Today is the 79th day of the year. Typically the March equinox falls on this date, marking the vernal point in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal point in the Southern Hemisphere, when both day and night are of equal length.
Today is International Earth Day, which is always on the Vernal Equinox. This is not the same thing as the United States Earth Day which is on April 22. According to holidayinsights.com, International Earth Day was initiated to make earth inhabitants aware of their responsibility to care for the planet. This care includes environmental and natural resources. International Earth Day was founded by John McConnell, of Davis City, Iowa. In September, 1969, he proposed the establishment of Earth Day to the San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors. After approval, he gained support from many others, including then UN General Secretary, U Thant. In 1970, McConnell wrote an Earth Day Proclamation which was ultimately signed by UN Secretary General U Thant on March 21, 1971. This day is also called Sun-Earth Day.
March 20th is Extraterrestrial Abductions Day. A good way to celebrate is by reading a good sci-fi book and keeping an eye on the sky. Who is your favorite alien? ET? Alf? Spock? Yoda? Let us know in the comments who your all-time favorite aliens are.
It is Proposal Day. Valentine‘s came and went and still no ring? Today is a good day to propose to that special someone. Not looking to get married or already married? Propose something else. I propose we spend some extra time with our books today.
March 20th is Meatout day. According to meatout.org, this is a day for everyone to try healthy foods. They want to show you how easy a wholesome, compassionate diet can be. They want people to take the Meatout pledge to help them save 8,000 lives. They ask for people to eat vegan for today. Meatout has grown explosively since its inception in 1985 to become the world’s largest annual grassroots diet education campaign.
International Astrology Day (IAD) is an annual observance celebrated by astrologers and astrology enthusiasts and is held on the spring equinox, the day the Sun enters Aries, which is the first sign of the Tropical Zodiac, and has long been considered the astrological new year. The Association For Astrological Networking (AFAN) co-ordinates astrological lectures and events around the world. They founded this observance in 1993. The goals of the new holiday were to expand networking opportunities among the astrological community, to direct media attention to positive aspects of astrology, and to help raise funds for local astrological groups and for AFAN’s legal, media, and other networking projects.
The third Wednesday of marks is Kick Butts Day. This is a national day of activism that impowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.
March 20th is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is a national mobilization effort designed to encourage American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians across the U.S. and Territorial Areas to get educated, tested, involved in prevention, and get treated for HIV and AIDS. NNHAAD was founded in 2007. The first day of Spring was chosen as the date to celebration National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness day by individuals in the community who had participated in a national survey to determine what day would be most appropriate. It was acknowledged that in many Native cultures across the US that the four seasons are highly respected in many cultures because they closely represent the cycle of life. Spring also represents a time of equality and balance and is the only day when day and night are at equal lengths. It is considered a time of profound change, new beginnings and birth, a celebration of life for all people.
Today is Snowman Burning Day. It was first celebrated in March of 1971. It was created to celebrate the transition from winter to spring, in a horrible sort of way. Not only Americans celebrate Snowman Burning Day, the Swiss do too.
Today is also Big Bird‘s birthday. The 8-foot, 2-inch tall yellow bird who has lived on Sesame Street since it premiered in 1969 turns 6 years old again today! The big yellow bird can roller skate, ice skate, dance, sing, write poetry, draw, and even ride a unicycle, but despite this wide array of talents, he’s prone to frequent misunderstandings. Big Bird helps children feel all right about not knowing everything because he himself does not know everything, and encourages them to inquire: a common Big Bird phrase in recent years has been “Asking questions is a good way of finding things out!” He also teaches other life, alphabet, and numerical lessons: “I guess it’s better to be who you are. Turns out people like you best that way, anyway.” For many years his best friend Mr. Snuffleupagus (who Big Bird calls Snuffy) was deemed as imaginary by the adults on Sesame Street. Every time Snuffy would visit, he would coincidentally leave just before the adults arrived. Despite not being believed by the adults, Big Bird continued to assert that Snuffy was real. In the early 1980s, a string of high-profile child sexual abuse cases caused Sesame Workshop (then Children’s Television Workshop) to eliminate this running gag, fearing that children would take to heart the message that, if adults don’t believe something out of the ordinary even when they are telling the truth, they’d be just as well off to remain silent. Big Bird took center stage on Sesame Street in the early 1980s, when the show dealt with the death of storekeeper Mr. Hooper (necessitated by the death of Will Lee, the actor who played the role). Big Bird got confused when he tried to go into Hooper’s Store to give Mr. Hooper his drawing Big Bird made of and for him. The adults tell Big Bird that Mr. Hooper is not coming back because he’s dead and when people die, they don’t come back. (“Ever?” “No, never”) Big Bird’s realization that Mr. Hooper wasn’t just gone temporarily, and Big Bird’s acceptance of Mr. Hooper’s death, have been hailed as a milestone in children’s programming. Big Bird’s precise species is unknown, and over the years, there have been varying explanations for his unusual size and appearance. During a 1976 appearance on Hollywood Squares, host Peter Marshall asked, “What kind of bird are you, by the way?” Big Bird’s responded “I’m a lark.” When Big Bird is missing in the 1978 special Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch reassured Maria, jokingly reminding her that Big Bird is “part homing pigeon.” In a 1981 episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, King Friday XIII asked Big Bird if he’s related to the cassowary. Big Bird replied “actually, I’m a golden condor.” The 1998 book Sesame Street Unpaved says that Big Bird’s scientific name is “Bigus canarius”. Big Bird lives alone on Sesame Street, essentially adopted by the general neighborhood, with Susan and Gordon often acting as stand-in parents. The character was originally conceived as a kind of a yokel, it took most of the show’s first season, but the writers and performers soon came to see Big Bird not as the “village idiot,” but as a curious child. Big Bird sang Bein’ Green in honor of Jim Henson (and Kermit) during Jim Henson’s Memorial Service. During the song, he was close to tears. At the song’s end, he looked up to the heavens and said, voice breaking, “Thank you, Kermit.” Big Bird received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. Big Bird was featured on a US postage stamp in 1999 and on postage stamps in Fiji, Kiribati, the Cayman Islands, and Samoa in 2000. Big Bird appeared in Season 38 (Episode 1623), of Saturday Night Live as a special guest interviewee on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment in relation to the first 2012 Presidential Debate comments made by Mitt Romney over defunding PBS.
Some of the writer’s born on March 20th include:
Ovid (43 BC), Friedrich Hölderlin (1770), Heinrich Clauren (1771), Karl August Nicander (1799), Henrik Ibsen (1828), Börries von Münchhausen (1874), B. F. Skinner (1904), Hugh MacLennan (1907), Donald Featherstone (1918), Rosemary Timperley (1920), Shaukat Siddiqui (1923), Fred Rogers (1928), Alexander Gorodnitsky (1933), David Malouf (1934), Lois Lowry (1937), Gerard Malanga (1943), Jay Ingram (1945), Douglas B. Green (1946), John Boswell (1947), John de Lancie (1948), Curt Smith (1951), Liana Kanelli (1954), Louis Sachar (1954), Mary Roach (1959), Sara Wheeler (1961), Stephen Sommers (1962), William Dalrymple (1965), Xavier Beauvois (1967), A. J. Jacobs (1968), Michele Jaffe (1970), Touré Neblett (1971), Andrzej Pilipiuk (1974), and Molly Jenson (1979).
The Dutch East India Company was established on March 20, 1602.
Sir Walter Raleigh was freed from the Tower of London after thirteen years of imprisonment on this day in 1616.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beech Stowe was published on this day in 1852.
One hundred thirty years ago today the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was signed. This was one of the first intellectual property treaties. It established a Union for the protection of industrial property. The Convention is still in force.
Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity on March 20, 1916.
Ninety years ago today the Arts Club of Chicago hosted the opening of Pablo Picasso’s first United States showing, entitled Original Drawings by Pablo Picasso, becoming an early proponent of modern art in the United States.
During World War II, General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, made his famous speech on this day in 1942 regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he said” “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.
Fujiyoshida, a city located in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, in the center of the Japanese main island of Honshū was founded March 20, 1951. Exactly one year later the United States Senate ratified a peace treaty with Japan.
During the Vietnam War, in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held two week-long Bed-Ins for Peace in Amsterdam and Montreal, which were their non-violent ways of protesting wars and promoting peace. The idea is derived from a “sit-in”, in which a group of protesters remains seated in front of an establishment until they are evicted, arrested, or their demands are met. The public proceedings were filmed, and later turned into a documentary movie. The film Bed Peace was made available for free on YouTube in August 2011 by Yoko Ono, as part of her website “Imagine Peace”. Knowing their March 20, 1969 marriage would be a huge press event, John and Yoko decided to use the publicity to promote world peace. They spent their honeymoon in the presidential suite at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for a week between March 25 and 31, inviting the world’s press into their hotel room every day between 9 a.m. And 9 p.m. After their other stunts, such as the nude cover of the Two Virgins album, the press were expecting them to be having sex, but instead the couple were sitting in bed—in John’s words “like angels”—talking about peace with signs over their bed reading “Hair Peace” and “Bed Peace”. After seven days, they flew to Vienna, Austria. During April 1969, John and Yoko sent acorns to the heads of state in various countries around the world in hopes that they would plant them as a symbol of peace. Due to John and Yoko’s very public image, the Amsterdam Bed-In was greeted by fans, and received a great deal of press coverage. Following the event, when asked if he thought the Bed-In had been successful, John became rather frustrated. He insisted that the failure of the press to take the couple seriously was part of what he and Yoko wanted: “It’s part of our policy not to be taken seriously. Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humor. And we are humorous.” Their second Bed-In was planned to take place in New York, but John was not allowed into the country because of his 1968 cannabis conviction. Instead they held the event in the Bahamas at the Sheraton Oceanus Hotel, flying there on May 24, 1969, but after spending one night in the heat, they decided to move to Montreal. They flew to Montreal on May 26 where they stayed at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. During their seven day stay they invited several celebrities who sang on the peace anthem “Give Peace a Chance”, recorded by André Perry in the hotel room on June 1. In December 1969 John and Yoko spread their messages of peace with billboards reading “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas From John and Yoko”. These Billboards went up in eleven major world cities.
Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 20, 1985. That same day Canadian paraplegic athlete and humanitarian Rick Hansen began his circumnavigation of the globe in a wheelchair in the name of spinal cord injury medical research.
As part of the Eritrean War of Independence, on this day in 1988, having defeated the Nadew Command, the Eritean People’s Liberation Front entered the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.
Legoland California, the first Legoland outside of Europe, opened in Carlsbad, California on this day in 1999.
On March 20, 2000, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a former Black Panther once known as H. Rap Brown, was captured after murdering Georgia sheriff’s deputy Ricky Kinchen and critically wounding Deputy Aldranon English.
Ten years ago today, in the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries began military operations in Iraq.
On March 20, 2006 over 150 Chadian soldiers were killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel UFDC. The rebel movement sought to overthrow Chadian president Idress Deby.
Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon. Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.