Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Costumes

History of Halloween

History of Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.  The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows' Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve.

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). 
The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.

Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on or around Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" part of "trick or treat" is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween. It has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

The history of Halloween has evolved.  The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the "trick" element. In continental Europe, where the commerce-driven importation of Halloween is seen with more skepticism, numerous destructive or illegal "tricks" and police warnings have further raised suspicion about this game and Halloween in general.

In Ohio, Iowa, and Massachusetts, the night designated for Trick-or-treating is often referred to as Beggars Night.

Part of the history of Halloween  is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering, whining], like a beggar at Hallowmas."

Yet there is no evidence that souling was ever practiced in America, and trick-or-treating may have developed in America independent of any Irish or British antecedent. There is little primary Halloween history documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in Ireland, the UK, or America before 1900. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, near the border of upstate New York, reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street guising (see below) on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs. Another isolated reference appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920. The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do not depict trick-or-treating. Ruth Edna Kelley, in her 1919 history of the holiday, The Book of Hallowe'en, makes no mention of such a custom in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America." It does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the earliest known uses in print of the term "trick or treat" appearing in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939. Thus, although a quarter million Scots-Irish immigrated to America between 1717 and 1770, the Irish Potato Famine brought almost a million immigrants in 1845-1849, and British and Irish immigration to America peaked in the 1880s, ritualized begging on Halloween was virtually unknown in America until generations later.

Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.

Jack O'Lantern
Trick-or-treating on the prairie. Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to re-channel Halloween activities away from vandalism, nothing in the historical record supports this theory. To the contrary, adults, as reported in newspapers from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, typically saw it as a form of extortion, with reactions ranging from bemused indulgence to anger. Likewise, as portrayed on radio shows, children would have to explain what trick-or-treating was to puzzled adults, and not the other way around. Sometimes even the children protested: for Halloween 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner that read "American Boys Don't Beg."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

World Development Information Day

The United Nations' (UN) World Development Information Day is annually held on October 24 to draw attention of worldwide public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them.

On May 17, 1972, the UN Conference on Trade and Development proposed measures for the information dissemination and the mobilization of public opinion relative to trade and development problems. These became known as resolution 3038 (XXVII), which was passed by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 1972.

This resolution called for introducing World Development Information Day to help draw the attention of people worldwide to development problems. A further aim of the event is to explain to the general public why it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation to find ways to solve these problems. The assembly also decided that the day should coincide with United Nations Day to stress the central role of development in the UN's work. World Development Information Day was first held on October 24, 1973, and has been held on this date each year since then.

In recent years, many events have interpreted the title of the day slightly differently. These have concentrated on the role that modern information technologies, such as Internet and mobile telephones can play in alerting people and finding solutions to problems of trade and development. One of the specific aims of World Development Information Day was to inform and motivate young people and this change may help to further this aim.

World Development Information Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Many events are organized to focus attention on the work that the UN does, particularly with regard to problems of trade and development. Many of these are aimed at journalists working for a range of media, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet sites. Direct campaigns may also be organized in some areas. These may use advertisements in newspapers and on radio and television as well as posters in public places.

In South Africa, indabas (gatherings of community representatives with expertise in a particular area) are often held. Representatives of local, national and international bodies are invited to share, discuss and consolidate their ideas around a particular development issue of local or national importance.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

World Food Day

World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme.


World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO's Member Countries at the Organization's 20th General Conference in November 1945. The Hungarian Delegation, led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Pál Romány has played an active role at the 20th Session of the FAO Conference and suggested the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.


Since 1981, World Food Day has adopted a different theme each year, in order to highlight areas needed for action and provide a common focus.
Most of the themes revolve around agriculture because only investment in agriculture – together with support for education and health – will turn this situation around. The bulk of that investment will have to come from the private sector, with public investment playing a crucial role, especially in view of its facilitating and stimulating effect on private investment.
In spite of the importance of agriculture as the driving force in the economies of many developing countries, this vital sector is frequently starved of investment. In particular, foreign aid to agriculture has shown marked declines over the past 20 years.

The theme for World Food Day 2013 is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”.

Food security:

There are an estimated 842 million hungry people on the planet. This means that one in eight people in the world suffer from chronic hunger, not having enough food for an active and healthy life. Plus the number of people on the planet is increasing rapidly. Production of basic staple foods will need to increase by 60 percent to meet the expected growth in demand. 


Producing more food is important. But it is not enough. Two billion people worldwide lack micronutrients vital for good health. Each one of us requires more than basic staple foods for a balanced and nutritious diet. Our food systems must become more nutrition-driven, with a stronger focus on fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods. 

Food Systems:

A food system is made up of all the processes that ensure our food arrives from “farm to fork”: how we grow, process, package, transport, store, market, purchase and eat our food. Since every aspect of a food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods, we must constantly strive towards healthier improvements up and down food value chains.  


By definition, sustainable food systems produce nutritious diets for all people today and protect the capacity of future generations to feed themselves. Yet, today almost 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably, in large part because of the environmentally harmful effects of our current food systems. We can do better. By using resources more efficiently at every stage along the food chain, we can increase the amount of healthy food available worldwide. Getting the most food from every drop of water, plot of land, and speck of fertilizer saves resources for the future. We can all play a part in improving our food systems, even in our homes, by making good decisions about what food we buy and eat, and by reducing food waste. 

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Friday, October 11, 2013

World Egg Day

World Egg Day is celebrated every year on the second Friday in October. On World Egg Day, events are held across the world celebrating the egg.The first World Egg Day was celebrated in 1996 and since then we have seen a variety of wonderful events taking place internationally, with people enjoying and celebrating the wonderful versatility of the egg.

There is so much to celebrate – Eggs have the potential to feed the worldEggs have a vital role to play in feeding people around the world, in both developed and developing countries.  They are an excellent, affordable source of high quality protein, with the potential to feed the world.

The international event that celebrates the egg all around the world.World Egg Day is a unique opportunity to help raise awareness of the benefits of eggs and is celebrated in countries all around the world.

The International Egg Commission has proclaimed the second Friday in October as World Egg Day. Countries throughout the world will be joining in the celebration of the egg. To what does the egg owe this honour? There are at least a dozen good reasons.

Whether you celebrate World Egg Day every year, or this will be your first time, make sure that this year on Friday 11th October, you get cracking and help to make this World Egg Day the biggest and the best ever. To help to get you in the mood, and start making plans, here are some examples of things that have been done in the past

Cook-off to find the region’s or nation’s fastest omelette maker.
Family festivals – festivals have been held around the world, putting on eggciting fun and games for the whole family. Past festivals have included egg drawing competitions, egg throwing challenges, recipe contests and cooking competitions, as well as music and entertainment to bring people of all ages together to enjoy eggs.
Recipe books containing a selection of delicious recipes using eggs.
Shopping Centre cooking demonstrations and cook-offs.
Tasty, nutritional seminars explaining the benefits of eggs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

World Post Day

World Post Day is celebrated on October 9. This day is the date when the first postal union, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), was started in 1874 in Bern, Switzerland.
Post is one of the oldest ways of communicating. The postal service is part of people’s daily life all over the world. People send or receive letters and parcels through the postal service.
Did you know that China was one of the first countries to have a postal service? Experts disagree about the date, but it is likely that there was a system during the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC).
In fact, some experts think that there may have been a postal system before then. In the Zhou Dynasty (1122–256 BC), Confucius (551 –479 BC) said: “news of deeds travels faster than the mail.”
Experts believe that the Chinese Postal Service has been in use for the longest amount of time in the world.
Many students collect stamps for a hobby. This, according to UPU, helps young people to learn about the world.
“The quickest way to learn about a country is probably through stamp collecting,” says Anthony Alverno, a UPU official.
Through stamp collecting you can go back in time to hundreds of years ago or go into outer space. You can meet famous people, or learn about places and animals from around the world.
“It does not cost a lot of money and most of all it’s fun,” says Alverno.
World Post Day is celebrated in many ways. Postal services in many countries use this day to have stamp exhibitions and use special stamps.
Did you know the UK Penny Black, featuring Queen Victoria's portrait was issued on 1 May 1840 and it was the world's first official adhesive postage stamp.
The day marks the anniversary of creation of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in Bern in Switzerland.  Then, in 1969, the Universal Postal Union Congress was held in Japan and they declared October 9th World Post Day.   These days, countries from all around the world celebrate postal systems everywhere!
Nearly 445 billion letters are delivered around the world every year.
In the UK, the peak period for the Royal Mail (the UK postal system) was 2005-2006 when they delivered around 84 million items every day and had around 14,376 Post Offices across the country!
A number of events will be held worldwide to celebrate the day, including workshops on the art of stamp making and information and seminars about stamp collecting.
Often around this special day, postal services issue special commemorative stamps, so all you budding philatelists (that's stamp collectors to you and me!) should keep your eyes peeled on the World Post Day website!
The day is supported by the United Nations (UN), and you can also find out more about the history of the postal service at the site.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

World Space Week

World Space Week

World Space Week' is an annual holiday held from October 4 to October 10. It is observed from 4-10 October in most of the world, in continents including Europe, Russia and Asia. World Space Week is officially defined as "an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition."

On December 6, 1999, The United Nations General Assembly declared World Space Week as an annual event celebration to be commemorated between October 4-10. The choice of dates was based on recognition of two important dates in space history: the launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.

The World Space Week Association is a non-government, non-profit organization which is supported by national coordinators in over 50 nations. It is led by an all volunteer Board of Directors including Buzz Aldrin, Bill Nye, Tom Hanks and space leaders from around the world. Its goals are to educate people around the world about the benefits that they receive from space, encourage use of space for sustainable economic development, foster enthusiastic education and interest in science and cooperation between nations through space outreach and education.

In 2007, World Space Week was celebrated in 54 countries and in space. A total of 435 events were reported in 244 cities, with attendance of over 377,000 and media audience of over 26,000,000. Events included rocket launches, school activities, exhibits, political events, and special events at planetaria around the world. Under the theme "50 Years in Space", many events of World Space Week 2007 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the space age which began with the launch of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957. In space, Bigelow Aerospace illuminated its Genesis spacecraft with the World Space Week logo and beamed photos that week to Earth.

In 2008, the theme for World Space Week was "Exploring the Universe".In 2009, the theme was "Space for Education". "Mysteries of the Cosmos" was the theme in 2010. In 2012, the central theme was human safety and security through space, promoting awareness of the roles that space satellites play in safeguarding the environment and protecting humans through functions such as Earth observation, navigation, search and rescue operations, and telecommunication. Commemoration of WSW 2012 included media coverage about the historic launch of SpaceShipOne, Sputnik and future goals of the human colonization of worlds beyond Earth. WSW 2012 was celebrated in 65 nations.

World Space Week 2013 is all about what many consider the Next Frontier: the planet Mars. Humanity is quickly conquering this new frontier. Mars Curiosity is the largest rover ever brought to another planet, discovering new features of the Red Planet every day. In 2018 the first people will get a chance to see the planet from up close through Dennis Tito's Inspiration mars fly-by mission, while several organizations are planning the first manned landing mission, some time in the next two decades.

World Space Week 2013 is all about what many consider the Next Frontier: the planet Mars. Humanity is quickly conquering this new frontier. Mars Curiosity is the largest rover ever brought to another planet, discovering new features of the Red Planet every day. In 2018 the first people will get a chance to see the planet from up close through Dennis Tito's Inspiration mars fly-by mission, while several organizations are planning the first manned landing mission, some time in the next two decades.

We hope this theme will inspire our event organizers to reach out to schools, universities, astronomy clubs, community centers, space industry events and wherever we can celebrate space. Please contact your national coordinator to find out how easy it is to create your own event. Please help us tell the world about "Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth"!

Friday, October 4, 2013

World Animal Day

World Animal Day is celebrated each year on October the 4th. It started in Florence, Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists.On this day, animal life in all its forms is celebrated, and special events are planned in locations all over the globe. The 4th of October was originally chosen for World Animal Day because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment. Numerous churches throughout the world observe the Sunday closest to October the 4th with a Blessing of the Animals.

World Animal Day, however, has now gone beyond being the celebration of a Christian saint and is today observed by animal-lovers of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. Animal blessings are held in churches, synagogues, and by independent animal chaplains in parks and fields.Animal rescue shelters hold fundraising events and open days, wildlife groups organize information displays, schools undertake animal-related project work and individuals and groups of friends or co-workers donate to animal charities or pledge to sponsor a shelter animal.

In Argentina it is celebrated on April 29 as a tribute to the death (in 1926) of Dr. Lucas Ignacio Albarracín. Albarracín was, along with Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, one of the founders of the Sociedad Argentina Protectora de Animales (Argentine Society of Protection of Animals) and the proponent of the National Law on Protection of Animals.

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World Smile Day 2013

The World is Celebrating

Welcome to the World Smile Day 2013.

As is well known by now throughout the world Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963. That image went on to become the most recognizable symbol of good will and good cheer on the planet.

As the years passed Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition of the marketplace.  Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day. He thought that we, all of us, should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.  The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion.  Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each year, neither should we.  He declared that the first Friday in October each year would henceforth be World Smile Day. Ever since that first World Smile Day held in 1999, it has continued every year in Smiley's hometown of Worcester, MA and around the world.

After Harvey died in 2001, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was created to honor his name and memory.  The Foundation continues as the official sponsor of World Smile Day each year.

This website was created to provide information about  World Smile Day®, Harvey Ball and Smiley.  Browse the archives to learn more about past World Smile Day events, Smiley and his creator - Harvey Ball.  And be sure to join the celebration this year on Friday, October 4th, and "Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile"!

Smile Someone on WSD '13

We continue the tradition of sending hand delivered "You've Been Smiled" Certificates to residents of Worcester, Massachusetts - Smiley's hometown - on World Smile Day 2013.  To join the fun and send a Smile Certificate to friends and loved ones within Worcester, MA city limits, simply complete and submit the form below telling us who you are and to whom we should deliver the Smile Certificate on World Smile Day this year.  The recipient will receive a hand-delivered "You’ve Been Smiled!" certificate. It’s free! But the recipient MUST live within Worcester City limits. Certificates will be delivered by Team Hank Stolz.  Submissions will close at 5pm EST on Thu, Oct 3rd, 2013.

World Smile Day 2013 Ambassadors

Be a World Smile Day Ambassador and let us know what you'll be doing!

Every year we receive emails and letters from people around the world informing us of the events they have organized or how they as individuals planned to observe World Smile Day.  We consider them to be "World Smile Day Ambassadors".  You too can be an Ambassador by making people aware of World Smile Day and its purpose and message.

Organize events to mark the day at school, work, with your organization or as an individual.  Recognize those who perform acts of kindness everyday.  Surprise those in need of a smile.

The possibilities are endless and the theme is simple - "Do an act of kindness.  Help one person smile!"   Please let us and the world know how you will observe the day by leaving a message on our comments board shown below and have  great World Smile day