Tanabata: In Japan this is the one day a year that Vega and Altair meet in the Milky Way – can you spot them in the night sky?
Girls wish traditionally for better sewing skills, boys for better handwriting, by writing the wish on a bamboo leaf, or on a piece of coloured paper tied to bamboo. In the 1700s the tradition was to write the wish in dew on a taro leaf. The myth behind the festival is here – can you make a puppet show of it?
Here’s how to make:
1911 seal hunting banned by US, UK, Japan and Russia
1928 sliced bread sold for first time in Missouri
1990 World Wide Web born
Solomon Islands Independence Day
Papuan-speaking settlers arrived here about 30,000 years ago. A Spanish navigator arrived from Peru in 1568. Britain declared it a protectorate in 1893 (protecting it from the slave trade, which we were against by then).
During WWII planters and traders were evacuated, and actually some of the most brutal battles occurred on the Solomon Islands between Japan and America.
The Solomon Islands gained independence from the UK in 1978, but kept our queen.
Weird fact: about 10% of people in the Solomon Islands have blonde afros, without European genes. Their unofficial song is Walkabout Long Chinatown.
Saba Saba Day (Tanzania; means 7/7 and marks the day the National Union party was formed, but is also called Tanzanian Peasants/Industry Day and is generally celebrated with a trade fair)
Cayman Islands Constitution Day/Remembrance Day: (2014, 1st Mon in July)
These islands were uninhabited until the 17th century (except for the occasional pirate, shipwrecked sailor, refugee from the Spanish Inquisition or deserter from Cromwell’s army). Isaac Bodden was the first recorded permanent resident, born there in 1661, to a dad who was probably a Cromwell deserter.
In 1670 Britain decided it owned the Caymans, and English people came to live there in the 1730s. And we brought slaves over, so that in 1834, when it was abolished, more than half the population were slaves. There’s not really any tax on the island (no income tax), so it has more registered businesses than people.
Ivan Kupala Day:
St John the Baptist Day in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, as in the Julian calendar this would be 23 June; lots of water fights, and there’s the usual jumping over bonfires, this time as couples for good luck in their relationship; looking for fern flowers and magical herbs in the woods; women float wreaths of flowers lit with candles down rivers to try and foretell their futures in romance by the eddies they take; the men try and catch the wreaths to woo the women;
End of Ramadan (2016)
Muslims put on their best clothes, celebrate the end of their month-long fast and generally feel grateful about life. They are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year; they show happiness, give to charity, and until they’ve done their big prayer (called the Eid Salaat) they try not to chit-chat with others and just focus on thinking about Allah. Then they visit family, have a big feast and often swap prezzies. Traditional foods for this festival around the world include baklava (Tunisia), Fata, Kahk (Egypt), halva (Pakistan, Somalia), Jelabi, Shor-Nakhut and Cake wa Kolcha (Afghanistan), ketupat, dodol, opor, rendang, lemang (South East Asia), Shai Mai (Burma), samosas (Bengali). In India girls henna their hands. See if you can spot the new moon. Cook an Eid feast. Make henna patterns on your hands.