Sri Lanka National Day

The former British colony of Ceylon changed its name in 1972 to Sri Lanka, which means “Blessed Isle.” Sri Lankans commemorate the granting of their independence from Great Britain on February 4, 1948, with public gatherings throughout the island and special services in the temples, churches, and mosques. There are also parades, folk dances, processions, and national games. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Oscar De La Hoya (1973)

At age 19, De La Hoya made his professional debut in the world of boxing, following in the footsteps of his pugilist grandfather and father. It came hot on the heels of an impressive Olympic performance, where he earned gold for the US Boxing Team, and he quickly made a name for himself as an international superstar. When De La Hoya defeated Felix Sturm in 2004, he became the first boxer in history to win world titles in six different weight divisions. How many punches did he throw in the fight? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Salic Law

The Salic law was the rule of succession in some royal and noble European families that forbid females to succeed to certain titles or offices in the family. It likely came from the Salian Franks, who prohibited women from succeeding to the throne. The rule was most prominently enforced by the house of Valois and the succeeding house of Bourbon in France and was involved in the rivalry of Stephen and Matilda for the English throne. What impact did it have when Victoria became queen of England? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

15th Amendment to the US Constitution Ratified (1870)

Ratified during the post-Civil War Reconstruction Period, the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution was intended primarily to enfranchise former slaves. It states: “The right of citizens…to vote shall not be denied or abridged…on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Though the amendment’s purpose was not fully achieved until 1965, the first African American to exercise this right did so the day after the amendment was ratified by participating in what election? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

St. Agatha Festival

Sant’ Agata (St. Agatha) is especially revered in Catania, Sicily, where her relics are preserved in a silver casket. On February 3, 4, and 5 each year, a silver bust of St. Agatha wearing a jewel-encrusted crown is carried in procession from the cathedral to Catania’s various churches. Included in the procession are the ceri, huge wooden replicas of candlesticks that are carved with episodes from the saint’s martyrdom. The streets are lined with streamers and flowers, and illuminated by strings of colored lights after dark. The festival ends with a fireworks display in the piazza. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Hugo Junkers (1859)

Junkers was a pioneering German engineer who held many patents for his original developments in the fields of gas engine and aircraft design. He had innovative ideas about metal airplanes and flying wings, and he put them to the test—somewhat ironically, as he was purportedly a pacifist—developing warplanes for World War I. In the lead-up to World War II, the Nazis stripped Junkers of control of his company and sentenced him to house arrest. He died soon after. What was the “Sheetmetal Donkey”? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

El Dorado

El Dorado—Spanish for “the gilded man”—is the fabled city of gold and jewels believed by the 16th-century Spanish and other Europeans to exist somewhere in South America. The legend supposedly originated from the Chibcha people of Colombia, who each year anointed a chieftain and rolled him in gold, which he then ceremonially washed off in a sacred lake, casting offerings of emeralds and gold into the waters. Who were some of the explorers who searched for El Dorado, and where did they look? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary