10 January

1929 The Adventures of Tintin first published – go get it out the library!

Benin Traditional Day: Benin was formerly called the Dahomey Kingdom. The Dahomey people, men and women, were very good at fighting wars and the king of this realm made a lot (like, a lot) of money selling their prisoners of war into slavery in Europe. Any they didn’t sell were decapitated. But the slave trade was banned by a lot of countries in the 19th century, and the Dahomey power was diminished until France saw their opportunity in 1892 and popped in to take over. They gained independence again in 1960. In the ’70s their leader, Kérékou, decided Dahomey was going to be Marxist and called The People’s Republic of Benin (the country’s river) and nationalised oil and banks, and then nearly all businesses, so foreign investment dried up. Kérékou accepted nuclear waste to try and prop up the economy. In 1990 the country stopped being Marxist as it clearly wasn’t working, and Kérékou was defeated in the next elections and stepped down – a first for a black African president. Learn about the thumb piano or take a look at their wooden masks and try and make one with Playdo.

6 January

Today is Epiphany, when the three kings gave Jesus their gifts.

In Italy they believe that Befana brings honey, dates and figs.

A lot of countries exchange gifts now like we did on Christmas day and a lot of countries make a Twelfth Night Cake with a hard bean in it – here is a Spanish rosca de reyes and here is a French galette des rois.

Traditions include the person finding the bean having to host the next party; the person finding the trinket or coin being king/queen for the evening and wearing a paper crown.

Spanish children putting out their shoes for the Wise Kings to put presents in, along with hay and water for the animals they rode on.


Other events today that may inspire your play:

First day of Carnival (until Shrove Tuesday).

Joan of Arc’s birthday (1412)

Gustav Doré’s birthday (1832).

1912 continental drift first proposed.