21st March

Nowruz: Zoroastrian ritual/Persian New Year in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, India etc. A time for Spring-cleaning, buying new clothes, buying tulips and hyacinths.

On the first day they sit around a Haft-Seen table awaiting the exact moment of beginning of spring. Haft-seen means ‘Seven S’s’: sprouted beans to symbolise rebirth, samanoo (wheat pudding) for wealth, dried oleaster fruits for love, garlic for health, apples for beauty, sumac fruit for the sunrise, and vinegar for patience and old age.

Then they exchange gifts. This is followed by 12 days of visiting family and friends, serving pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts with tea or sherbet. On the 13th day they have a picnic!

Here’s a guide to celebrating – or take a leap and make a dinner made up of foods beginning with your child’s initial!

World Puppetry Day

World Poetry Day

We like A.A. Milne’s When we were very young Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson and Dr Seuss are also great fun.

Namibia Independence Day (from South Africa, 1990)

Namibia is named after the Namib desert, the oldest desert in the world. It was inhabited by San, Damara, Nama and later Bantu tribes. Portuguese explorers arrived in 1485 but didn’t claim it; it became a German colony in 1884 called German South-West Africa.

In 1904-7 the natives rebelled against German rule so Germany committed the 20th century’s first genocide, murdering half the Namas and 80% of the Hereros. Germany officially apologised in 2004.

South Africa took over in 1915 after defeating Germany in WWI. The rest of the world increasingly thought this occupation might be illegal, and Namibia put up a guerilla resistance. During their occupation, white commercial farmers, making up 0.2% of the population, owned 74% of the arable land. The UN helped Namibia gain independence on 21 March 1990.

It has the second-lowest population density in the world, after Mongolia.

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Birth of Benito Juárez (Mexico celebrates politician)
  • Sheep Festival (Cameroon)
  • Mother’s Day in most Arab countries

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