30th December

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http://www.daysfalllikeleaves.com/book-sculptures/twelve-days-of-christmas/six-geese-a-laying.html

The sixth day of Christmas

Rudyard Kipling’s birthday (1865), author of The Jungle Book and Just So Stories

Slovakia’s Independence Declaration Day – see 17th July

Rizal Day (Philippines):

The Philippines are named after King Philip II of Spain.

No one really knows whether the first human inhabitants of the Philippines evolved around there or moved in from Southeast Asia. By the 15th century Islam had arrived from Malaysia and Indonesia.

In 1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered and claimed the islands for Spain, who later made Manila their capital of the East Asian colonies.

In 1762 Britain sneaked in and occupied the islands for a couple of years during the Seven Years’ War.

From the 1870s a nationalist movement began, which led to the Revolution in 1896. One of the men who organised pro-nationalist propaganda in Spain was Jose Rizal, who was executed for his rebellion.

In 1898 the Spanish-American War, in which America helped Cuba gain independence from Spain, reached the Philippines and Spain sold the islands to America for $20 million.

The people of the Philippines thought this meant their independence, and declared themselves a Republic. America said no. The Philippines declared war on America. Yes, America won.

In World War II Japan invaded and set up their own government and were as cruel as ever, leaving 1 million Philippinos dead when the Allies ousted them at the end of the war.

In 1946 the Philippines finally gained independence. There were still a few Communist insurgents from the rebel army that had fought against Japan and now felt forgotten, but the main problem turned out to be the president himself, Ferdinand Marcos, who, when he realised his two terms were coming to an end, declared martial law so he could stay in power.

His rival, Benigno Aquino, came back from exile in America to sort things out and was shot dead coming off the plane. Following some rigged elections against Aquino’s widow, Corazon, the Filipinos got a bit angry and Marcos fled to Hawaii, leaving Corazon in power.

The Philippines is the second-largest producer of geothermal energy as it harnessed the power of its volcanoes, and it experiences around 20 small earthquakes a day. There are 175 languages spoken on the islands!

Activities: Have a look at some Phillipino animals: the tamaraw of Mindoro, the Visayan spotted deer, the Philippine mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Philippine flying lemur, and the Phillipine tarsier. Try some Original Pilipino Music.

30th November

3340 BC earliest recorded eclipse

1667 Jonathan Swift born (author of Gulliver’s Travels)

1835 Mark Twain born, author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

1872 first international football match (England v Scotland) – so play football

1874 Lucy Maud Montgomery born, author of Anne of Green Gables

1934 The Flying Scotsman reaches 100mph – so play trains

1982 Thriller album debuts – kids love it

Barbados Independence (from UK, 1966)

barbados_world

Amerindians came to Barbados from the 4th century. The Kalinago (indigenous Carribeans) came in the 14th century. When the Spanish and the Portguese came over in the 16th/17th centuries, the natives fled. A few Arawaks came over from British Guiana in the 1800s.

The British took over in 1627-8 and the population became mainly white. There wasn’t even many African slaves because a lot of work was ‘indentured labour’, when people paid for their passage to the New World by working for an employer there.

Barbados gained independence in 1966, keeping our Queen as head of state. About a third of the population emigrated to Britain in 1946-80,

Barbados’s national sport is cricket, music is calypso and soja.

 

Benin National Day – see 10th January

St Andrews Day (Scotland)

The first hunter-gatherers arrived 12,800 years ago, after the Ice Age retreated enough. There is a Neolithic village called Skara Brae on the Orkney Islands. Bronze Age Scots were called Picts/Caledonians.

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https://digitaldirtvirtualpasts.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/online-exhibition-digital-dwelling-at-skara-brae/

The Roman Empire took England and Wales as Britannia, but the Caledonians remained their enemies. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall to keep them out, although sometimes they moved as far in as the Antonine Wall (a less well-known wall in the centre of Scotland).

hadrians_wall_at_greenhead_lough

In the 6th century the Kingdom of the Picts became established, later known as Alba. By the 13th century the Picts had taken over most of modern Scotland. Their king David I brought in the Davidian Revolution: feudalism, towns called burghs, and an influx of English and French speaking knights that eventually made English fashionable rather than Gaelic or Norse.

In 1286 Alexander I died with no heir, and the English Edward I had to decide who should be the next king. He made John Balliol king but also made himself Lord Paramount of Scotland. When the Scots refused to help Edward fight France (instead actually negotiating the Auld Alliance with them instead), Edward deposed John and declared himself king of Scotland. This started the Wars of Independence (1296-1328) with William Wallace the most famous leader of the resistance.

Robert the Bruce was crowned king in 1306, and victory at the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) got him control over Scotland again. His brother, Edward Bruce, briefly invaded Ireland and became its king to try and strengthen Scotland’s position against England, but it didn’t take. In 1320 the world’s first documented declaration of independence, the Arbroath Declaration, should have finished it, but we carried on fighting.

in 1502 James IV of Scotland signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII and married his daughter, so it seemed like we were getting along. But then James agreed to go to war with England with France because of their Auld Alliance. He was the last British monarch to die in battle, at the Battle of Flodden. The Auld Alliance was ended.

Scotland then had a Protestant revolution and booted out Mary, Queen of Scots, formerly queen of France. Her 1-year-old son James became King James VI. Then England’s Elizabeth I, Mary’s cousin, died without heir and James VI also became James I of England and Ireland. His son, James VII, was overthrown and replaced by William and Mary, and was the last Roman Catholic to rule Britain.

In 1707 the Treaty of Union made Scotland part of the United Kingdom. In 1998 it got its own Parliament again.

St Andrew is said to have been martyred on an x-shaped cross, or saltire, hence Scotland’s flag. Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn!

South Yemen Independence Day (from UK, 1967)

30th October

Anniversary of the Declaration of the Slovak Nation – see 17th July.

Mischief Night (USA; also celebrated 4 November in Yorkshire)

Diwali: (2016) The BBC has the Diwali story for kids here.  Make a rangoli or a paper lantern. Maybe make chai tea or pumpkin halwa. I love this rangoli made of grains and pulses and I love this Diwali nature table, Five days long:

Day 1 the cow and calf are worshiped.

2. birthday of Dhanvantari, the Physician of Gods;

3. the day  the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna – an incarnation of Vishnu. It signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Wikipedia: “Hindus wake up before dawn, have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes. They light small lamps all around the house and draw elaborate kolams /rangolis outside their homes. They perform a special puja with offerings to Krishna or Vishnu, as he liberated the world from the demon Narakasura on this day. It is believed that taking a bath before sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky is equivalent to taking a bath in the holy Ganges. After the puja, children burst firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As this is a day of rejoicing, many will have very elaborate breakfasts and lunches and meet family and friends.”;

4. Lakshmi Puja: Hindus worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings, and then light little clay pots in the streets and homes to welcome prosperity and well-being.

5. Govardhan Puja: Krishna – an incarnation of god Vishnu – defeated Indra and lifted Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods. Large quantities of food are decorated symbolising the Govardhan hill. Also the victory of Vishnu in his dwarf form Vamana over the demon-king Bali, who was pushed into the patala. Men present gifts to their wives on this day.

6.Yama Dwitiya:  Yama, lord of Death, visited his sister Yami (the river Yamuna). Yami welcomed Yama with an Aarti and they had a feast together. Yama gave a gift to Yami while leaving as a token of his appreciation. Brothers visit their sisters’ place on this day and usually have a meal there, and also give gifts to their sisters

30th August

Kazakhstan Constitution Day

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world.

It was inhabited by nomadic tribes from the Neolithic period, who regularly raided Russia for slaves. From 206 B.C. it was an important part of the Silk Road.

Then the Mongols invaded led by Genghis Khan, and his descendants ruled the Kazakh Khanate 1456-1847. By the end, the Khanate was divided into three jüz or hordes. As it was weak, the Uzbek Khanate and the

From 1807 Russia took over as part of the ‘Great Game’, trying to build the Eastern Europe Empire before Britain took it. It imposed Russian language and the Kazakhs didn’t really like it.

The Russians encouraged immigration into Kazakhstan, which caused resentment and eventually the Central Asian Revolt in 1916.

Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the Russian Empire collapsed and became the communist Soviet Union. The collectivisation of the 1920s-30s caused a famine, while Stalin executed their intellectuals to repress their culture further. After WWII Soviet Russia put its main nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, with no regard for the people who lived there.

In 1953 Russian leader Kruschev decided to make Kazakhstan ‘Virgin Lands’ which would supply grain to the rest of the Union. They’d deported loads of their unwanted into Kazakhstan too, so now they only made up 30% of the population.

On 16 December 1991 Kazakhstan was the last Soviet state to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became president and still is.

 

East Timor Popular Consultation Day (to have independence from Indonesia in 1999)

New Guineans and Australians migrated to East Timor about 40,000 years ago, with Austronesians migrating there about 3,000 B.C. It traded sandalwood, honey and slaves with China. Europeans arrived in the 16th century to trade sandalwood, and Portugal took it over from 1769 (the Dutch took West Timor).

In WWII Japan invaded, and the Allies fought the Battle of Timor with Timor volunteers.

In 1974 Portugal had the Carnation Revolution and withdrew from its colonies; East Timor became independent a year later. Indonesia were scared as its new leading party were left-wing, so invaded. Until 1999 the Indonesian rule of East Timor was pretty brutal, with thousands killed or dying from hunger.

In 1991 pro-independence protestors were gunned down by the Indonesian military. This was a turning point, and the UN helped East Timor vote for independence in 2002.

 

St Rose of Lima Day (Peru)

Turkey Victory Day (1922 War of Independence against the Allies after WWI) – see 29th October

30th July

1863 Henry Ford born so build some cars – these amazing ones are made from swing bins, this one is made from Lego and a balloon, and this one uses a battery.

1898 Henry Moore born so make some Playdo sculptures.

Vanuatu Independence Day:

Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian (Pacific Coast islander) people. Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós claimed it for Spain in 1605 and named it Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit).

In the 1880s France and the United Kingdom claimed bits and agreed to share it as the New Hebrides. An independence movement started in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980.

They have the John Frum cult, which basically says an American soldier will grant their wishes. Others worship Prince Philip. Cricket is very popular.

Morocco Feast of the Throne (see 18 November)

30th June

1859 Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope

1937 999 introduced in London as emergency number – do your kids know what to do?

Congo Independence Day:

The first wave of people into Congo was around 2,000 B.C. These Bantu-speaking villagers knew the techniques of iron-smelting and moved the indigenous Pygmies out – there are now up to 600,000 Pygmies living in the Congo rainforest.

The villagers also exploited the natural ores of the land and became great exporters of metals and ivory, and became the Kingdom of Luba. The only downside so far was that Arabs kept nipping in for a slave raid.

In 1885, somehow Berlin decided King Leopold II of Belgium owned the Congo, and he set about building a railway there and began rubber production, cutting off the limbs of any natives who weren’t joining in the rubber production with enough enthusiasm. During this period of disease and brutality, the population of the Congo was reduced by as much as a half.

Due to international protest (Great Britain especially noisy), the Belgian parliament gently prised the Congo from the king’s grip and some economic and social progress was made, even though the colonialists looked down on the indigenous people.

On 30 June 1960 Congo gained independence in its own free elections and most of the colonialists fled.

The Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, then sacked the President Joseph Kasavabu, and the army’s chief of staff somehow managed to get money from the US and Belgium to neutralise Lumumba and Kasavabu’s fighing, in case they went all Communist.

In 1961, the US, Belgium and Katangan forces kidnapped and executed Lumumba, and the UN had to come in two years later to sort out all the confusion.

From 1971 the Congo was actually called Zaire under the rule of Mobotu Sese Soku, whom the US loved because he was anti-Communist, even though he declared a one-party state. He occasionally held elections in which he was the only candidate, and embezzled all the money he could get his hands on. Nice bloke.

He also, and this is my favourite bit, renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga – “the all powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, shall go from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake”. (Before that he was called Joseph.)

In 1996, Rwandan and Ugandan armies sneaked over to conquer Zaire; some Zaireans joined in out of protest against Mobutu.

In 1997 Mobotu fled in the face of increasing opposition (and having lost US support now that Communism isn’t so scary) and the leader of that mixed army, Kabila, declared himself President of the Congo (not Zaire anymore).

He then asked the Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers to head home, thanks very much. Rwanda and Uganda then formed separate rebel armies and came back fighting almost immediately, and Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia got involved on Kabila’s side.

Kabila’s son took over after he was assassinated in 2001, and he asked for peace talks and UN peacekeepers were called in. Kabila jr agreed to share power with the Rwandan and Ugandan rebel army leaders and in 2006 the Congo finally got around to some multi-party elections.

The results led to fighting, the UN sorted it out, they had a re-vote, Kabila won. In general, the fighting has carried on and the whole war has so far killed 5.4 million people.

Activities: Listen to soukous music. Look at the bonobo (but not too much),

the white rhino, the mountain gorilla and the okapi (a zebra-giraffe thing).

They also have an equivalent to the Loch Ness monster: the Mokèlé-mbèmbé.

Other events today:

  • Phillippine-Spanish Friendship Day
  • Sudan Revolution Day – see 1st January