The Scandinavians never pass up a chance for a good bonfire. Midsummer Night, or St. John’s Eve as it’s sometimes called in Denmark and Norway, is the perfect occasion. The holiday has little to do with St. John the Baptist, other than falling just before his saint day. In the 10th century Baltic and Scandinavian countries replaced the traditional names of Midsummer with allusions to the feast of St. John the Baptist, which …Read more
The Czech Republic and Slovakia celebrate Teacher’s Day on March 28 to commemorate the 1592 birthday of:
a. Frederick Scantron, inventor of the multiple-choice test. b. Dixon Ticonderoga, explorer and discoverer of the graphite mountain from which all pencils are hewn. c. Jan Amos Komensky, teacher, pastor and writer who was expelled from his own country to spend 42 years in exile. d. All of the above
If there’s anything I learned in junior high school, …Read more
March 15 is synonymous with betrayal, treachery, back-stabbing and front-stabbing. It’s the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and the Roman Senate in 44 B.C.
But in Hungary, March 15 is synonymous with freedom and independence, so whip out your cockades and join the Hungarians as they sing their National Song today.
Turns out the Hungarians celebrate March 15, 1848, not 44 BC.
In 1848, as the fervor of revolution swept through …Read more
The great thing about being a tiny nation sandwiched between Russia and Germany is that you get to celebrate so many Independence Days! Lucky Lithuanians. Here it’s only March and the country celebrates its third independence-related holiday of the year!
Lithuania’s main Independence Day is February 16, which celebrates the day in 1918 that the Council of Lithuania declared itself finally independent of both Russia and Germany during the chaos of World War …Read more
Today Russia celebrates Defenders of the Fatherland Day.
On February 23 (Julian Calendar) 1917, Russian women in Petrograd celebrated the 7th International Women’s Day. In response to food shortages caused by the war with Germany, the women of Russia’s capital city “poured onto the streets,” demanding “bread for our children” and “the return of our husbands from the trenches.” (www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1920/womens-day.htm)
The protests gained momentum the following days when workers’ strikes forced the closure of hundreds …Read more
Date varies. February 20-26, 2012
There’s no Mardi Gras or Carnival in Russia. Lent doesn’t descend on Orthodox Christians in one big swoop as in Catholicism, but in a series of events with increasingly strict regulations.
Triodion begins a full month before Lent.
Two weeks later, Meatfare Sunday marks the last day Orthodox Christians can eat meat until after Easter, aka Pascha.
The Sunday after Meatfare is Cheesefare Sunday, the last day for eating dairy products.
In Catholic …Read more
Happy Birthday Kosovo!
Although it’s not all that happy. The newborn nation is still in the throes of economic devastation and ethnic violence. Nor do we know yet if February 17 will continue to be celebrated as the young nation’s independence holiday. Or for that matter, if Kosovo actually is independent.
The State Assembly in Kosovo’s capitol of Pristina declared its independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. Since that time over 50 …Read more
“The Council of Lithuania in its session of February 16, 1918 decided unanimously to address the governments of Russia, Germany, and other states with the following declaration:
“The Council of Lithuania, as the sole representative of the Lithuanian nation, based on the recognized right to national self-determination, and on the Vilnius Conference’s resolution of September 18-23, 1917, proclaims the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania, founded on democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital, and declares the …Read more