Showing posts with label international holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international holidays. Show all posts

Juneteenth - June 19

Juneteenth is an American holiday commemorating the declaration of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, and more generally the release of enslaved African-American residents throughout the Confederate states (formerly southern states) in the United States.
The name of the holiday is a combination of the words "June" and "Nineteen" (June and nineteen).

Slavery existed in the United States for several centuries, from the British colonial period, in the early 17th century until 1865, when the Civil War ended. Slavery was a legal institution where people of African descent were sold as goods to slave owners. Slaves were considered lawful. As property and deprived of most of the rights vested in free people.They were subject to the authority of their owners who bought them and had to do whatever they were told.

The slaves were brought to America from African countries, where they were abducted or sold by their families. Subsequent generations born in the United States were forced into slave status on the day they were born.
The end of slavery at the end of the American Civil War granted citizenship and legal and political rights to those of black skin color equal to those of white skin color.
The Juneteenth is celebrated mainly by reading the works of well-known African-American writers such as Ralph Ellison and Mia Angelo, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", public readings of the Emancipation Statement, the Declaration The presidency signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, which declared slaves in the United States free.
Also celebrating on this day in the US are rodeos, street fairs, food stalls, family reunions, park parties, historical reconstructions of the period or the Miss Juneteenth beauty pageant.

Recommended movies about the period of slavery in the United States
"12 Years a Slave" directed by Steve McQueen, "The help" by Tate Taylor, "Django Unchained" by Quentin Tarantino, "Lincoln" and "Amistad" by Steven Spielberg, "The 13th" by Ava DuVernay.

A painting from 1690 in Virginia, USA, of a white family that has a black maid

Sale of slaves in 1841, photo from the film "12 Years of Slavery"

Sri Lanka's Independence Day - February 4th

Sri Lanka's Independence Day, also called Sri Lanka's National Day, is a national holiday of Sri Lanka celebrated annually on February 4 to mark the country's political independence from British rule in 1948. It is celebrated all over the country through a flag-raising ceremony, dances, parades and performances. The main celebration usually takes place in the capital city of Colombo, where the president waves the national flag and delivers a national television speech. The main celebration takes place in the center of Colombo at the Navam Perahera Festival where the traditional art performances of Sri Lanka are held.
In the history of Sri Lanka many struggles have taken place and on Independence Day all of these are remembered and celebrated. But the independence movement against the British is especially mentioned.

In the President's speech, he emphasizes the achievements of the government over the past year, raises important issues and calls for the further development of the country. As a tribute to the national heroes of Sri Lanka who fought and gave their lives for the country, the President is holding two minutes of silence in their memory.
The Sri Lankans are celebrating their Independence Day with great pride. In many places of worship around the country, religious prayers and ceremonies are held for peace and prosperity for the country, the people and the forces of the army, the police and the civil defense. The national media tries to promote ideas like heroism, security, dedication, national unity, patriotism, nationalism, peace, national responsibility and awareness of national history in people’s minds.

In honor of Sri Lanka's Independence Day, here are some interesting facts about it:

Sri Lanka is an island nation located southeast of India in the Indian Ocean.
Sri Lanka is also known as the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean" and the "tear of India". These beautiful names were given to it both because of its amazing natural beauty, the extraordinary biodiversity and precious gems that are in it, and also because the island has the shape of a tear and when looking at the map it looks like the island is a drop of tear flowing under India.
Sri Lanka is home to the oldest tree in the world planted by humans. The oldest tree planted by man is in Anuradhapura, one of the oldest cities in Sri Lanka and the world. This is a 2,300-year-old sacred ficus tree called Jahah Sri Maa Bodhi. The tree was planted in 236 BC. His mother tree is the famous Buddha tree in Bod Gaia in India under which Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating.
Jetavanaramaya Stupa, an ancient structure built in the third century AD and located in Anauradapura
In Sri Lanka a large variety of animals
Sri Lanka covers an area of only 65,610 square kilometers and has a very large variety of wildlife. The island is home to 123 species of mammals (such as elephants, tigers and crocodiles), 227 species of birds, 178 species of Reptiles, 122 species of amphibians, and many other species of other animals.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Yala National Park is a must-visit on a trip to Sri Lanka. For travelers interested in whales, it is advisable to take a walk in Mirissa or Trincomalee.

Elephants in the wild in Sri Lanka
Tea is one of the main agricultural industries in Sri Lanka. If you drink tea, it may have come from Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, and it has tea in its name, Ceylon tea.
Sri Lanka is home to cinnamon. Sri Lanka is famous for its cinnamon, a necessary ingredient for many of its wonderful dishes. The Ceylonese cinnamon, also called "real cinnamon", originates in Sri Lanka and today the country is still a leading exporter of cinnamon in the world.
Adam's Peak is the holiest mountain in the country. The mountain is part of the Samanella mountain range in southern Sri Lanka. It has been a place of pilgrimage for believers from different religions in Sri Lanka for over a thousand years. In Buddhism the summit of the mountain is called Sri Fada, meaning a sacred footprint, and they believe that the Buddha remained there when he ascended to heaven. For the Hindus this is the footprint of Lord Shiva. When asked by Christians and Muslims, they say that this is the footprint of a person when he was expelled from heaven.

Sri Lanka gave the word "Serendipity" to the English language. The word serendipity is derived from the word "serendip", the old name of Sri Lanka so named by the Arabs and Persians. The word, invented by the English writer Horace Walpole in 1754, was based on a Persian fairy tale called "The Three Princes of Serendip", in which the princes "always made discoveries, by accident and mistake, of things they did not seek at all." August 18th is Serendipity Day.
The national flag of Sri Lanka is one of the oldest flags in the world. The Sri Lankan flag, also known as the lion flag, is considered one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 162 BC. It is also considered to be the only flag in the world that recognizes different religious beliefs, with the leaves in it representing Buddhism, the orange stripe standing behind Hinduism and the green one representing Islam.
Sri Lankan flag
One of the Buddha's teeth is located at the Tooth Temple in Kandy. A relic from the teeth of the Holy Buddha, brought from India in the 4th century AD, is still preserved in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Every summer there is a glorious festival known as Esala Perahera (Dental Festival), and it is one of the seven best festivals in Sri Lanka, designed to honor the tooth.
This is the first country in the world to have had a female prime minister. In July 1960, Sirimabu Bandarnaika, the leader of the Sri Lankan Freedom Party, won the general election and became the first prime minister in the world. She served the country for three terms before resigning in August 2000 due to health issues. At the age of 84, Sirimabu Bendernaika died of a heart attack.
This is where the locals shake their heads to say yes. In most cultures, to show consent, people nod their heads up and down and to say no, they shake their heads left and right. This is not the case in Sri Lanka. To say yes, people shake their heads from side to side. It can be confusing for foreign visitors, but they will get used to it.
The word "Hotel" does not necessarily mean a hotel. If you travel around Sri Lanka, you may see signs that say "Hotel", but it is very possible that they do not mean places where you can stay at night, as the word also means restaurants, cafes and bars that are so named. The exact reason for this is unknown. If you ask the locals, they will probably say it's just a cool thing to do. This can be misleading. So to find out if this is a hotel or restaurant, you will need to check if the place serves food or there is an option to sleep in it at night.
Volleyball is the national sport of Sri Lanka. Although the most popular sport in the country is cricket, volleyball has become its national sport. Sri Lanka introduced the game in 1916 and it gained immense popularity within a few years. In 1951 the Volleyball Association was established and was officially declared the National Game of Sri Lanka in 1991.

February 4th is both Cancer DayHomemade soup day and Facebook Birthday

Japan's Lucky Man Race - January 10th

Every year on January 10, early in the morning, thousands of people in western Japan participate in a race where whoever runs the fastest will become the person with the most luck of the year. The race was held at the Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyogo District in Japan, at the Temple of Ebisu,  the Japanese god of fishermen and luck.

Before dawn, about 5,000 people waited outside the temple this year. When the gate opened to the sound of drums at six o’clock, they burst into a sprint towards the main hall, about 230 meters away, to become the first “lucky man” of the Reiwa era, the era of the new Japanese emperor Naruhito, who acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019.
In the race that took place last year, in 2020, 33-year-old Yusuka Korogi, a physical education teacher at a high school in the city of Sakai, Osaka province, won.

The runners who came in second and third place were also crowned as "lucky men".
Aside from the happy title of lucky man of the year (fuku-otoko), Yosuka also won a barrel of rice. The winner said he was surprised by the achievement and he looks forward to a successful year and hopes to share his good fortune with other people.
Photo: KYODO

Landscape view of the Yogo district in Japan

National Independence Day in North Korea - September 9

Today marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948. This day marks the liberation from Soviet rule and the transformation of North Korea into an independent republic and the division of the peninsula into two parts, northern and southern.
For many people in North Korea, this patriotic holiday is a day that raises sadness because the division of Korea into North and South Korea has permanently separated friendships and families.


How was the division created?
Japan ruled Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II, in 1945. When Japan was defeated by Allied forces, the Soviet Union occupied the northern part of Korea, up to latitude 38, and the United States occupied its southern part.
The Soviet military administration came to an end in 1948, when the Soviets decided to transfer power to Kim Il-sung. The declaration of the new state, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, was made on September 9, 1948 and Kim Il-sung was declared its prime minister.
North Korea was established as a communist nation, backed by China and the Soviet Union. South Korea, left by American forces, was established as a democratic republic shaped by American and European capitalist countries.
Shortly after the formation of separate governments, North Korean forces attacked South Korea and tried to return the "bottom half" to their control. The Korean War lasted three years and killed more than half a million soldiers, wounding more than a million soldiers and killing and injuring about 2.5 million civilians (plus hitting and destroying a huge number of buildings and property). After the war ended, the situation remained the same and Korea was still divided into two separate countries: North Korea and South Korea.


How is Independence Day celebrated in North Korea?
During Independence Day, various events are held all over the country, such as mass dances, art exhibitions, festive performances, sports events and more. Every 5 round years since the establishment of the country (such as the 60s, 65s, etc.), a celebratory military parade is held in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, with the participation of the Supreme Leader of North Korea.
Sad facts ...
You probably already know that North Korea is a dictatorship, and the people there do not have access to information and freedoms that most of us enjoy (they do not even have access to the internet, i.e. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!). They do not have access to food as much as the rest of us, and on average people in North Korea are one to three inches lower than people in South Korea because of chronic food shortages. North Korea has one of the largest armies in the world, with 1.1 million troops in active duty. Its reserve forces number eight million soldiers and are the largest in the world (even though the nation is only in 48th place in terms of population in the world!).
North Koreans are struggling financially for a living, and infrastructure (such as power lines and transportation routes) is often old and damaged. But the family in power, Kim Jong-un's family, spends a lot of money on her lifestyle ... as well as on the maintenance of 32 houses, including palaces and magnificent estates.
If you want to visit North Korea, you can do so only as part of an organized trip, through an official tourist bureau and accompanied by an official North Korean escort. In an unusual way that is perceived as offensive. Any violation of the rules can lead to immediate imprisonment for a long time, so if you have a problem with self-control and restraint, you better avoid visiting there!
Is there also something good to say?


Although the roads in North Korea are broken and in need of repair, at least there are no traffic jams.

North Korea has universities and swimming pools.
North Korea is a beautiful country with stunning views.


North Korea is also a pretty amazing place to look at the stars and engage in astronomy - as it has much less lighting at night relative to its neighbors South Korea, Japan and China. (The almost completely dark part surrounded by red is North Korea!)
Some dry facts
North Korea is located in East Asia, and shares a border with China in the north and west, and Russia in the northeast. The capital of North Korea is Pyongyang. The area of the country is 120,538 square kilometers and its population is about 25 million people.

September 9th is also Teddy Bear Day

Independence Day in the Ukraine- August 24

On August 24, 1991, Ukraine became an independent state from the Soviet Union.
The law that established its independence was put to a vote in a referendum, and more than 90% of the votes approved voted for independence. Ukraine's Independence Day begins to be celebrated on August 23, which is Ukraine's flagship day, and continues the next day with a military parade held in the capital, Kiev.

Ukraine is currently the second largest country in Eastern Europe (after Russia). It covers an area of 603,628 square kilometers and has a population of over 44.5 million people.
Ukraine shares land borders with 7 countries, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
The capital of Ukraine is Kiev, home to over 2.8 million people.
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, and it is the dominant language spoken in the western and central cities and in many rural areas of the country. Most Ukrainian speakers know Russian as a second language. In the eastern and southern cities Russian is the most widely spoken language.

The meaning of the name in Russian is "border country" or "border area" and in Ukrainian the origin is "country".
The highest point in Ukraine is on the mountain Hoverla, at 2,061 meters, which is located in the Carpathian Mountains. The only other mountain ranges are the Crimean Mountains in the south.
Ukraine is home to the Pysanky, which are decorated eggs. These decorated eggs are often considered to be Easter eggs, but the Ukrainians created these beautiful eggs even before the time of Christ.
As of 2011, Ukraine was the third largest exporter of grain in the world and was formerly called the bread basket of the Soviet Union. The country also has many natural resource deposits that include iron, coal, gas, oil, manganese and other metals.
The currency in Ukraine is called the hryvnia.

The most serious accident in a nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, took place in the Ukrainian town Pripyat.
The Jews living in Ukraine suffered greatly from riots in the 19th century, by antisemitic gangs. During the Holocaust, about 1.5 million Jews were murdered in Ukraine. One of the most notorious places during the Holocaust is Babi Yar, on the outskirts of Kiev, where some 50,000 Jews and another 100,000 people were captured by Soviet prisoners, the mentally ill, gypsies and civilians accused of disorderly conduct.
In Ukraine there are many interesting animals including foxes, lynxes, wolves, wild boar, martens, beavers, otters, hamsters and geese. Carp, dennis and catfish are the common fish species, while the large white pelicans are native to the southwestern regions.
Ukrainian Klitschko brothers, Vitaly and Wladimir, both held as world heavyweight boxing champions.
Traditional Ukrainian dishes include the varenyky a and pierogi dumplings, borscht soup and famous specialties named after the capital city like Chicken Kiev and Kiev cake.
Hotel in Odessa, on the Black Sea coast

Solomon Islands Independence Day - July 7

Solomon Islands are an island nation in the Pacific Ocean east of Papua New Guinea.
The country belongs to the British Commonwealth (which includes 54 independent states) and is headed by the Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II. 
On July 7, 1978, the country declared independence from Britain.

The islands are named after the biblical king Solomon. The Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira discovered them in 1568. He thought he had reached islands of great wealth and therefore named them after the name of the rich King Solomon.
The Solomon Islands consist of a chain of about 990 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The total land area of the islands is 28,400 km2. Some of the islands are very isolated. The distance between the westernmost island and the easternmost island is about 1,500 km. Some islands have volcanoes of varying degrees of activity. Many of the small islands are sand-covered coral islands and palm trees.

The population of the Solomon Islands, as of July 2018, was 660,121. The capital of the Solomon Islands is Honiara, with a population of about 65,000. Honiara is home to the University of the South Pacific.
5% to 10% of locals have natural blond hair despite their dark skin color. Researchers at Stanford University have found that the blond hair of Solomon Islands residents is the result of a mutation in a single gene, unlike many Europeans, whose genetic basis is responsible for the blond hair color.

The natives of the Solomon Islands were previously notorious among other islanders because of their head-hunting customs and cannibalism.

The traditional culture of the Solomon Islands is passed down from father to son. Most of the residents live in the villages and maintain a traditional way of life. Although most of them are Christians, the origin of their ancient customs is in belief in ancient spirits.

English is the official language of the Solomon Islands, but only 2% of the people speak it. Instead, it has a variety of different languages from the Maltese, Micronesian and Polynesian language groups. The lingua franca ("the bridge language ", the language in which people who speak different languages are able to speak to each other) is English creole, Solomons Pijin.
Flag of Solomon Islands
Tourism in the Solomon Islands is very undeveloped and almost non-existent. Its most touristy island is the island of Gizo where you can find spectacular dive sites.
The tourists who come to the island are mostly people who live in the Oceania region, like Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. In the Solomon Islands you can find wonderful beaches and lively dive sites. Opposite the Solomon Islands there are also dive sites where ships and equipment that sank during World War II are located.

Children in Honiara, Solomon Islands (Source)

Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands located on Guadalcanal Island, has a museum and botanical gardens. On the islands you can join guided walking tours in the rainforests, where you can see many reptiles and butterflies, bats, birds and amphibians. On the island of Malita you can walk on the battlefields of World War II.
Solomon Islands Airport is 13 km from Honiara and regular flights arrive from New Zealand and Australia.
In case you decide to travel to Solomon Islands, you will need to get preventative medication against the malaria disease prevalent in extensive areas of the islands.

July 7th is also Day of telling the truth

Veterans Day in the United States - November 11th

Veterans Day is a holiday celebrated on November 11 each year in all states of the United States, as a day of honor for all war veterans who have served in the United States Army.

Veterans Day is not a day of remembrance, as it pays homage to all those who served in the U.S. Army, the living and the dead.

Veterans Day has become a federal national holiday since 1938. On this day all government non-essential agencies and many schools are closed during the day. Processions and ceremonies are held throughout the country and many businesses honor the veterans.

The national ceremony is held annually at Arlington National Cemetery, where the President speaks in honor of the veterans. Most major cities like New York, San Diego and Dallas have a Veterans Day parade. At many events, such as the church and football games, the veterans are asked to stand and then the audience honors them with applause. Many people wave the US flag on this day to show their patriotism and support for the military. At 11:00 am a minute of silence is observed to remember those who died during their military service. If you meet an army veteran or soldier on Veterans Day, be sure to thank them personally for their service.

The history of Veterans Day

At 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, a temporary peace treaty, or armistice, was signed, and fighting during World War I came to an end. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson announced that November 11 would be called United States Armistice Day. In 1938 the Armistice Day became a national federal holiday. It was a day dedicated to world peace and held in honor of World War I veterans. In 1954 Congress decided to change the day to Veterans Day, because of the desire to honor veterans of all wars including World War II and the Korean War. In 1968 the day was moved to the fourth Monday of November. However, it was later changed to November 11, 1978 by President Gerald Ford.

Interesting facts about Veterans Day

The armistice in World War I was signed at 11 a.m. on the 11th of the 11th month.

In 2010, there were approximately 21.8 million discharged soldiers in the United States. There are about 9 million discharged soldiers over the age of 65. About 1.6 million discharged soldiers are women.

General George S. Patton, the famous World War II general, was born on November 11th.

November 11 is also Singles' Day and Origami Day

Chinese New Year 2021- Year of Ox

Chinese New Year is celebrated in the first two weeks of the Chinese year, on varying dates, usually between the end of January and mid-February. The holiday is celebrated in China and Hong Kong and in countries with a large population of Chinese like Singapore and Taiwan.

The Chinese calendar is determined by the moon. It operates for a cycle of 60 years, with every two consecutive years bearing a name associated with one of the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, metal and one of the 12 animals: monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon , Snake, horse and sheep.
Chinese New Year 2021- Year of Ox
Common Chinese New Year customs are buying gifts for family, friends and acquaintances, hanging lanterns, mostly in red that brings good luck, decorating, cleaning and grooming the house, a family dinner for union and family harmony, where dishes like ducks, pigs, chicken and sweet delicacies are served.

One of the common blessings for the beginning of the new year is "Good Luck", because the Chinese believe that a new year brings with it a good luck. So in the greeting cards they send to each other they wish the new year good luck. In order to ward off bad luck and bring good luck closer, the Chinese usually hang traditional symbols on their doorstep and during the hanging make noise and commotion with the help of firecrackers.
During the holiday you can watch festive processions of dancers and especially those who carry paper dolls in the shape of a lion and a dragon that symbolize good luck. The holiday culminates and ends on the 15th of the first month of the new year, with a celebration of lights, or a lantern festival across China.
When does the Chinese New Year come out in the coming years and which are the animals that symbolize the coming years?

2020- January 25 - Year of the Rat
2021 - February 12 - the year of the ox
2022 - February 1 - The Year of the Tiger
2023- January 22 - Year of the Rabbit
2024- February 10 - Year of the Dragon
2025- January 29 - Snake Year
2026- February 17 - The Year of the Horse
2027- February 6 - Year of the Sheep
2028- January 26 - the year of the monkey
2029- February 13 - the year of the rooster
2030- February 3 - Year of the Dog
2031 - January 23 - the year of the pig

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