1910 Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’ ballet premiers
1852 Gaudi born
Slovenia Statehood Day (see 8 February);
Croatian National Day: Croatia’s famous for cravats (named after the Croatian word for Croatia),
Dalmatians, and Pag sheep’s cheese.
You could also bake ‘Licitar’ hearts and decorate as gifts;
try a Moreska sword dance (using wooden spoons for swords, perhaps).
Mozambique Independence Day: Mozambique led a guerilla war against Portuguese rule in 1964. Ten years later, they finally managed to take control and in 1975 any remaining Portuguese were ordered to leave and take no more than 20kg of luggage. Then they wasted another 20-odd years with a civil war.
Despite great natural resources, Mozambique has the lowest GDP per capita and is one of the worst countries for human development or equality. Mozambique people make handmade instruments out of wood or animal bone, like drums or horns. They also make elaborate masks for dancing. What about stilt-walking too, like the men of Makua? Mozambique was the greatest producer of cashew nuts.
Tunisia Republic Day: At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was occupied by Berber tribes, and from the 10th century B.C. Phoenicians and Cypriots settled there and founded the famous city of Carthage (featuring in Virgil’s Aenid, in which the heartbroken Queen Dido builds herself a funeral pyre where she throws herself upon the sword of her lover, Aeneas, when he remembers he’s supposed to be nipping out to found Rome. Original drama queen.)
Following the Battle of Carthage in 149 B.C., Romans controlled Tunisia and it grew into a great exporter of grains, olive oil and ceramics.
At the beginning of the 8th century, Muslim Arabs conquered it and founded their city of Kairouan, which has the world’s oldest standing minaret, the Great Mosque of Kairoan, the most ancient and prestigious sanctuary in the Muslim West.
However, at the turn of the first millennium these rulers abandoned Tunisia for Cairo, and a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe called the Banu Hilal invaded and laid waste to the land, reducing it to arid desert. In the late 16th century the country became a pirate stronghold.
Tunisia was then controlled by Spain and then the Ottoman Empire (Turks), but in 1869 it declared itself bankrupt. In 1881 France invaded and it became a French protectorate.
During WWII the German/Italian armies were defeated here, though with many US losses.
Tunisia became independent in 1956. Despite being officially a democracy (aren’t they always?), it was pretty much an authoritarian dictatorship and in 2010 Tunisia was the first to rebel in the Arab Spring. They are now ruled by a human rights activist.
Activities: Be a 16th-century Barbary pirate. Weave (Tunisians famous for their beautiful woven rugs). Listen to some Malouf music.
Virginia state founded (1788): Jamestown was the first English settlement; Virginia is named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. The Franklin & Armfield Slave Market was here. The Pentagon. A flag with a boob out.