25th June

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;

http://www.licitar.hr/en/about-licitars-1

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.

https://peters365photos.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/kairouan-tunisia/

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.

23rd June

1868 typewriter patented – so practise typing with these games.

Võidupüha: Estonia’s Victory Day. They had to fight the Germans and Communist Russia in 1918-20 to keep their independence. Estonia’s famous for its Singing Revolution in the 1980s, with a kind of nighttime flashmob of singing to gain independence from Russia. Estonia is the least religious country in the world after China: only 16% of people believe in a god. Their sport, kiiking, is kind of entertaining. Can you try it on the swings at the local playground?

Luxembourg National Day:

Luxembourg is the world’s only remaining sovereign grand duchy (i.e., it is ruled by a grand duke). The King of the Netherlands used to be the Grand Duke of Luxembourg but in 1890 the throne passed to the king’s daughter while the duchy passed to his male heir (as per the then male heir rules of the duchy) elsewhere.

Its official languages are German, French and Luxembourgish (great word).

Luxembourg Castle is very pretty and old.

http://www.castle-vianden.lu/english/

Occupied by the French (after the Celts, Romans, Bourbons, Habsburgs and Hohenzollerns) until the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, both Prussia and the Netherlands wanted to own Luxembourg. The Belgian Revolution in the 1830s took the west (French-speaking) half of Luxembourg but afterwards Luxembourg became independent.

In WWI Germany invaded and occupied Luxembourg but didn’t interfere too much; however in WWII, as a strategic route to France, Luxembourg was treated as a Germanic territory and its government had to move to London!

Activity: Celebrate Luxembourg’s famous export, RTL (Radio/Television Luxembourg) by making a radio or television show. Radio Luxembourg is so famous because it broadcasts in French, German, Flemish and English and also until the 1980s there were no private radio stations in France so it offered an alternative media view.

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.

21st June

Solstice

Science: It’s going to be the usual demonstration with the Earth as a tennis ball or marble and the Sun as a football or gym ball. You know the drill.  The sun is at its most northern point from the equator. The most northern parts of the earth have their longest day – in the Arctic the sun never sets; the southernmost parts have their longest night – in the Antarctic the sun never appears.

Activities: Build a Stonehenge (or just visit it, if you’re near).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2595920/From-Niagara-Falls-Great-Barrier-Reef-worlds-famous-treasures-built-LEGO-new-Brick-Wonders-book.html

http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/People/miniaturestonehenge/miniaturestonehenge.html

Native Americans put teepees in a circle to symbolise the cosmos on the solstice – that might be fun too if you have a lot of spare bedsheets.

In Northern Europe, the Solstice is a big deal and a good excuse for a party.

  • Bonfires (and jumping over bonfires),
  • visiting and decorating wishing wells,
  • gathering herbs because they are especially potent.
  • Austria has a spectacular procession of ships;
  • Brazil’s Festa Junina involves a lot of dancing quadrilles;
  • Sweden gets out a maypole (in June?);
  • in medieval times the French celebrated with a cat-burning ritual;
  • in Jersey they banged a brass pan to ward off evil, and we all know a tiny bairn who would enjoy doing that.
  • Hunting for magic fern blossom;
  • washing the face with morning dew to be beautiful all year;
  • making flower wreaths and throwing them on lakes;
  • balancing an egg at the exact moment of the solstice … oh, there are lots more ideas here and here.

 

Greenland National Day

Greenland was so named by Erik the Red, a Norwegian exiled from Iceland, who hoped the name would attract other settlers and he wouldn’t be so lonely. Actual Greenlanders call their country Kalaallit Nunaat, meaning land of the Kalaallit people.

At first Greenland was inhabited by stone-age Eskimos in 2,500 B.C.

http://365daysoflearning.weebly.com/on-the-go/day-92-gt-erik-the-red

In 986 Erik the Red arrived with other settlers. These Norwegians accepted Danish rule when Norway and Denmark formed the Kalmar Union. It was a hard place to live – very cold!

From 1300 Thule people arrived from Alaska, bring dog sleds and whale harpoons.

Even though by the 18th century all the Norse people had long since died and actually Europe hadn’t had any contact with Greenland for centuries, when it was rediscovered Denmark was like, “IT’S STILL OURS BY THE WAY.”

In WWII Denmark was taken over by Nazi Germany, and America occupied Greenland to protect it. In the 1950s America built a big army base there as part of the Cold War defence.

In 2009 Greenland gained self-rule, while Denmark controls its foreign affairs and defence. Denmark also pays them 3.2 billion kroner a year for welfare and investment.

Greenland’s Inuit people catch around 175 whales a year. It has polar bears, Arctic foxes and hares, and seals. There are only about 56,000 humans, and as Greenland is the world’s biggest island it is also the least densely populated country in the world.

Greenland’s traditional sport is Arctic Sports, a kind of wrestling; they also love handball.

Schoelcher Day:

The French West Indies/Antilles honour the French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher’s achievements in helping end slavery with a sailboat race, fireworks, music, etc.

Togo Day of the Martyrs: Togo gained independence from France in 1960.  They have mainly animistic beliefs, carve beautiful statuettes (Google Ewe or ibeji) and make beautiful batiks, which could be fun to do.

Bolivian New Year! and We Tripantu (Mapuche New Year, Chile)

New Hampshire founded 1788

Go Skateboarding Day

International Surfing Day

National Aboriginal Day (Canada celebrates the Inuit and Métis and First Nations)

World Music Day

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

algeria-649435_960_720

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

18th June

Father’s Day (2017)

Try these card ideas or these present ideas.

 

Evacuation Day (Egypt celebrates withdrawal of British troops in 1956 after the Suez Crisis)

Waterloo Day (British Wellington and Prussian Bluecher defeat Napoleon in 1815)

Seychelles National Day:

Under French control from 1756 and named after Jean Moreau de Sechelles, the Minister of Finance for Louis XV, until 1810 when Mauritius was captured by the British. The Brits did away with slavery and compensation was paid to owners of sugarcane plantations. Just like the French, the British used the islands for keeping prisoners.

In 1964 the Seychelles People’s United Party started to petition for independence from UK. Independence was achieved in 1976 but Seychelles was turned to a one-party state after a 1977 coup.

In 1991 the constitution changed to allow other political parties and in 1993 the first ever multiparty legislative and presidential elections were staged in July.

The Seychelles is home to some very rare animals and plants. Some children may be interested in the Coco de Mer, known in French as coco fesses – or the buttocks coconut. Brilliant.

kaiser2013_00034_jpg

The jellyfish tree, the paradise flycatcher,

the world’s smallest frog,

the world’s largest land tortoise

and the rare black parrot are all pretty cool too. This may be good for a colouring-in activity or pretending to be different animals. Try a sega dance or a moutya dance.

17th June

Statue of Liberty arrives in New York 1885

1898 M.C. Escher born

1903 Ruth Graves Wakefield invents the chocolate chip cookie

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Iceland National Day: Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, with the world’s most northern capital.

It was first populated from 874 A.D. by Norsemen and their Gaelic thralls (slaves).

Before then it may have been the home to some Celtic monks from Scotland and Ireland.

In the Middle Ages it mainly belonged to Norway, and was very poor, the climate being too harsh for much agriculture.

In 1783 the Laki volcano made the world’s biggest volcanic eruption; the ensuing sulphuric gases killed off a lot of farmland and livestock, and many died in the famine.

From 1814 Norway and Denmark were no longer united and Iceland became part of Denmark; meanwhile many moved to the New World as Iceland was still too bloomin’ cold.

During WWII Iceland stayed neutral, but for some reason Britain invaded (perhaps because Germany had invaded Denmark and Britain thought Iceland would be next) and then America did. America stayed throughout the Cold War (i.e., until 1990!) just in case.

Thanks to US financial aid (the Marshall Plan) Iceland’s fishing industry expanded and its economy grew; then its economy switched to finance and banking, which unfortunately ruined its economy from 2008 when all three of its major banks collapsed after running up huge debts.

They eat a lot of fish pickled in brine or smoked meat, particularly lamb. Play a magnetic fishing game – maybe cover it in crushed ice first to make it more authentic.

Make a snúður or a skúffukaka (kinds of cake).

Make a volcano – just drop a Mento in a Cola bottle. Listen to Bjork.

National Juggling Day: So learn to juggle.