Welcome back to our travels. This week we will be visiting the North Atlantic, the South Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean! Get ready to celebrate via traditional dress and dances, tree planting ceremonies and fireworks as we head first to the Faroe Islands!
The Faroe Islands is in archipelago and autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, situated approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland. The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Danish Realm since 1948, controlling most of their own domestic affairs. Ólavsøka, is on 29 July, and commemorates the death of Saint Olaf. The celebrations are held in Tórshavn, starting on the evening of the 28th and continuing until the 31st. The official celebration follows customs that date back 900 years – starting on the 29th with the opening of the Faroese Parliament that involves a service held in Tórshavn Cathedral with all members of parliament as well as civil and church officials walking into the cathedral in a procession. Parish ministers take turns giving the sermon, after which, the procession returns to the parliament for the opening ceremony. Other events include sports competitions (including a rowing competition in Tórshavn Harbour), art exhibitions, pop concerts, and the famous Faroese dance in Sjónleikarhúsið, Many people also mark the occasion by wearing the national Faroese dress.
Vanuatu is an Oceanian island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea. Claimed by France and the United Kingdom in the 1880’s, Vanuatu was jointly managed as the New Hebrides through a British–French Condominium from 1906 until independence. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980. According to Wikipedia, “the nation’s name was derived from the word vanua (“land” or “home”), which occurs in several Austronesian languages, and the word tu (“stand”). Together the two words indicated the independent status of the new country.”
Benin is a country in West Africa, bordered by Togo , Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger. Formerly known as the Kingdom of Dahomey, this region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of slaves shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. After the abolishment of slavery, France took over the country and renamed it French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France. Since then Benin has had a tumultuous period with many different democratic governments, many military coups and military governments. Benin operated as a Marxist-Leninist state between 1972 and 1990 known as the People’s Republic of Benin, which was replaced by the multi-party Republic of Benin that exists today.
Switzerland -The Swiss National Day is the national holiday of Switzerland, set on 1 August. This has only been the official national holiday since 1994 – but the idea had been suggested as early as 1889. The date was inspired by the Federal Charter of 1291 which indicates that it was “early August” when “three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an action which later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland.” A report by the Federal Department of Home Affairs in 1889 suggested a celebrated in Bern in 1891 to combine the 700th anniversary of the city with the 600th anniversary of Confederacy. The traditional date of 8 November 1307 has been replaced by 1 August 1291 in popular consciousness – especially after the 650th anniversary celebrations of 1941. Celebrations include paper lantern parades, bonfires, hanging strings of Swiss flags and fireworks.
Niger -Although France agreed to Niger becoming fully independent on 11 July 1960, independence wasn’t declared by the Nigerian Legislative Assembly until 3 August 1960. Since 1960, the 3rd has been a national festival. In 1975, the government began celebrating Independence Day, in part, through the coordinated mass planting of trees in order to fight desertification. The celebrations are also known as the Fête de l’Arbre. The 3rd is celebrated in Niger with official festivals and appearances of political leaders, an official broadcast by the President as well as the tradition (since 1975) that every Nigerien plant a tree. It is a Public Holiday, in which government offices and many businesses close.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa and is surrounded by six countries: Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. Formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984. Using a word from the 2 major native languages, Mòoré and Dioula, “Burkina” from Mòoré (meaning “men of integrity”) and “Faso” (meaning “fatherland”) from Dioula. “Burkina Faso” is understood as “Land of upright people” or “Land of honest people”. In 1896 France established a protectorate over the Mossi kingdoms in this territory and was known as French Upper Volta. Burkina Faso, gained Independence on 5 August 1960. It operates as a semi-presidential republic.
The Cook Islands is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. This means that the Cook Islands‘ defence and foreign affairs are the responsibility of New Zealand, which is exercised in consultation with the Cook Islands although in recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888, largely due to community fears that France might occupy the territory. In 1901 the New Zealand Government decided to annex the country despite opposition from the country’s traditional chiefs. When the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect on 1 January 1949, Cook Islanders who were British subjects gained New Zealand citizenship. The country remained a New Zealand protectorate until 1965, when the New Zealand Government decided to offer self-governing status to its colony. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens.
Jamaica – The Independence of Jamaica refers to the series of events which led to the declaration of the Colony of Jamaica‘s independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 1962. This is celebrated on the 1st Monday of August as National Day in Jamaica. After World War II ended, a sweeping movement of decolonization took over the world. At this time, the British Government and local politicians began a long transition of converting the Caribbean island from a crown colony into an independent state. After Norman Manley was elected Chief Minister in 1955, he sped up the process of decolonization via several constitutional amendments. These amendments allowed for greater self-government and established the Minister’s administration as a cabinet under a premier.
Now that you have learned a little more about global events, consider adding one of these courses to your To Learn List:
- Globalization’s Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries
- Introduction to Global Sociology
- France Since 1871
- European Civilization, 1648-1945
An update to places we’ve been:
Come back next week when we visit Bolivia, Afghanistan, Singapore and Chad among other places!