1st May

May Day:

Make a maypole:



Or a mini maypole:


DIY Mini Maypole Cakes

Crown a May queen:


or make a Green Man:


Make May baskets and deliver them secretly to neighbours:





1785 Kingdom of Hawai’i’ formed, so make a lei for Lei Day


1840 Penny Black, the first official stamp, released


1930 Pluto, dwarf planet, named


1931 Empire State Building dedicated


Festa Dei Serpari (Cocullo, Italy, celebrates its patron saint St Dominick by catching snakes, removing their fangs then using them like tinsel decorations on statues of saints).

Other events today:

  • 1948 North Korea established – see 27th December
  • Kazakhstan People’s Unity Day – see 30th August
  • Latvia Constitution Day – see 18th November
  • Marshall Islands Constitution Day
  • Dia del Trabajo (Day of the Worker, Latin America)
  • 1328 Scotland gains independence from England – see 30th November
  • 1707 Scotland and England join up again into Britain
  • 1786 Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro first performed

30th April

Walpurgis Night (or St Walpurga’s Night, originally) is associated more with witches than the female saint. In Czechoslovakia they burn little witches made of rags; in Estonia they dress as witches like we would on Hallowe’en; in Finland there are carnivals and picnics; northern Germany has bonfires.

In old Ireland it was called Beltane; the day cattle were driven to the pastures for the summer, and rituals were done to protect them such as passing them through two bonfires. The flames would be used to relight all domestic fires and candles, and the ashes from the original fires would be spread on crops.

Other events today:

  • Children’s Day (Mexico) – see 16th September
  • Reunification Day (Vietnam) – see 2nd September
  • Louisiana founded (1812): famous for New Orleans, voodoo, jazz, tobasco sauce, Mardi Gras, jambalaya, gumbo, pralines

29th April

International Dance Day – it’s time to reenact some of your favourite dance videos, isn’t it? We like Daft Punk’s Around the World, Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, Run DMC/Jason Nevin’s It’s Like That, and the Evolution of Dance.

1789 George Washington becomes first elected President of US

Showa Day (Japanese reflect on the reign of Emperor Hirohito 1926-89, which saw Japan’s pretty appalling behaviour during WWII and subsequent occupation by America)

Vallenato Legend Festival (Colombian music festival, 2014)

28th April

1948 Terry Pratchett born – so read Johnny and the Bomb

Sardinia National Day: Sardinia is full of very cool giants’ tombs from the Bronze Age.

There are also about 7,000 nuraghi from 1500 B.C. onwards, defensive forts.

Phoenicians began to invade, and with Carthaginian help they took the south. When the Carthaginians were defeated by Rome, Rome took Sardinia and Corsica. Romans pushed the Nuragic people into the mountains, which they then called Barbaria. They ruled Sardinia for 694 years, during which Sardinia grew loads of grain for the empire and Latin was the main language.

The Vandals came in 456 AD but Rome soon took it back. From 533 it was part of the Byzantine Empire. Gradually it became independent, and no one’s sure exactly how, until the native ‘judges’ became the rulers. It then continued without much outside influence, like a little imperial Rome.

Then Pisa invaded a bit, and the Pope offered a made-up crown of Corsica and Sardinia to James II of Aragon to settle the War of the Vespers.

Then from 1465 some ‘judges’ (or giudici) managed to bring together most of Sardinia, with only Cagliari and Alghero still belonging to Aragon (Spain). But then the Kingdom of Aragon took the whole thing back, and introduced the feudal system at a time the rest of Europe was starting to realise it was awful.

Charles I of Spain

Sardinia was inherited by Charles I of Spain, who fortified Sardinia against African Berber pirates. Sardinia suffered a lot of famines during Spanish rule.

In 1708 Spain handed Sardinia over to Austria after the Spanish War of Succession deciding who should reign after Charles II of Spain (he’d chosen Philip of Anjou, but everyone panicked about France and Spain uniting their empires under one king and had a big ol’ fight about it. They decided on Philip V of Spain instead, and meanwhile redistributed some of Spain’s empire).


In 1793 Napoleon tried to invade a couple of times but was repelled. The Dukes of Savoy fled to Sardinia to hide from Napoleon, and bizarrely Sardinia then united with the Italian states of Turin and Piedmont and the French states of Nice and Savoy, and they all had one parliament in Turin. Sardinia then became the Kingdom of Italy. Not kidding.

Then they went a bit Fascist, and imprisoned anyone who didn’t want to be a fascist, and if anyone spoke Sardinian they went to prison too.

In 1946 Italy became a republic and Sardinia a state of autonomy. They eradicated malaria, got a boost in tourism, went fully industrial in the ’60s, suffered an oil crisis in the ’70s, accepted some NATO military bases during the Cold War, and now it’s phasing into Europe.

Sardinia has its own special singing style, cantu a tenori, and instrument called a launeddas. Maria Carta and Elena Ledda are famous Sardinian singers.

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Feast of Beauty (Baha’i faith)
  • Barbados National Heroes Day
  • Victory of the Muslim Nations (Afghanistan Revolution Day).
  • Maryland state founded (1788): cookies, Edgar Allen Poe

27th April

1749 Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks first performed

1810 Beethoven composes Fuer Elise

2005 the first Airbus flies

1791 Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse code, born

Sierra Leone Independence Day (from UK in 1961):

Despite being a tiny country full of diamonds, gold, titanium and bauxite, and despite having the third largest natural harbour in the world at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, 70% of its people live in poverty. Its name means ‘Lioness Mountains’.

From 1495 it was a slave-trading post for many countries; from 1787 escaped African-American slaves began to set up colonies there, becoming Freetown, the country’s capital.

I’m not sure exactly how it became British; it seems like we just casually took over, but after 1961 democracy lasted about 6 years, then they had all kinds of military coups and then a civil war. The UN tried to get involved, and 500 were taken hostage. So the British came in and sorted everyone out, and apparently now Tony Blair is quite popular over there for helping.

King’s Day (Netherlands and colonies) – everyone wears orange and celebrates the King’s birthday – so maybe dress up as kings and queens and have an orange feast!

Other events that might inspire your play:

  • S. Africa Freedom Day (celebrates the first elections in 1994 when black people could vote)
  • Togo Independence Day (from France in 1960 – see 13 Jan)

26th April

1564 Shakespeare baptised (no birthday) –  I would definitely recommend this book and this DVD for young children. Oh, oh, oh and Oddsocks.

Tanzania Union Day:

Tanzania was made up of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. People have lived there for over 2 million years, and 2,000 years ago were making steel in a blast furnace.

From 1840 Zanzibar was a centre for the Arab slave trade, with 90% of the Arab-Swahili population enslaved. Later Germany came conquering about, creating German East Africa.

During WWI Britain tried to sneak in, but the Germans led a guerilla campaign against them – it didn’t matter, as Germany lost the war and Britain took their African colonies anyway. From 1961 Britain gave it independence.

The country is very mineral-rich, and perhaps famous for tanzanite mining.


Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is there – so why not go to your local highest point, have a picnic and figure out how much higher you would have to go to reach the top of Kilimanjaro.


The Serengeti is also there: we love a Safari game which involves hiding Baby’s stuffed African animals around the house, then she goes off to explore with some cardboard binoculars and a pretend camera.

The national language is Swahili.

Their arts style, using brightly coloured bicycle paint and often featuring African animals, is called Tingatinga – have a go at some brightly coloured animal paintings yourself.

25th April

1719 Robinson Crusoe published

1983 Samantha Smith is invited to the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov – just read about her and feel inspired!

DNA Day (celebrating Watson & Crick’s publication of the structure of DNA). The blog above is really good.

Other events today that might inspire your play:

  • 1599 Oliver Cromwell born
  • Anzac Day (commemorates Australia and New Zealand Army Corps who died fighting WWI)
  • Sinai Liberation Day (Egypt: celebrates Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in 1982)
  • Faroe Islands Flag Day
  • Italy Liberation Day (by Allies from Mussolini’s socialist republic in 1945)
  • Portugal Freedom Day (from the Estado Novo in 1974, a right-wing Catholic oppressive government)
  • North Korea Military Foundation Day (North Korea’s army is the largest military organisation in the world, with nearly 9.5 million soldiers)
  • Red Hat Society Day (a social group for over-50s women in America, who wear purple with a red hat, like the Jenny Joseph poem)
  • Swaziland Flag Day
  • First Day of Summer (Iceland 2013, first Thursday after 18 April)