18th May

Somalia Independence Day:

In antiquity Somalia might have been the fabled Land of Punt, an exporter of valuable goods that traded with ancient Egypt. In the late 19th century Britain and Italy owned parts of ‘Somaliland’.

From 1941 it was run by the British military, then it gained its independence in 1960. From 1969 it became the Somali Democratic Republic (a Communist state) but since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1990 there has been no central government control over the country. It is the world’s major exporter of frankincense and myrrh.

Activities: The Las Gaal Cultural Complex has beautiful cave paintings. Its early civilisation used a writing system that is still undecoded. Play at being a port exporting valuable goods, with haggling, lost ships and pirates. Ancient Somalis were the guys who domesticated the camel. Wrap scarves around your heads, build a portable den, and play at being nomads. Mum – you know you’re the camel. Write in code. Make your own incense.

International Museum Day – so visit a local museum

Victoria Day (2015; Canada celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday. Still.)

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