1st April

April Fools’ Day

In Italy, France and Belgium, children try and stick paper fishes on people’s backs and shout ‘April Fish!’.

Our favourite ones include boiling an egg, eating it from the bottom side, then turning it over and presenting an empty one as breakfast in bed to my dad (he never ate boiled egg and this was the only day of the year I brought him breakfast in bed, but he was a good sport). The blog above has gone one further and filled the eggshells with jelly.

I also love the BBC’s flying penguins prank.

Or a sweet seasonal one is to get children to build a nest in the garden and the next day let them find eggs in it.

Here’s some other kid-friendly pranks and April Fool’s food.

Sizdeh Bedar: 13 days after the start of Nowruz (see 21 March) Iranians go out for the day to avoid the bad luck of the 13th day of the year (although Nowruz is no longer the New Year). Iranians also play pranks on this day and some think this is where our April Fools’ Day comes from. Go here for more info.

Edible Book Day – so make a lunch or cake based on your child’s current favourite book – let them help you design it! You’ll be wanting this Pinterest page.

1873 Sergei Rachmaninov born – so listen to Piano Concerto Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and Prelude in C-sharp Minor.

Islamic Republic Day (Iran)

iran-iraq-map

Iran, also called Persia by Westerners, comes from a Persian word Eran, which in Parthian was Aryan and meant noble. (So when Hitler said the Germans were the Aryan – or Iranian – race and symbolised the Nazis with a swastika, an ancient Hindu symbol ….I don’t know what he was doing but that should have been a good sign that he was not making any sense.)

Iran has had human inhabitants for at least 200,000 years. In the 7th century B.C. they became part of the Assyrian Empire based in Mesopotamia (Iraq and surrounding bits). The Iranians fought against this and formed the Median Empire, which made up most of Iran and a bit of Anatolia (Turkey)

 

In 550 B.C. Cyrus the Great took over and expanded the Median Empire into the Achaemenid Empire.

olympic_park_cyrus-3

It was massive:

achaemenid_empire_engorged_by_daeres-d5sxia8

In 480 B.C. the Achaemenid Empire ruled over 50 million people, 44% of the world’s population at the time, the highest percentage of any empire ever.

In 334 B.C. Alexander the Greek invaded the Achaemenid Empire and defeated its last emperor, but in the middle of the 2nd century B.C. Iran grew into the Parthian Empire, which the Romans tried to quash as much as possible, then in 224 A.D. it became the Sassanid Empire, the last Iranian Empire before the rise of Islam.

(To be cont….)

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Kha b-Nisan: An Assyrian spring festival (which they are now allowed to openly celebrate so that Turkey looks better in its EU application);
  • Odisha Day (a state in India)
  • Miyako Odori (Japan’s geishas perform cherry blossom dances)
  • Uzupis Day (part of Lithuania that declared itself independent in 1997)
  • Greek Cypriot National Day
  • Ghode Jatra (Nepal’s Festival of Horses)
  • 1867 Nebraska founded
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