Monthly Archives: April 2020

Stratford Festival

What started in Stratford, Ontario, in 1953 as a six-week Shakespearean drama festival under the artistic leadership of Alec Guinness and Irene Worth has since expanded into a 26-week event drawing an audience of half a million people. All of Shakespeare’s plays have been performed here over the years, as well as works by Sophocles (c. 496-406 BCE), Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), Jean-Baptiste Molière (1622-1673), Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Richard Sheridan (1751-1816), Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and a number of Canadian playwrights. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac is an 1897 play by Edmond Rostand whose title character was inspired by a 17th-century writer with an exceptionally large nose. Rostand’s play, written entirely in rhymed couplets, relates the tale of Cyrano, a soldier and poet, who falls in love with the beautiful Roxane. Rather than woo Roxane himself, the large-nosed Cyrano provides his handsome friend, Christian, with the dialogue to win her heart. What word did this play introduce into the English language? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Stanford Antigua Sailing Week

The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is famous for stiff easterly trade winds, which are ideal for sailing. Thus, it is little wonder that Antigua is the site of a major international sailing event that draws racing fans and yachting enthusiasts from all over the world. The first Antigua Sailing Week took place in 1968; since then, the regatta has expanded to include as many as 1,500 sailors and 200 yachts of various sizes that compete in 16 different classes. Nearly every day of Sailing Week, yachts face off in courses of various distances and orientations toward the wind. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Saraswati

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom, learning, and the arts. As the goddess of knowledge both earthly and divine, she is considered to be the “Mother of the Vedas,” the oldest scriptures in Hinduism. She is also the consort of Brahma, creator of the universe. She is usually depicted wearing all white and is either seated on a lotus or riding a swan. Unlike some goddesses—such as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth—Saraswati is depicted with modest clothes and little jewelry. Why? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Charles de Gaulle Resigns as President of France (1969)

A celebrated general and statesman, de Gaulle was elected first president of France’s Fifth Republic—a system of government with broad executive powers—in 1959. He helped write the constitution and pushed for direct popular election of the president. The mass civil unrest of May 1968 by students and workers almost toppled his government, and in 1969 de Gaulle was defeated in a referendum on constitutional amendments and resigned. He died just a year later. Whom did he bar from his funeral? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Hocktide

Also known as Hock Days, the second Monday and Tuesday after Easter in England were in medieval times—and in Hungerford, Berkshire, till the present day—associated with collecting dues or rents and money for the church. Two “Tutti men” in top hats and morning coats (a “tutti” being a small bouquet of flowers) go from house to house carrying a “tutti pole” decorated with flowers and ribbons. There is also an orange scatterer who throws oranges to the men, old women, and children to keep them busy while the Tutti men go to houses demanding money. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Tulip Mania

It takes seven years to grow a tulip from seed, and the bulb can only be uprooted in the summer months. Therefore, when the Dutch tulip market exploded in fall of 1636, few tulips physically changed hands before the futures market collapsed. According to some reports, at the height of the market, single bulbs were selling for more than houses before they even sprouted. It was the first documented speculation bubble. Why were the most expensive varieties those afflicted with a certain virus? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary