Category Archives: Today’s Holiday

Halloween (United States)

Halloween has its ultimate origins in the ancient Celtic harvest festival Samhain, a time when people believed that the spirits of the dead roamed the earth. Children go from house to house in costume—often dressed as ghosts, skeletons, or vampires—on Halloween saying, “Trick or treat!” Though for the most part the threat is in jest, the “trick” part if they don’t receive a treat may include marking the house’s windows with a bar of soap or throwing eggs at it. Most receive treats in the form of candy or money. Halloween parties and parades are popular with adults as well. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ochi Day

Ochi Day is a national holiday in Greece, commemorating the day during World War II when Greeks said “ochi” (“no”) to an attempted incursion ordered by Italy’s fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. On October 28, 1940, the Italian ambassador to Greece called on Gen. Ioannis Metaxas, the prime minister, to demand that Italian troops be allowed to occupy areas in Greece. Metaxas curtly responded, “Ochi.” The Italians invaded, but were routed by the Greeks. Ochi Day is observed in Greece with military and school parades; it is also a public holiday celebrated in Cyprus with parades. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Karwa Chauth

Observed by married women in Hindu families, the Karwa Chauth festival is a day-long fast in honor of the Hindu god Shiva and goddess Parvati, whom they hope will bring prosperity and long life to their husbands. It is also a time for mothers to bless their married daughters and present them with gifts. Virgins and widows are not allowed to participate in the celebrations, which begin at dawn when the women bathe and put on new clothes. The day is devoted to worshipping Shiva and Parvati, and the fast is broken at night when the moon rises. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Angam Day

Nauru is an island in the Pacific, about 2,200 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia, and 2,400 miles southwest of Honolulu. Over the past 100 years, the existence of Nauruans has been threatened a number of times—by tribal disputes in the 1870s, and by an influenza epidemic in 1919. During World War II, two-thirds were deported by the Japanese to the Caroline Islands to build airstrips. Angam Day (angam means “hope”) on October 26 commemorates the various occasions when the Nauruan population has reached 1,500, considered the minimum number necessary for survival. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

United Nations Day

The international peacekeeping organization known as the United Nations was formally established on October 24, 1945, in the wake of World War II. Each member nation observes October 24, and in some places the entire week is known as United Nations Week. In the United States, events taking place on this day include parades, international fairs, and dinners featuring foods from different countries. Schools frequently observe United Nations Day by holding folk festivals that teach students the music, songs, and dances of different countries. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Valme

The Romeri√° (pilgrimage) of Our Lady of Valme involves a cross-country pilgrimage. The image of Our Lady of Valme is kept in the parish church of Dos Hermanas, but on this day she is carried in an elaborate procession to the shrine of Valme, on a hill overlooking Seville, Spain. The cart bearing the statue of the Virgin Mary is drawn by oxen with gilded horns. The pilgrims walk behind, and it takes about three hours to reach the sanctuary. Everyone rushes inside, and the mass begins. Afterwards, there is dancing, singing and drinking until sunset, when the image is escorted back to Dos Hermanas. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Georgia Peanut Festival

A harvest festival paying tribute to Georgia’s top crop is held in Sylvester, the Peanut Capital of the World—more peanuts are produced in the region around Sylvester than anywhere else in the state. This festival, which comes at the end of the peanut harvest time, began in 1964. Events of the festival include a beauty pageant to choose a Little Miss Peanut, Junior Miss Peanut, and Georgia Peanut Queen; a peanut-recipe contest for school children; clogging exhibitions; a kiddy parade and a grand parade with floats, horses, antique cars, and people dressed as peanuts. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Dusshera

During the 10 days of Dussehra, scenes from the epic poem Ramayana are enacted. The epic tells the story of Lord Rama who wins the lovely Sita for his wife, only to have her carried off by evil 10-headed Ravana, demon king of Lanka. Ultimately, Rama slays Ravana, and the forces of good triumph over evil. The dramatizations with music, held throughout northern India, are considered at their best in Delhi. On the 10th day, immense effigies of Ravana, his brother, and his son (all of them stuffed with firecrackers) explode in dramatic bursts of flame and noise. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The United Nations named October 17 the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in 1992. In doing so, the U.N. followed the lead of some non-governmental organizations that had already dedicated the day to promoting awareness of the plight of the extremely poor. The U.N. observance focuses especially on the needs of the destitute in developing countries. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary