Category Archives: Today’s Holiday

Candelaria (Peru)

A lively celebration of Candlemas is held in Puno, Peru, for about two weeks, including February 2. On that day priests and laypeople form a huge procession that carries the statue of the Virgin Mary through streets carpeted with yellow flowers. Preparations begin more than a week before, however, with church decorating, feasts, and fireworks. By the second week, hundreds of dancers and musicians have arrived to join the main procession, accompanying it with indigenous dances and colorful costumes. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Winterlude

A midwinter civic festival held in Ottawa, Canada, Winterlude is primarily a celebration of winter sports. The Rideau Canal, which has been referred to as “the world’s longest skating rink,” is nearly eight kilometers (five miles) long and provides an excellent outdoor skating facility. There is also snowshoeing, skiing, curling (in which thick, heavy stone and iron disks are slid across the ice toward a target), speedskating, dogsled racing, and tobogganing. For those who prefer not to participate in the many sporting events, there is an elaborate snow sculpture exhibit known as Ice Dream. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Day of the Three Archbishops

In Greece during the 11th century there was a controversy over which of the three archbishops—Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, or John Chrysostom—was the greatest saint of the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1081, Bishop John of Galatia reported that the three saints had appeared to him in a vision to say that they were equal in the eyes of God; their equality is celebrated on this day. Greek schools hold special exercises in honor of the saints, who supported the classical Greek tradition at a time when many were opposed to all non-Christian literature. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a celebration of the old tradition of cowboy poetry in the buckaroo town of Elko, Nevada. The gathering, which began in 1985 with about 50 working cowboys, has become a six-day affair in the last week of January that now includes folk-music concerts, western dances, exhibits of cowboy gear, and workshops not only on writing but also on such topics as horse-hair braiding and photography. Poetry remains the heart of the festival, and the poets—all working ranch people—include men, women, and children. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Mozart Week

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756. Every January since 1956, his birthday has been celebrated by the people of Salzburg, Austria, where he was born, with a music festival devoted entirely to his works. The festival also prides itself on presenting many of his lesser known works, which are seldom performed elsewhere. Concerts are given in a number of sites associated with Mozart’s life, including the Mozarteum Building, St. Peter’s Church, the Salzburg Cathedral, and even Mozart’s home. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Australia Day

The anniversary of the first British settlement in Australia on January 26, 1788, was formerly known as Foundation Day or Anniversary Day. Captain Arthur Phillip and his company of British convicts arrived first at Botany Bay, and when that proved to be unsuitable they moved on to Port Jackson, where the city of Sydney was eventually established. First officially celebrated in 1818, Australia Day has been a public holiday since 1838. It used to be observed on either January 26 or the nearest Monday, but since 1994 it has been observed on January 26 with celebrations all over the country. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Festival of the Cow

The Fiesta de la Vaca takes place in the village of San Pablo de los Montes, in the Spanish province of Toledo, on St. Paul‘s Day. While the religious procession and mass for the feast of San Pablo are going on, a group of young men form a counter-procession in the opposite direction. One of them plays the role of the cow, La Vaca, while another is dressed as Mother Sow, Madre Cochina. A third is dressed as a shepherd, and there are others ringing cow bells. Every time the group passes the image of the saint, they call out, “Here goes the cow!” Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Australian Open

The Australian Open is the year’s first event in the Grand Slam of tennis. It is played on synthetic hard courts in Melbourne, Australia, and known officially as the Australian Championships. The championship for men began in 1905, and the women’s championship in 1922. The matches became an “open” (to both amateurs and professionals) in 1969. Margaret Smith Court, an Australian known for her powerful serve and volley, is the all-time champion in the women’s division of the open; she won the title 11 times between 1960 and 1973. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Babin Den

In Bulgaria, the old women who helped deliver babies—much like the modern midwife—were called baba, or grandmother. It was widely believed that the baby received some of the baba’s wisdom, and it was customary for the baby’s parents to bring the baba flowers on a particular day each year, called Grandmother’s Day or Day of the Midwives. Eventually the children grew up, but they would continue to visit their baba each year. Most babies in Bulgaria today are born in hospitals, so the children bring flowers to the doctors and nurses who assisted at their birth. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

El Pochó Dance-Drama

St. Sebastian’s Day is celebrated throughout Latin America, but the dance-drama El Pochó, which takes place in Tenosique in Tabasco State, Mexico, on this day, is unique. On the morning of January 20, everyone gathers at the prearranged location, a house or a plaza. The pochoveras enter in their long skirts and embroidered blouses and perform the initial dance. Then the cojóes enter, wearing masks with exaggerated features. Soon the tigres (jaguars) invade the dance space, and the cojóes and tigres play at hunting each other until, finally, they join forces to chase the audience. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary