Archive for the "International" Category

World Meteorological Day

When is World Meteorological Day?

World Meteorological Day is a holiday recognized every March 23rd. It was initially created to commemorate the establishment of the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Since the holiday’s formation, it has also transformed as an opportunity for the WMO to engage with people on the importance of meteorology and society.

Early History

The United Nations, which was established in 1945 after World War II, is the backing agency behind the World Meteorological Organization. The organization was established at a U.N. conference on March 23, 1950. However, this isn’t the first organization of its kind. Prior to the creation of the United Nations, there was an agency dedicated to weather called the International Meteorological Organization. The purpose was to gather and track weather information, while also reporting it to the public as efficiently as possible.

In 1950, the United Nations decided to transition the international organization into the World Meteorological Organization that we know today. While the WMO shares the same core purposes of the International Meteorological Organization, it works with the functions of the United Nations, too. It is important to know the daily weather forecast, but the WMO goes beyond this to educate world communities to ensure safety and well-being.

Establishing a “Weather” Day

World Meteorological Day was established in the 1960s. March 23rd was chosen as the annual day of observance because it is the same date the WMO was created. This “weather” day was created for numerous reasons. First, the holiday raises awareness to societies around the world, and aims to gain public interest to enhance meteorological education. It is also the aim of the WMO to raise issues about public safety and health related to the weather.

The holiday may even garner interest in the youth and encourage the prospect of future meteorological studies in college. Furthermore, people who have an interest in the weather may also take the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate their hobbies. On World Meteorological Day, the WMO also honors meteorologists who have made global impacts through their work.

Celebrating Meteorology

Having an interest in weather may give you a good incentive to recognize and celebrate World Meteorological Day. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel to the annual conference. There are local events tailored to the celebration of meteorology, as well as to the awareness of weather-related issues. Schools may also choose to hold special science projects around this time. Local weather stations may hold events to highlight meteorological issues pertaining to the area and beyond. For example, a hurricane seminar can highlight concerns about the storms, as well as the potential climate changes that may drive their force.

The WMO also creates a theme to focus on for every World Meteorological Day. For example, the 2014 theme is “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.” The purpose is to educate next generations about climate change and how related weather impacts can affect the world populous. Past World Meteorological Day themes include: “Our Future Climate,” “Weather, Climate, Water in the Information Age” and “Polar Meteorology: Understanding Global Impacts.”

Reference:

http://www.wmo.int/worldmetday/index_en.html 

Vernal Equinox

When is the Vernal Equinox?

The Vernal Equinox marks the official start of spring. Also called the March Equinox, this equinox is characterized by the sun lining up with the equator. It is a welcome event by many people looking forward to defrosting from wintry conditions, although the warming trend can happen before or after the official day of the equinox.

What is an Equinox?

An equinox is the scientific term to explain the moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator. The earth’s equator is essentially lined up against the middle of the sun. Unlike the tilting of the earth that results in the cold weather conditions and shorter days associated with winter, the planet doesn’t tilt at all during the equinox. During the day of an equinox, Earth also experiences relatively equal lengths of sunlight and nighttime. In other words, there are about 12 hours of day, and 12 hours of night.

There are only two equinoxes per year. The first is the Vernal Equinox, which happens near the end of every March. The exact date changes year to year, but falls between March 20th and the 24th. This equinox marks the change from winter. The second one is the September (or Autumnal) Equinox, and marks the beginning of fall.

Signs of Spring

People in the northern hemisphere look forward to the Vernal Equinox as a welcome sign of the change of seasons. This equinox marks the transition from winter to spring, where many individuals are aching to break out of cold weather and short days. The biggest noticeable difference on the day of the Vernal Equinox is an extension in daylight. However, other signs of spring can occur slightly before or after the equinox. This is largely based on other factors in weather patterns on Earth. It is not out of the realm of possibility to experience a snowstorm after the Vernal Equinox. Keep in mind that seasonal changes from the March Equinox have the opposite effect in the southern hemisphere.

“Warm” Celebrations

For some people, the Vernal Equinox marks an annual change in seasons, and they simply adapt to the transition. For others, however, this equinox marks a time for celebration. Historically, the Mayans were among the first to take the equinoxes as well as the solstices seriously. The days were of significant cultural importance, and some of the villages would even make sacrifices. Rituals and festivals were also held in ancient Egypt and Iran. It was even historically regarded a pagan holiday in parts of Europe.

Major spring holidays also occur around the time of the Vernal Equinox. This includes major religious holidays, such as Easter in Christianity and Passover in Judaism. St. Patrick’s Day, which occurs every March 17th, is also relatively close the March equinox.

There are other cultural rituals connected to the Vernal Equinox that don’t have the same historical context as holidays. After spring begins, many households commence their own traditions related to the equinox, though they may not realize it. This may include the infamous “spring cleaning,” gardening or even structural painting. Spring also marks the time when winter tools and clothing are put away. Others simply get outside and plan activities that were put on hold until winter thawed away.

World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day

When is World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day?

World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day is a holiday dedicated to both the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. It is a memorial celebrated every January 27th. The holiday is also known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Remembering the Holocaust

The Holocaust is one of the most tragic and despicable sets of events in human history. It was a movement sparked by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to target and kill certain groups of people, mainly Jews. The genocide started in Germany before World War II. As Nazi occupations expanded, so did the killings. It is estimated that more than 6 million Jews died in concentration camps. Millions of Roma gypsies were also killed. The annihilation targeted disabled individuals and homosexuals, too. Such killings eventually expanded to political and religious opponents of the Nazis.

Targeted individuals were sent to concentration camps across Europe. Auschwitz, located in Poland, was one of the worst during the Holocaust movement: over one million were killed here. On January 27, 1945, the Soviets took over the camp and shut it down.

History of the Holiday

Since the Holocaust movement was brought to light, it has been regarded as one of the worst events to ever occur in human history. Numerous memorials have been created to remember all of the victims. The Holocaust has spurred numerous museums as well. One of the most notable is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was established in Washington, D.C. in 1995. Smaller museums have since opened in cities across the country with the same purpose: to never let anyone forget the Holocaust, and to serve as reminders about human rights.

An official holiday wasn’t created until 60 years after the end of World War II. In 2005, the United Nations sought to commemorate victims and survivors of the Holocaust. The General Assembly voted to create the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. January 27th was the chosen date to commemorate the take-over of Auschwitz. The purpose of World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day is to not only pay tribute to Holocaust victims, but to also raise awareness to prevent future cases of genocide. The holiday was officially observed in 2006.

Celebrating Human Rights

World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day isn’t a federal holiday, so government offices and schools remain open. However, the holiday is widely recognized across the country, as well as many others. Since this holiday is a memorial, the events are often solemn. Survivors remember lost friends and loved ones, while celebrating the fact that they made it through the terrible events.

This holiday is also a celebration of human rights. While the genocide certainly can’t be reversed, the events can be served as reminders that some groups of people still don’t uphold universal human rights. We can learn from these tragic events to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. A common symbol of World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day is white roses with barbed wire.

International Migrants Day

When is International Migrants Day?

International Migrants Day is a holiday that recognizes the rights of migrant workers around the world, as well as their families. It was established by the United Nations and continues to gain prevalence in numerous countries. International Migrants Day is celebrated every December 18th.

History

Migrant workers are increasingly placed in the spotlight, but such cases aren’t anything new. Workers have migrated to different regions of the world for centuries. Before Hawai’i was annexed by the United States, migrant workers came by the thousands from parts of Asia to work in the sugarcane fields. This became one of the biggest migrations of the time. Another example in recent history is the migration of workers from Syria looking for better living conditions. For some groups, worker migration can be a sensitive issue based on political, economic and differences.

Despite varying opinions on immigration, the fact is that there is often little protection for migrant workers once they leave their home countries. The United Nations held a convention in 1990 surrounding this issue. Of particular concern was the migrants’ families. International Migrants Day was established in December 2000 out of human rights concerns over migrants and their families. It has been held every December 18th ever since, and has gained popularity as various world governments look for ways to protect these human rights.

Action and Celebration

Awareness and social action are the focal points of International Migrants Day. Human rights is an increasingly prevalent issue, especially in today’s information world where violations are more-known. Migrants around the world continue to take the brave step to leave unsuitable living conditions in pursuit of better work opportunities to take care of their families. Sadly, along their journeys, basic human rights may be violated. This can occur on the part of employers, or even governments. International Migrants Day was created to raise awareness about such issues so societies can take action.

The holiday isn’t completely without celebrations. While not a public holiday, International Migrants Day is recognized by many nations. Communities may hold special events to celebrate histories in culture. Success stories may also be highlighted. Thanks to social media, International Migrants Day is also a hot topic of discussion on the Internet.

Challenges and Controversies

According to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, 232 million people currently live in regions outside of their birth countries. This includes the Secretary-General himself. With such a valid point, it’s difficult to hold prejudices against immigrants–especially in countries that were originally founded by migrant workers.

Still, the situation is more complex than simply accepting all migrant workers. There are numerous challenges involved in protecting the rights of migrants. Some refuge countries don’t have the resources to offer this type of protection for their own people, let alone migrant workers and their families. The U.N. continues to work to find solutions to protect the human rights of all people, regardless of their status. One of the main purposes of International Migrants Day is to come up with solutions for universal human protection.