6th March

 

Michaelangelo born 1475 – try reproducing his greatest works through posed photography, mosaics, sculpture, whatever you want. This website has facts and his most famous works.

Norfolk Island’s Foundation Day:

The Islands were first settled by Polynesians in around the 14th century but they left after a few generations. James Cook spotted it on his way past and named it after the Duchess of Norfolk.

At first Britain moved in to grow hemp so they didn’t have to rely on Russian exports, and in 1788 they sent convicts there to convert the island into a deportation centre, but in 1813 they had left again, as the islands were too far away so it was too costly to send convicts there. They destroyed all the buildings and livestock so other Europeans wouldn’t claim it as their own.

Later its remoteness was seen as advantage for sending the worst convicts there. In 1853 those convicts were moved back to Tasmania, as the UK was stopping penal colonies and starting penal servitude within the UK.

In 1856 Pitcairn Islanders moved in as their island had become too small. These were a mix of Tahitians and descendants of the HMS Bounty mutiny.

From 1901 it became part of the Australian Commonwealth, but the citizens only pay income tax, no other tax.

Our colonisation destroyed much of the island’s rainforest and the introduction of rats and cats have killed off many of the island’s birds. The island has very few surnames, as all the Pitcairners were related to each other, so their telephone directory has to include nicknames too; and the islanders are very friendly and all drivers wave to each other as they pass – this is called the Norfolk Wave. The culture is quite Tahitian, including the hula dance.

 

Ghana Independence Day:

Ghana means ‘warrior king’. It was mostly unpopulated historically, but Akan people lived there from the 11th century and traded gold.

The Ashanti Empire took most of it by the 19th century, making a third slaves.

Portuguese, Dutch, English and French traders arrived, attracted by the gold. Britain named it the Gold Coast; France named it the Ivory Coast.

The Ashanti tried to fight against British domination, and won a few battles, but eventually lost.

After WWII the population really tried to rebel against British power and from 1957 Ghana was declared ‘free forever’.

img2012824_181527

Kwame Nkrumah, the first Ghanaian president, was the first African president to try and create pan-Africanism, an African-American idea of equality for all people in Africa no matter what their ethnicity. It is the most religious country in the world.

Try making some Kente cloth.

Their favourite sport is football. Music invented in Ghana includes Afro-jazz and highlife.

 

European Day of the Righteous – so fight for some human rights.

5th March

1853 Howard Pyle born, who wrote and illustrated The Adventures of Robin Hood and Tales of King Arthur

St Piran’s Day, national day of Cornwall – so make fudge:

e3ggjkf7xk19o8rjgxsi

a cream tea

or a Cornish pastie.

Try a Furry dance, listen to a Cornish piper or try the Cornish language.

 

Vanuatu Custom Chief’s Day:

vanuatu-from-australia-map

My favourite fact about Vanuatu, which is really a group of islands or archipelago, is that there are people living on Tanna who revere Prince Philip as a god. Most villages have male and female sections, and if you’re a girl on your period, you are expected to stay in a zone reserved for menstruating women. It was Spanish from 1605, then France and the UK shared it from the 1880s until its independence in 1980.

2nd March

1904 Dr Seuss born

Texas Independence Day (see 22 November for general America or try some Tex-Mex recipes)

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Omizu-Okuri (Japanese Buddhist water-carrying festival, where river water is carried to the temple)
  • Burma Peasants Day (politicians discuss how to improve the lives of peasants, or farmers, and there are fairs of traditional crafts)
  • Victory of Adwa (celebrates Ethiopia defeating Italy in 1896)
  • Jamahiriya Day (Libya’s People’s Power Day, because Gadaffi liked to pretend he let the people rule themselves).

1st March

St David’s Day (Wales):

Make daffodils out of egg cartons:

daffodil lollipops:

daffodil candy cups:

daffodil windmills:

daffodil cupcakes:

Or try some St David’s Day Welsh food, like Glamorgan sausages:

and Welsh cakes:

Eat them up with Welsh love spoons:

A bit about Wales: it has been inhabited for at least 29,000 years. About 12,000 years ago, in the last Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, hunter-gatherers could just walk from Europe to the UK across Doggerland, a piece of land now under the North Sea. The last glacier in Wales melted away about 10,000 years ago, and the rising sea separated it from Ireland. 8,000 years ago Britain became an island.

Eventually the Stone Age people became Bronze Age people, and then Iron Age Celts. The Romans arrived in A.D. 48 and stayed for 300 years, extracting gold, copper and lead but not really ever being allowed to Romanise the people as they did in England.

In 383 A.D. a Roman general called Magnus Maximus left Britain with all of its troops and governors, planning to rule as Emperor from Gaul. As he left he bestowed ruling power on local authorities, and so he is seen as one of the Welsh founding fathers for appointing local people the power to rule Wales. I think….

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Romano-Britons formed little kingdoms which fought with each other to define their boundaries. In the 8th century King Offa built Offa’s Dyke which still roughly separates Wales from England.

In 853 the Vikings raided the island of Anglesey but the king of Gwynedd defeated them, allied with them and invaded the north of Wales with them.

In the 11th century Gruffydd ap Llewellyn became the only Welsh king ever to rule over the entire territory of Wales. Then William the Conqueror took England, and gave lords with their own ruling laws reign over the area near Wales – this was called the Welsh Marches.

Llewellyn Fawr became the first Prince of Wales following the Magna Carta in 1215, but in 1282 Edward I invaded and the Welsh princes ended with Llewellyn’s head being carried through London on a spear. Under Henry VIII Wales became part of the UK.

In the Industrial Revolution Wales became a centre for copper mining and iron smelting – Parys Mountain in Anglesey had the world’s biggest copper mine. Later slate quarrying and coal mining became successful. Just before the First World War, Wales was at its peak coal production, exporting millions of tons a year. In WWII 10% of all young male conscripts were sent into the coal mines – they became known as the Bevin Boys.

In 1925 the political party Plaid Cymru was formed, seeking independence from the UK. In 1955 Cardiff became Wales’ capital city. In 1965, despite 34 out of 35 Welsh MPs voting against it, a Welsh village was flooded to make a reservoir for Liverpool, because there were simply more English MPs who voted for it. In 1997 the Welsh National Assembly was set up to decide how Wales’s budget is run. Wales defines itself as a country, although Prince Charles’s title of Prince of Wales suggests it is really a principality.

Read Celtic myths or the Mabinogian; play rugby!

 

 

Martenitsa (Bulgaria): On 1 March, Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta Day. Baba Marta is a mythical old woman whose moods affect the weather in March. They make martenitisi and give them away to friends and family.

They tie them round their wrists as a symbol of good fortune, health and prosperity. When they see a tree in blossom, or a stork or swallow, they remove the bracelet and put it on the tree or under a stone. The wearing of the bracelet is also supposed to be a wish for spring, to make winter pass more quickly.

Romanians celebrate Martisor in a similar way, with red and white or black and white bracelets that they wear for the first 12 days of the month to represent prosperity for the next 12 months. They often have little talismans tied onto them to represent what they want in the year ahead. They also make a Martisor tort.

 

1810 Frederick Chopin born – here’s a beginner’s guide.

 

National Pig Day (US): Make a piggy bank:

or learn about the Three Little Pigs:

 

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Iceland’s Beer Day – see 17th June
  • Bosnia-Herz Independence Day – see 25th November
  • S. Korea 1 March Movement Day (celebrates resistance to Japanese occupation) – see 17th July.

31st March

1685 Johann Sebastian Bach born, so listen to his Lullaby, The Art of Fugue (keyboard), Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (organ), Brandenburg Concertos, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Goldberg Variations

1732 Joseph Haydn born, so listen to the Surprise Symphony

1844 Andrew Lang born – so read his Fairy Books

 

1889 the Eiffel Tower is officially opened – so build it out of ice-cream wafers, Lego, or string! Read Madeline in Paris.

 

Transfer Day (US Virgin Islands celebrates transition from Denmark to US)

The US Virgin Islands were originally inhabited by Caribs and Arawaks when Colombus ‘discovered’ it in 1493 and named it after St Ursula and her virgin followers. The Danish West India Company began to settle it from 1672, taking over from Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and France who’d all had a turn. The Danish made sugarcane using slave labour until slaves were abolished in 1848. After that the economy wasn’t so great, so when during WWI America worried that Germany would take the islands in submarine warfare, Denmark agreed to sell them to the US for $25 million. The US took possession on 31 March 1917.

Other events today that might inspire your play:

29th March

1806 construction begins on the first US federal highway – so make a road around the house out of tape!

Other events today that might inspire your play:

  • 1886 Dr John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in his back garden – so try and invent a new drink!
  • Anniversary of the Death of Bartholomew Boganda (a leader of Central African Republic’s nationalist party, he fought for equal rights for black people and for the country’s independence from France. He died in a plane crash in 1959.)
  • Madagascar Commemoration of the 1947 Rebellion (against France) – see 26 June for history of country
  • The Day Maldives Embraced Islam (1153; myth here)

28th March

Easter Monday (2016): traditionally a day for rolling Easter eggs in races, or also sprinkling people with holy water blessed yesterday at church. In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic this has devolved into Wet Monday, where boys wake up girls by throwing a bucket of water over them and hitting them on the legs with sticks.

Commemoration of Sen no Rikyu, founder of the Japanese tea ceremony – so have a tea party:

Dollshouse version:

85f74b83fe213a47d3710fde9fa27683

Fairy version:

6a4715651aef0e9e423a151a8ebece94

Or make mint tea or chamomile tea if you have it in the garden; and make it the sun tea way if it’s nice out.

Libya British Evacuation Day  – see 23rd October