|New Year's Day
In countries which use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day is usually celebrated on 1 January. The order of months in the Roman calendar has been January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. However, Roman writers identified years by naming the year's consuls, who did not enter office on 1 January until 153 BC. Since then 1 January has been the first day of the year, except during the Middle Ages when several other days were the first (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December). With the expansion of Western culture to the rest of the world during the twentieth century, the 1 January date became global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (e.g., China and India). At present, the celebration of the New Year is a major event worldwide. Many large-scale events are held in major cities around the world, with many large fireworks events on New Year's Eve (31 December). Sydney launched over 80,000 fireworks at midnight, and had more than one and a half million attendees; it was also the most-watched event on television worldwide last year. In Valparaiso upwards of two million visitors witnessed the largest fireworks display in a natural setting; a total of more than 21 kilometers of fireworks on the bay, from the commercial port city of Valparaiso to Concon, Chile, all in 25 minutes of entertainment. London's New Year celebrations centre around the London Eye, with an impressive fireworks display while Big Ben strikes midnight. In New York, the celebration is focused around a large crystal ball that descends in a one minute countdown in Times Square. Edinburgh plays host to one of the world's largest Hogmanay events. The celebrations last for four days and attract visitors from around the globe to take part in street parties and attend concerts. In the culture of Latin America there are a variety of traditions and superstitions surrounding these dates as omens for the coming year. January remains a symbol of the New Year's celebration. According to the Christian tradition, 1 January coincides with the circumcision of Christ (eight days after birth), when the name of Jesus was given to him (Luke 2: 21).
Reverend John Chilembwe (1871 – February 3, 1915) was an orthodox Baptist educator and an early figure in resistance to colonialism in Nyasaland, now Malawi. Today John Chilembwe is celebrated as a hero for independence, and John Chilembwe Day is observed annually on January 15 in Malawi.
Every year, Malawi, formerly known as Nyasaland, a landlocked country in Southeast Africa, celebrates Martyr’s Day every third day of March yearly to commemorate the popular uprising in Malawi protesting British colonial rule. This resistance has caused the lives of more than forty men during the revolution. It is this day when the country mourns those whose lives were perished just to liberate the country from the foreign rule. In 1953, Malawi and its neighbour country Nyasaland (present day Malawi), formed a confederation called Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, in an effort to halt the discriminatory policy applied against the African population in Rhodesia and for fear that it may also spread and eventually be adopted in Nyasaland. Dr. Hastings Kamuz Banda became one of the prominent figures of the revolt who immediately became the first president of Malawi in 1966, two years after the declaration of Independence of Malawi. The popular revolt started when John Chilembwe, a US trained Malawian soldier, revolted against the British in 1915 when African soldiers were forced to serve the British colonial army. Chilembwe, along with other brave men during that time, began taking offensives against the British colonial government forces during that time. The war ended only when Chilembwe was assassinated along the borders of the Portuguese-controlled African republic Mozambique and the country in the same year. Numerous wars and power struggles happened in the Nyasaland and Rhodesia region after the initial war ensued which led to the then Queen of England in 1959 declaring state of emergency on these African protectorate territories in an effort to finally put an end to the rebellion. The first president installed during that time was sent for exile in Zimbabwe and put behind bars during the rebellion. One of the most momentous incidents during the rebellion is the massacre that happened in northern lakeshore in Nkhatabay where, more or less, 30 people have died. The British colonial army gunned down and killed unarmed African natives who were peacefully demanding negotiations for the eventual independence of the Nyasaland. The rather peaceful negotiation turned out to be a bloody massacre of people who were killed by riffle bullets and some drowned in Lake Malawi. After the dissolution of The Federation (1963), Nyasaland finally gained independence from the government of Britain and was renamed Malawi. The country prospered during Banda’s rule until he was deposed in 1994 after a new president was elected (Bakili Muluzi) under the new multiparty system. Martyrs’ Day is considered as a national holiday in Malawi. During the celebration, public offices including schools and some private companies are closed. The government conduct ceremonial speeches to commemorate those whose lives were lost during the rebellion leading to the independence of the state. The president and other public officials attend local gatherings remembering the fallen heroes including the laying of wreaths on monuments dedicated to the popular personalities of the liberation.
Good Friday, also called Holy Friday, Black Friday, or Great Friday, is a holiday observed primarily by adherents to Christianity commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and often coincides with the Jewish observance of Passover. Based on the scriptural details of the Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most probably on a Friday. The estimated year of Good Friday is AD 33, by two different groups, and originally as AD 34 by Isaac Newton via the differences between the Biblical and Julian calendars and the crescent of the moon. A third method, using a completely different astronomical approach based on a lunar Crucifixion darkness and eclipse model (consistent with Apostle Peter's reference to a "moon of blood" in Acts 2:20) arrives at the same date, namely Friday April 3, AD 33.
Easter (Greek: Πάσχα) is the most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day of his crucifixion. Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday), two days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and AD 36. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance. Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21. The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose March 21 corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between April 4 and May 8. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar. Relatively newer elements such as the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts have become part of the holiday's modern celebrations, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike.
|End of Ramadan (Eid El Fitr)
Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break fast"; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal. Eid ul-Fitr lasts for three days of celebration and is sometimes also known as the "Smaller Eid" (Arabic: العيد الصغير al-‘īdu ṣ-ṣaghīr) as compared to the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called the "Greater Eid" (Arabic: العيد الكبير al-‘īdu l-kabīr). Muslims are commanded by the Quran to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.
International Workers' Day (a name used interchangeably with may day) is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. May Day commonly sees organized street demonstrations and street marches by millions of working people and their labour unions throughout most of the countries of the world.
Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1896? – 25 November 1997) was the leader of Malawi and its predecessor state, Nyasaland, from 1961 to 1994. After receiving much of his education overseas, Banda returned to his home country (then British Nyasaland) to speak against colonialism and help lead the movement towards independence. In 1963, he was formally appointed Nyasaland’s prime minister, and led the country to independence as Malawi a year later. Two years later, he declared Malawi a republic with himself as president. He quickly consolidated power and eventually declared Malawi a one party state under the Malawi Congress Party. In 1970, the MCP declared him the party’s President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself. A leader of the pro-Western bloc in Africa, he received support from the West during the cold war. He generally supported women’s rights, improved the country’s infrastructure, and maintained a good educational system relative to other African countries. On the debit side, however, he presided over one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. He also faced scorn for maintaining full diplomatic relations with apartheid-era South Africa. By 1993, facing international pressure and widespread protest, a referendum ended his one party state, and a special assembly stripped him of his title. Banda ran for president in the democratic elections which followed, but was soundly defeated. He died in South Africa in 1997. His legacy as ruler of Malawi remains controversial, some hailing him as a national and African hero, some denouncing him as a political tyrant.
Independence was declared in 1964 and the country became a republic in 1966.
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on December 25, but this date is not known to be Jesus' actual birthday, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, a historical Roman festival, or the date of the northern hemisphere's winter solstice. Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days
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