Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated throughout Major League Baseball (MLB) in honor of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play professional baseball in the MLB. On April 15, 1947, Robinson played his first professional game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. To commemorate Robinson’s achievements, activities are planned each year at all MLB stadiums on April 15th. Home teams coordinate activities for the tribute, which may include pre-game award presentations, special guests throwing the first pitch, prizes for fans, and appearances by other legendary baseball stars. Discuss

Jefferson's Birthday

Unique among American presidents, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was not only a statesman but a scholar, linguist, writer, philosopher, political theorist, architect, engineer, and farmer. In the United States, he is remembered primarily as the author in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence; he died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration. A birthday commemoration is held each year at Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Virginia, as well as at the Jefferson Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Discuss

Cosmonauts Day

On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel in outer space. April 12 was declared Cosmonauts Day in Gagarin’s honor. Official ceremonies on this day begin in the Moscow suburb of Korolyov, well known as the center of Russian rocket production, where officials and former cosmonauts lay flowers at a statue of Gagarin. The general public celebrates the day in a less formal manner: some place flowers at statues of Gagarin in various cities, while others attend space-themed art and film exhibitions. Discuss

Salvation Army Founder's Day

April 10 is the day on which William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the international religious and charitable movement known as The Salvation Army, was born in Nottingham, England. With the help of his wife, Catherine, he established the East London Revival Society, which soon became known as the Christian Mission and later The Salvation Army. Although Booth’s birthday is observed to varying degrees at Salvation Army outposts around the world, a major celebration was held on the organization’s centennial in 1965. Discuss

Bataan Day

This is a national legal holiday in the Philippines, in commemoration of the disastrous World War II Battle of Bataan in 1942, in which the Philippines fell to the Japanese. It is also known as Araw ng Kagitingan, or Heroes Day. Also remembered on this date are the 37,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers who were captured, and the thousands who died during the infamous 70-mile “death march” from Mariveles to a Japanese concentration camp inland at San Fernando. Ceremonies are held at Mt. Samat Shrine, the site of side-by-side fighting by Filipino and American troops. Discuss

Hana Matsuri

Hana Matsuri is a celebration of the Buddha‘s birthday, observed in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, where it is known as Kambutsue. The highlight of the celebration is a ritual known as kambutsue (“ceremony of ‘baptizing’ the Buddha”), in which a tiny bronze statue of the Buddha, standing in an open lotus flower, is anointed with sweet tea. People use a small bamboo ladle to pour the tea, made of hydrangea leaves, over the head of the statue. The custom is supposed to date from the seventh century, when perfume was used, as well as tea. Discuss

Armenia Motherhood and Beauty Day

This is a national holiday in Armenia, celebrated each year on April 7. It comes not long after another national holiday, Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8. Women’s Day is meant to honor all women, but Motherhood and Beauty Day is dedicated especially to those who have become mothers. Children and adults alike show their affection for their mothers with special visits, cards, and gifts. Sending flowers to one’s mother is an especially popular way to mark this holiday. Another tradition associated with the day is the gift of a twig that has fresh sprouts on it. Discuss

Chakri Day

Chakri Day is a national holiday in Thailand to commemorate the enthronement of Rama I, who founded the Chakri Dynasty in 1782. He was born Chao Phraya Chakri in 1737 and had become Thailand’s leading general when a palace coup took place in Thon Buri. The dynasty he established has headed the country to this day, although the end of absolute monarchy came in 1932. The king was given the title Rama after his death. Ceremonies on April 6 honor his deeds and the founding of Bangkok as the capital. Discuss

Guinea Second Republic Day

Guinea was ruled by a dictatorship led by Sekou Touré, who ruled the small West African nation for over 25 years (1958-1984). After Touré’s death, there was a bloodless coup on April 3, 1984. This ushered in what many Guineans refer to as the Second Republic, led by Lansana Conté. The observation of Second Republic Day is largely orchestrated by the government. In honor of the coup’s 24th anniversary in 2008, Conté and Guinean prime minister Lansana Kouyate were guests of honor at a wreath-laying ceremony at a martyrs’ memorial located in the center of Conakry, the capital city. Discuss

International Children's Book Day

This day, which is observed by countries all over the world, is held on Hans Christian Andersen‘s birthday, April 2, because the Danish author’s stories have been favorites among children of all nationalities. Celebrations include contests in which children illustrate their favorite books. Every two years the International Board on Books for Young People sponsors the Hans Christian Andersen medals, which are awarded to a children’s book author and a children’s book illustrator for their contributions to children’s literature. Discuss