Category Archives: Today’s Holiday

Conch Republic Independence Celebration

In 1982 the United States Border Patrol set up a roadblock on U.S. Highway 1, just north of the Florida Keys, which threatened the region’s tourist industry and angered residents. On April 23, 1982, the residents of the Florida Keys seceded from the United States as the Conch Republic; though it didn’t last, the stunt succeeded in lifting the roadblocks. Each year, residents celebrate the short-lived independence of the Conch Republic. The festival features conch-blowing contests, a reenactment of the secession, mock naval battles, numerous public parties, and more. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Paasmaandag

Easter Monday, or Paasmaandag, is celebrated in the Netherlands with games played with Easter eggs. Eierrapen, or hunting for eggs, is a favorite pastime among younger children. Eiertikken, or hitting hard-boiled eggs together, is a sport for children of all ages. In rural areas, the eggs are packed in baskets and carried to an open field for the eiertikken contest. At a given signal, the children line up and try to break the shell of an opposing team member’s egg by knocking them together. The winner keeps the opponent’s egg, and the child who collects the most eggs wins. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Salzburg Easter Festival

Salzburg’s Easter Festival was founded by the famous conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) in 1967 to honor the works of Richard Wagner (1813-1883), and it remains one of Europe’s most elite and elegant music festivals. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is the festival’s resident ensemble, and the chorus of the Vienna State Opera performs the choral works. A full-scale opera is performed twice during each nine-day festival in the Großes Festspielhaus (large festival hall), which is known for its unique acoustics and seats more than 2,000. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Coober Pedy Opal Festival

The South Australian town of Coober Pedy is known for its opal mines, producing about 70 percent of the world’s opals. Celebrated over Easter weekend, the annual Opal Festival includes such competitive events as the mine rescue demonstration, tug-of-war, triathlons for men and women, games and races for children, and the multicultural dance and singing competition. Saturday is the main day, kicking off with a morning street parade featuring a marching band, mining equipment, and floats and culminating in a fireworks display and a dance at night. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sámi Easter Festival

The Sámi Easter Festival takes place annually during Easter in Kautokeino, Norway. The Sámi people are the indigenous people of the northernmost Nordic regions, including northern Norway. Festival activities include tours by reindeer-drawn sleigh, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. There are art exhibitions and concerts, with some featuring traditional yoik, as well as modern music of the Sámis. The festival is also host to the annual reindeer-racing world-cup race. A film festival runs every year in conjunction with the Sámi festival, with a variety of films on offer for viewing indoors or out. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Verrazzano Day

Observed in New York state, Verrazzano Day commemorates the discovery of New York Harbor by the Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano on April 17, 1524. With the backing of King Francis I of France, Verrazzano sailed his ship to the New World, reaching the Carolina coast in March 1524, and then sailing northward, exploring the eastern coast of North America. He also discovered Block Island and Narragansett Bay in what is now Rhode Island. In naming the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, New York gave Verrazzano official recognition. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Lindsborg Messiah Festival

The first Messiah Festival in Lindsborg, Kansas, was held in 1882 by a group of Swedish immigrants led by Dr. Carl Swensson and his wife Alma. Using the local townspeople, the Swenssons established what is now known as the Bethany Oratorio Society, a group of 400 singers that includes faculty and students from Bethany College and a 50-member symphony orchestra. The annual festival’s program consists primarily of choral works, oratorios, and solo recitals. Lindsborg’s Messiah Festival is often referred to as the “Oberammergau of the Plains.” Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Lazarovden (St. Lazarus's Day)

In Bulgaria, St. Lazarus’s Day (Lazarouvane or Lazarovden) is the great Slavic festival of youth and fertility. The day takes its name from a series of ritual games and songs studied in advance by young girls during Lent. Although there are many versions of the ritual, they all have a common focus, which is the “coming out” of girls who are ready to be married. Particular attention is paid to dress, which usually involves colorful traditional costumes and heavy jewelry. In former times, people believed that the more elaborate the rituals devoted to marriage, the better the chances for happiness. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Lac Long Quan Festival

This six-day festival, held in the Vietnamese village of Binh Minh, honors the legendary king Lac Long Quan. According to tradition, his wife, Au Co, “hatched” 100 people who ended up populating what is now known as the Ha Tay Province. During the festival people celebrate their ancestors with offerings of fruit and flowers paraded by young women accompanied by folk musicians, then elders bestow blessings on the offerings. Although Lac Long Quan and Au Co are the focus of the proceedings, Buddha is also included and considered a special guest. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary