9th May

1662 Mr Punch from Punch and Judy debuts in England

1860 J.M. Barrie born

1920 Richard Adams born, author of Watership Down (for age 9-16)

Europe Day (commemorating Schumann Declaration beginning the idea of a united Europe)

Victory and Peace Day (Soviet Union defeats Nazi Germany, celebrated by Russia; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Kyrgryzstan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Moldova; Ukraine)

Guernsey/Jersey Liberation Day

Romania Independence Day (from Ottoman Empire, 1877) – see 24th January

6th May

1844 the world’s first mechanically frozen ice-rink, the Glaciarium, opens in London – so make an ice rink for your toys by putting a plate of water in the freezer overnight.

1889 the Eiffel Tower revealed at the Paris Universal Exposition  – can you build it?

1994 Channel Tunnel opens

Also today:

  • Lebanon/Gabon/Syria Martyrs’ Day
  • Lithuania Mother’s Day

  • The first day of Hıdırellez (Turkey’s spring festival, celebrating Muslim equivalent of St George and some Pagan deities)

5th May

Cinqo de Mayo: or the Day of the Battle of Puebla.

Mexico had just finished fighting America for independence, in which it lost Texas, and a couple of civil wars, and decided not to pay any foreign debt for two years until its economy had recovered.

Britain and Spain popped over but realised the decision was for the best; Napoleon III, however, decided to take the opportunity to build a Latin Empire.

But, even though France was then the world’s top army, Mexico crushed it. This is what’s celebrated on this day.

A year later the French came back and occupied Mexico for three years, but once the US was done with its own civil war, it helped Mexico push them out.

Here are some tips on how to celebrate it.

1865 the first train robbery in the US – so go on a train ride

Kyrgryzstan Constitution Day

Also today:

  • Japan/Korea Children’s Day (in Japan parents put up koinobori flags and serve mochi rice cakes)
  • S. Korea Buddha’s Birthday
  • Europe Day
  • Feast of Al-Khadr/St George (Pakistan)
  • Indian Arrival Day (Guyana – the Indians were brought to work on the sugar plantations by the British in 1838)
  • Netherlands/Denmark Liberation Day (from Nazi Germany)
  • Lusophone Culture Day (Portuguese-speaking)
  • Ethiopia Patriots’ Victory Day (against Italy, 1936-41)
  • Senior Citizens’ Day (Palau)

3rd May

Roodmas/Finding of the Holy Cross Day. The church above which the cross was found, built by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, is still to be found in Jerusalem.

Japan Constitution Memorial Day – see 11th February

Poland National/Constitution Day

In 966 A.D. Mieszko I, ruler of the land that is now Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it became part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1772–95 Poland was partitioned among Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. It regained its independence at the end of World War I and became the Second Polish Republic.

In 1939, World War II was started when the Nazis and Russia invaded Poland. More than six million Polish citizens died in the war. After the war Poland became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. In 1989 Poland’s Marxist–Leninist government was overthrown and Poland became a democracy called the Third Polish Republic.

It has one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth (the Jura range) and a desert with sand 40 metres deep! They have a national reforestation scheme aiming to cover a THIRD of the country in forest (they’re only about 3% off the target) and a lot of the landscape is protected.

Famous Polish people include Marie Curie (moved to Paris when she was 24); Copernicus, and Chopin. They invented the polonaise. And you got to check out the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

1st May

May Day:

Make a maypole:

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http://www.marthastewart.com/268025/may-day-celebration

Or a mini maypole:

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http://studiodiy.com/2012/04/24/diy-mini-maypole-cakes/

Crown a May queen:

etsy

or make a Green Man:

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Make May baskets and deliver them secretly to neighbours:

 

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1785 Kingdom of Hawai’i’ formed, so make a lei for Lei Day

 

1840 Penny Black, the first official stamp, released

 

1930 Pluto, dwarf planet, named

 

1931 Empire State Building dedicated

 

Festa Dei Serpari (Cocullo, Italy, celebrates its patron saint St Dominick by catching snakes, removing their fangs then using them like tinsel decorations on statues of saints).

Other events today:

  • 1948 North Korea established – see 27th December
  • Kazakhstan People’s Unity Day – see 30th August
  • Latvia Constitution Day – see 18th November
  • Marshall Islands Constitution Day
  • Dia del Trabajo (Day of the Worker, Latin America)
  • 1328 Scotland gains independence from England – see 30th November
  • 1707 Scotland and England join up again into Britain
  • 1786 Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro first performed

30th April

Walpurgis Night (or St Walpurga’s Night, originally) is associated more with witches than the female saint. In Czechoslovakia they burn little witches made of rags; in Estonia they dress as witches like we would on Hallowe’en; in Finland there are carnivals and picnics; northern Germany has bonfires.

In old Ireland it was called Beltane; the day cattle were driven to the pastures for the summer, and rituals were done to protect them such as passing them through two bonfires. The flames would be used to relight all domestic fires and candles, and the ashes from the original fires would be spread on crops.

Other events today:

  • Children’s Day (Mexico) – see 16th September
    Reunification Day (Vietnam) – see 2nd September
  • Louisiana founded (1812): famous for New Orleans, voodoo, jazz, tobasco sauce, Mardi Gras, jambalaya, gumbo, pralines

29th April

International Dance Day – it’s time to reenact some of your favourite dance videos, isn’t it? We like Daft Punk’s Around the World, Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, Run DMC/Jason Nevin’s It’s Like That, the Evolution of Dance, and Beyonce’s Move Your Body.

1789 George Washington becomes first elected President of US

Showa Day (Japanese reflect on the reign of Emperor Hirohito 1926-89, which saw Japan’s pretty appalling behaviour during WWII and subsequent occupation by America)

Vallenato Legend Festival (Colombian music festival, 2014)