22nd April

Earth Day – try some of these websites on environmentalism for kids. Step one is: does your kid know which planet she lives on, and what it looks like? Here’s some crafts to help:

Explore nature around you – bring a pooter and a magnifying glass.

You can collect some food for eating e.g., dandelions!

Step two is, how to be more environmentally friendly. I don’t particularly care whether you believe in man-made global warming: pollution is bad. Using up resources and destroying biodiversity is bad. And the solution is simple: consume less. So talk about how to use, buy and waste less. We learnt about where our landfill goes, and how glass, aluminium and plastic are recycled.

1876 the first ever National League baseball played – so play baseball.

Discovery Day (Brazil)

Brazil is the world’s 5th largest country, and the world’s largest producer of coffee. It is named after the brazil wood, from the Latin brasa, ember, because the wood is red like an ember and was exported to make red dyes. (But brazil nuts come from brazil nut trees.)

Humans lived here for at least 11,000 years and when the Portuguese arrived in a fleet captained by Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 there were around 7 million indigenous people here.

For the first two centuries, the Europeans and indigenous people just fought each other. By the 16th century sugar was its largest export and slavery its largest import – to make the sugar. Then in the 1690s there was the Brazilian Gold Rush which brought a load more Portuguese over.

In 1807 the capital of the Portuguese empire was moved from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after Napoleon invaded Portugal. In 1815, the empire became the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves – but the Portuguese weren’t happy that their monarchy had abandoned them, and Brazil wanted independence, so it didn’t last.

In 1822 Brazil gained independence, albeit under the Portuguese Prince Regent, Pedro, who declared himself Emperor of Brazil (can you have an empire of one country?). Then Portugal had a civil war and Pedro left to sort it out, leaving his five-year-old son as the new emperor. Wow.

Brazil fought a lot of wars with its bordering countries while Pedro II was in power, and this affected the economy and made everyone miserable, so he was booted out by a military coup d’état and Brazil became a Republic. Since then they’ve had a lot of brutal repression and coups and corruption, but they are currently stable and democratic. Which is nice.

Learn about the Amazon rainforest – make a rainforest terrarium, rainforest cookies, or a playdough rainforest.

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22nd March

1894 first playoff for the Stanley Cup – so play hockey

1906 the first England v France rugby union match

World Water Day – so do some water play:

Other events today that might inspire your play:

  • Day of the People’s Party (Laos celebrates the Communist party that has ruled the country since 1975) – see 2nd December
  • Puerto Rico Emancipation of the Slaves – see 27th July.

22nd February

1997 Dolly the sheep’s clone announced – so learn about genes and DNA:

 

1857 Robert Baden-Powell (founder of Scouts) born – Baden-Powell Day

1889 Girl Guide founder Olave Baden-Powell born – World Thinking Day (Girl Guides)

… so go camping!

Sun Festival, Abu Simbel – Ramses II built this temple so that the inner chamber would light up twice a year: once on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne (today), and once on his birthday (22nd October).

St Lucia Independence Day

George Washington’s Birthday – the first president of the United States. Try this website.

22nd October

1797 first recorded parachute jump (invented by André-Jacques Garnerin)

1811 Franz Liszt born – his top 4 most famous songs are Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, La Campanella, Liebestraume No. 3, and Un Sospiro.

Sun Festival Abu Simbel (Egypt)

World Energy Day – how many ways of making electricity can you think of?

22nd June

Anti-Fascist Resistance Day: Celebrated in Croatia with barbeque and fireworks. Croatia was a German puppet state during WWII under a government called the Usta E. The resistance was headed by a Communist leader called Tito, who later appointed himself President for life. See 25th June for more ideas.

El Salvador Teachers Day: On this day, teachers are given awards recognising their services to education, big parties are held in their honour, and students send them love cards to show their appreciation.

22nd January

22 Jan: Ukraine Reunion Day – as explained at Every Day’s a Holiday, this day celebrates the east and west parts of the Ukraine reuniting just after World War I. But let’s take it back to the beginning.

Ukraine, bordering the Black Sea, was populated by ancient Iranians (the Scythian gold found in burial mounds in Ukraine came from these),  Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Bulgars and Khazars. You name them, they came there.

Vikings, whom the Greeks named Varangians, came over and founded Kievan Rus, which straddled what is now Russia and a western bit of the Ukraine. Thanks to its great trading situation it became the most powerful state in Europe by the 11th century with Kiev the most important city.

Vladimir the Great turned the people from pagans to Orthodox Christians, but later rulers allowed Kievan Rus to disintegrate and in 1240 Mongols completely destroyed Kiev.

Vladimir the Great

Then Poland took it, then Lithuania, then Poland again (they kind of shared it). Cossacks moved in but while Poland expected them to fight on their side, Poland’s mistreatment of Ukrainian peasants and their lack of Orthodox Christianity meant the Cossacks turned to Russia (then called Muscovy) for help – and the east part of the Ukraine became part of Russia in 1654. Phew!

Naughty Tatars from the Crimean Khanate not only took up the best land along the coast but also kept raiding northwards and took a record 60,000 Ukrainians as slaves in 1688 (the Russian Empire finally squashed them 90 years later).

In 1657-86, Ukraine was fought over by Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks, who, like children fighting over a toy, completely broke it in the process. In the end Poland got the west bits and Russia got the east bits.

The Cossacks ruled a hetmanate in central Ukraine under Russia’s control, but kept siding against Russia whenever other invaders (Sweden and Poland … we were so fighty in those days, weren’t we?) attacked so Peter the Great got rid of them.

Poland was later divided into partitions and the bit of Ukraine that was Polish then became Austrian.

But people who were essentially Lithuanian or Polish still ruled swathes of the Ukraine; they introduced a western Unionate Church and were pretty mean to the peasants, so the Cossacks led another uprising which saw Ukrainians killing off an awful lot of Poles and Jews, with Unionate and Orthodox religious-types fighting each other too.

In 1783 Russia absorbed the Crimean Khanate. By this point Ukraine had fallen so far from its glory days of Kievan Rus that the Ukrainian language was banned and it was just a land of rural peasants.

Catherine the Great urged immigrants from Europe, especially Germany, to come in and take advantage of the farmland (and thin out the Turk population). The Ukrainians, in turn, moved out – to Siberia.

In WWI Ukrainians fought both for Russia and for the Austro-Hungarian empires, both of which collapsed thereafter. Then there was revolutions and civil wars and Ukraine split up into lots of little states.

Again, Poland came in and took the west bit, while the east states became part of the Soviet Union. By this point, again, Ukraine was pretty much devastated, but Communist Russia got it on side with health care, women’s rights, education, etc.

Of course, when Stalin came in he put a stop to all that nonsense, and even imposed a famine because the Ukrainian farmers couldn’t meet his quotas for produce. In the 1930s, 80% of Ukrainian writers, artists and intellectuals were killed in Stalin’s Great Terror for not fitting in with his idea of culture. But apart from that I’m sure he was a lovely bloke.

Most of WWII was fought on the Eastern Front around Russia and the Ukraine.

Germany invaded in 1941 and of course the Nazis were no better than Stalin. They kept the collectivised farming, killed off all the Jews they could find and tried to starve out the population so there’d be more room for Germans.

Poor Kiev was encircled in July 1941 and held out for three months before 600,000 of their troops were killed or taken for slave labour.

Post-WWII there was still famine and ruin to endure, and until his death in 1953 Stalin carried on deporting Ukrainians for whatever reasons he could think of.

Khrushchev, Stalin’s successor, invested in the Ukraine and it grew. However, tragedy struck again on 26 April 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded and 2.2 million Ukrainians were contaminated with radiation.

In 1990 Ukraine gained independence, a year before the Soviet Union dissolved. Why not make a chicken or bean kiev or a kiev cake; or make pysanky. Tchaikowsky came from the Ukraine so why not watch the Nutcracker?

22nd December

1808 Beethoven premiers his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy

National Mathematics Day – go to Bedtime Math!

Dongzhi Festival: the days are getting longer from this day and so more positive yang energy will come in. People eat tangyuan.

Ziemassvētki (ancient Latvia): Candles are lit for spirits and a fire is kept burning until the end, when its extinguishing ends the year’s unhappiness. A feast is served with bread, beans, peas, pork, and pig snout and feet, with a space at the table is reserved for ghosts, who arrive on a sleigh.