September 30 - International Podcast Day

Posted on September 30, 2019

There probably aren't too many people, these days, who HAVEN'T heard of podcasts - but I also wonder how many people have actually taken steps to enjoy all the many and varied podcasts we have available at our fingertips?

(Or, really, at the end of our earbud cords!)

A podcast is a digital audio file that people can download or stream and listen to using a phone or a computer - something that is not JUST music - something that is available as a series of installments. 

It's like a YouTube channel, except audio instead of audio AND visual media. 

You can listen to one episode of a particular podcast, or all of them - and if the latter, you can listen to them in the order that the installments were released, or you can mix them up and listen in any order. (Some podcasts make no sense heard out of order, though, like the Mars Patel and Finn Caspian serialized stories below!)

Here are some fantastic podcasts for kids:

September 29 - Michaelmas Day in the Orkney Islands

Posted on September 29, 2019

Today is a holiday that is called, in some places in the world, St. Michael's Feast or St. Michael's Day. In the United Kingdom / British Isles, it's Michael's Mass, or Michaelmas.

(Notice the likeness of this name to Christ's Mass, better known as Christmas.)

The British Isles includes not just Ireland and the main British island that can be divvied up into England, Scotland, and Wales; it also includes the Isle of Man, the Hebrides, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, Anglesey, and the Channel Islands. Oh! And the one Scottish island I've been to, Arran! All together, there are more than 6,000 British Isles! 

(Of course, many of them are small.)

I have already written about Michaelmas Day on the Isle of Skye, which is one of the Inner Hebrides islands; today I'm going to explore a more northern group of islands, the Orkneys.

Eating goose was so popular on Michaelmas Day - after Queen Elizabeth I proclaimed she would eat goose on that holiday, to celebrate England's defeat of the Spanish Armada - that some people call it Goose Day! Another favorite Michaelmas treat was a special scone-like cake called St. Michael's Bannock. 

Basically, Michaelmas is a recognition of the turn of the seasons. Harvest is done or nearly done. Blackberries have all been picked. Most flowers are gone - just the late-blooming Michaelmas Daisy still brightens slopes. A chill is setting in - especially in the northernmost parts of Britain, including the Orkneys. The days are getting shorter and shorter - again, the difference is way more noticeable farther north, in the Orkneys, than it is in, say, London. Also, the clearer-skies part of the year will be soon ending, and mostly cloudy skies are about to set in.

By the way, there is so much wind in the Orkneys, plus such wild wind-driven waves, that 103% of electric power needed by the population is from wind- and wave-power! 

Check out the Orkneys during various seasons: 

Boquerón Battle Day in Paraguay


September 28 - Flag Day in Thailand

Posted on September 28, 2019

There was a national flag in Thailand for a long time. Most of them were red, and several of them included a chakra, or a picture of an elephant, or both.

There was this particular flag - the current one - in Thailand for years and years. It was adopted on this date in 1917.

What there hasn't been until recently was a holiday celebrating the flag. In time for the flag's 100th birthday, the holiday began in 2017.

The Thai flag, like so many other flags in the world, has three colors, red, white, and blue. But it isn't considered a tricolor flag by the dictionary definitions I've consulted of the word tricolor, because the latter is always a triband flag, with three parallel stripes (bands) of different colors (either horizontal, like Russia's flag, or vertical, like France's flag). 

Above, Russia's flag.
Below, France's flag.

Thailand's flag has five stripes; yet, Thais call it Trairanga, which means "Tricolor Flag"!

The colors are supposed to stand for nation-religion-king, with red representing the land and the people, white representing religions (I guess all of them), and blue representing the monarchy. 

Thais have a long history, rich traditions, and a strong cultural identity.
Yet Thailand is a modern nation, and its capital, Bangkok, has lots
of skyscrapers. 

Teachers Day in Taiwan

National Good Neighbor Day

(4th Saturday in September)

(Last Saturday in September)

Plan ahead:

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