Category Archives: Today’s Holiday

Saigusa Matsuri

For hundreds of years the citizens of Nara, Japan, have searched the surrounding mountains for lilies, gathering them each summer in preparation for the Lily Festival at the Isagawa Shrine. A Shinto priest carries a large bundle of flowers to the altar as an offering. Then the seven women perform a special dance in which they wave lily stalks in a motion designed to ward off the problems brought on by the wet weather typical this time of year. Afterwards, the lilies are mounted on a float and taken out in a procession through the streets of Nara, where it is believed that they will purify the air. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Election of the Mayor of Ock Street

During the 18th century, it was customary for the people of Abingdon to roast a black ox on St. Edmund of Abingdon’s Feast Day (June 19). In 1700 an argument arose during the ox roast over who would get the horns, and a man named Hemmings took possession of the horns. The crowd hailed him as the “Mayor of Ock Street.” Today, only people who live on Ock Street may vote for the mayor. The winner toasts his election by drinking from a special applewood chalice, and he is carried through the streets in a flower-decorated chair by the Abingdon Morris dancers. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Magna Carta Day

The Magna Carta was the “great charter” of English liberties, which the tyrannical King John I was forced to sign on June 15, 1215. Although this day does not appear in the official calendar of any church, it is a day of great religious significance throughout the English-speaking world. One of the 48 personal rights and liberties guaranteed by the Magna Carta was freedom of worship; in fact, the opening words of the document were, “The Church of England shall be free.” It is regarded as one of the most important documents in the history of political and human freedom. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays

The largest agricultural show in New Zealand takes place for four days during the second week in June in Hamilton, and attracts visitors from more than 40 countries. There are exhibits covering every type of rural activity, demonstrations of how to use the latest farm equipment, and contests in such areas as hay-baling, wire-fencing, tractor-driving, and helicopter log-lifting. In a country that in 1990 had more than 60 million sheep and only 3.3 million people, these regional agricultural shows attract the kind of audience that is usually associated with major athletic competitions. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Queen's Birthday (Australia, except for the Western state)

Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, but her birthday is officially observed in June by proclamation each year. But in Australia, Queen’s Birthday is a national holiday celebrated on the second Monday in June (except Western Australia). It was first observed there in 1788, not long after the country was settled. June 4, the birthday of King George III, was set aside at that time as a holiday for convicts and settlers. After George V died in 1936, a date close to his birthday (June 3) was set aside to honor the reigning king or queen. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Seychelles Liberation Day

Less than a year after gaining independence, a coup overthrew the government in Seychelles. Two major political parties had developed, the Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP) and the Seychelles People’s United Party (SPUP). James Mancham, the leader of the SDP party, which won the majority vote, became president, and France Albert René became prime minister. René’s supporters led the overthrow and ousted Mancham on June 5, 1977, an event commemorated as a public holiday on Liberation Day. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Jefferson Davis's Birthday (Alabama)

The only president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis was captured and imprisoned after the Civil War but never brought to trial. He went to his grave deprived of the rights of citizenship, and it wasn’t until October 17, 1978, that his citizenship was restored, posthumously, by President Jimmy Carter. Davis’s memory is honored by many white southerners in the United States, and his birthday is a legal holiday in Alabama. In Mississippi the observance is combined with Memorial Day. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sjomannadagur

Sjomannadagur is a day honoring the role that fishing and fishermen have played in Icelandic history, celebrated in the coastal towns and cities of Iceland. Sailors take the day off, and the Seaman’s Union sponsors many events, such as competitions in rowing and swimming, tugs-of-war and sea rescue competitions. Celebrations begin with a church service and a trip to the local cemetery to honor sailors lost at sea. Afterward there are children’s parades, dances, outdoor cookouts, and bonfires in the evening. The proceeds from the day’s events go to the national fund that supports old seamen’s homes. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary