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Freedom of Information Day U.S. - M a r 1 6

Freedom of Information Day is an annual event dedicated to raise the profile of the principles of openness and transparency in civil administration. The day is linked to the birthday of the fourth president of the USA James Madison, who was responsible for the introduction of the Bill of Rights, the constitutional document that protects individual freedom in US law. Freedom of Information Day is marked by conferences and conventions that explore and debate the subject of Freedom of Information (known as FOI). This is regarded as an important discussion area by the legal community, the press, policy makers, and public interest groups. The issues around FOI have changed considerably since the era of James Madison, and in contemporary politics new questions are being asked about what data national agencies holds on its citizens, how this data is obtained and how it is being used. As a subject of political debate, FOI has never been more topical.

St. Urho's Day Finland - M a r 1 6

St. Urho is a fictional Finnish saint who is said to have chased away the grasshoppers to save the grape crop. St. Urho's Day is traditionally March 15th, and there are widespread celebrations across northern Minnesota, and indeed, many places with populations of Finnish descent. Finland, Minnesota has long celebrated St. Urho's Day (March 13, 2010 marked the 35th annual celebration), but in 2007 the committee who had been putting on the event for years decided to retire. For a brief time it seemed that maybe Finland, Minnesota would no longer have the saint's celebration. However, Friends of the Finland Community decided to step in and continue the tradition. In Finland, MN, St. Urho's Day is celebrated the Saturday closest to March 15th. There is a beauty pageant, a parade, music, facepainting, food, snow sculptures, and other community festivities.

Camp Fire Boys & Girls Founders Day U.S. - M a r 1 7

Camp Fire USA, originally Camp Fire Girls of America, is a nationwide American youth organization that began in 1910. The organization has been co-ed since 1975 and welcomes youth from pre-kindergarten through age 21. Camp Fire was the first nonsectarian, multicultural organization for girls in America. Its programs emphasize camping and other outdoor activities for youth. Its informal roots extend back to 1910, with efforts by Mrs. Charles Farnsworth in Thetford, Vermont and Luther Gulick M.D. and his wife Charlotte Vedder Gulick on Sebago Lake, near South Casco, Maine. Camp Fire Girls, as it was known at the time, was created as the sister organization to the Boy Scouts of America. The organization changed its name in 1975 to Camp Fire Boys and Girls when membership eligibility was expanded to include boys. In 2001, the current name, Camp Fire USA, was adopted. Camp Fire's programs, including small group experiences, after-school programs, camping and environmental education, child care and service learning, build confidence in younger children and provide handson, youth driven leadership experiences for older youth.


In 1910, young girls in Thetford, Vermont, watched their brothers, friends, and schoolmates – all Boy Scouts – practice their parts in the community's 150th anniversary, which would be celebrated the following summer. The pageant's organizer, William Chauncey Langdon, promised the girls that they, too, would have an organized role in the pageant, although no organization such as Boy Scouts existed then for girls. Langdon consulted with Mrs. Charles Farnsworth, preceptress of Horace Mann School near Thetford, Vermont. Both approached Luther Halsey Gulick M.D. about creating a national organization for girls. Gulick introduced the idea to friends, among them G. Stanley Hall, Ernest Thompson Seton, and James West, executive secretary of the Boy Scouts. After many discussions and help from Gulick and his wife Charlotte, Langdon named the group of Thetford girls the Camp Fire Girls. In 1907, the Gulicks had established Camp WoHeLo, a camp for girls, on Lake Sebago, near South Casco, Maine. There were seventeen WoHeLo maidens at the camp in the summer of 1910. Both the Vermont group and the Maine group would lead to the creation of the organization formally organized as Camp Fire Girls in 1912. On March 22, 1911 Dr. Gulick organized a meeting "To consider ways and means of doing for the girls what the Boy Scout movement is designed to do for the boys". On April 10, 1911 James E. West issued a press release from Boy Scouts of America headquarters announcing that with the success of the Boy Scout movement a group of preeminent New York men and women were organizing a group to provide outdoor acitivites for girls, similar to those in the Boy Scout movement. Camp Fire Girls of America was incorporated in Washington, D.C, as a national agency on March 17, 1912. By December 1913, Camp Fire Girls' membership was an estimated 60,000, many of whom began attending affiliated summer camps. The Bluebird program was introduced that year for younger girls, offering exploration of ideas and creative play built around family and community. In 1989 the Bluebirds became Starflight. The first official Camp Fire handbook was published in 1914. During World War I Camp Fire Girls helped to sell over one million dollars inLiberty Bonds and over $900,000 in Thrift Stamps; 55,000 girls helped to support French and Belgian orphans, and an estimated 68,000 girls earned honors by conservation of food. The first local Camp Fire council was formed in 1918 in Kansas City, Mo. Later in 1977 Kansas City would become the national headquarters for Camp Fire. Camp Fire celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1960 with the "She Cares ... Do You?" program. During the project, Camp Fire planted more than two million trees, built 13,000 bird houses, and completed several other conservationoriented tasks. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Camp Fire Girls, in connection with their Golden Jubilee Convention celebration, a stamp designed by H. Edward Oliverwas issued featuring the Camp Fire Girls insignia. A new program, Junior Hi, wherein twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls explore new interests as a group and as individuals was created in 1962. This program name changed later to Discovery. That same year, the WoHeLo medallion became Camp Fire's highest achievement and honor. In 1969, Camp Fire Girls were allowed to be "Participants" in BSA's Explorer Posts (for boys 14 and older). This arrangement ended in 1971, when the BSA made Explorers a co-ed program. Membership was at 274,000 by 1974 in 1,300 communities of the United States. Camp Fire expanded its horizons in 1975, welcoming boys to participate in all Camp Fire activities. While boys were invited to Camp Fire Girls Horizon Conferences in the late 1960s and early 1970s, official membership was not offered them until 1975, when the organization became coeducational. Camp Fire decided boys and girls should be together in one organization, so they learn to play and work alongside each other and appreciate their similarities and differences in positive ways. Thus they understand that people from either gender can be their teachers, coworkers, supervisors, confidantes, coaches, and friends. In 1977, Camp Fire's head office moved to Kansas City from New York, where it is still located today. Teens in Action was introduced in 1988 as a one-time social issue campaign to energize the older teen program. Today Teens in Action, Camp Fire USA's service–learning program for teens, serves over 60,000 teens. The first Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, a call to action for all adults to communicate through letters their love and commitment to children, took place in 1997. In 2003 to further its commitment and inclusiveness, Camp Fire USA began translating its curricula to Spanish. As a way to excite and educate children in Pre-K, the Little Stars program was introduced in 2005. Designated for ages 3–5 Little Stars builds confidence and a sense of belonging in children. Gamma Phi Beta Sorority partners with Campfire USA to build resiliency in girls by volunteering at and fundraising for Campfire USA camps and programs.

Evacuation Day (Suffolk County) U.S. - M a r 1 7

March 17 is Evacuation Day, a holiday observed in Suffolk County (which includes the city of Boston) and also by the public schools in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. The holiday commemorates the evacuation of British forces from the city of Boston following the Siege of Boston, early in the American Revolutionary War. Schools and government offices (including some Massachusetts state government offices located in Suffolk County) are closed. If March 17 falls on a weekend, schools and government offices are closed on the following Monday in observance. It is the same day as Saint Patrick's Day, a coincidence that played a role in the establishment of the holiday.

Historical background The 11-month siege of Boston ended when the Continental

Army, under the command ofGeorge Washington, fortified Dorchester Heights in early March 1776 with cannons captured at Ticonderoga. British General William Howe, whose garrison and navy were threatened by these positions, was forced to decide between attack and retreat. To prevent what could have been a repeat of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe decided to retreat, withdrawing from Boston to Nova Scotia on March 17, 1776. The British evacuation was Washington's first victory of the war. It was also a huge morale boost for the Thirteen Colonies, as the city where the rebellion began was the first to be liberated.

of the holiday Establishment While Saint Patrick's Day parades have been held in Boston since 1876, Evacuation Day was not declared a holiday

in the city until 1901, amid interest in local history that also resulted in the construction of the Dorchester Heights Monument. The state made it a holiday in Suffolk County in 1938. The large Irish population of Boston at that time played a role in the establishment of the holiday.A 1941 law establishing the holiday in Suffolk County was signed in both black and green ink.

Observance activities Evacuation Day activities in the areas that observe the holiday are limited. Most events of note, like the annual

parade and politicians' breakfast in South Boston, are dominated by celebrations of Irish culture. The parade is officially designated the Saint Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day Parade.[citation needed] The Allied War Veterans of South Boston mark the day with a ceremony on Dorchester Heights. Another local holiday observing an event in the American Revolutionary War is Bunker Hill Day. State workers outside Suffolk County are allowed to choose any two days off in lieu of celebrating Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day on the observance days. The two holidays are generally not observed by the general public or private businesses. Some government services remain in operation, such as trash pickup in the City of Boston and all state Registry of Motor Vehicle offices. The MBTA runs a normal schedule but, due to special events, prohibits bicycles on the subway.

Moves to eliminate holiday

In 2010, the state legislature debated eliminating Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day as official holidays, citing the expense of giving state and local workers paid days off. The state's FY2011 budget requires all state and municipal offices in Suffolk County be open on both days.

St. Patrick's Day Worldwide - M a r 1 7

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig (The Festival of Patrick); Ulster-Scots: Saunt Petherick's Day) is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March in Dublin, Ireland. The tradition came about at the instigation of the Irish Protestant organisation The Knights of St. Patrick. The inaugural parade took place on 17 March 1783. In what has been described as an act of cultural re-orientation the British established a new focus of ritual and spectacle in the figure of St. Patrick, a pre-reformation saint who appealed to both the Roman Catholic and Irish Protestant traditions in Ireland (Cullen, 1997, p.67) Guarding the inaugural procession were the mainly Protestant Volunteers who were charged with keeping order on the streets and at the service in the Protestant St. Patrick's Cathedral. The subsequent celebrations took place in two venues: on 17 March in the ballroom (which the Lord Lieutenant Earl Temple II had renamed after St Patrick) of Dublin Castle, the ancient seat of British power in Ireland, in the old part of the city, and, on the 18 March, at the Rotunda, a site closely associated with the Volunteers leaders Lord Charlemont and the second Duke of Leinster (Dublin 1745-1922 Hospitals, Spectacle & Vice by G. A Boyd p95/6). It supposedly commemorates Saint Patrick(c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Roman Italian Christianity in Ireland. It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general. The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season. Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.

Saint Patrick Little is known of Patrick's early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into

a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest. In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

Wearing of the green

Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

In Ireland Saint Patrick's feast day, as a kind of national day, was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth

and tenth centuries. In later times he became more and more widely known as the patron of Ireland. Saint Patrick's feast day was finally placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick's Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. The church calendar avoids the observance of saints' feasts during certain solemnities, moving the saint's day to a time outside those periods. Saint Patrick's Day is occasionally affected by this requirement, when 17 March falls during Holy Week. This happened in 1940, when Saint Patrick's Day was observed on 3 April in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday, and again in 2008, where it was officially observed on 14 March (15 March being used for St. Joseph, which had to be moved from 19 March), although the secular celebration still took place on 17 March. Saint Patrick's Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160. (In other countries, St. Patrick's feast day is also 17 March, but liturgical celebration is omitted when impeded by Sunday or by Holy Week.)

In the United States

St. Patrick's Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognized and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily celebrated as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century, prior to the American Revolution.

Argentina In In Argentina, and especially in Buenos Aires, all-night long parties are celebrated in designated streets, since the

weather is comfortably warm in March. People dance and drink only beer throughout the night, until seven or eight in the morning, and although the tradition of mocking those who do not wear green does not exist, many people wear something green. In Buenos Aires, the party is held in the downtown street of Reconquista, where there are several Irish pubs; in 2006, there were 50,000 people in this street and the pubs nearby. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish community, the fifth largest in the world outside Ireland, take part in the organisation of the parties.

In Canada

One of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America occurs each year inMontreal, the flag of which has a shamrock in one of its corners. The parades have been held in continuity since 1824. In Quebec City, there was a parade from 1837 to 1926. The Quebec St-Patrick Parade returned in 2010, after an absence of more than 84 years. For the occasion, a portion of the NYPD Pipes and Drums were present as special guests. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys. In 1999, when the Maple Leafs played on Hockey Night in Canada(national broadcast of the NHL) on Saint Patrick's Day, they wore the green St. Patrick's day-themed retro uniforms. There is a large parade in the city's downtown core that attracts over 100,000 spectators. Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick's Day a national holiday in Canada. Currently, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the only jurisdiction in Canada where Saint Patrick's Day is a provincial holiday. In March 2009, the Calgary Tower had changed its top exterior lights to new green-coloured CFL bulbs just in time for Saint Patrick's Day. The lights were in fact part of the environmental non-profit organisation, Project Porchlight, and were Green to represent environmental concerns. Approximately 210 lights were changed in time for Saint Patrick's Day and almost resemble a Leprechaun's hat during the evening light. After a week, regular white CFLs took their place, saving the Calgary Tower around $12,000 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 104 metric tonnes in the process.

Anniversary of the death of President Said Mohamed Cheikh Comoros - M a r 1 8

Said Mohamed Cheikh (1904–16 March 1970 in Mitsamiouli, Comoros) was the head of the Government of Comoros from 1962 until his death in 1970.Cheikh served in the French National Assembly from 19461962 and He was also the president of the Parti Vert and of the Governing Council.

Biography Cheikh was born in 1904 but he completed his edu-

cation in Madagascar qualifying in 1926 in medicine. When he returned to the Comoros islands he was the first doctor. He worked as a doctor until the end of the second world war in 1945. In 1954, he was the diplomatic representative at United Nations General Assembly on behalf of France. Dr. Said Mohamed Cheikh was considered to be, in the period leading up to independence, the most important political leader in the islands. Cheikh was elected to be the first president of the Governing Council of the Comoros Chamber of Deputies in 1961, a post he held until he died of a heart attack in 1970 in the capital of Madagascar (Antananarivo). Cheikh was buried in Moroni in the Comoros.

Legacy In 1978, the government issued high value gold coins

worth 10,000 and 20,000 francs which bore the likeness of Cheikh. Postage stamps bearing his likeness were issued in 1973.

Marien Ngouabi Day Congo (Republic of) - M a r 1 8

Marien Ngouabi Day (alternative spelling, N’Gouabi) is celebrated in Republic of Congo every year on the 18th of March. Born on December 31, 1938 and died on March 18, 1977. Marien Ngouabi Day commemorates the life of Ngouabi who served as Congo’s military president from January 1, 1969 to March 18, 1977.


In 1961, Ngouabi attended military school in Ecole Militaire Préparatoire and École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in France. He returned to Congo a year after and was decorated Second Lieutenant while serving at Pointe-Noire. He was promoted to Lieutenant after only a year. The start of the conflict between Ngouabi and the then President of Congo, Alphonse Massamba-Débat, began in the refusal of Ngouabi to serve again at Pointe-Noire. His decision has caused to lose his current rank and demoted to a second class rank on July 29, 1968. Massamba-Débat also ordered the incarceration of Ngouabi during that date. However, little did he know that his action only fueled the growing discontent of the military in his administration, so that, two days later, the military freed Ngouabi. Ngouabi created the National Revolutionary Council (CNR) August 5, 1968 which effectively brought an end to Massamba-Débat’s governmental powers and forced him to resign in his post. Prime Minister Alfred Raoul briefly took the head of state position until December 31, 1968 when Ngouabi eventually served the presidency. Under his administration, Congolese Workers’ Party was the only political party that was legally allowed to exist. He also replaced the country’s name to People’s Republic of the Congo on December 31, 1969 during his time. Ngouabi’s reign of power ended when he was assassinated on March 18, 1977. One of those who believed to have taken part in the assassination was Massamba-Débat, who was the president of Congo from 1963 to 1968. He was charged for treason and executed on March 25, 1977. A day was dedicated to honor Ngouabi, hence, the annual celebration of Marien Ngouabi Day in the Republic of Congo on every 18th of March.

Battle of March - M a r 1 9 Dominican Republic

The Battle of Azua (Battle of March 19), was the first major battle of the Dominican War of Independence and was fought on March 19, 1844, at Azua de Compostela,Azua Province. A force of some 2,200 Dominican troops, a portion of the of The Army South, led by Pedro General Santana, defeated an outnumbering force of 10,000 troops of the Haitian Army led by SoufGeneral frand.

Saint Joseph's Day, March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph is in Western Christianity the principal feast day of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has the rank of asolemnity in the Roman Catholic Church; Catholics who follow the Missal of 1962 celebrate it as a first class feast. Previous to 1962 it was celebrated as a feast of the rank of double of the first class. It is a feast in the provinces of the Anglican Communion, and a feast or festival in the Lutheran Church. Saint Joseph's Day is the Patronal Feast day for Poland as well as for Canada, persons named Joseph, Josephine, etc., for religious orders, schools and parishes bearing his name, and for carpenters. It is also Father's Day in some Catholic countries, mainly Spain, Portugal, and Italy. March 19 was dedicated to Saint Joseph in several Western calendars by the tenth century, and this custom was established in Rome by 1479. Pope St. Pius V extended its use to the entire Roman Rite by his Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum (July 14, 1570). Since 1969,Episcopal Conferences may, if they wish, transfer it to a date outside Lent. Between 1870 and 1955, a feast was celebrated in honor of St. Joseph as Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, the latter title having been given to him by Pope Pius IX. Originally celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter with an octave, after Divino Afflatu of St. Pius X (see Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X), it was moved to the preceding Wednesday. The feast was also retitled The Solemnity of Saint Joseph. This celebration and its accompanying octave was abolished during the modernisation and simplification of rubrics under Pope Pius XII in 1955. It is still maintained by Catholics who follow the missal of 1962 or earlier missals. As the traditional holiday of the Apostles Ss. Philip and James, May 1, had faded from the memory of most Catholics by the mid-twentieth century, that of Joseph the Worker was created in order to coincide with the celebration of international Labour Day (May Day) in many countries. The feast of Ss. Philip and James, which had been celebrated on that date since the sixth century, was moved from its traditional place. In the new calendar published in 1969, the feast, which at one time occupied the highest possible rank in the Church calendar, was reduced to an optional Memorial, the lowest rank for a saint's day. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Joseph on the Sunday after Christmas.

Catholic traditions

March 19 always falls during Lent, and traditionally it is a day of abstinence. This explains the custom of St. Joseph tables being covered with meatless dishes. If the feast day falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the next available day, usually Monday, March 20, unless another solemnity (e.g., a church's patronal saint) falls on that day. Since 2008, if St Joseph's Day falls during Holy Week, it is moved to closest possible day before 19 March, usually the Saturday before Holy Week. This change was announced by the Congregation for Divine Worship in Notitiae March–April, 2006 (475-476, page 96) in order to avoid occurrences of the feasts of St. Joseph and the Annunciation both being moved to just after the Easter octave. This decision does not apply to those using the 1962 Missal according to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum; when that missal is used, its particular rubrics must be observed.


In Sicily, where St. Joseph is regarded by many as their Patron Saint, and many Italian-Americancommunities, thanks are given to St. Joseph ("San Giuseppe" in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of St. Joseph's Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is a St. Joseph's Day custom. In some communities it is traditional to wear red clothing and eat a Sicilian pastry known as a zeppola on St. Joseph's Day. Sweets are popular because St. Joseph is the patron saint of pastry chefs. Upon a typical St. Joseph's Day altar, people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, and cookies (as well as other meatless dishes), and zeppole. Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since St. Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. The altar usually has three tiers, to represent the trinity. On the Sicilian island of Lipari, The St. Joseph legend is modified somewhat, and says that sailors returning from the mainland encountered a fierce storm that threatened to sink their boat. They prayed to St. Joseph for deliverance, and when they were saved, they swore to honor the saint each year on his feast day. The Liparian ritual is somewhat changed, in that meat is allowed at the feast. Some villages like Belmonte Mezzagno used to burn wood and logs in squares on the day before St.Joseph, as thanksgiving to the Saint. This is called "A Vampa di San Giuseppe" (the Saint Joseph's bonfire). In Italy March 19 is also Father's Day.


This is one of the public holidays in Malta, known as Jum San Ġużepp. People celebrate mass in the morning, and in the afternoon go for apicnic. It is a liturgical feast in the localities of Kalkara, Manikata, Msida, and Qala, but the Maltese typical festa each of these localities celebrate it in a particular Sunday in summer. However, the city of Rabat celebrates the traditional Maltese feast on the 19th of March, where in the evening a procession is also held with the statue of St Joseph. On this day also the city of Żejtun celebrates the day, known as Jum iż-Żejtun (Zejtun's Day). In the past years the Żejtun Parish Church has celebrated these feast days with a procession with the statue of Saint Joseph.


In Spain, the day is a version of Father's Day. In some parts of Spain it is celebrated as Falles.

The Philippines:

Men’s & Soldiers Day Mongolia Mar 16

In Mongolia Mens & Soldiers Day is after 10 days of International Women's Day (8 March) on 18th of march. Anniversary of military establishment is celebrated in this day. Mongolian army majestically celebrates this day. Several years ago it was a day of people who is served for military service. Nowadays it has become a day of all men. Within the family, women give thanks to men.

Juárez was born on 21 March 1806 in a small adobe home in the village of San Pablo Guelatao,Oaxaca, located in the mountain range now known as the "Sierra Juárez". His parents, Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García, were peasants who both died of complications of diabetes when he was three years old. Shortly after, his grandparents died as well, and his uncle then raised him. He described his parents as "indios de la raza primitiva del país," that is, "Indians of the original race of the country." He worked in the corn fields and as a shepherd until the age of 12, when he walked to the city of Oaxaca de Juárez to attend school. At the time, he was illiterate and could not speak Spanish, only Zapotec. In the city, where his sister worked as a cook, he took a job as a domestic servant for Antonio Maza. A lay Franciscan, Antonio Salanueva, was impressed with young Benito's intelligence and thirst for learning, and arranged for his placement at the city's seminary. In 1843 Benito married Margarita Maza.

Political career

Juárez became a lawyer in 1834 and a judge in 1841. He was governor of the state of Oaxaca from 1847 to 1852; in 1853, he went into exile because of his objections to the corrupt military dictatorship of Antonio López de Santa Anna. He spent his exile in New Orleans, Louisiana, working in a cigar factory. In 1854 he helped draft the Plan of Ayutla as the basis for a liberal revolution in Mexico. Faced with growing opposition, Santa Anna resigned in 1855 and Juárez returned to Mexico. The winning party, the liberales (liberals) formed a provisional government under General Juan Álvarez, inaugurating the period known as La Reforma. The Reform laws sponsored by the puro (pure) wing of the Liberal Party curtailed the power of the Catholic Church and the military, while trying to create a modern civil society and capitalist economy based on the model of the United States. The Ley Juárez (Law of Juárez) of 1855 declared all citizens equal before the law and severely restricted the privileges of the Catholic Church. All the efforts ended on the promulgation of the new federalist Constitution of 1857. Juárez became Chief Justice, under moderado (moderate) president Ignacio Comonfort. The conservatives led by General Félix Zuloaga, with the backing of the military and the clergy, launched a revolt under the Plan of Tacubayaon 17 December 1857. Comonfort did not want to start a bloody civil war, so he contrived an an auto-coup d'état, dissolved the congress and appointed a new cabinet in which the conservative party would have some influence, assuming in real terms the Tacubaya plan. Juárez, Ignacio Olvera, and many other deputies and ministers were arrested. The rebels wanted the constitution revoked completely and another all-conservative government formed, so they launched another revolt on 11 January 1858 that proclaimed Zuloaga as president. Comonfort re-established the congress, freed all prisoners and resigned as president. Under the new constitution, the chief justice immediately became interim president until proper elections could be made. By this means, Juárez took office in late January 1858. Juárez then led the liberal side in the Mexican War of the Reform, first from Querétaro and later from Veracruz. In 1859, Juárez took the radical step of declaring the confiscation of church properties. In spite of the conservatives' initial military advantage, the liberals drew on support of regionalist forces. They had U.S. help under some terms of the controversial and never approved McLane–Ocampo Treaty. This turned the tide in 1860; the liberals recaptured Mexico City in January 1861. Juárez was finally properly elected president in March for another four-year term under the Constitution of 1857. Spain, Great Britain, and France reacted with a joint seizure of the Veracruz customs house in December 1861. Spain and Britain soon withdrew after realizing that the French Emperor Napoleon III used the episode as a pretext to launch the French intervention in Mexico in 1862, with plans to establish a conservative regime. The Mexicans won an initial victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, celebrated annually as Cinco de Mayo (May 5). The French advanced again in 1863, forcing Juárez and his elected government to retreat to the north, first to San Luis Potosí, then to the arid northern city of El Paso del Norte, present day Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and finally to the capital of the state, Chihuahua City, where he set up his cabinet and government-in-exile. There he would remain for the next two and a half years. Meanwhile Maximilian von Habsburg, a younger brother of the Emperor of Austria, was proclaimed Emperor Maximilian I of Mexicoon 20 April 1864 with the backing of Napoleon III and a group of Mexican conservatives. Before Juárez fled, Congress granted him an emergency extension of his presidency, which would go into effect in 1865, when his term expired, and last until 1867, when the last of Maximilian's forces were defeated. In response to the French intervention and the elevation of Maximilian, Juárez sent GeneralPlácido Vega y Daza to the U.S. State of California to gather Mexican American sympathy for Mexico's plight. Maximilian, who personally harbored liberal and Mexican nationalist sympathies, offered Juárez amnesty, and later the post of prime minister, but Juárez refused to accept either a government "imposed by foreigners" or a monarchy. A Mexican throne had existed long before him, founded by Emperor Augustin I of Mexico after independence had been achieved in 1821, but was abolished only a year later during a domestic crisis. With the American Civil War now over, President Andrew Johnson invoked the Monroe Doctrine to give diplomatic recognition to the Juárez government and supply weapons and funding to the Republican forces. When he could get no support in Congress, he supposedly had the Army "lose" some supplies (including rifles) "near" (across) the border with Mexico (Gen. Philip Sheridan wrote in his journal about how he "misplaced" about 30,000 muskets). Johnson would not even meet with representatives sent from Maximilian. Faced with this and a growing threat from Prussia, the French troops began pulling out of Mexico in late 1866. Mexican conservatism was a spent force and was less than pleased with the liberal Maximilian. In 1867 the last of the Emperor's forces were defeated and Maximilian was sentenced to death by a military court. Despite national and international pleas for amnesty, Juárez refused to commute the sentence, and Maximilian was executed by firing squadon 19 June 1867 at Cerro de las Campanas in Querétaro. His body was returned to Europe for burial. His last words had been, '¡Viva México!' Juárez was controversially re-elected President in 1867 and 1871, using the office of the presidency to ensure electoral success and suppressing revolts by opponents such as Porfirio Díaz. Benito Juárez died of a heart attack in 1872 while reading a newspaper social section at his desk in the National Palace in Mexico City. He was succeeded by Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, his foreign minister.


Today Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples, his antipathy toward organized religion, especially the Catholic Church, and what he regarded as defense of national sovereignty. The period of his leadership is known in Mexican history as La Reforma del Norte (The Reform of the North), and constituted a liberal political and social revolution with major institutional consequences: the expropriation of church lands, the subordination of army to civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, and also the almost-complete disenfranchisement of bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers. La Reforma represented the triumph of Mexico's liberal, federalist, anti-clerical, and pro-capitalist forces over the conservative, centralist, corporatist, and theocratic elements that sought to reconstitute a locally-run version of the old colonial system. It replaced a semi-feudal social system with a more market-driven one, but following Juárez's death, the lack of adequate democratic and institutional stability soon led to a return to centralized autocracy and economic exploitation under the regime of Porfirio Díaz. The Porfiriato (Porfirist era), in turn, collapsed at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. 21 March is a day set to commemorate Juárez. This date has become a national holiday in Mexico, which has continued to grow in acceptance within Mexican culture. In Washington, D.C., there is a monument by Enrique Alciati, a gift to the US from Mexico.

Independence Day Namibia - M a r 2 1

In the Philippines, many families keep a tradition in which an old man, a young lady, and a small boy are chosen from among the poor and are dressed up as St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and the child Jesus, respectively. They are then seated around a table set with the family's best silverware and china, and served a variety of courses, sometimes being literally spoon-fed by the senior members of the family, while theNovena to St. Joseph is recited at a nearby temporary altar.

United States of America:

In New Orleans, Louisiana, which was a major port of entry for Sicilian immigrants during the late 19th century, the Feast of St. Joseph is a city-wide event. Both public and private St. Joseph's altars are traditionally built. The altars are usually open to any visitor who wishes to pay homage. The food is generally distributed to charity after the altar is dismantled. There are also parades in honor of St. Joseph and the Italian population of New Orleans which are similar to the many marching clubs and truck parades of Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day. Tradition in New Orleans also holds that by burying a small statue of St. Joseph upside down in the front yard of a house, that house will sell more promptly. In addition to the above traditions, some groups of Mardi Gras Indiansstage their last procession of the season on the Sunday nearest to St. Joseph's Day otherwise known as "Super Sunday," after which their costumes are dismantled. In the Mid-Atlantic regions, Saint Joseph's Day is traditionally associated with the return of anadromous fish, such as striped bass, to their natal rivers, such as the Delaware. Saint Joseph's Day is also celebrated in other American communities with high proportions of Italians such as New York City; Utica, New York; Buffalo; Kansas City, MO; Chicago;Gloucester, Mass.; and Providence, Rhode Island, where observance (which takes place just afterSaint Patrick's Day) often is expressed through "the wearing of the red", i.e., wearing red clothing or accessories similar to the wearing of green on Saint Patrick's Day. At St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Staten Island, NY, it was tradition that the former principal, Msgr. JOSEPH Ansaldi, gave free ice cream to all students named Joseph. St. Joseph's Day is also the day when the swallows are traditionally believed to return to Mission San Juan Capistrano after having flown south for the winter.

Independence Day Tunisia - M a r 2 0

Tunisia officially the Tunisian Republic (Arabic: ‫ةيسنوتلا ةيروهمجلا‬‎ alJumhūriyyah at-Tūnisiyyah), is the northernmost country in Africa. It is an Arab Maghrebcountry and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area is almost 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi), with an estimated population of just over 10.4 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the northeast. Tunisia is the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline. Tunisia has relations with both the European Union—with whom it has an association agreement—and the Arab world. Tunisia is also a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, and the African Union. Tunisia has established close relations with France in particular, through economic cooperation, industrial modernization, and privatisation programs.


The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis; a city and capital of modern-day Tunisia. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, evolved from French Tunisie. The French derivative Tunisie was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages remained untouched, such as the Russian Туни́с (Tunís) and Spanish Túnez. In this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic ‫سنوت‬, and only by context can one tell the difference. The name Tunis can be attributed to different origins. It can be associated with the Phoenician goddess Tanith (aka Tunit), ancient city ofTynes or to the Berber root ens which means "to lie down".

History The Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert

both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Punic city of Carthage, then as the Roman province of Africa, which was known as the "bread basket" of Rome. Later, Tunisia was occupied by Vandals during the 5th century AD, Byzantines in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century. Under the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia was known as "Regency of Tunis". It passed under French protectorate in 1881. After obtaining independence in 1956 the country took the official name of the "Kingdom of Tunisia" at the end of the reign of Lamine Bey and the Husainid Dynasty. With the proclamation of the Tunisian Republic on July 25, 1957, the nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba became its first president. Roman amphitheater in El Djem The country was led by the authoritarian government of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from 1987 to 2011 before he fled during the Tunisian revolution. Tunisia now finds itself as an export-oriented country in the process of liberalizing and privatizing an economy that, while averaging 5% GDP growth since the early 1990s, has suffered from corruption benefiting politically connected elites.


Farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescent region about 5000 BC, and spread to the Maghreb by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia then were ancestors of today's Berber tribes.


It was believed in ancient times that Africa was originally populated by Gaetulians and Libyans, both nomadic peoples. The demigod Hercules died in Spain and his polyglot eastern army was left to settle the land, with some migrating to Africa. Persians went to the West and inter married with the Gaetulians and became the Numidians. The Medes settled and were known as Mauri latter Moors. Sallust's version of African history must be considered with reservations. The Numidians and Moors belonged to the race from which the Berbers are descended. The translated meaning of Numidian is Nomad and indeed the people were semi-nomadic until the reign of Masinissa of the Massyli tribe.

Phoenician colonies and Punic era:

At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes. Its coast was settled byPhoenicians starting as early as the 10th century BC. The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenician and Cypriot settlers. Legend says that Dido from Tyre, now in modern day Lebanon founded the city in 814 BC, as retold by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from the Phoenicians. After a series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal and Tanit. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet, which was altered in Roman times. A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War, one of a series of wars withRome, nearly crippled the rise of Roman power. From the conclusion of the Second Punic War in 202 BC, Carthage functioned as a client state of the Roman Republic for another 50 years.

Roman era:

Following the Battle of Carthage in 149 BC, Carthage was conquered by Rome. After the Roman conquest, the region became one of the main granaries of Rome and was fully Latinized. The Romans controlled nearly all of modern Tunisia from 149 BC until the area was conquered by the Vandals in the 5th century AD, only to be reconquered by Roman general Belisarius in the 6th century, during the rule of Emperor Justinian I. During the Roman period the area of what is now Tunisia enjoyed a huge development. The economy, mainly during the Empire, boomed: the prosperity of the area depended on agriculture. Called the Granary of the Empire, the area of actual Tunisia and coastal Tripolitania, according to one estimate, produced one million tons of cereals each year, onequarter of which was exported to the Empire. Additional crops included beans, figs, grapes, and other fruits. By the 2nd century, olive oil rivalled cereals as an export item. In addition to the cultivations, and the capture and transporting of exotic wild animals The Great Mosque of Al-Zayfrom the western mountains, the principal production and exports in- tuna cluded the textiles, marble, wine, timber, livestock, pottery such as African Red Slip, and wool. There was even a huge production of mosaics and ceramics, exported mainly to Italy, in the central area of El Djem (where there was the second biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire). During the 5th and 6th Centuries (from 430 to 533 AD), the Germanic Vandals invaded and ruled over a kingdom in North Africa that included present-day Tripoli. They were defeated by a combined force of Romans and Berbers.

Middle Ages:

Around the second half of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century, the region was conquered by ArabMuslims, who founded the city of Kairouan, which became the first city of Islam in North Africa. In this period, the Great Mosque of Kairouan (also called the Mosque of Uqba) was erected in 670 AD. The Great Mosque of Kairouan is considered the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the western Islamic world as well as a great masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture. Tunisia flourished under Arab rule as extensive irrigation installations were constructed to supply towns with water and promote agriculture (especially olive production). This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new Palace cities such as al-Abassiya (809) and Raqadda (877). Successive Muslim dynasties ruled Tunisia (Ifriqiya at the time) with occasional instabilities caused mainly by Berber rebellions; of these reigns we can cite the Aghlabids(800–900) and Fatimids (909–972). After conquering Cairo, Fatimids abandoned North Africa to the local Zirids (Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algera, 972–1148) and Hammadid (Central and eastern Algeria, 1015–1152). North Africa was submerged by their quarrels; political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture. In addition, the invasion of Tunisia by Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize North Africa, sent the region's urban and economic life into further decline.The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert. The coasts were held briefly by the Normans of Sicily in the 12th century, but following the Arab reconquest the last Christians in Tunisia disappeared either through forced conversion or emigration. In 1159–1160, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohad caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber Hafsids (c.1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered. During the reign of the Hafsid dynasty, fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states. In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold (see: Barbary States).

Ottoman rule:

In the last years of the Hafsids, Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the Ottoman Empire. Under its Turkishgovernors, the Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The Hussein dynasty of Beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957. The Maghreb suffered from the deadly combination of plague and famine. The great epidemics ravaged Tunisia in 1784–1785, 1796–1797 and 1818–1820.

French era:

In 1869, Tunisia declared itself bankrupt and an international financial commission took control over its economy. In 1881, using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into Algeria, the French invaded with an army of about 36,000 and forced the Bey to agree to the terms of the 1881 Treaty of Bardo (Al Qasr as Sa'id). Bab Souika in Tunis c. 1899 With this treaty, Tunisia was officially made a French protectorate, over the objections of Italy. Under French colonization, European settlements in the country were actively encouraged; the number of French colonists grew from 34,000 in 1906 to 144,000 in 1945. In 1910 there were 105,000 Italians in Tunisia.

World War II:

In 1942–1943, Tunisia was the scene of the third major operations by the Allied Forces (the British Empire and the United States) against the Axis Powers (Italy and Germany) during World War II. The main body of the British army, advancing from their victory in the Battle of el-Alamein under the command of British Field Marshal Montgomery, pushed into Tunisia from the south. The U.S. and other allies, following their invasions of Algeria and Morocco in Operation Torch, invaded from the west. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander of the Axis forces in North Africa, had hoped to inflict a similar defeat on the Allies in Tunisia as German forces did in the Battle of France in 1940. Before the battle for el-Alamein, the Allied forces had been forced to retreat toward Egypt. As such, the battle for Tunisia was a major test for the Allies. They concluded that in order to defeat Axis Powers they would have to coordinate their actions and quickly recover from the inevitable setbacks the German-Italian forces would inflict. On February 19, 1943, Rommel launched an attack on the American forces in the Kasserine Passregion of Western Tunisia, hoping to inflict the kind of demoralizing and alliance-shattering defeat the Germans had dealt to Poland, Britain and France. The initial results were a disaster for the United States; the area around the Kasserine Pass is the site of many U.S. war graves from that time. However, the American forces were ultimately able to reverse their retreat. With a critical strategy in tank warfare, and having determined that encirclement was feasible, the British, Australian and New Zealand forces broke through the Mareth Line on March 20, 1943. The Allies subsequently linked up on April 8, and on May 12, the German-Italian Army in Tunisia surrendered. Thus, the United States, United Kingdom, Australian, Free French, and Polish forces (as well as others) were able to win a major battle as an Allied army. The battle, though overshadowed by Stalingrad, represented a major Allied victory of World War II largely because it forged the Alliance that would one day liberate Western Europe.


Tunisia achieved independence from France in 1956 led by Habib Bourguiba, who later became the first Tunisian President. In November 1987, doctors declared Bourguiba unfit to rule and, in a bloodless coup d'état, Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the presidency. He and his family subsequently were accused of corruption and plundering the country's money and fled into exile in 2011.

2010–2011 Tunisian revolution:

The Tunisian revolution is an intensive campaign of civil resistance, including a series of street demonstrations taking place in Tunisia. The events began when Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old Tunisian street vendor, set himself afire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation that was inflicted on him by a municipal official. This act became the catalyst for mass demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death on 4 January 2011, ultimately leading longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power. Street demonstrations and other unrest have continued to the present day. International Tunisian organizations, like the Tunisian Community Center The first Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba paying in the US, has supported the protesters' aims tribute to Tunisian national flag. toward democracy as well, in addition to TCC's efforts to freeze Ben Ali's assets abroad. The demonstrations were precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, a lack of freedom of speech and other political freedoms and poor living conditions. The protests constituted the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia in three decades and have resulted in scores of deaths and injuries, most of which were the result of action by police and security forces against demonstrators. Labour unions were said to be an integral part of the protests. The protests inspired similar actions throughout the Arab world; the Egyptian revolution began after the events in Tunisia and also led to the ousting of Egypt's longtime president Hosni Mubarak; furthermore, protests have also taken place in Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Mauritania, Pakistan and also Libya – where a civil war broke out – as well as elsewhere in the wider North Africa and Middle East.

World Frog Day Worldwide - M a r 2 0

ernment officials usually conduct wreath laying ceremony on monuments dedicated to the late president. Marien Ngouabi Day is one of the most important national holidays in Congo. Since it is a public holiday, it’s work-free.

March 18th is the official holiday on which we celebrate the existence of our National Anthem “Aruba Dushi Tera” and our blue, yellow, red and white National Flag. This year we are celebrating the 36th anniversary. Driving around on the main roads especially from the hotels to Santa Cruz one finds open stands at or next to the houses displaying printed t-shirts, bandana, banners, and caps with Aruban flag theme available for purchase. Preparations already started for the Annual Song Festival "Un Canto pa Aruba su Himno y Bandera" where local talents; kids and adults can romance the flag with their compositions with their muse wholly infused with love for the island Aruba. This year the festival will be taking place at the Community Center in Tanki Leendert for 3 days in a row. Each year brings forward brand new talents which is very positive. The 3 days will take on the weekend before the Flag and Anthem day. The grand final, which judges will be selecting a winner takes place on Sunday. During the festival all sorts of attractions come the fore including stands selling local crafts, stands with yummy Aruban snacks and sweets, stands with typical Aruban food, and for the little ones there will be a special recreational corner with entertainment for them to enjoy. The stands will open at 6:00 pm and the festival will start at 7:30 pm right after the official hoisting of the Aruban flag to the tune of the national anthem played and sung and a special homage will be dedicated to 3 people this time, Mr.Rincones, Dhaddy Brokke and Steve Geerman who are all wellknown locally in the musical sphere. The best part of all - entrance fee is just a smile! On March 18th there is a lot to do throughout the island. Besides the official celebrations, many community centers and sports clubs host events that are open to the public. These take place outdoors and are usually at no charge. The programs feature competitions and games for visitors, sports tournaments, lively folkloric dance performances and music presentations. Bolas Criollas is a popular sport tournament among locals and it is not missed on this special day. This is a traditional team sport coming from Venezuela, and very popular here during national holidays. Due to constant immigration from Venezuelans to Aruba in the early years this sport has been adopted and modified a little over the years. Its origins can be traced back to traditional European sports, such as Boccia and Pétanque. Another very well-received tradition on this day is the event with competitions and games called “Spel zonder grenzen” (a Dutch word meaning “games without boundaries”) which are a staple part of the repertoire during national holidays and also the famous fair which is very well-liked by children. The "games without boundaries" will feature pillow fights, climbing a waxed pole, sack races and lots more. Centro di Bario Brazil this year is organizing a fun family event "Hari y Ser Hari" (Laugh and Be Laughed at) which includes games like Parcheesi, mental gymnastics, mimics, and dance competitions. This is a 2 day event that will start on the eve of the Aruban Flag and Anthem Day. Everyone is welcome, great assortment of food and drinks available. In Oranjestad, Plaza Betico Croes serves as center stage for the traditional folkloric celebration with musical presentations by the winners of the song festival. Traditional food and goodies will also be available. It is fun to just get in a car and drive around visiting these places to celebrate this special day with us. You might even be able to admire the “Baile di Cinta” (Ribbon Dance). This dance participation is for male and female dancers alike sporting their patriotic colored costumes. They dance around a pole weaving or braiding ribbons in the colors of the national flag which are attached to the top of the pole. They dance to the music of the Caha di Orgel, to the beat of the Waltz, Danza, Tumba or Mazurka. How the dance is performed is very simple yet requires skill and timing. The end of the ribbon is fastened at the top of the pole and the other end is held by the dancers. During the dance the dancers swing around the pole braiding the ribbons. The ribbons will cover the pole over a certain length in beautiful colors and pattern and when the ribbons are getting too short to dance with; the dancers will turn around and dance in reverse order. The Historical Museum at the Willem III tower in town will have a full day event featuring Aruban traditions and culture, with stands full of goodies, arts and crafts. A not to be missed on March 18th is the sound and enthusiasm of Harley Davidson Motorcycles and Classic Cars clubs year after year they parade through the streets of Aruba waving the Aruba flag until sun sets. The food and treats presented at the various sites include Keri Keri (minced shark), Pisca Tempera (pickled fish) Cabrito stoba (Kid stew), Sanger Yena, Cocada (a sweet treat made of sugar and coconut) and sweet bread like drigidek, panlefi, mancaron and much more. Though attendance is high everywhere, activities and happenings are never uncomfortably crowded. The patriotism shown is healthy and proud. Flag Day is a time of celebration and fun for all.

Benito Juárez (Spanish pronunciation: 21 March 1806 – 18 July 1872) born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin fromOaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, then 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872. He resisted the French occupation of Mexico, overthrew the Second Mexican Empire, restored the Republic, and used liberal efforts to modernize the country.

Early life

St. Joseph's Day Worldwide - M a r 1 9

Celebrations A special ceremony is held to commemorate the life of Ngouabi and his various contributions in the country. Gov-

National Flag & Anthem Day Aruba - M a r 1 8

Birthday of Benito Ju rez Mexico - M a r 2 1

Frog Day: Is an annual event focused on assisting scientific study and captive maintenance of Dendrobatid frogs and other amphibians through the exchange of knowledge, and the promotion of captive breeding and husbandry of these remarkable frogs (and other amphibians).


In 1995, Charles "Chuck" Powell and his family created and hosted the very first Frog Day in San Jose, California. Chuck and his family hosted the event for 10 years in a row, and then decided it was time for the event to travel! American Frog Day (AFD) currently moves to a different city each year where it is hosted by a local sponsor. Those ten years in San Jose allowed for the first time people from around the country to gather together and share their passion for Dendrobatid frogs. Many times meeting each other for the first time in person. Buying and selling Dart Frogs and related supplies was not the only reason enthusiasts attended. The event also allowed attendees the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, practical advise, and to learn more on many aspects of Dendrobatid and amphibian husbandry. Those days spent at the San Jose Frog Days have become special memories for many people. The tradition continued at the 12th American Frog Day (AFD) held in Mesa Arizona in 2006 hosted by Arizona Dendrobate Ranch ( Some of the leading Dart Frog breeders in America were in attendence and Dr. Kevin Wright presented on Amphibian Nutrition & The importance of treating sick amphibians for chytrid. His presentation was only one of many great ones that contributed to an incredible day. AZDR and all those who supported them and the event did an outstanding job, and deserve many thanks. Today American Frog Day has become an annual tradition that each year many people look forward to. Something that would not be possible if not for Chuck's devotion, motivation and passion for Dart Frogs.

Human Rights Day South Africa - M a r 2 1

In South Africa, Human Rights Day is a public holiday celebrated on the 21st of March each year. This day commemorates the lives that have been lost to fight for democracy and equal human rights in South Africa during the Apartheid regime (a regime which embraced racial discrimination). The Sharpeville Massacre during Apartheid on 21 March 1960 is the particular reference day for this public holiday.

Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Worldwide - M a r 2 1

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration inSharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws. Proclaiming the day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

Emancipation Day Puerto Rico - M a r 2 2

Em a n ci p a ti o n D a y i s ce l e b r a te d i n m a n y fo rm e r Bri ti s h c o l o n i e s i n th e C a ri b b e a n a n d a re a s o f th e U n i te d Sta te s o n v a r i o u s d a te s i n o b s e rv a n c e o f th e e ma n ci p a ti o n o f s l a v e s o f Afr i c a n o ri g i n . It i s a l s o o b s e r ve d i n o th e r a re a s i n re g a r d to th e a b o l i ti o n o f s e rfd o m o r o th e r fo r m s o f s e r vi tu d e . Pu e r to R i c o ce l e b ra te s Em a n ci p a ti o n D a y, a n o ffi c i a l h o l i d a y, o n M a rc h 2 2 .

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia (Afrikaans: Republiek van Namibië, German:Republik Namibia), is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek. Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community(SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations. The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen, Damara, andNamaqua, and since about the 14th century AD by immigrating Bantu who came with theBantu expansion. It became a German Imperial protectorate in 1884 and remained a German colony until the end of World War I. In 1920, the League of Nations mandated the country to South Africa, which imposed its laws and, from 1948, its apartheid policy. Uprisings and demands by African leaders led the UN to assume direct responsibility over the territory. It recognized the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) as the official representative of the Namibian people in 1973. Namibia, however, remained under South African administration during this time. Following internal violence, South Africa installed an interim administration in Namibia in 1985. Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa in 1990, with the exception of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands, which remained under South African control until 1994. Namibia has a population of 2.1 million people and a stable multi-party parliamentarydemocracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the backbone of Namibia's economy. Given the presence of the arid Namib Desert, it is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Approximately half the population live below the international poverty line, and the nation has suffered heavily from the effects of HIV/AIDS, with 15% of the adult population infected with HIV in 2007.


The name of the country is derived from the Namib Desert, considered to be the oldest desert in the world. Before its independence in 1990, the area was known first as German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika), then as South-West Africa, reflecting the colonial occupation by the Germans and the South Africans (technically on behalf of the British crown reflecting South Africa's dominion status within the British Empire).

Pre-colonial period:

The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen, Damara, Nama, and since about the 14th century AD, by immigrating Bantu who came with the Bantu expansion from central Africa. From the late 18th century onwards, Orlam clans from the Cape Colony crossed the Orange River and moved into the area that today is southern Namibia. Their encounters with the nomadic Nama tribes were largely peaceful. The missionaries accompanying the Orlams were well–received by them, the right to use waterholes and grazing was granted against an annual payment. On their way further northwards, however, the Orlams encountered clans of the Herero tribe at Windhoek, Gobabis, and Okahandja which were less accommodating. The Nama-Herero War broke out in 1880, with hostilities ebbing only when Imperial Germany deployed troops to the contested places and cemented the status quo between Nama, Orlams, and Herero. The first Europeans to disembark and explore the region were the Portuguese navigators Diogo Cão in 1485 and Bartolomeu Dias in 1486; still the region was not claimed by the Portuguese crown. However, like most of Sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia was not extensively explored by Europeans until the 19th century, when traders and settlers arrived, principally from Germany and Sweden. In the late 19th centuryDorsland trekkers crossed the area on their way from the Transvaal to Angola. Some of them settled in Namibia instead of continuing their journey, even more returned to South-West African territory after the Portuguese tried to convert them to Catholicism and forbade their language at schools.

German rule:

Namibia became a German colony in 1884 to forestall British encroachment and was known as German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika). However, the Palgrave mission by the British governor in Cape Town had determined that only the natural deep-water harbour of Walvis Bay (Walfisch in German, Walvis in Afrikaans, Whale in English) was worth occupying – and this was annexed to the Cape province of British South Africa. From 1904 to 1907, the Herero and the Namaqua took up arms against the Germans and in the subsequentHerero and Namaqua genocide, 10,000 Nama (half the population) and approximately 65,000 Hereros (about 80% of the population) were killed. The survivors, when finally released from detention, were subjected to a policy of dispossession, deportation, forced labor, racial segregation and discrimination in a system that in many ways anticipated apartheid. Most Africans were confined to so-called native territories, which later under South African rule post-1949 were turned into "homelands" (Bantustans). Indeed, some historians have speculated that the German genocide in Namibia was a model used by Nazis in the Holocaust, but most scholars say that episode was not especially influential for the Nazis, who were children at the time. However, the father of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring was a one-time German colonial governor of Namibia and has a street named after him in Swakopmund. The memory of genocide remains relevant to ethnic identity in independent Namibia and to relations with Germany.

South African rule and the struggle for independence:

South Africa occupied the colony in 1915 after defeating the German force during World War I and administered it as a League of Nationsmandate territory from 1919. Although the South African government desired to incorporate 'SouthWest Africa' into its territory, it never officially did so, although it was administered as the de facto 'fifth province', with the white minority having representation in the whites-only Parliament of South Africa, as well as electing their own local administration the SWA Legislative Assembly. The South African government also appointed the SWA administrator, who had extensive powers. Following the League's supersession by the United Nations in 1946, South Africa refused to surrender its earlier mandate to be replaced by a United Nations Trusteeship agreement, requiring closer international monitoring of the territory's administration (along with a definite independence schedule). The Herero Chief's Council submitted a number of petitions to the UN calling for it to grant Namibia independence during the 1950s. During the 1960s, when European powers granted independence to their colonies and trust territories in Africa, pressure mounted on South Africa to do so in Namibia. In 1966 the International Court of Justice dismissed a complaint brought by Ethiopia and Liberia against South Africa's continued presence in the territory, but the U.N. General Assembly subsequently revoked South Africa's mandate, while in 1971 the International Court of Justice issued an "advisory opinion" declaring South Africa's continued administration to be illegal. In response to the 1966 ruling by the International Court of Justice, South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) military wing,People's Liberation Army of Namibia, a guerrilla group began their armed struggle for independence, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its occupation of Namibia, in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. During the South African occupation of Namibia, white commercial farmers, most of whom came as settlers from South Africa and represented 0.2% of the national population, owned 74% of arable land. Outside the central-southern area of Namibia (known as the "Police Zone" since the German era and which contained the main towns, industries, mines and best arable land), the country was divided into "homelands", the version of South African bantustan applied to Namibia, although only a few were actually established due to non-cooperation by most indigenous Namibians. After many unsuccessful attempts by the UN to persuade South Africa to agree to the implementation of UN Resolution 435, which had been adopted by the UN Security Council in 1978 as the internationally-agreed decolonisation plan for Namibia, transition to independence finally started in 1988 under the tripartite diplomatic agreement between South Africa, Angola and Cuba, with the USSR and the USA as observers, under which South Africa agreed to withdraw and demobilise its forces in Namibia and Cuba agreed to pull back its troops in southern Angola sent to support the MPLA in its war for control of Angola with UNITA. A combined UN civilian and peace-keeping force under Finnish diplomatMartti Ahtisaari supervised the military withdrawals, return of SWAPO exiles and the holding of Namibia's first-ever one-person one-vote election for a constituent assembly in October 1989. This was won by SWAPO although it did not gain the two-thirds majority it had hoped for; the South African-backed Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) became the official opposition. Following the adoption of the Namibian Constitution, including entrenched protection for human rights, compensation for state expropriations of private property, an independent judiciary and an executive presidency (the constituent assembly became the national assembly), the country officially became independent on 21 March 1990. Sam Nujoma was sworn in as the first President of Namibia watched by Nelson Mandela (who had been released from prison shortly beforehand) and representatives from 147 countries, including 20 heads of state.Walvis Bay was ceded to Namibia in 1994 upon the end of Apartheid in South Africa.

After independence:

Since independence Namibia has successfully completed the transition from white minority apartheid rule to parliamentary democracy.Multiparty democracy was introduced and has been maintained, with local, regional and national elections held regularly. Several registered political parties are active and represented in the National Assembly, although Swapo Party has won every election since independence.The transition from the 15-year rule of President Sam Nujoma to his successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2005 went smoothly. Namibian government has promoted a policy of national reconciliation and issued an amnesty for those who had fought on either side during the liberation war. The civil war in Angola had a limited impact on Namibians living in the north of the country. In 1998, Namibia Defence Force(NDF) troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) contingent. In August 1999, a secessionist attempt in the northeastern Caprivi region was successfully quashed.

Nowruz Worldwide - M a r 2 1

Nowrūz is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the "Persian New Year". Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent and has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia,Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrianholiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals. Originally being a Zoroastrian festival, and the holiest of them all, Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin. Since theAchaemenid era the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox. The Jewish festival of Purim is probably adopted from the Persian New Year. It is also a holy day for Sufis, Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, and adherents of the Bahá'í Faith. The term Nowruz in writing, first appeared in Persian records in the 2nd century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids c. 548–330 BC), where kings from different nations under the Persian empire used to bring gifts to the Emperor, also called King of Kings (Shahanshah), of Persia on Nowruz. The significance of Nowruz in the Achaemenid empire was such that the great Persian king Cambyses II's appointment as the king of Babylon was legitimized only after his participation in the New Year festival (Nowruz). The UN's General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. During the meeting of The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of the United Nations, held between 28 September – 2 October 2009 in Abu Dhabi, Nowrūz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


now (Old Persian nava) means "new" and has the following cognates, in English new, in Latin novus, • German neu, Sanskrit nava, etc. The Persian pronunciation differs in the many dialects of the language: while the eastern dialects have preserved the original diphthong, the western dialects usually pronounce it with a different diphthong, and some colloquial variants (such as the Tehrani accent) pronounce it with a monophtong. rōz (also with various pronuciations, such as rūz,rose.rooz rozh, or roj) means "day" in Middle- and Mod• ern Persian. The original meaning of the word, however, was "light". The term is derived from Avestan *rowch-, itself derived from Proto-Indo-European *leuk- (l <-> r and k <-> ch sound changes are common in Indo-European languages), and is related to Sanskrit ruci, Latin lux, Armenian luys and, in fact, English light.

Nowruz and the spring equinox

The first day on the Iranian calendar falls on the March equinox, the first day of spring. At the time of the equinox, the sun is observed to be directly over the equator, and the north and south poles of the Earth lie along the solar terminator; sunlight is evenly divided between the north and south hemispheres. In ca. 11 century CE major reforms of Iranian calendars took place and whose principal purpose was to fix the beginning of the calendar year, i.e. Nowrūz, at the vernal equinox. Accordingly, the definition of Nowruz given by the Iranian scientist Ṭūsī was the following: "the first day of the official new year [Nowruz] was always the day on which the sun entered Aries before noon".

History and tradition Tradition and mythology:

The celebration has its roots in Ancient Iran. Due to its antiquity, there exist various foundation myths for Nowruz in Iranian mythology. In the Zoroastrian tradition, the seven most important Zoroastrian festivals are the six Gahambars and Nowruz, which occurs at thespring equinox. According to Mary Boyce, It seems a reasonable surmise that Nowruz, the holiest of them all, with deep doctrinal significance, was founded by Zoroaster himself. Between sunset of the day of the 6th Gahanbar and sunrise of Nowruz was celebrated Hamaspathmaedaya (later known, in its extended form, as Frawardinegan). This and theGahanbar are the only festivals named in the surviving text of the Avesta. The Shahnameh, dates Nowruz as far back to the reign of Jamshid, who in Zoroastrian texts saved mankind from a killer winter that was destined to kill every living creature. The mythical Persian King Jamshid (Yima or Yama of the Indo-Iranian lore) perhaps symbolizes the transition of the Indo-Iranians from animal hunting to animal husbandry and a more settled life in human history. In the Shahnameh and Iranian mythology, he is credited with the foundation of Nowruz. In the Shahnama, Jamshid constructed a throne studded with gems. He had demons raise him above the earth into the heavens; there he sat on his throne like the sun shining in the sky. The world's creatures gathered in wonder about him and scattered jewels around him, and called this day the New Day or No/Now-Ruz. This was the first day of the month of Farvardin (the first month of the Persian calendar). The Persian scholar Abu Rayhan Biruni of the 10th century AD, in his Persian work "Kitab al-Tafhim li Awa'il Sina'at al-Tanjim" provides a description of the calendar of various nations. Besides the Persian calendar, various festivals of Arabs, Jews, Sabians, Greeks and other nations are mentioned in this book. In the section on the Persian calendar (Persian: ‫نایسراپ میوقت‬‎), he mentions Nowruz, Sadeh, Tiregan,Mehregan, the six Gahanbar, Parvardegaan, Bahmanja, Isfandarmazh and several other festivals. According to him: It is the belief of the Persians that Nowruz marks the first day when the universe started its motion. The Persian historian Abu Saʿīd Gardēzī in his work titled Zayn alAkhbār under the section of the Zoroastrians festivals mentions Nowruz (among other festivals) and specifically points out thatZoroaster highly emphasized the celebration of Nowruz and Mehregan.


Although it is not clear whether proto-Indo-Iranians celebrated a feast as the first day of the calendar, there are indications that both Iranians and Indians assumed the first day of autumn as the beginning of new year season. There are reasons that Iranians may have observed the beginning both autumn and spring, related to the harvest and the sowing of seeds, respectively, for the year. Boyce and Grenet explain the traditions for seasonal festivals and comment:"It is possible that the splendor of the Babylonian festivities at this season led the Persians to develop their own spring festival into an established new year feast, with the name Navasarda 'New Year' (a name which, though first attested through Middle Persian derivatives, is attributed to the Achaemenian period). Since the communal observations of the ancient Iranians appear in general to have been a seasonal ones, and related to agriculture, it is probable, that they traditionally held festivals in both autumn and spring, to mark the major turning points of the natural year". We have reasons to believe that the celebration is much older than that date and was surely celebrated by the people and royalty during theAchaemenid times (555-330 BC). It was, therefore, a highly auspicious occasion for the ancient Iranian peoples. It has been suggested that the famous Persepolis complex, or at least the palace of Apadana and the Hundred Columns Hall, were built for the specific purpose of celebrating Nowruz. Although, there may be no mention of Nowruz in recorded Achaemenid inscriptions (see picture) There is a detailed account by Xenophon of Nowruz celebration taking place in Persepolis and the continuity of this festival in the Achaemenid tradition.According to Britannica, the Jewish festival of Purim, is probably adopted from the Persian New Year. Nowruz was the holiday of Arsacid/Parthian dynastic Empires who ruled Iran (248 BC-224 AD). There are specific references to the celebration of Nowruz during the reign of Vologases I (51-78 AD), but these include no details. Before Sassanids established their power in West Asia around 300 AD, Parthians celebrated Nowruz in Autumn and 1st of Farvardin began at the Autumn Equinox. During Parthian dynasty the Spring Festival was Mehragan, a Zoroastrian and Iranian festival celebrated in honor of Mithra. Extensive records on the celebration of Nowruz appear following the accession of Ardashir I of Persia, the founder of the Sassanid dynasty(224-651 AD). Under the Sassanid Emperors, Nowruz was celebrated as the most important day of the year. Most royal traditions of Nowruz such as royal audiences with the public, cash gifts, and the pardoning of prisoners, were established during the Sassanian era and persisted unchanged until modern times. Nowruz, along with Sadeh (celebrated in mid-winter), survived in society following the introduction of Islam in 650 AD. Other celebrations suchGahanbar and Mehragan were eventually side-lined or were only followed by the Zoroastrians, who carried them. There are records of the Four Great Caliphs presiding over Nowruz celebrations, and it was adopted as the main royal holiday during the Abbasid period. In his work titled the Nowruznama, Omar Khayyam, a well known Persian poet and Mathematician provides a vivid description of the celebration in the courts of the Kings of Persia: From the era of Kai Khusraw till the days of Yazdegard, last of the pre-Islamic kings of Persia, the royal custom was thus: on the first day of the New Year, Now Ruz, the King's first visitor was the High Mobad of the Zoroastrians, who brought with him as gifts a golden goblet full of wine, a ring, some gold coins, a fistful of green sprigs of wheat, a sword, and a bow. In the language of Persia he would then glorify God and praise the monarch. This was the address of the High Mobad to the king : "O Majesty, on this feast of the Equinox, first day of the first month of the year, seeing that thou hast freely chosen God and the Faith of the Ancient ones; may Surush, the Angel-messenger, grant thee wisdom and insight and sagacity in thy affairs. Live long in praise, be happy and fortunate upon thy golden throne, drink immortality from the Cup of Jamshid; and keep in solemn trust the customs of our ancestors, their noble aspirations, fair gestures and the exercise of justice and righteousness. May thy soul flourish; may thy youth be as the newgrown grain; may thy horse be puissant, victorious; thy sword bright and deadly against foes; thy hawk swift against its prey; thy every act straight as the arrow's shaft. Go forth from thy rich throne, conquer new lands. Honor the craftsman and the sage in equal degree; disdain the acquisition of wealth. May thy house prosper and thy life be long!" Following the demise of the Caliphate and the subsequent re-emergence of Persian dynasties such as the Samanids and Buyids, Nowruz was elevated to an even more important event. The Buyids revived the ancient traditions of Sassanian times and restored many smaller celebrations that had been eliminated by the Caliphate. According to the Syrian historian Yaqut al-Hamawi, the Iranian Buyid ruler ʿAżod-od-Dawla (r. 949-83) customarily welcomed Nowruz in a majestic hall, wherein servants had placed gold and silver plates and vases full of fruit and colorful flowers. The King would sit on the royal throne (masnad), and the court astronomer came forward, kissed the ground, and congratulated him on the arrival of the New Year. The king would then summon musicians and singers, and invited his boon companions. They would gather in their assigned places and enjoy a great festive occasion. Even the Turkic and Mongol invaders did not attempt to abolish Nowruz in favor of any other celebration. Thus, Nowruz remained as the main celebration in the Persian lands by both the officials and the people. Iran (20 March to 23 March, total of 4 days in general + total of 13 days for schools and universities) Afghanistan (20 March to 23 March) Albania (20 March to 23 March, total of 4 days) Azerbaijan (20 March to 26 March, total of 7 days) Azeris in Georgia (country), Georgia The Parsis in India use a Shahenshahi calendar Iraq (de jure in Iraqi Kurdistan, de facto national) (21 March) Kazakhstan (21 March to 24 March, total of 4 days) Kosovo (21 March) Kyrgyzstan (21 March) Tajikistan (20 March to 23 March, total of 4 days) Turkmenistan (20 March to 23 March, total of 4 days) Uzbekistan (21 March)

Youth Day Tunisia - M a r 2 1

Tunisia celebrates Youth Day every year on the 21st of March. The holiday is celebrated with cultural and musical festivities usually organized by youth clubs and organizations and members of the local government in major towns and cities. The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Physical Education may hold public conferences dedicated to legitimate youth organizations with talks touching based on the government’s various initiatives and plans to furthering the protection of youth’s interests especially on human rights, education, social mobility, employment, culture, right for leisure, and the right to participate in decision making that impacts the country’s political arena.


The celebration of Tunisia’s Youth Day coincides with the celebration of International Youth Day as designated by the United Nations on the 12th of August every year, only a little earlier, that is March 21. A more relaxed atmosphere for the youth of Tunisia was seen when Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s, the president of Tunisia, launched his youth dialogue initiative in 2008. The above initiative encouraged the youth to demand a more transparent way to air their views to the government especially about issues that concerns the youth: unemployment of college or university graduates, a move to create an organized protests, among others. Because of that, Ben Ali called for the creation of a government-maintained website where the youth can regularly submit their views, concerns, and requests from the government on issues that affects the demographic. Because all important youth-related movements were made during 2008, the year was declared as Tunisia’s youth year of dialogue.

Celebrations In the celebration of Youth Day in Tunisia, state-sponsored cultural activities are held in major cities and towns. Musical

events are also sponsored by local businesses and youth organizations and attended heavily by young adults during the celebration. Conferences and talks are conducted in local municipalities and town halls which aim to discuss the various social and legal issues faced by today’s youths. Also, it is during the celebration of Youth Day when laws related to the protection of youth’s welfare are passed by the government and revealed to the public. Local leaders may also be seen delivering messages recognizing the role of youth in nation-building.

World Down Syndrome Day Worldwide - M a r 2 1

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed on March 21. On this day, Down syndrome organizations throughout the world organize and participate in events to raise public awareness of Down syndrome. Down syndrome was first determined a chromosomal disorder in 1959 by French pediatrician and geneticist, Jérôme Lejeune. One in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome. In the United states there are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome. The date, being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected by Down Syndrome International (DSI) to signify the uniqueness of Down syndrome in the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome and is used synonymously with Down syndrome. The original idea was proposed by Stylianos E. Antonarakis, a medical geneticist of the University of Geneva Medical School, and enthusiastically adopted by ART21, a patient group for the Lemanic region of Switzerland. The first events were organized on March 21, 2006, in Geneva. The inaugural WDSD was launched on April 21, 2006, in Singapore, with events organized by the Down Syndrome Association (Singapore).

HUNGARY World Day for Water Worldwide - M a r 2 2

V4 countries would be hurt by EU sanctions against Russia: Minister Martonyi

International companies key to employment and economic growth: Orbán

World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as World Day for Water. This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since; for the general public to show support, it is encouraged for the public to not use their taps throughout the whole day, the day has become a popular Facebook trend. The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world's water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. Since its inception in 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water. In addition to the UN member states, a number of NGOs promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era. Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water. Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water. In 2003, 2006 and 2009, the UN World Water Development Report was launched on the occasion of the World Water Day. The fourth Report is expected to be released around 22 March 2012.

Hungary is attractive investment spot for British enterprises: Minister Németh Photo: Noémi Bruzák

Photo: Ágnes Bartolf

(Online 10 Mar) Hungary is an attractive investment spot for British enterprises, Minister of National Development Zsuzsa Németh said at the inauguration of the new British Business Centre in Budapest on Friday. The centre was inaugurated by British Minister of State for Trade and Investment Ian Livingston and Zsuzsa Németh. Both the winter economic predictions of the European Commission published at the end of February and the data of the last quarter of Hungary make it clear that the Hungarian economy has emerged from the crisis and that the basis for permanent growth has been successfully laid down, the Development Minister pointed out. The fact that a new business centre has been established in Budapest indicates that it is not only large investors from the UK that are interested in Hungary but the road has now been paved for smaller enterprises as well, Zsuzsa Németh said, adding that Great Britain has become the seventh biggest investor in Hungary

by today. In her welcome speech the Minister expressed hope that the new institution would continue strengthening bilateral trade relations between the United Kingdom and Hungary. Ian Livingston said the purpose of his visit was to help Great Britain double the value of its trade with the Central-East European region to GBP 30 billion by 2020. Ian Livingston revealed that the export of British services and products to countries in Eastern and Central Europe had doubled in the past 10 years. There are almost 110 m people living in the region, total GDP is more than one thousand billion British Pounds and the rate of growth in recent years has surpassed growth elsewhere in Europe, he pointed out. The level of state debts, low compared to the average of the Eurozone, facilitates stability and ensures sustainable growth in the long run. Ian Livingston explained they wished to make it smooth for British companies to get to Hungary. The goal by

(Online 14 Mar) Any European sanctions introduced against Russia would have the gravest impact on the Visegrad countries, Group Minister Foreign János Martonyi declared after a meeting of the V4 ministers with the Foreign German in BuMinister dapest on Thursday. Mr Martonyi stated that if EU put in effect a third stage of 2018 is to double, sanctions against with the help of the British Business Centre, the number of British companies that are present at the Hungarian market with their products and services from the current 4700 to 9400, he said. Although bilateral relations between the two countries are good, until today Hungarian and British companies have been like good old friends who have unfortunately had insuffi- Photo: Noémi Bruzák cient time to meet, Russia, Hungary the British Minister would "expect soliof State opined. darity" from other The British Busi- EU member states. ness Centre has He also urged that been set up as an assistance to effort by the British Ukraine should be Embassy, the speeded up in United Kingdom terms of trade, the Trade and Invest- EU-Ukraine associment (UKTI) of the ation agreement, a British Government planned financial and the British package and enChamber of Com- ergy supply. merce in Hungary The Hungarian For(BCCH) and is to eign Minister stated operate under the that the meeting management of showed that the poOlivér Strommer. sitions of the V4 Chairman of the countries and GerBritish Chamber of many are the same Commerce in Hun- or very similar. He gary Vazul Tóth em- added that they phasised at the would do their utinauguration cere- most to facilitate a mony that the political solution to chamber welcomed the crisis but they the cooperation also had to prepare with the British Em- for a worst case bassy and with scenario. UKTI.

H unga r y wa nt f r e e t r a de wit h M a la y s ia

Photo: Károly Árvai

Foreign German Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who attended the meeting of foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, said that Russia seems to have decided to annex and is Crimea, evading settlement efforts. He added that he saw little hope that the situation would change before next Monday. After the referen-

played during the crisis, Ukraine adding that the standpoints of Germany and the V4 were "identical or very similar". There is a danger that after 25 years of European reunification the continent will be divided once again, he said. The situation is "highly flammable", but in this case Europe must keep a "cool head". The concerns of the V4 "are not Hungar-

ian, or Czech, or Slovak or Polish worries but European worries, and therefore our concerns, too," FrankH unga r ia n Walter Steinmeier c r e a s e by said. He claimed that memories in central and Eastern Europe of 1956 in Hungary and 1968 in Czechoslovakia were still fresh. He added one should not allow the most important aspect, support for Ukraine, to be ignored, however. The support offered should be of a kind that genuinely helps the lives of the country's citizens rather than "disappearing various through channels," Frank- Photo: Károly Árvai Walter Steinmeier (Online 10 Mar) said. Minister for National Economy Mihály Eur ope a n Varga said a press in B uda pe s t conference in Budapest that Hungary’s foreign trade surplus is estimated to total EUR 7bn and exports to gain 2-2.4 percent this year. The current euro-

dum, it is expected preparations that begin for will Crimea to join Russia, he said, calling the Crimean referendum on ceding to Russia, planned for Sunday, "unacceptable" both in terms of international law and Ukraine's constitution. He said it was not necessarily a goal to apply sanctions but if events unfold in an unacceptable way then the necessary decisions will be made. He added that a third wave of sanctions may be needed. The German Foreign Minister exp r e s s e d appreciation for the role that the Visegrad countries had

Tr a ining c e nt r e for pa t e nt judge s ope ne d

(Online 11 Mar) Without the investments of big international companies there would be no jobs or economic growth, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the inauguration of Procter and Gamble’s new plant in Gyöngyös. The factory will manufacture diapers, creating 150 new jobs. The Prime Minister warned against the spread of ideas directed against all foreigners and foreign investors. A clear distinction should be made between desirable and non-desirable foreign investors, the latter being those that only want to skim the Hungarian market and take away business opportunities from others, he pointed out, adding that people who failed to make this distinction were working against their country and city. Large international corporations like Procter and Gamble should be supported; Prime Minister Orbán

since underlined, the company has created a thousand jobs in Hungary, does business with around 400 suppliers and is also known for its charitable activities. He stated that during the course of negotiations, Procter and Gamble managers highlighted had Hungary's central position within the flexible region, labour-market regulations and skilled workforce as the reasons they chose Hungary. Hungary plans to spend 60 percent of development resources on direct economic development, the Hungarian Prime Minister added. "Once we've done this, the Hungarian economy will be on firm footing," he stated. Speaking at another event on Tuesday, a foundation stone laying ceremony of Belgian furniture manufacturer Sinia’s new plant in Bátonyterenye, Prime Minister Orbán emphasised that everyone must

be given the opportunity to return to the world of work and where the market is not able to organise this, the state must step in. Disadvantaged regions are not hopeless, they can be improved, he stated, adding that his Government aimed at achieving full employment. The Prime Minister noted that in the early 1990s about 1.5 million jobs were lost in areas like Bátonyterenye where heavy industry was in decline. However, these parts of the country should not to be forgotten, and the new furniture plant is proof of this, he added. Sinia will build a 10,700 square metre plant in Bátonyterenye at a cost of 1.9 billion forints (EUR 6.1m), creating 150 new jobs. The project has been awarded 640 million forints in EU funding and 113 million from the Hungarian Government.

e x por t s e x pe c te d t o in2 - 2 .4 pe r c e nt t his y e a r

“Opening to the East and keeping with the West” policy are already observable. According to euro-denominated figures, Hungarian exports to and imports from non-EU countries constituted 22.9 percent and 28.4 percent, respec-

cantly higher than last year, and within this sector the main growth engine was the vehicle manufacturing division. As Mihály Varga informed journalists, the most dynamic growth was registered within the trade turnover of the manufactured prod-

Photo: Zsolt Burger Photo: Endre Véssey

(Online 12 Mar) It is in Hungary's interests that talks between Malaysia and the European Union on a free trade pact should advance forward and reach an agreement as quickly as possible, Foreign Minister János Martonyi declared following his meeting with his Malaysian counterpart in Budapest on Wednesday. Speaking at a joint press conference

stated that an agreement on economic cooperation would soon be signed between the two countries and that opportunities for cooperation were particularly promising within the areas of agriculture, water management and biotechnology. Mr Martonyi said that Hungary had offered 40 scholarships to Malaysian students within the framework of edu-

4-star hotels. Both ministers stressed the need to involve small and mediumsized enterprises in bilateral economic cooperation. The Malaysian Foreign Minister said his country was grateful to Hungary for supporting its bid to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Mr Martonyi, in his closing remarks,

cational cooperation and pointed out that Malaysia would be taking over the of Presidency ASEAN in 2015, which adds particular significance to reladeveloping tions with Malaysia. Minister Foreign Anifah Aman said that Hungarian companies could take part in the booming tourism industry in Malaysia, and especially in the construction and operation of 2-

anticipated that the Hungarian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur would reopen within a couple of months. When asked about the jetliner that has been missing since Saturday, Minister said the Aman Malaysian authorities had no exact information about what had happened to it but still held hope that the passengers and the crew "are in good hands".

Photo: Endre Véssey

with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah János Aman, Martonyi said that negotiations on the free trade agreement were "not easy" but that hopefully the talks would lead to a successful outcome and Hungary would like to contribute to this process.The Hungarian Foreign Minister noted that they had discussed bilateral issues and explored further ways of cooperation. He

s ubs idie s f or s t ude nt e x c ha nge s t o ne ighbour ing c ount r ie s

(Online 13 Mar) A training centre for European patent judges opened in Budapest on Thursday. The centre will coordinate the training of prospective judges of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and it will be located in the House of Hungarians, in the Castle District of Budapest. In his ceremonial speech delivered at the opening ceremony, Minister of Public Administration and Justice

Zoltan Cséfalvay, State Secretary for Parliamentary and Strategic Affairs of the Ministry for National Economy spoke on the fact that the new single European patent system is a major contributor to European economy, global competitiveness and innovation. As he said, it is an extraordinary success of the Hungarian economic diplomacy that the 25 member states of the Competitive-

gle market of the EU and establish a connection between scientific research and venture. Benoit Battistelli, President of the EPO stressed that the institution in Budapest is the first milestone in creating a common European patent court. According to his statement, a total of 60 to 65 vacancies will be announced, for which so far 1,300 applications did the EPO received; so the would-be judges

Photo: Zsolt Burger

Navracsics Tibor called the launch of the new education centre in Europe “a milestone”. He reminded that the EU creation patent process has been on for going decades, but received a major boost during the Hungarian EU Presidency in 2011. He highlighted among the results obtained so far the agreement signed by 25 EU Member States to see the establishment of the UPC, which judicial body will consist of a highly qualified faculty guarding the European patent system. As he explained, the Human Resources Working Group under Hungarian operation is coordinating the development of a mechanism for the selection of judges assigned.

ness Council (with the exception of Spain and Italy) the enjoined hanced cooperation on the establishment of the UPC in 2011, during Hungarian presidency. A single European patent is particularly important because it reduces the costs of patenting, which is 36,000 euros on average in the EU. He noted that the same expense in America is 3,000 euros and 600 euros in China, all of which means a huge competitive disadvantage for Europe. With the single European system, this toll is getting reduced to 6,500 EUR and after a transitional period, to the fee of 5,000 euros. He emphasized that the unified patent and a patent litigation system will strengthen the sin-

will be chosen from best candithe dates. On Thursday, a twoconference day started after the ceremony. At the conference organized by the HIPO and the EPO, discussions will be on the new patent litigation expected coming force in 2015 and tasks of Hungary undertaken in this regard, in addition to the tasks of the unified European patent application centre. It will be the exclusive responsibility of the UPC to handle issues relating to infringement and validity of European patents. The reforming of the system takes place in two areas: firstly, the development of the UPC and on the other hand, the creation of a new single European patent.

Photo: Ministry of Human Resources

tries, but the Government has now tripled funding for “Without Borders”, meaning that in the 2014-15 school year it will provide 1.5 billion forints (EUR 4.8 million) for this purpose. The Minister said that this decision will allow almost one in two students from the 7th or 8th grade to visit a Hungarian school in a neighbouring country, because the Government considers this goal important and is ready to foot the bill. He said there are two tender categories, one for excursions and another for professional and cultural programs abroad, each of which provides 35,000 forints (EUR 112) per student. Mr. Balog said the

Government’s aim was that every student graduating from grade school should have had the opportunity to visit minority counterparts in a neighbouring country and vice versa. He also said making children aware that there are Hungarian-speaking people across the country's borders is not just a goal, it is a mission. The peace treaty that officially ended World War I, the Treaty of Trianon, signed in 1920, placed the majority of the former Kingdom of Hungary under the control of neighbouring countries, leaving Hungary with only 28 percent of its previous territory and barely 36 percent of its former population.

vi cti m s. The Government of Hungary supports the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks brokered by the United States, and condemns any action that co u l d h a ve a n e g ative impact on

Photo: Csaba Pelsőczy

(Online 10 Mar) The consumption of foods produced here in Hungary has increased significantly from 70 to 75 percent in recent months, Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas said on Monday in Budapest at the opening of the SIRHA Budapest

catering trade. An important objective of the expo is to help domestic enterprises and companies reach the international market, Mr. Fazekas said, adding that the primary market for agricultural products produced in Hungary is still the food pro-

struments, such as the Hungaricum and outstanding Hungarian Product trademarks, to protect and preserve the quality, origin and special characteristics of the country's unique foods and beverages. Trademarks and the certification systems also serve to

cessing sector, as two thirds of agricultural output is utilised in processed form. Accordingly, it is a priority government goal to produce the highest possible added value in Hungary through the optimisation of the food chain, thus increasing the ratio of domestic products and services as well as exports. The Minister also mentioned the fact that increasing quantities of food produced using traditional technologies, ingredients and flavours are appearing on the market thanks to the increasing popularity of local farmers' markets. This is the reason for the publication of the directive that provides detailed regulations on foods produced by cottage industries, he added. In addition, Hungary applies several in-

strengthen the market position of Hungarian foods, Mr. Fazekas said. The Minister drew attention to the fact that "we should always think about rural Hungary when choosing between two, foreign and Hungarian, products. A tiny gesture is enough to ensure that our shopping habits support the enterprises of Hungarian families living in rural areas and facilitate their success". Visitors to the first SIRHA Budapest expo can sample the products of over 250 Hungarian food industry enterprises, in addition to which food industry experts can attend over 60 lectures and interesting presentation, including the Hungarian final of the Bocuse d'Or international chef's competition, Sándor Fazekas said.

the talks. The Hungarian position is that the conflict that has been going on in the Middle East for several decades can be resolved through peaceful negotiati o n s a l o n e . Photo: Csaba Pelsőczy

Govt willing to ensure the employment of disabled people: Monika Balatoni ( On l i n e 1 2 M a r ) A Good State is there to help disabled students in higher education getting employed– reported Monika Balatoni, Minister of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice at a press conference in Budapest this We d n e s d a y. As she said, between the frames of a scholarship program that was announced two mo n th s a g o - d i s abled students can obtain practical experiences while working in ministries for three months, with incorporating their perspective into everyday w o r k.

The Minister of State pointed out that the scholarship program should promote the smooth employment of disabled people and meanwhile also informs the business sector that they should note that the disabled c o u l d b e c o me e x cellent professionals. She noted that the Government considers equal opportunities in every area to be of vital importance and the scholarship fellows will work in an environment where everyone has truly equal opportunities to start with. She pointed out the Government is not just talking about equal op-

portunities, but also working to make this happen. Monika Balatoni said that there was a two-and-ahalf-times oversubscription for the scholarship, and expressed hope that more s tu d e n ts co u l d b e accommodated n e xt ti me . 2 0 stu dents and 20 mentors will be linked into the program during the start-up period until June; 12 students will be hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, while the rest will be received by the Prime Minister's O ff i c e a n d o t h e r mi n i str i e s.

tively, of the total volume in 2013. With these countries, exports valued in euros increased by 4.1 percent – a growth figure higher than for the EU – while imports were down by 0.7 percent compared to the previous year. Mihály Varga said

ucts category, as related exports and imports were up by 6.9 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively. With regard to Government objectives of the future Mihály Varga singled out that facilitating export growth and market diversifica-

record high amount of EUR 81.7bn. The Minister pointed out that according to data published by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) on 5 March the volume of Hungarian exports in euro terms was 2.2 percent higher in 2013 than that of the previous year, while imports totalled EUR 74.7bn, up by 1.9 percent compared to 2012. Mihály Varga emphasised that foreign trade posted a surplus of EUR 7.0bn, up by EUR 354 million year-onyear. He said that the European Union continues to be Hungary’s largest trade partner, as in 2013 – valued in euros -- 77.1 percent of Hungarian exports headed to and 71.6 percent of Hungarian imports originated from EU member states. Visá-vis EU member states, he continued, Hungarian foreign trade registered a surplus of EUR 9.5bn. Within the EU, our number one trade partner is still Germany, with more than one-fourth of total exports heading there, the Minister stated. He also pointed out that the first results of the Government’s

that exports to Russia, Hungary’s largest non-EU trade partner, totalled EUR 2.55bn, on a par with the level of the previous year. In case of the USA, our second largest non-EU trade partner, exports gained remarkably, by 29.8 percent, totalling EUR 2.47bn. Exports to Turkey soared by 17.3 percent (EUR 1.42bn in total). The Minister emphasised that in accordance with the “Opening to the East” policy, the increase of exports to China was also promising, up by 6.9 percent and thus totalling EUR 1.5bn. Hungarian exports to South Korea were 25.1 percent higher, reaching a total of EUR 225.2 million. Thanks also to this strategy Hungarian exports to the Latin American countries were also stronger: those to Brazil gained 18.9 percent (EUR 303 million as a whole). Speaking about the product composition of Hungarian exports, the Minister said that the export of machinery and equipment constituted more than half of total export volume (EUR 43.5bn), which was signifi-

tion are two key priorities of the country’s foreign trade strategy for 2014-2020. As another Government objective the Minister mentioned the aim of increasing the share of exports to non-EU countries and regions from the current one-fifth of total to one-third by 2018. Mihály Varga stressed that in addition to export market diversification, another Government priority is to boost the proportion of exports by Hungarian SMEs through assisting them in entering international markets. He underlined that Eximbank’s export credit refinancing program updated last year offers loans with preferential interest rates for Hungarian exporters and suppliers in 2013-2014, thus increasing the number of Hungarian exporters. Deputy State Secretary Antal Nikoletti said that the Government hopes a peaceful solution will be found for ending the RussianUkrainian standoff, as both countries are promising markets for Hungarian foreign trade.

H unga r ia n-Se r bia n r e la tions a r e v e r y f r ie ndly : Zs olt N é m e t h

Hungary condemns the missile attacks against Israel (Online 13 Mar) The Ministry of F o r e i g n A ff a i r s o f Hungary firmly condemns and reg a r d s a s u n j u sti fi able the missile attacks launched against Israel from the Gaza Strip on March 12, 2014. Fortunately, the attacks had no

forint exchange rate benefits exporters, while it has a neutral effect on the state budget, he said, reiterating that the Government has set no exchange rate target. As the Minister stressed, last year the volume of exports reached a

Photo: Ministry for National Economy

Inc r e a s e d c ons um ption of f oods pr oduc e d in H unga r y (Online 13 Mar) The Hungarian Government has tripled the funding it provides within the framework of its “Without Borders” program for Hungarian students to visit their counterparts living in minority in neighbouring countries and reciprocal visits to Hungary, Minister for Human Resources Zoltán Balog said on Thursday in Budapest. Mr. Balog attended the meeting between students of the Saint Benedict School in Budapest and 35 of their counterparts from Transcarpathia, Ukraine. He said that in the past three years 40,000 Hungarian schoolchildren had visited their counterparts in neighbouring coun-

Photo: Ministry for National Economy

food industry expo. Minister Fazekas indicated that food processing was a priority area for the Hungarian Government, and accordingly it had declared the food industry to be a strategic sector. The realisation of the Government's goals requires the presence of well-functioning, competitive enterprises. For this reason, the administration supports and encourages progressive initiatives, acknowledges outstanding performance and regards it as especially important that high quality products with high added value that facilitate healthy eating reach the dinner tables of the people of Hungary, he explained. The three-day SIRHA Budapest expo is a showcase for the Hungarian food industry and hotel and

(Online 10 Mar) Following their meeting in Belgrade on Monday, MFA State Secretary Zsolt Németh declared that Hungarian-Serbian relations had become very close and friendly over the past years, and Aleksandar Vučić, the First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, had played a major role in this. Zsolt Németh recalled that Aleksandar Vučić had played a key role in the historical reconciliation process between Hungary and Serbia since it was he who submitted the proposal on reconcilliation to the Serbian Parliament. He added that the Serbian Parliament had passed the resolution with the support of the Serbian Progressive Party and the Hungarian Alliance of Vojvodina. The Hungarian State Secretary said it was likely that the

Serbian Progressive Party would also be assuming a role in government following the elections, and he added that the two sides were planning on holding a joint cabinet session following the national elections. Zsolt Németh pointed out that the Hungarian Government had made an important contribution to ensuring that Serbia was finally granted the status of EU candidate country and that the accession negotiations had begun between the EU and Serbia in January. The MFA State Secretary stressed that the issue of fundamental rights in Serbia’s accession process was a priority for Hungary. „We would like a solution for the regulation of the national councils in Serbia and of the regional autonomy in Vojvodina that would ultimately increase,

and not decrease, the opportunities for ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina; moreover, the exemplary practice for regional and ethnic autonomy that characterizes Serbia could continue to serve the Hungarian community in Serbia as well as HungarianSerbian bilateral relations”, Zsolt Németh claimed. Zsolt Németh emphasised the importance of political participation and stated that the Hungarians in Vojvodina were in a good position because they had a strong political representation in the Serbian Parliament. The Hungarians living in Vojvodina will again have an opportunity – for the first time in 104 years – to vote in the Hungarian parliamentary elections in April, and they should take advantage of that, he added.

Washington has embraced Hungarian folk culture (Online 12 Mar) Wa s h i n g t o n has e m b r a ce d H u n g a rian folk culture, which is capable of innovation, colourful and traditional yet modern – said Deputy Prime Minister Ti b o r N a v r a c s i c s t h i s Tu e s d a y i n Budapest at the premiere of the documentary ‘ H u n g a r i a n Fence’, dealing with H u n g a r y ’s status as guest of honour at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Wa s h i n g t o n last ye a r. As the Deputy Prime Minister stressed it, “I think we were able t o s h o w Wa s h i n g ton such a Hungary which is as colourful and just

as modern as the United States. M o r e o v e r, we w e r e a b l e to sh o w that any stereotypical sneering of th i s r e g i o n a n d i ts related nations and nationalities i s a fa ta l e r r o r ” . Pál Hatos, General Director of the Balassi Institute emphasized b e fo r e th e s cr e e n ing that the special guest status of Hungary was both a milestone in Hungarian cultural diplomacy and Hungarian p r e se n ce i n Wa sh i n g to n a s w e l l . The nearly 100minute-long documentary of Dániel Kresmery narrates the occurrences at the festival to the audience within frames of a story

and with help of the instrument of cinema it does attempt to capture the collaboration between Hungarian institutions, the team of Hungarian performers, Hungarian and Am e r i ca n p a r tn e r s and between American Hungaria n s. Hungary attended the Smithsonian Folklife Festival a s a sp e ci a l g u e st for the first time between June 26 and July 7 in 2013. The richness and variety of available programs provided an opportunity for visitors to meet th e d i sti n ctn e ss o f Hungarian music, folk dance, traditional crafts and g a str o n o m y to o .

Worldwide events; zarb e jamhoor newspaper; 167 issue; 16 22 mar, 2014  

EVENT COUNTRY DATE Freedom of Information Day U.S. 16 Mar St. Urho's Day Finland 16 Mar Camp Fire Boys & Girls Founders Day U.S. 17 Mar Evac...

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