19th June

Juneteenth (Freedom Day; abolition of slavery in Texas 1865, three years after they’d been told to)

World Sauntering Day: so slow down and appreciate the world around you, smell the roses and definitely don’t run.

Revolutionary Readjustment Day (Algeria):

The Berber tribesmen arrived around 30,000 B.C. (!) and invented couscous. Then the Romans took over, then Muslim Arabs in the 600s. Then the Spanish… then the Ottoman Empire…

Then there was some pretty exciting Barbary pirate stuff during which the US paid 20% of their annual revenue to Algeria so they’d stop attacking their ships.

In 1830 Algerians were forced to surrender their land to the French and were from then on treated quite badly.

In 1954 the Front Nationale de Liberation started a guerrilla campaign for independence, and when they won it 1 million ‘Pieds-Noirs’ (not very nice term for French natives living in Algeria) fled back to France.

From 1991 Algeria was in a state of civil war until (officially) 2002 but the ‘state of emergency’ that has limited freedom of speech and press was only lifted in 2011 and due to continued terrorist attacks and the occasional kidnapping of a tourist, it’s not particularly recommended as a holiday resort.

Activities: Make North African/Islamic/French-influenced cuisine! Couscous or a tagine, perhaps. This website has lots of ideas: http://www.foodbycountry.com/Algeria-to-France/Algeria.html

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Make cave paintings if you can find a good bit of rock to decorate nearby. Listen to very-Algerian-sounding Kablye music and find out the names of the weird instruments (essentially drums, bagpipes, flute).

Other events today:

  • 1961 Kuwait declares independence from UK – see 25th February
  • Day of the Independent Hungary (from Soviet Russia, 1991) – see 20th August
  • Birth of General Artigas (Día del Nunca Más – The Day of Never Again): Uruguay celebrates their national hero (he defeated Spain in 1811, paving the way for Uruguay’s independence) as well as remembering the victims of political unrest and violence on this day. – see 25th August
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19th April

Dutch-American Friendship Day – John Adams, later the second president of the US, made his Dutch house the first American embassy in the world; many states hold a Tulip Festival around this time, so maybe decorate a vase especially for tulips, or make origami tulips;

another idea is to have poffertjes for pudding.

Primrose Day (UK anniversary of Benjamin Disraeli’s death; his statue and grave are strewn with primroses on this day) – so go on a walk to hunt for them. Primroses are fairy flowers. If you touch a fairy rock with the right number of primroses in a posy you will be shown the way to fairyland. The wrong number leads to certain doom though. Children used to eat the flowers (they are edible) in the belief that this would enable them to see fairies. This video shows you how to crystalise them.

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Kiribati National Health Day: where everyone takes the day off to play sports and relax
  • Swaziland Birthday of King Mswati III Uruguay
  • Landing of the 33 Patriots (exiled Uruguyan fighters returned to kick the Brazillian government out and claim independence)
  • Venezuela ’19 April Day’, celebrating the first Junta (military government) in Latin America, the First Republic of Venezuela and the struggle for independence. See 5th July for more ideas.

19th February

1472 Nicholas Copernicus born – so learn about the solar system:

We made an orrery!

orrery

As you can see, it’s made from a nail pushed through the hole in a cake stand.

A tealight represents the sun and the planets are in order on craft wire. They can move around the ‘sun’ as they are hooked into the grooves on the nail.

The planets are made from Fimo and rest on buttons so they don’t slide down the wire.

I think the best thing is that the planets can be taken off, so you can remind your little one of the order of the planets.

We watched this song on repeat while we were making it.

Make planets out of Playdough (which can be cooked hard) or Fimo and make jewellery … or make solar system cake pops:

I also like this solar system fruit and yoghurt snack:

I love this way of showing orbits by tying a kid to a weight so they see how they are pulled around it at Our Montessori Home:

LOOK AT THESE SOLAR SYSTEM CHOCOLATES:

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Rihga Planetary Chocolates

I also love ‘What if the other planets were as close as the Moon?”

 

1819 South Shetland Islands discovered in Antarctica

1878 Eddison patents the phonograph

 

Turkmenistan National Flag Day

turkmenistan-map

In the 8th century Turkic-speaking Oghuz tribes from Mongolia came to the area that is now Turkmenistan. In the 10th century they accepted Islam under the rule of the Seljuk Empire, which covered Iran, Turkmenistan and later Azerbaijan and eastern Turkey.

In the 12th century Turkmen tribes overthrew the Seljuk Empire. In the next century, an influx of Mongols drove the Turkmen south. They remained as nomadic, independent tribes, but were eventually kind of controlled by Uzbek khanates (chiefs/kings).

In the late 19th century Russia took over the Uzbek khanates and in 1881, at the Battle of Geok Tepe, Russia annexed the whole of Turkmenistan.

The Turkmens rebelled against Russian conscription in WWI, and joined Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks in the Basmachi Rebellion against Soviet rule in the 1920s. Nevertheless Turkmenistan and part of Kazakhstan became the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, and agricultural reforms destroyed the Turkmen nomadic lifestyle.

In 1991 when Soviet Russa collapsed, Turkmenistan gained independence and the communist leader Saparmurad Niyazov decided he would be president for life.

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He did things like, close all hospitals and libraries outside the capital. In 1995 he declared Turkmenistan permanently neutral, meaning they will never take sides in someone else’s war, which I think might be wonderful.

Niyazov died in 2006, and his deputy won the elections, which was made entirely of the ‘Democratic Party’s candidates.

There’s a 60% unemployment rate but although Niyazov made Turkmenistan one of the top 10 most censored countries in the world, it is also the world’s fourth largest exporter of gas and he does spent the money on renovating the cities, and gives everyone 120 free litres of petrol a month, as well as free/subsidised electricity, water, gas and salt. It’s also the world’s 9th largest producer of cotton. But it doesn’t do much else.

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Turkmenistan is where the famous Door to Hell is, a gas field with an enormous crater that appeared in 1971 when the ground beneath a drilling rig collapsed. The Soviet engineers decided to burn off the gas coming out of the hole in case it was poisonous. It was supposed to burn out after a few weeks. It’s still burning.

19th January

Verdi’s The Troubadour/Il Trovatore premiers 1853

NASA sends the New Horizons probe to Pluto 2006 – so learn about Pluto

James Watt born 1736 – I thought he invented the watt but it was named after him; he actually invented a way of making steam engines more efficient, so maybe learn about steam engines

Edgar Allan Poe born 1809 – try this video?

Cezanne born 1839

Timkat (Ethiopia) – They celebrate Epiphany as well as Jesus’s baptism. They also wrap a model of the Ark of the Covenant (the chest in which were the stone tablets with the 10 commandments on) in cloth and carry it in a procession. Learn about the Ark of the Covenant and the 10 Commandments.

19th September

Oetzi the Iceman discovered

Saint Kitts and Nevis Independence Day (from UK, 1983)

St Kitts was named after St Christopher and Nevis named after Nuestra Senora de las Nueves – Our Lady of the Snows. Not that Nevis is very snowy.

They were settled by Native Americans, the Kalinago people, five thousand years ago, and Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493.

In 1538 French Huguenots arrived, and in 1636 English settlers arrived. Three years later the English and French joined forces to massacre the Kalinagos in case they did it first. In 1629 the Spanish came back and deported the lot of them.

But the Spanish Empire went into decline and the Brits and French used St Kitts as a base to take over other islands nearby. The French eventually ceded the island to the Brits in 1713. We stuck St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla altogether as one colony, but Anguilla broke away in 1971. St Kitts and Nevis gained independence in 1983, making it the youngest sovreign state in the Americas.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

19th May

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Jean-Pierre Christin invents Centigrade to measure temperature

 

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The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day (Turkish celebrate Mustafa Kemal landing at Samsun, on the north coast, in 1919 and beginning the Turkish war of independence. Atatürk was a name given to Kemal meaning Father of the Turks)

 

Ho Chi Minh’s birthday (Vietnam’s communist revolutionary and prime minister and president of North Vietnam during the Vietnam war)

 

Malcolm X Day (USA. Malcolm Little was an African-American Muslim. He joined Nation of Islam, which believed the African diaspora should return to Africa to be free of oppression, and that white people are devils. He called himself X as he couldn’t know his family’s pre-slave surname. He was a controversial figure as, unlike Martin Luther King Jr, he believed blacks were superior to whites rather than equal, and that they should use violence to further their aims. When he decided to leave was assassinated by three of its leaders.)

19th January

Verdi’s The Troubadour/Il Trovatore premiers 1853

NASA sends the New Horizons probe to Pluto 2006 – so learn about Pluto

James Watt born 1736 – I thought he invented the watt but it was named after him; he actually invented a way of making steam engines more efficient, so maybe learn about steam engines

Edgar Allan Poe born 1809 – try this video?

Cezanne born 1839

Timkat (Ethiopia) – They celebrate Epiphany as well as Jesus’s baptism. They also wrap a model of the Ark of the Covenant (the chest in which were the stone tablets with the 10 commandments on) in cloth and carry it in a procession. Learn about the Ark of the Covenant and the 10 Commandments.