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’.

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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.

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23rd April

St George’s Day:

We made a finger puppet show and dressed one of Baby’s teddy bears up as St George (cardboard helmet, sword, shield, and horse. I meant to make him a little chainmail top out of an old teatowel but didn’t get round to it.)

StGeorge

The story goes that a dragon lived near a village and brought plague and devastation on the inhabitants unless they appeased him with sheep and, when that didn’t work, children chosen by lottery. One day the king’s daughter was chosen in the lottery. The king offered the village his wealth to try and dissuade them; but the princess had to go.

St George turned up, luckily, and captured the dragon. He brought it back to the village (who I assume were all like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”) and said he’d kill the dragon if they all converted to Christianity. They did so he did. The End.

What about strapping on some pillows and a helmet and trying some jousting (using a parent as a horse?). He is also the patron saint of Turkey, so they celebrate Turkey National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • World Book Day (except in the UK cos we’re awkward)
  • Funafuti Bomb Day (Tuvalu): In WWII 680 people took refuge in the concrete walled, thatched-roofed church from a Japanese bombing raid. Fortunately an American soldier persuaded them to get into dugouts, as a bomb struck the building shortly after.