7th December

Armenian Earthquake Memorial Day, so learn about earthquakes

Gallileo orbits Jupiter 1995 – so learn about Jupiter.

Delaware founded 1787: very liberal

Bernini born 1598: Bernini’s Baroque marble sculptures are incredible. Can you make ‘marble’ sculptures out of soap?

1732 Royal Opera House, London, opens:  so listen to some opera together or watch a clip from an opera like the Magic Flute, Madame Butterfly, the Barber of Seville, La Treviata, or Carmen.

Dia de las Velitas: From sunset in Colombia it’s the Day of the Little Candles – when people cover everything in candles and lanterns.

La Quema del Diablo: At 6 p.m. people in Guatemala set fire to papier mache devils to symbolise a cleaning out of sins in readiness for the Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception.

7th November

Bangladesh National Revolution Day

Stone-Age people settled the Bengal area from 3,000 B.C. Later they traded with the Roman empire and Southeast Asia. They were ruled by a series of Buddhist and Hindu empires. The Pala Empire, from 750 A.D., was a Buddhist empire that saw universities, temples, sculpture and art flourished. The Hindu dynasties introduced the caste system.

In the 13th century Bengal was invaded by the Islamic Delhi Sultanate, which saw its trade, arts and literature improve further.

The British East India Company took Bengal in 1757. After WWII Britain left but first we split Bengal along religious lines, with the west going to India and the east becoming part of Pakistan.

In 1970 a massive cyclone devastated east Pakistan (the Bengal bit) and the Pakistan government didn’t appear to help enough. The next year West Pakistan launched a genocide against Bengal to squash their calls for self-government. India helped Bangladesh to defeat the Pakistani army.

Bangladesh gained independence on 16 December 1971.

The national animal is of course the Bengal tiger. A favourite dish is biryani. Cricket is the most popular sport.

7th October

Italian Evacuation Day (after Italy invaded Libya from 1911 to WWII; in 1970, the Italian settlers were evacuated)

 

Nagasaki Kunchi (harvest festival)

Durga Puja (Dashami)/ Dussehra/Vijayadashami: (2016) Hindus celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over the 10-headed demon king Ravana.This is when Hindus make icons of myths that essentially boil down to a triumph of good over evil. Can you make a sculpture (playdo/salt dough/blu tack/papier mache) of good winning over evil?

7th September

1895 first game of rugby league played in Britain

1936 the last thylacine dies in Tasmania Zoo (Australia’s National Threatened Species Day)

Brazil Independence Day (from Portgual, 1822) – see 22nd April

Mozambique Victory Day (independence from Portugal, 1975) – see 25th June

Canada/US Labour Day (2015, first Monday in Sept) – here’s a career’s quiz for your kids.

7th July

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.

7th June

1868 Charles Rennie Mackintosh born – so try some stained glass activities. You can use wax paper:

or tissue paper and black card:

 

1965 Damien Hirst born – Hirst’s work has to be fascinating for kids, as it deals with death in such an interesting way. The BBC has a selection of his art here. What do your kids think? Is it art? Does it inspire them?

1975 the first Cricket World Cup starts in Britain – so have a go at playing cricket.

Other events today:

  • Anniversary of the Memorandum of the Slovak Nation – see 17th July
  • Peru’s Flag Day – see 28th July
  • Union Dissolution Day [of Norway and Sweden in 1905]
  • Sette Giugno Day (Malta remembers 7 June 1919, when British troops fired on rioters, killing four. They had rioted because the colonial government had not helped the people to afford food; the cost of living was too high.) – see 13th December