Boganda Day

In the Central African Republic, Boganda Day marks the anniversary of the death of Barthélémy Boganda, the nation’s first prime minister, who died in a plane crash on March 29, 1959. Boganda had been a driving force in the creation of the Central African Republic, which became a self-governing republic in 1958. He was also a leader in the movement to unite black African nations. Boganda Day is a national holiday in the Central African Republic; all banks, official government offices, businesses, and schools are closed. Discuss
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Teachers’ Day in the Czech Republic

March 28 is the birthday of Jan Amos Komensky (or John Comenius; 1592-1670), a noted educational reformer and theologian in the former Czechoslovakia. Komensky was the first person to write an illustrated textbook for children, used for teaching Latin words; he was also a proponent of compulsory education. It has been traditional for children to honor him on Teachers’ Day, or Komensky Day, by bringing flowers and gifts to their teachers. The day is also observed with lectures, music, and educational activities. Discuss
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St. Dismas’s Day

According to the Bible, two thieves were crucified with Jesus. The one on his right, traditionally called Dismas, repented and was promised, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). He is therefore the patron saint of persons condemned to death. In the United States, the National Catholic Prison Chaplains’ Association, by special permission from Rome, observes the second Sunday in October as Good Thief Sunday and holds masses in American prisons in honor of St. Dismas. March 25 is also the Feast of the Annunciation. Discuss
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Alahamady Be

Alahamady Be is New Year’s Day in Madagascar. The Malagasy new year traditionally begins in March, with the appearance of the year’s first new moon. People put on their best clothes, feast, give presents, and sing religious songs. The celebration is particularly festive in the capital city of Antananarivo. The townspeople make their way to the sacred royal hill known as Ambohimanga to offer prayers to the departed. When these devotions are completed, it’s time to eat. The feasting is an opportunity for families and friends to get together and wish each other luck in the coming year. Discuss
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Bretzelsonndeg (Pretzel Sunday)

On Bretzelsonndeg in Luxembourg, it is the custom for boys to present their sweethearts with decorated pretzel-cakes. If a girl wants to encourage the boy, she reciprocates with a decorated egg on Easter Sunday. If the pretzel-cake is large, the egg must be large also; a small cake warrants a small egg. The custom is reversed during Leap Year, when girls give cakes to boys on Pretzel Sunday, and boys return the favor with eggs at Easter. Married couples often participate in the exchange of cakes and eggs as well. Discuss
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