Archive for the "International" Category
When is Wright Brothers Day?
Wright Brothers Day is held every December 17th to celebrate the aviation achievements of Orville and Wilbur Wright. This is also the same day in 1903 when the Wright Brothers made aviation history with their famous 12-second flight that would change the world.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were brothers who both had aspirations in aircraft. December 17, 1903 proved to be their lucky day. On this date, the brothers launched “Flyer,” a mechanical propeller plane, for a total of 12 seconds. Flyer also managed to stay in flight for about 120 feet. This historic event occurred in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Part of the success of this flight was the Wright brothers’ use of aircraft controllers. While they weren’t the first Americans to test planes, the Wright Brothers are the first to be credited with this type of success in aviation.
The first Wright Brothers Day was established on December 17, 1963. Since then, the United States continues to observe the historic flight that occurred over a century ago. While not regarded as a public holiday, celebrations are held in numerous ways in both government and private sectors.
Celebrations in Flight
Wright Brothers Day encompasses the American pioneering spirit. With this mood in mind, the President of the United States makes a Proclamation every December 17th to commemorate this holiday. It is a speech that not only alludes to the story and success of Orville and Wilbur Wright, but the President also officially proclaims the day to be Wright Brothers Day.
The spirit of Wright Brothers Day is extended to public schools, where teachers prepare special lessons about aviation. Public celebrations also take place in the brothers’ hometown of Dayton, Ohio. A 60-foot national memorial currently stands in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, which is near the area of the famous flight. While the memorial is open to visitors any time of the year, attendance is particularly high on Wright Brothers Day. Other celebrators choose to visit aviation museums, as well as air shows that often take place during the holiday.
Facts and Controversies
While the Wright brothers made significant contributions to aviation, these achievements are often overshadowed by critics who think that Orville and Wilbur Wright get too much credit. They weren’t technically the first to test out aircraft, so stating that they were the “first in flight” often angers critics. However, the Wright brothers were the first to invent and successfully use navigation steering, which paved the way to modern aircraft.
The Wright brothers are often included in National Aviation Day celebrations because of their contributions to modern-day aviation. In fact, National Aviation Day is held every August 19th to coincide with Orville Wright’s birthday. Still, the two holidays are not the same. Some people who celebrate National Aviation Day focus on the Wright brothers, which often adds fuel to controversies. There’s no disputing, however, the fact that the brothers’ contributions to flight navigations changed aviation as we know it today.
By: Kristeen Cherney
When is World Day for Slavery Abolition?
World Day for Slavery Abolition is observed every December 2nd to promote awareness and action against slavery worldwide. Better known as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, this is a United Nations holiday that is noted around the globe.
Worldwide Slavery Facts
In the United States, slavery that stemmed from the infamous transatlantic trade was officially abolished during the Civil War. However, forced labor isn’t the only type of slavery, nor is it just a problem in a few countries. Slavery is a worldwide problem that comes in numerous forms, including human trafficking, forced prostitution, body organ trades and forced marriages. . All of these types of slavery occur worldwide, even in developed and “free” countries.
Among the worst types of slavery are those that involve children. Child sex trades are a horrific worldwide problem, as well as armies who force children to fight in wars. Nearly half of all slaves are children.
History of the Holiday
World Day for Slavery Abolition was first established in 1985. The United Nations chose December 2nd because it was the same date that the General Assembly adopted a resolution for the “Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others” back in 1949. Throughout the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, the holiday was known as World Day for Slavery Abolition. In the late 1990s, the United Nations chose to refer to the day as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Awareness and Action
At its core, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is a human rights holiday. The United Nations takes the opportunity to raise awareness of slavery and all of its forms every December 2nd in an effort to promote action against these human rights violations. Every year the Secretary-General makes a speech about the importance of slavery abolition as well as the significance of global efforts to stop it.
World Day for Slavery Abolition is a different type of holiday in that it isn’t celebrated in the traditional sense. Instead, the holiday is more of an opportunity to raise awareness and promote action. Individual countries take home messages from the United Nations about the world slave trade, as well as solutions to help stop it. Public schools often teach special lessons to students about the history of slavery. Non-profit groups help call attention to the problems of modern-day slavery. More importantly, much work is done to help the public identify possible victims and perpetrators of the slave trade to help stop it in its tracks.
When is the December Solstice?
The December Solstice marks the time at which the sun reaches its most southern point on the earth. Also called the Southern Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, this event usually occurs between December 20th and December 23rd every year.
Effects of December Solstice
This solstice has different effects on both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The December Solstice marks the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, while it marks the beginning of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is at -23.5 degrees during this time, which explains the wintry weather effects in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the exact opposite of the June Solstice, which marks summertime for the North, and winter for the South.
Other effects of the December Solstice are immediately noticed. In the Northern Hemisphere, the day the solstice occurs marks the shortest day of the year, with the fewest hours of sunlight. It’s no surprise that it’s the longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. When travelling over the North Pole, you would notice that there is no sunlight at all during this time.
The exact date of the December Solstice depends on the Gregorian calendar, which includes occasional variations such as Leap Year. December 21st is the most common date that this solstice occurs. In 2013, the December Solstice is set to occur on December 21st.
Types of Celebrations
Nowadays, most of us in the Northern Hemisphere recognize the December Solstice as a cold, short day. The coldness factor can vary between regions, but it is still the day with the shortest amount of daylight hours across the board. You’ll hear a reminder here and there from weather reports, or even notice the event on your calendar. In other countries, festivals are held to mark the solstice and its effects.
At numerous points in history, however, the December Solstice was taken a little more seriously. Ancient Wiccans regarded this solstice as the return of the sun god, while others in history simply held celebrations revolving the sun. Many celebrations revolved around bonfires; some households chose to store the ashes for good luck. Sometimes items were thrown into the bonfires, ranging from dolls to recently harvested fruit.
The December Solstice has also marked many significant events in history. Most recently, the Mayans predicted that the end of the world would occur on December 21, 2012—the same day of the solstice. This was in part due to the fact that the Mayan Calendar went no further than that date. The predictions of many failed to come to fruition; still, the December Solstice is considered a significant event in many cultures.
Before the December Solstice was worked into the Gregorian, or Western Calendar, it was once considered as a pagan event. Many scholars believe that Christmas Day was chosen to take place on December 25th in order to avoid the holiday to coincide with any of the possible dates of December Solstice.
When is Universal Children’s Day?
Universal Children’s Day is an annual holiday aimed at celebrating the happiness and well-being of children across the globe. Also simply called “Children’s Day,” the holiday also recognizes and calls attention to children’s rights. It is observed every November 20th in many countries, although some nations choose different dates.
Universal Children’s Day was first introduced by the United Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1954. The purpose was to help children increase awareness of other people their age across the world to establish understanding and empathy. Many nations were quick to adopt the holiday. The U.N. chose November 20th as the date for Universal Children’s Day, although other nations can celebrate it on other days as seen fit.
Other major events have tied into the holiday. For example, the United Nations passed the Declaration of the Rights of Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th on 1959 and 1989, respectively. In turn, these actions helped to transform Universal Children’s Day into a holiday that both celebrates and fights for the rights of children.
Differences in Dates
November 20th is the official date chosen by the United Nations for Universal Children’s Day. During the General Assembly session in December 1954, the United Nations declared the date as Children’s Day, but also encouraged countries to choose a date that was the best fit for them. This is why most countries celebrate Children’s Day every November 20th, but others still have variations on the holiday.
The United States recognizes Universal Children’s Day, but also has a different date to celebrate the holiday. Instead, National Child’s Day is celebrated in June. It is not a public holiday, which means that the government remains open. However, many government institutions, such as the White House, may participate in special celebrations surrounding the holiday.
Other nations choose to celebrate Universal Children’s Day on different dates. For example, Thailand recognizes Children’s Day on the second Saturday in January, and South Africa recognizes the holiday during the first Saturday in November. No matter what the date, November 20th is still the one most recognized and celebrated by the United Nations. This is also the time where most of the campaigning takes place for action to promote children’s rights.
Celebrations and Action
Universal Children’s Day is a date of celebrating the children around the world. This gives kids a great opportunity to learn about other children outside of their own country. Not only can this heighten culture awareness, but it can also transform into future incentives to take social action.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the subset of the United Nations that is primarily responsible for carrying out Universal Children’s Day awareness and action. While the goal is to celebrate children worldwide, there are many other serious aspects of the holiday to consider. From UNICEF’s standpoint, this is an ideal time to raise awareness about issues concerning the rights of children. This includes forced labor, abuse, and trafficking, as well as the denial of education and basic health services. By raising awareness, we can take action to make sure that all children can get the help they deserve and have a fair shot at life.
UNICEF is also known for tackling other issues surrounding children’s health on Universal Children’s Day, such as breastfeeding and access to immunizations.