equatorial Guinea Independence Day (from Spain, 1968)

Simchat Torah (2017): Jews get the Torah out and carries it round the synagogue, and everyone dances and sings.

Also today:

  • Freethought Day (US, commemorating end of Salem witch trials)

2nd October

1950 Peanuts (Snoopy) first published



1890 Groucho Marx born




Mahatma Ghandi’s Birthday

Mehregan (Persian Festival of Autumn – more info here)

Batik Day (Indonesia)

Guinea Independence Day (from France, 1958):

First this was part of the Ghana Empire after the domestication of the camel allowed African tribes to trade and flourish.

Then it became the medieval Sosso kingdom, then the Mali Empire, then the Songhai Empire, one of the largest Islamic empires in history, which fell to Moroccan invaders who dissolved the area into smaller kingdoms.

France invaded in 1898. In 1957 Guinea voted for independence, and the French colonists and much of the infrastructure and money left. Guinea went with Soviet Russia and China, and capitalist countries like the US carried on helping it too.

Sékou Touré was the one-party leader and a bit mad, flitting between US/USSR support and imprisoning/exiling/executing opponents. After Touré died, Lansana Conté took power, turned away from socialism and freed some political prisoners. Recently the country has been affected by West African instability.

Try listening to Bembeya Jazz.

World Habitat Day (2017, first Monday in October): Can your kid design their ideal habitat? Probably…a sweetie room, a slide instead of stairs, a swimming pool….