3rd March

World Book Day (UK, 2016): So choose your kid’s favourite book and theme the day around it! Dress up as the characters, eat the same food as them and do the same things, or reenact it in miniature with dolls, Lego and Playdo.


Georges Bizet’s Carmen premieres in Paris, 1875


First indoor game of ice hockey played in Canada, 1875



1931 Star-Spangled Banner becomes US national anthem


1847 Alexander Graham Bell born – so let your kid phone some relatives or make a paper cup phone:

or try these sound experiments:


Hinamatsuri – Japanese Festival of Dolls/Girls:

The origins of this festival go back to China which had the custom of making a doll for the transferral of bad luck and impurities from the person, and then putting the doll in a river and forever ridding oneself of them. March 3rd celebrates Girls’ Day in Japan, and from mid to late February families with daughters put out the dolls with the hopes their daughters will grow up healthy and happy.

Most displays consist of just a prince, (Odairi-sama) and a princess (Ohina-sama), but more elaborate displays include the dolls being part of a 5 or 7 tier diplay (hinadan), along with courtiers, candy, rice boiled with red beans (osekihan), white sake (shirozake), peach blossoms, diamond-shaped rice cake (hishimochi), toys, and tiny furniture.

Traditionally many parents or grandparents will begin their first display for their daughter, called hatsu zekku, when she is just a year old, but some families have passed their dolls down from generation to generation with the bride carrying her dolls with her to her new home. Aside from the displays, Japanese used to go view the peach blossoms coming out, drink sake with a blossom in it, and bathe in water with the blossoms. The blossoms represent desirable feminine qualities, including serenity, gentility, and equanimity. (Source: http://www.thejapanfaq.com/celebrations.html)


Guam Discovery Day (2014, first Monday in March):


Guam natives are called Chamorros. They made canoes so fast the Europeans thought they almost flew – so have a boat race.

From 1565-1898 it was a Spanish stopping post between Acapulco (Mexico) and Manila.

In 1898 America helped Cuba gain independence from Spain, and took Guam off them while it was at it – now it’s the westernmost US territory.

In WWII Japan invaded, and used Chamorros people from the Japanese Northern Mariana Islands to interpret and act as middlemen. This has left a lingering resentment between Guam Chamorros and those from the Northern Mariana Islands.

As was usual for countries Japan invaded, the Guam people were treated terribly. The US rescued Guam from the Japanese in 1944, killing over 18,000 Japanese as they would not surrender.

Guam people are US citizens but may not vote in US elections. Try playing batu, where you can only touch the ball with your hips, shoulders, head or elbows;

chonka, whose rules I do not understand; estuleks. Make a belembaotuyan out of a gourd:


Bulgaria National Day:


Bulgaria had the world’s first gold-smelters, making coins, weapons and jewellery out of gold 6,000 years ago, found in the Varna Necropolis Treasure.

Thracians appeared in the Iron Age, who were conquered by Alexander the Great and then by the Romans in 46 A.D. When the Roman Empire fell it became part of Byzantium.

In the 4th century some Bulgarian Goths (East Germanic people) made the world’s first German-language Bible – the Wulfila Bible, while in central Bulgaria the first Christian monastery in Europe was set up.

From the 6th century South Slavs settled the area.

In the 7th century the First Bulgarian Empire broke away from Byzantium, but by 1018 the Byzantines had defeated it.

In 1185 a Second Bulgarian Empire sprung up but by the end of the 14th century it had all split up into little factions, so the Ottoman Turks easily came in and took it all. Under Ottoman rule Christians were heavily taxed.

In the 18th century there was a National Awakening of Bulgaria, leading to a rebellion in which the Ottomans killed 30,000 Bulgarians. This annoyed Britain, Russia, France, Prussia, etc., so much that Russia was allowed to declare war on the Ottomans.

So that’s nice except the Great Powers didn’t actually let Bulgaria have its own country afterwards. Well, they were allowed a little bit of one, but not all of it. So Bulgaria got a bit fighty and tried to take more land in the Serbo-Bulgarian War and a couple of Balkan Wars.

In WWI it fought on Germany’s side and so was defeated. A royal dictator, Boris III took over, and in WWII they again fought on Germany’s side, but refused to take part in the Holocaust (hooray!).

At the end of the war, Bulgaria refused to kick the German troops out, so Russia invaded and a Communist government took over.

By 1946 it was a single-part state led by Georgi Dimitrov, who had thousands of dissidents executed.

After that it got better generally, with a few debt problems, but by 1990 they decided to have democracy like the rest of Europe. A Socialist government was elected, but didn’t do much to increase living standards until 2001. In 2007 Bulgaria joined the EU.

It has two of the oldest trees in the world, Baikushev’s pine

and the Granit oak

as well as brown bears, jackals, Eurasian lynxes and the Eastern imperial eagle.

Since 1990ish, the population has been in decline due to young people emigrating; three-quarters of families don’t have a child under 16 and a third of all households are just one person.

The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo are pretty cool:

and the fire-dance called the Nestinarstvo.

Bulgaria’s music includes the work of the State Television Female Vocal Choir and Yoan Kukuzel.

Make a nice shopska salad with cozonac for pud.

This Bulgarian folklore calendar shows that you could celebrate Bulgaria all year long!


Other events that might inspire your play today:


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