16th April

Easter Sunday (2017) – so do some Easter egg science! And have an Easter egg hunt. I also like this Easter egg sound-matching game and using the recycling box to make an egg launch/drop.

And… do an Easter egg hunt:

Decorate your eggs!

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I sadly love these bunny napkins:

Definitely make an Easter tree:

Have an egg and spoon race or an egg rolling race.

Make an Easter bonnet:

Make Easter bread:

and Easter nests (with peeps):

1178 BC Odysseus/Ulysses returns from the Trojan War

1889 Charlie Chaplin born

José de Diego Day, father of the Puerto Rican independence movement

World Voice Day

11th January

Kagami biraki day in Japan, where Japanese people can break the kagami mochi placed on the deities’ altar because 11 is a lucky number – make mochi;

First recorded lottery in England 1569 – so play Bingo

William Herschel discovers Uranus moons Titania and Oberon

1935 Amelia Earhart flies solo from Hawaii to California.

Birthday of Eugenio María de Hostos (a Puerto Rican who was very influential in Latin America)

Morocco’s Independence Resistance Day – see 18th November

Albania Republic Day

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You’re never going to guess what the Albanian for Albania is. Shqipëri. You weren’t even close, were you? But they did used to call themselves Arbëri; both names mean ‘Land of Eagles’ (how lovely).

Albania was once part of the Roman Dalmatia and Macedonia. It remained part of the Byzantine Roman Empire until Slavs overran it and then the Bulgarian Empire took it in the 9th century.

The Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of Albania formed in the Middle Ages, founded by Progon, but it was dissolved in 1225.

The Ottomans occupied most of Albania by 1431, bringing Islam and forcing many Christians to flee west. In 1443 a revolt broke out, led by Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, and lasted until 1479.

Skanderbeg became Lord of Albania. As the Ottomans intended to use Albania as a springboard to invade Italy and western Europe, Skanderbeg received aid from western countries.

A group of Muslims calling themselves the League of Prizren or the Committee of the Real Muslims formed in 1878 in the name of protecting Muslim land from invasion, and at first the Ottoman Empire supported them until they started to focus on gaining Albanian independence. They requested merging the vilayets (provinces) of Kosovo, Scutari, Monastir and Ioannina into the Albanian Vilayet.

The league was defeated by the Ottomans, but the Albanian uprising of 1912, the Ottoman defeat in the Balkan Wars and the advancing Montenegrin, Serbian and Greek armies into Albanian territories led to the proclamation of independence in 1912.

Well, the Albanian peasants didn’t like this, thinking it was just a ruse by Christian Europe to oppress them, and the newly appointed prince, William of Wied, fled the country.

However, his monarchy wasn’t abolished until 1925, I suppose because WWI got in the way and confused everything.

Then they tried a republic for three years, then tried another monarchy 1928-39. During this period Albania was really getting along with Italy until they invaded, and during WWII Albania was occupied by Italy then Germany.

Italy also invaded Yugoslavia and redistributed the land so that the Albanian bits went to Albania, like Kosovo. A communist army formed to fight against the Nazi occupation, and after the war Albania became a socialist republic under Enver Hoxha.

Albania became agriculturally self-sufficient (kind of…ok, a lot of people were hungry) as land was given to the farmers who worked on it to own as co-operatives. Almost everyone was educated and literate. Incomes increased more than anywhere in Europe. However, there was no religious freedom because everyone had to be atheist.

The People’s Republic was dissolved around 1991 after protests from 1989, and the Republic of Albania was founded. The Communist Party stayed in power somehow after elections, but liberalisation actually made the economy unstable because of Ponzi schemes, etc., and the new Democratic Party took over.

However, an armed rebellion in 1997 made a lot of Albanians emigrate; and when the Kosovo War was happening in Yugoslavia a lot of Kosovo Albanians fled to Albania.

Over a third of Albania is still forest, with lynxes, wolves, bears, boars and chamois. The golden eagle is the country’s national symbol. Nearly 100% of its electricity is made by hydroelectric dams, although recent droughts are ruining that. It exports its own oil and gas.

Tourists can visit a number of national parks and lakes, as well as Gjirokastër, a medieval Ottoman town.

Prithvi Jayanti – Nepal celebrates the birthday of Prithvi Narayan Shah. See 28th May.

19th November

1994 National Lottery starts – so play Bingo.

Monaco National Day

The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI, granted land to Genoa in 1191 that became Monaco.

In 1297, Francisco Grimaldi captured the fortress on the Rock of Monaco while dressed as a monk (coincidentally monaco in Italian).

He was kicked out and the Grimaldis didn’t gain Monaco until they bought it from the House of Aragon in 1419. They became vassals of the French kings in return for protection against Spain.

In 1793, French Revolutionaries captured Monaco and France owned it until 1814, when the Grimaldis were allowed to return to the throne. They almost immediately became a protectorate of Sardinia.

In 1860 the whole area became French again. The towns of Menton and Roquebrune tried to claim independence from Monaco because of too much tax; Charles III, Prince of Monaco, sold them to France (containing about 95% of Monaco’s population!) for 4 million francs.

He then set up Monte Carlo’s casino and seaside resort to recoup the losses from all that tax. This was so successful Monaco eventually abolished income tax.

In WWII Italy and then Germany invaded and its Jews were deported.

In 1956 Prince Rainier III married Grace Kelly.

Celebrate by making a tiny casino. It sounds terrible, but number recognition and maths play an important part in simple casino games like Blackjack or Bingo.

Also today:

  • Garifuna Settlement Day (in Belize, after being evicted from Grenadine by UK)
  • Discovery of Puerto Rico Day
  • Brazil Flag Day
  • International Men’s Day
  • Telemontecarlo, Europe’s oldest private tv channel, was launched on this day in 1954 – why not make a tv out of a cardboard box and put on your own show?

27th July

1054 Siward, Earl of Northumbria, defeats Macbeth, king of Scotland – older kids might enjoy the BBC’s animated tales or Oddsocks. Actually there’s no ‘ might’ for the latter – kids aged 8+ (and adults) WILL LOVE THEM.

1940 ‘A Wild Hare’, Bugs Bunny debut

1870 Hillaire Belloc born – try this book, it’s lovely (and disturbing)

Finland’s National Sleepy Head Day, when the last person to wake up is woken with water, perhaps even being thrown into a lake.

North Korea Victory Day (over South Korea, 1953)

José Celso Barbosa’s Birthday: (Puerto Rico celebrates founder of their Republican party.)

Columbus found Puerto Rico in 1493, when it was inhabited by the native Taino. From the 16th century Spanish came to colonise the island and used the Taino for forced labour.

When they killed them off with smallpox, etc., they had to import African slaves to work for them. Spain tried to keep the islanders on side by allowing them to vote in Spanish elections, but the slaves kept revolting and the people wanted independence.

To try and dilute this, Spain offered free land to any Europeans wanting to settle on the island.

Around 1890 the US started to think about building a navy, and the Panama Canal, and tried to buy Puerto Rico and Cuba from Spain. Spain said no, but in 1898 America helped Cuba in their revolution, and Spain and America went to war (imagine that happening now).

This resulted in America taking Puerto Rico. The US offered Puerto Ricans American citizenship, but the Puerto Ricans thought this was just so the US could conscript them into WWI.

It is now a Commonwealth of the US, and no one’s really sure what that means. Ricky Martin is Puerto Rican.

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.