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John Muir Day-US 21 April





St. George's Day Canada-Spain-UK-23 April St George's Day

John Muir John Muir was arguably the most influential ecologist of the 20th Century. Many consider him to be founder of the American environmental movement. The State of California has celebrated his birthday as a public holiday since 1989. Every April 21, schools throughout California are encouraged to organize activities and events that commemorate Muir's achievements, philosophy, and teachings. Although Muir was an immigrant from Scotland and didn't even set-foot in California until the age of 29, it is fitting that California would choose to observe his birthday as a state holiday. After all, California was Muir's adopted homeland, and the inspiration for his most important life's-work: the preservation and protection of America's natural wilderness. Muir was an obstinate idealist, refusing to compromise on his commitment to serve as a protector of the environment no matter how vociferous the opposition. But Muir did not advocate violence. Instead, he used his wit to influence policy and behavior. He developed a name for himself as a respected scientist and outdoorsman, inspiring other Americans to study ecology and visit the great outdoors. Although he detested writing, he published 12 books and over 300 articles. Muir's tireless advocacy for wilderness preservation eventually led to the birth of America's first real environmental movement. One of his culminating achievements was convincing the U.S. Congress to declare over 6,500 square kilometers of California territory as federally-protected lands. In 1890, America's second, third, and fourth national parks were created, largely thanks to Muir's efforts: Sequoia, King's Canyon, and the world-famous Yosemite. Thirteen years later, Muir took President Theodore Roosevelt on a backcountry camping trip through Yosemite. Hoping to convince the federal government to step-up enforcement of the national park protections, he showed the President first-hand the shortcomings of that enforcement - as well as the awesome natural beauty of the park itself. The U.S. national park system has been called "America's Best Idea," and Muir deserves a great deal of credit for its inception. Today, the network maintains 58 parks spanning 210,000 square-km of territory, and receives tens of millions of visitors every year. But Muir's greatest legacy was arguably his message. Intensely spiritual, Muir believed that nature is the ultimate manifestation of God - and that to really know God, one has to experience the wilderness. Despite the increasing urbanization of a rapidly-industrializing United States, Muir's philosophy gradually infected the American psyche. In short, Muir helped inspire millions of Americans to visit the country's most spectacular natural treasures - not to extract their natural resources, but to tap the innate spiritual energy within themselves. In short, he convinced America that the real value in its natural beauty is not economic or material, but spiritual. Contributed by: Alberto Rodriguez.

Kindergarten Day-Germany 21 April This month Germans celebrate Kindergarten Day, in honor of Friedrich Froebel who was born on April 21, 1782 and who started the first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837. The school was built upon a series of innovative principles that used the innate curiosity and intrests of children to guide them to see what Froebel believed to be the harmonious, interconnectedness of all things -- through song and play (which was unheard of in earlier schools); daily lessons in drawing, design, and other artistic activities; and learning through active doing and close contacts with the natural world -- many of the kindergartens actually had real gardens attached to them that the children tended and in doing so, Froebel believed, cultivated their own inner lives. By the 1840s, Froebel was even issuing stock in his enterprise, the Universal German Kindergarten, at around ten dollars a share. But the business never made him wealthy -- in fact, though the kindergarten idea spread throughout Germany in the mid-19th century, it was fiercely resisted by the autocratic Prussian state, which esentially outlawed it in 1851 because it was believed that Kindergartens promoted democratic ideas that were dangerous to the rigid status quo. Froebel would die a year later, in 1852 -- some say of a broken heart. As Norman Brosterman reports in his fascinating book, Inventing Kindergarten, by 1860, even the Prussian authorities relented and allowed this highly popular new form of schooling to continue. The first public American Kindergarten was opened in 1873 in St. Louis. By 1876, at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, there was a model kindergarten for inspection on the grounds at Fairmont Park. One visitor, Mrs. Anna Wright, was so taken with what she saw that she bought a set of what were called Froebel's gifts -- the blocks and balls, sticks and geometric forms that all kindergartens were equipped with -- and took a course of instruction so that she could pass on what she had seen about Froebel's ideas of beautiful unity to her son, Frank Lloyd Wright. Cubism, the Bauhaus, Taliesin -- in fact, a good part of what we see and call "modern," as Brosterman points out -- is arguably attributable to Froebel and the visionary geometries of his children's garden. Ref:

Queen's Birthday-United Kingdom 21 April Queen's Official Birthday The Queen's Official Birthday, also known as "the Queen's Birthday" is the day on which the birthday of the monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms is officially celebrated rather than the actual day of the current monarch's birthday. The exact date of the celebration varies from country to country, and only marks the real birthday of the sovereign by coincidence (the current monarch, Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926). Most Commonwealth Realms release a Birthday Honours List at this time. It has been celebrated in the United Kingdom with the Queen's Birthday Parade (which includes Trooping the colour ceremonies) since 1748. In the UK there is no public holiday for it and King Edward VII (1901-10) moved it to the 1st, 2nd, or (rarely) 3rd Saturday in June in the hope of better weather. It might be said that the Monarch's official birthday is only this date as the Monarch declared it, and others have kept it, whereas the celebration of the Queen's birthday elsewhere is the name of a public holiday, sometimes renamed. It has been celebrated as an official public holiday, sharing sometimes with the celebration of other things, in several Commonwealth countries, usually Commonwealth realms, although it is also celebrated in Fiji, now a republic. Ref:'s_Official_Birthday

San Jacinto Day (Texas)-US 21 April San Jacinto Day (Texas) Remember the Alamo? Remember Goliad? Well, every April 21, the State of Texas does. For these were the rallying cries that inspired a band of Texan rebels lead by Sam Houston to defeat two Mexican Army regiments at San Jacinto - the final and decisive battle in the Texas Revolution. San Jacinto Day is an official holiday in Texas. It commemorates Texas' independence from Mexico and is marked by a reenactment of the battle itself, which took place on 21 April 1836. Most accounts agree that the Texas Revolution began in 1835, when Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna attempted to dissolve Mexico's democratic government and assert autocratic authority over the nation. Thousands of Texan colonists responded by declaring independence and forming a new republican government. In 1836, Santa Anna led an invasion north to crush the insurrection. Mexican forces scored important early successes. The Mexicans defeated and slaughtered Texan rebels at the Alamo, in present-day San Antonio. They then defeated, captured, and murdered the unarmed survivors of another group of Texan rebels at Goliad. About 350 unarmed Texan prisoners-of-war were executed in what later became known as the "Goliad Massacre." In the wake of these defeats, Sam Houston led a band of 900 remaining Texan soldiers on an apparent retreat. He successfully goaded Santa Anna - commanding 1,400 soldiers - to pursue. About three weeks after Goliad, Houston stopped to camp on a grassy field near a flooded marsh along the San Jacinto River. Santa Anna camped his soldiers about 1,000 yards away, in the swampy marshland. On April 21, while the Mexican soldiers rested in preparation for a final assault, Houston pre-empted them with an attack of his own. Santa Anna had failed to post sentinels, and Houston's forces caught the Mexicans completely by surprise. Th e battle was over in only 18 minutes. Shouting "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" as they raided the Mexican camp, the inspired Texans decimated Santa Anna's forces, killing about 700 and wounding another 208. The Texans also took 730 Mexican prisoners, while suffering less than 40 casualties of their own. Santa Anna escaped during the melee, but was promptly captured the next day. The Battle of San Jacinto effectively ended Mexico's control over Texas, paving the way for the independence and sovereignty of the "Lone Star State." Although the battle didn't result in Mexico officially recognizing Texan independence, it directly led to U.S. annexation of Texas. Texas annexation, in turn, sparked the Mexican-American War and the resulting westward territorial expansion of the United States. So, if Sam Houston's forces had failed to win this crucial battle, world history could have taken a vastly different turn! Contributed by: Alberto Rodriguez

Earth Day-US 22 April Earth Day Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this first Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day. Ref:

Oklahoma Day-US 22 April Background The area, which is now the state of Oklahoma, has been inhabited since the end of the last ice age. There were permanent communities, such as at the Spiro-mounds from around AD 850. European explorers first visited the area during the 16th century. Following the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834, thousands of Native Americans were removed from their ancestral lands and transported to Oklahoma, even though the area was already occupied by the Osage and Quapaw peoples. In the middle of the 19th century, ranchers in Texas and Kansas found it difficult to meet the demands for food from the large cities. This lead to pressure to make more land available for farming and, in 1887, the Dawes Act removed control of much of the land in Oklahoma from Native Americans. This land was opened to European settlers from April 22, 1889. The anniversary of this date has become known as Oklahoma Day. Ref:

National Sovereignty-Turkey 23 April Every year on April 23, Turkey commemorates the opening of the country's National Assembly in 1920 when Turkey was in war and campaigning for its national independence and the abolition of the Treaty of Sèvres, an agreement between the Allied countries after the end of World War I partitioning the then Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). This day is a special day dedicated to the children and to remind every Turkish citizen that the children are the future of the Turkish Republic.

HISTORY During his death, Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey and its first president (October 29, 1923), part of his possessions were willed to his sister, and adopted children. Some parts were also dedicated to support the education of the children of ?smet ?nönü. Ataturk believes that the children are the hopes of the next generation and that the able citizens of today should protect and secure their future by giving them the right education and imbue them with Turkish values. In 1922, Ataturk said: "The most important thing is to teach our children and youths to maintain Turkish liberty and their own will and struggle w i t h t h e e n e m i e s w h o a t t a c k o u r n a t i o n a l t r a d i t i o n s " April 23, 1920 is the date when Ataturk established the Grand National Assembly amidst the infighting against UK, France, and Italy's military forces to form the Republic of Turkey. The celebration was initially dedicated for the observance of this event but later added Children's Day upon the recommendation of the Institution of Children's Protection of Turkey.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES During the holiday, some of the most important activities during the holiday include replacing some members of the Grand National Assembly in Ankara and symbolically rule the country for a day. This symbolical bequeathal of responsibilities to children is a reminder of the important role of children in shaping the values of the future generations of the republic. Some governmental organizations, such as the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, invite children representative from other countries to showcase artistic performances unique from their country of origin. These children are held in care in foster homes or host families all throughout Turkey. In all major cities and towns across Turkey, children participate in folk dancing, parading in national costumes, while waving Turkey's national flag. Government officials usually take this time to sign laws and executive orders that concerns children's welfare in terms of promoting their legal rights and education. Ref:

National Flag Day-Swaziland-25 April Swaziland, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, dedicates April 25th as a celebration on the date when Swaziland's Flag was raised and British Flag was brought down after it obtained independence from Great Britain in 1968. This holiday is known as National Flag Day.

HISTORY At the dawn of the 20th century and at the start of Anglo Boer War, Swaziland became a British protectorate although British rule in the country already started in the early 19th century. Great Britain already signed an agreement recognizing the independence of the country in 1881. It did not materialize though because of a conflict of land and mineral rights use with that of the Transvaals' (South African Republic, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, or ZAR). It is important to note that the country was placed under ZAR's administration in the late 20th century and ended only when the Anglo Boer war started. The start of Swaziland's quest to independence started in 1960s when Britain officially announced the creation of Swaziland constitution which laid the foundation for its eventual independence. From there, the legislative Council and the Executive Council were formed as stated in the initial declaration despite of the opposition from Swazi National Council. The Legislative Council of Swaziland was established on September 9, 1964. Numerous ratifications and changes in the original constitution followed including the provision to the creation of the House of Assembly and Senate. Official declaration to Swaziland's independence was made on September 6, 1968. Elections followed a year after.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES Some of the popular activities in National Flag Day include the hoisting of flags in major cities and towns in Swaziland in c l u d i n g L o b a mb a a n d M b a b a n e . O r g a n i ze d p a r a de a n d s p e e c h es ma d e b y l o c a l g o ve r n me n t officials abound during the celebration. Since this is a public holiday, government offices are closed. Ref:

Liberty Day-Portugal-25 April Liberty Day is celebrated in Portugal to remember the famous Carnation Revolution that took place on April 25, 1974. Often referred to simply as 25 de Abril, the day is a remembrance of the oppression that led to the revolution and is a renewal of the country's democratic values and ideals of liberty, equality, justice, solidarity, and fraternity.


St George's Day is celebrated by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint. Most countries which observe St George's Day celebrate it on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George's death in 303 AD. This day is May 6 for Eastern Orthodox Old Calendarists, who use the Julian calendar.

In Catholic and Protestant countries England St George's Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. However, this tradition had waned by the end of the 18th century after the union of England and Scotland. In recent years the popularity of St George's Day appears to be increasing gradually. BBC Radio 3 had a full programme of St George's Day events in 2006, and Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, has been putting the argument forward in the House of Commons to make St George's Day a public holiday. A traditional custom at this time was to wear a red rose in one's lapel, though with changes in fashion this is no longer common. Another custom is to fly or adorn the St George's Cross flag in some way: pubs in particular can be seen on 23 April festooned with garlands of St George's crosses. However, the modern association of the St George's Cross with sports such as football, cricket and rugby, along with far-right political parties such as the BNP means that this tradition is rare outside this context. It is customary for the hymn "Jerusalem" to be sung in cathedrals, churches and chapels on St George's Day, or on the Sunday closest to it. There is a growing reaction to the recent indifference to St George's Day. Organizations such as English Heritage, and the Royal Society of Saint George (a non-political English national society founded in 1894) have been encouraging celebrations. There have also been calls to replace St George as patron saint of England, on the grounds that he was an obscure figure who had no direct connection with the country. However there is no obvious consensus as to whom to replace him with, though names suggested include Edmund the Martyr, Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, or Saint Alban, with the latter having topped a BBC Radio 4 poll on the subject. In early 2009 Mayor of London Boris Johnson spearheaded a campaign to encourage the celebration of St George's Day.

Spain Saint George is associated with several areas of Spain. He is the patron saint of the former Crown of Aragon, since King Peter I of Aragon won the Battle of Alcoraz with his patronage. The saint is also patron of several cities. In most cases, the reason for those cities' relation with the Saint as their holy Patron is linked to historic events which happened during the "Reconquista."

Canada St. George's Day is celebrated on April 23. St. George's Day is not an official national holiday in Canada. It is, however, a provincial holiday in Newfoundland, where it is usually observed on the Monday nearest April 23. Ref:'s_Day

Castilla y Leon Day-Spain 23 April Castile and León Day (Spanish: Día de Castilla y León) is a holiday celebrated on April 23 in the autonomous community of Castile and León, a subdivision of Spain. The date is the anniversary of the Battle of Villalar, in which Castilian rebels were dealt a crushing defeat by the forces of King Charles I in the Revolt of the Comuneros on April 23, 1521. Commemoration of the Battle of Villalar was closely associated with liberal politics in S pain from the la te 18th centu ry until the 197 0s, as conservatives generally sympathized with the royal government. With the demise of General Franco's government, the day has broadened to a more general celebration of Castilian nationalism rather than only liberal politics. The government of Castile and León established August 23 as an official holiday in 1986, and festivals have since been held yearly at Villalar. April 23 is the same day as St. George's Day, with there being some crossover between the two holidays.

Origins The birth of the Battle of Villalar as a rallying symbol for Spanish liberals dates back to the late 17th and early 18th centuries. León del Arroyal, an illustrious economist and protoliberal, stated that Villalar was "the last breath of Castilian freedom" in the latter half of the 18th century. The Castilian comuneros received their first major recognition during the Trienio Liberal, the three years of liberal government from 1820-1823. Resistance fighter Juan Martín Díez organized an expedition to Villalar to search for the remains of Padilla, Bravo, and Maldonado, the executed leaders of the revolt. These events took its climax with a festival and celebration of the comuneros in the plaza of the Villalar on April 23, 1821. Members of left-leaning secret societies often referenced the revolt in their names, such as "Los comuneros" or "Sons of Padilla." They also employed the purple banner, the flag flown by the comuneros rebels. While dormant for a time after the Bourbon Restoration to the Spanish throne, occasional recognition of Villalar and the comuneros came from some of the short-lived liberal governments of the period. For instance, President Francisco Pi y Margall of the First Spanish Republic stated that "Castile was among the first nations of Spain who lost their freedoms in Villalar under the first king of the House of Austria." In the early years of the 20th century there were other attempts to celebrate at Villalar. Among them was a proposal by José María Zorita Díez, a liberal deputy for Valladolid, who made a special request for funds to commemorate the battle of Villalar. There were also various requests and preparations to celebrate the fourth centenary of the Battle in 1923; the city council of Palencia propos ed in ea rly 192 3 that " on next April 23, all the representatives of Castile go to the fields of Villalar and swear upon the Castilian Holy Grail, at the scene of the Fall ... On the same day and at the same time all the cities of Castile dedicate a minute of silence to the heroes of Villalar." Little came of these attempts to celebrate April 23, however.

Official recognition By the early 70s, much of the reputation of the comuneros had been rehabilitated after generally positive portrayals by historians such as José Antonio Maravall, Juan Ignacio Gutiérrez Nieto, and Joseph Pérez. In 1976, a gathering of about 400 people met at Villalar. While they were dispersed by the Guardia Civil, the meeting the next year was far larger, with almost 20,000 attendees to celebrate the Battle and organize pro-Castilian groups. The meetings continued on an unofficial basis until 1986, when the government of the recently recognized autonomous community of Castile and León granted its official stamp of approval.

Modern observance The acts normally begin on the evening of April 22, with performances by musical groups and a zone of free camping for the night. On the morning of April 23, the main ceremonies take place alongside the monolith erected in tribute to the comuneros. Each political party makes a floral offering to the monolith and gaves a speech. Throughout the day, political activities and speeches alternate with dances, music concerts, sports, exhibitions, street theatre, and other Castilian-themed recreational activities. The entity responsible for organizing the celebration in modern times is the "Villalar Foundation of Castile and León." Ref:

Easter Day-Italy 24 April Easter in Italy One of the major festivals of Christians; Easter is celebrated with much gusto and grandeur throughout the world. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, after His crucifixion on Good Friday. Considered to be very holy and auspicious, Easter also celebrates the beginning of the spring season after the end of the Lent period. For Italians, Easter is the second most significant religious holiday after Christmas. The festival has the same importance for Italians as Thanksgiving Day has for Americans. While an Easter bunny is not common in Italy, you can find other traditions that keep the Italians busy with Easter celebrations. Dominated by Christian faith, Italy celebrates Easter with great fanfare and vigor. Known as 'Pasqua' in Italian, everyone revels in the festive spirit of Easter, by indulging in fun games and concerts. The proverb 'Natale con i t uoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi' meaning 'Christmas with your relatives, Easter with whomever you want', perfectly suits the festive spirit of Easter in Italy. Celebrations in Italy chiefly include church services, parades and fireworks. The festivity begins with Carnival activities, which form a preface to the season of Lent that signifies grief and misery. Venice, Ivrea and Sicily are the greatest hotspots, where Easter celebrations are held with splendor and magnificence. The most significant Easter ritual of Italy is the purchase of Easter eggs when the church bells ring. Every family celebrates the event by making 'Frittata', a dish similar to an omelet. Rome, also known as headquarters of Christianity, holds a procession on this day, preceded by the Pope. In this holy ritual, the Pope explains the 'Passion of Christ' on the day of Good Friday. In Florence, a performance is held, where the 'scoppio del carro' ('explosion of the cart') is enacted. In this act, a fanciful cart, led by white oxen, is driven to the Easter Mass where firecrackers and dove-shaped rockets are set off. Another prominent Easter ritual in Italy is the Barano d'Ischia, the customary dance and merino and the popular horse race. Delicacies and mouth-watering dishes are not too far behind when its Easter celebration time in the country. The festival also marks a luxurious and extravagant feast, wherein all the traditional delicacies are prepared. Agnellino, or the roasted baby lamb, forms the most important dish on the occasion. Another must-have in Italy during Easter are eggs, that are found in soups, such as Brodetto Pasquale (a broth-based Easter soup thickened with eggs) and various kinds of breads, such as Pannetone and Colomba (dove shaped). Ref:




May Day Eve Finland-Germany-Sweden 30-April W alpurgis Night (W alpurgisnacht) is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. Its celebration is associated with dancing and with bonfires.


The current festival is, in most countries that celebrate it, named after Saint Walburga (ca. 710-777/9). As Walburga was canonized on 1 May (ca. 870), she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars. The eve of May day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht ("Walpurga's night"). The German term is recorded in the 17th century, e.g. by Johannes Praetorius (1668), as S. Walpurgis Nacht or S. W alpurgis Abend. In earlier references, 1 May is more typically referred to as Jacobi Philippi (after James the Less and Philip, the apostles whose feast day falls on 1 May), e.g. in the Calendarium Perpetuum by Johannes Coler (1603, p. 89). The 17th century German tradition of a meeting of sorcerers and witches on May Day is influenced by the descriptions of Witches' Sabbaths in 15th and 16th century literature.

Finland In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is, along with New Year's Eve and Juhannus, the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland's towns and cities. The celebration, which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, typically centres on copious consumption of sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages. Student traditions, particularly those of the engineering students, are one of the main characteristics of Vappu. Since the end of the 19th cen tur y, t his t rad it ion al u ppe r-c las s fe ast has b een appropriated by university students. Many graduates from lukio, and thus traditionally assumed as university students or alumni, wear a cap. Most people think the caps of the engineering students are distinguished by pom-poms hanging from them; however, nurses and some other vocational school graduates also have caps with pom-poms. One tradition is to drink sima, a home-made mead, along with freshly cooked doughnuts. In the capital Helsinki and its surrounding region, fixtures include the capping (on 30 April at 6 pm) of the Havis Amanda, a nude female statue in Helsinki, and the biannually alternating publications of ribald matter called Äpy and Julkku, by engineering students of Aalto University School of Science and Technology. Both are sophomoric; but while Julkku is a standard magazine, Äpy is always a gimmick. Classic forms have included an Äpy printed on toilet paper and a bedsheet. Often, the magazine has been stuffed inside standard industrial packages, such as sardine cans and milk cartons. For most university students, Vappu starts a week before the day of celebration. The festivities also include a picnic on 1 May, which is sometimes prepared in a lavish manner, particularly in Ullanlinnanmäki-and Kaisaniemi for the Swedish-speaking population-in Helsinki city. The Finnish tradition is also a shadowing of the Socialist May Day parade. Expanding from the parties of the left, the whole of the Finnish political scene has adopted Vappu as the day to go out on stumps and agitate. This does not only include political activists: other institutions, such as the church, have followed suit, marching and making speeches. In Sweden, it is only the left-wing parties that use 1 May for political activities, while others observe the traditional festivities. Left-wing activists who were active in the 1970s still party on May Day. They arrange carnivals, and radio stations play leftist songs from the 1970s. Traditionally, 1 May is celebrated by a picnic in a park (Kaivopuisto or Kaisaniemi in the case of Helsinki). For most, the picnic is enjoyed with friends on a blanket with good food and spar kling wi ne. Some people, however , arrang e extremely lavish picnics with pavilions, white tablecloths, silver candelabras, classical music and extravagant food. The picnic usually starts early in the morning, where some of the previous night's party-goers continue their celebrations undaunted by lack of sleep. Some student organisations reserve areas where they traditionally camp every year. Student caps, mead, streamers and balloons have their role in the picnic, as well as in the celebration as a whole. Vappu/Valborg and Midsummer are Finland's two main holidays in the summer half of the year, on a par with Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve in the winter half.


In Germany, W alpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken and await the arrival of spring. Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day's eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods..." Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectreand for witches' revels which reputedly took place there on Walpurgis night. The Brocken Spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown onto a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken. Oxford Phrase & Fable. A scene in Goethe's Faust Part One is called "W alpurgisnacht", and one in Faust Part Two is called "Classical Walpurgisnacht". The last chapter of book five in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain is also called "Walpurgisnacht". In Edward Albee's 1962 play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', Act Two is entitled "Walpurgisnacht". In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called "Easter fires". In rural parts of southern Germany, it is part of popular youth culture to play pranks such as tampering with neighbours' gardens, hiding possessions, or spraying graffiti on private property. These pranks occasionally result in serious damage to property or bodily injury. In Berlin, traditional leftist May Day riots usually start at Walpurgis Night in the Mauerpark in Pre nzl au er B er g. Ther e i s a simil ar t ra dit ion in the Schanzenviertel district of Hamburg, though in both cases, the situation has significantly calmed down in the past few years.


In Sweden, Walpurgis Night (Swedish: Valborgsmässoafton or simply Valborg) has more or less become a de facto half holiday. The forms of celebration in Sweden vary in different parts of the country and between different cities. Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough writes, "The first of May is a great popular festival in the more midland and southern parts of Sweden. On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires, which should be lighted by striking two flints together, blaze on all the hills and knolls." One of the main traditions in Sweden is to light large bonfires, a custom that is most firmly established in Svealand and may have begun in Uppland during the 18th century: "At W alpurgis (Valborg), farm animals were let out to graze, and ever since the early 18th century bonfires (majbrasor, kasar) have been lit to scare away predators." In Southern Sweden, an older tradition, no longer practised, was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight, these were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task was to be paid in eggs. Singing traditional songs of spring is widespread throughout the country. The songs are mostly from the 19th century and were spread by students' spring festivities. The strongest and most traditional spring festivities are also found in the old university cities, suc h as Up psa la a nd Lu nd, wher e un der gra dua tes , graduates and alumni gather at events that last most of the day from early morning to late night on 30 April, or sista april ("The Last Day Of April") as it is called in Sweden. More modern Valborg celebrations, particularly among Uppsala students, oftentimes consist of enjoying a breakfast including champagne and strawberries. During the day, people gather in parks, drink considerable amounts of alcoholic beverages, barbecue and generally enjoy the weather, if it happens to be favourable. In Uppsala, since the mid-1970s, students also go rafting on Fyrisån through the centre of town with home-made, in fact quite easily wreckable, and often humorously decorated rafts. Several nations also hold "Champagne Races", where students go to drink and spray champagne or somewhat more modestly priced sparkling wine on each other. The walls and floors of the old nation buildings are covered in plastic for this occasion, as the champagne is poured around recklessly and sometimes spilled enough to wade in. Spraying champagne is, however, a fairly recent addition to the Champagne Race. The name derives from the students r

The public holiday of Liberation day is marked all around Italy in remembrance of the day in 1945. It recognizes the sacrifices made by the partisans of the Italian Resistance movement during World War II who not only fought the tr oops o f the F asci st reg ime un der Mussolini but the Nazisas well. It is the day that the Allied troops finally managed to liberate Italy.


F eedom Day Sou h A ca Ap

Liberation Day Celebrations In all towns and cities around Italy, the streets will be crowded with Italians celebrating and remembering those who gave their lives for the freedom of others. Marching bands, flags, political rallies, concerts are just some of the ways in which the country shows its respect for its fallen heroes and heroines. Most things are closed, including restaurants, shops and public services unlike other public holidays. One song represents the date of liberation 'Bella Ciao'. It is a folk song about a partisan who died for freedom and who had asked to be buried in the mountains under the shade of a beautiful flower.


Day of Resistance Slovenia 27 April The Day of Uprising or Resistance Day (Slovenia, dan upora proti okupatorju) is a holiday in Slovenia to commemorate the establishment of Slovenia's Liberation Front to fight the occupying forces of nearby European countries such as the Germany, Italy, and Hungary. The holiday is celebrated on the 27th of April every year. It is formerly known as Liberation Front Day and a considered a work-free day.

HISTORY Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, saw the birth of Liberation Front of the Slovenian People or the Anti-Imperialist Front on April 26, 1941 that was created to free the Slovenians from foreign occupation. This massive movement is driven by the some of the most notable Slovenians writers and literary critics during the protest such as Ferdo Kozakand and Josip Vidmar; the Communist Party of Slovenia, the dissident or breakaway group of Slovene Sokols, and some Christian Socialists. A quick civil war broke out in Spring of 1942 between the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People and the Slovene Home Guard which are anti-communist militia in the province of Ljubljana sponsored by the Axis powers. The former took over some portions of territories in Slovenia and contributed, to a large extend, the fall of Nazi Germany, and partly, the fascist Italy. The Liberation Front of the Slovenian People was renamed Socialist Alliance of the W orking People of Slovenia at the wake of the Second World War. During the holiday, events such as public speeches from surviving Slovenian guerillas and political groups gather at the Monument of Freedom, created by Jakob Savinek (1922-1961) to commemorate this momentous event which liberated the country from foreign rule during World War II. Ref:


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TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES Sinai's Liberation Day, although a national holiday, is only celebrated in Sinai. A national parade is or ga niz ed ev er y y ea r dur i ng t he ho liday commemorating the pulling out of Israel's troops from Sinai's soil. Government offices in Sinai are closed including schools during the holiday. Ref: m/holidays-around-the-world/egypt-eid-tahrir-sinai/

National Day of Mourning Canada-28 April The National Day of Mourning is obser ved in Canada on 28 April. It commemorates workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents. W or kers ' Memor ial Day was s tar ted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1984, and the Canadian Labour Congress officially declared it an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28. In December 1990, this day became a national obs er vanc e with the pass ing of the Workers Mourning Day Act, so that on April 28, 1991, it was officially the National Day of Mourning for per sons killed or injur ed in the workplace; making April 28, an official Workers' Mourning Day. Since its inception, the obs ervance has spread to over 80 countries around the world, but is known is most other countries as the Workers' Memorial Day. The date 28 April was pic ked bec aus e on that day in 1914, the W or kers Compensation Act received its third reading. In 2001 the International Labour Organization first observed W orld Day for Saf ety and Health at Work on this day. Typically the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill is flown at half-mast, and workers and employees observe this day in various ways including lighting candles, donning ribbons and blac k ar mbands, and obser ving moments of silence. The pur pos e of Day of Mour ning is twofold- to remember and honour those lives lost or injur ed and to r enew the c ommitment to improving health and safety in the workplace - to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases from work. Ref: wiki/National_Day_of_Mourning_(Canadian_observance)

Koninginnedag-Netherlands 30 April Koninginnedag or Queen's D ay is a national holiday in the N ether lands , the Nether lands Antilles, and Aruba on 30 April or on 29 April if the 30th is a Sunday. Queen's Day celebrates the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands and is supposed to be a day of national unity and "together ness " (D utc h: s aamhorigheid). The tr adition started on 31 August 1885, on the birthday of Princ ess W ilhelmina, later Queen Wilhelmina. Since 1949, after the accession of Queen Juliana, Queen's Day is Queen Juliana's birthday on 30 April. Although Queen Beatrix's birthday is on 31 January, she officially celebrates her birthday on 30 April. Queen's Day is known for its "fr eemarket" (Dutch: vrijmarkt) all over the country, where everybody is allowed to sell things in the streets. Other activities during Queen's Day ar e c hi ldr en's games , i ndi vi dual mus ic al performances, and mus ic concerts. The night before Queen's Day is celebrated too in most cities, and this is called Queen's Night (Dutch: Koninginnenacht). The lar gest celebration of Queen's Day is in Amsterdam, Queen's Night inThe H a gue and Queen' s D a nc e ( D utc h: Koninginnedans ) in R otter dam. D ur ing the celebrations as reference to the colours of the House of Orange-Nassau, people dress in the colour orange, which is sometimes called "orange craze" (Dutch: oranjegekte).

History The present-day celebration of Queen's Day was originally intended by the Liberal Union to be a day of national unity in the Netherlands. It started with the c elebr ation of the bir thday of Pr inc es s W ilhelmina on 31 August 1885. From 1885 to 1890 t he c elebr ation was ther ef or e c alled Pr i ns es s e da g or Pr inc e s s ' D ay , unti l t he Coronation of W ilhelmina in 1890. Since 31 Augus t 18 91 , the c elebr a ti on was c alled Koninginnedag or Queen's Day. The day was not only the birthday of the Queen, but also the last day of the summer vacation, which made the celebr ations popular with c hildren. Unlike her suc ces sors, Queen W ilhelmina almost never attended festivities on Queen's Day. In September 1948 Queen Juliana ascended to the Dutch throne and from 1949 onwards Queen's Day was on her birthday on 30 April. When 30 April is a Sunday, Queen's Day is celebrated on 29 April. On this day, Queen Juliana received a flower tribute at Soestdijk Palace, where she lived. The Queen and her family would stand on a dais and a long line of citizens would walk past, congratulating her and presenting her gifts and flowers. The parade was broadcast on national television from the 1950s. When more and more people received a day off from their work, Queen's Day became a national holiday of togetherness (Dutch: samenhorigheid). W hen Queen Beatr ix succ eeded her mother Queen Juliana on 30 April 1980, she decided to keep the holiday on 30 April as a tribute to her mother. Furthermore for practical reasons, the weather on her own birthday in the winter on 31 January tends to prohibit the traditional outdoor festivities, while 30 Apr il nor mally has better weather. In contrast to her mother, Juliana, Beatrix decided to go into the country to meet the people, rather than receiving people at her residence. Since her ascension to the throne, Queen Beatrix and her family visit one, two, or sometimes three places on Queen's day, where s he is shown regional versions of traditional Dutch dances and demonstrations of old crafts. In 2001, the Queen's Day visits of the Royal Family were canceled as there was worry about maintaining the quarantine measures to control an ongoing outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Queen Beatrix has visited the following cities over the years on Queen's Day: Ref:

Anzac Day Autralia-New Zealand 24-April Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Aus tr a li a a n d N e w Z e a l a nd , a nd i s commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Ar my C or ps ( ANZAC ) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tonga. It is no longer observed as a national holiday in Samoa. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action f ought by Aus tralian and New Zealand forces during the First W orld W ar. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand. This is a r ar e ins tance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name.

Commemoration In Aus tr alia and N ew Zealand, Anzac D ay c o mme mor a t i o n f e a t ur es s o le mn " D a wn Services", a tradition started in Albany, W estern Australia on 25 April 1923 and now held at war memorials around both countries, accompanied by thoughts of those lost at war to the ceremonial sounds of The Last Post on the bugle. The fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen (known as the "Ode of Remembrance") is often recited.


The Italian Resistance Movement


HISTORY Sinai has been a battle ground for many incoming military forces namely, the Ottoman, and British empires, and later the Israelis which invaded the area twice in 1956 (Suez War) and 1967 (Six Day War). Sinai also was the battlefront in the 1973 October W ar between Egypt and Israel. Egypt initially lost Sinai during the three wars it fought against Israel. Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was instrumental in r egaining Sinai when the two countries signed the Israel and Egypt peace treaty in 1979. It was signed in Washington DC in the US on March 26, 1979. This made Egypt officially recognize Israel as a country amidst criticisms and threat of military attack from member countries of the Arab League some including countries in Eur o pe s uc h a s H un ga r y, Bulga r ia , Czechoslovakia, and Albania. Sadat made intense negotiations to totally bring peace in the region and stop Egypt-Israel infighting in Sinai. He was awared Nobel Peace Prize together with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the signing of Camp David Accords and the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.


Liberation Day-Italy 25 April

Following Italy's armistice in September 1943, the Italian Resistance Movement grew - it included factions within most parts of the country and abroad. Over 200,000 Italians registered as formal members with 55,000 of them women. The involvement of women was a voluntary one, unlike the men for whom there were many consequences if they did not sign up. However, this did not mean that the women were less at risk from danger. They took part in very dangerous manoeuvres often on the German border as well as relaying messages and delivery everyday necessities such as food and clothing. Sometimes they also delivered weapons and played a key role in helping arm the Movement. They risked their lives, alongside those of their men, in order to fulfill their responsibilities and fight for the freedom of millions of Italians. Following the end of the war, the statistics show that their efforts were not without a price. ---------Approximately 45,000 Italian partisans were killed ---------Approximately 21,000 Italian partisans were wounded ---------Some15, 000 Italian civilians were killed ---------40,000 Italian soldiers died whilst incarcerated in concentration camps However, the contribution of women did not pass by without recognition and resulted in them securing a seat in Italian politics, which continues to this day. Liberation day is a day of remembrance as well as celebration and is recognised with all the glory and the respect that the Italian heroes and heroines of the Second World War deserve. Ref:

m m Sinai Liberation Day-Egypt 25-April Egypt's Eid Tahrir Sinai or Sinai Liberation Day is a public holiday in Egypt celebrated every 25th of Apr il year ly. The holiday commemorates the withdr awal o f Is r aeli tr oops f r om Sinai as stipulated in the 1979 Is r ael- Egypt Peace Accords. The holiday also commemorates the life of Anwar Sadat, the hero of the liberation of Sinai.

Anzac D ay is a national public holiday and is considered one of the most spiritual and solemn days of the year in Australia. Marches by veterans from all pas t wars, as well as current serving members of the Australian Defence Force and Reser ves, with allied veterans as well as the Australian Defence Force Cadets and Australian Air League and supported by members of Scouts Australia, Guides Australia, and other uniformed ser vice gr oups, ar e held in cities and towns nationwide. The Anzac Day Parade from each state capital is televised live with commentary. These events ar e generally followed by social gatherings of veterans, hosted either in a public house or in an R SL C lub, often including a tr aditional Aus tralian gambling game c alled two-up, which was an extremely popular pastime with ANZAC soldiers. The importance of this tradition is demonstrated by the fact that though most Aus tr alian states have laws forbidding gambling outside of designated licensed venues, on Anzac Day it is legal to play "two-up". Despite federation being proclaimed in Australia in 1901, many argue the "national identity" of Australia was largely forged during the violent conflict of World War I, and the most iconic event in the war for most Australians was the landing at Gallipoli. Dr. Paul Skrebels of the University of South Australia has noted that Anzac Day has continued to grow in popularity; even the threat of a terrorist attack at the Gallipoli site in 2004 did not deter s ome 15,000 Australians from making the pilgrimage to Turkey to commemorate the fallen ANZAC troops. Although commemoration events are always held on 25 April, most states and territories currently obs er ve a s ubstitute public holiday on the following Monday when Anzac Day falls on a Sunday, or on the following Tuesday when it falls on Easter Monday such as in 2011. This followed a 2008 meeting of the Council for the Australian Federation in which the states and territories made an in principle agreement to work towards making this a universal practice. However in 2009, the Legislative Council of Tasmania rejected a bill ame ndment t hat would have ena ble d the substitute holiday in that state. Ref:

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