For the week of Nov. 12, 2017
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1695): Mexican. Poet. Recognized as the greatest poet of the Spanish colonies in America, Ines de la Cruz was an intellectual prodigy who learned to read at the age of three and became famous as a young women for her beauty and brilliance. After her retirement to a convent, she studied theology, literature, history, science, and music, and corresponded with leading poets and scholars in both America and Europe. Her poetry won *Acclaim on both on both continents. When her religious superiors questioned the appropriateness of her secular pursuits, she wrote a passionate defense of women's right to learning.
Sun Yat-sen's Birthday (1866-1925): Republic of China (Taiwan). Revolutionary leader. Sun Yat-sen is honored on his birthday in Taiwan and on March 12, the anniversary of his death, in the People's Republic of China. Sun Yat-sen was the leader of the revolution of 1911, which brought an end to the Ch`ing Dynasty, and founded the Republic of China.
Birthday of Baha`u` llah (1817-1892): Baha`i. This date marks the birthday of the prophet-founder of the Baha' i faith. Baha`u`llah was a member of one of the great aristocratic families of Persia who renounced his wealth and position to embrace the teachings of the Bab. He was subjected to imprisonment, torture, and exile. During his exile in Baghdad in 1863, he declared that he was the messenger of God predicted by the Bab. He preached the coming unification of all humanity and the emergence of a world civilization.
Ramadan (The Month of Fasting): Islam. This begins the first day of the Islamic month of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim year. The festival of Laylat al-Qadr occurs during Ramadan and commemorates the revelation of the Qur'an (the holy book of scriptures) to the Prophet Muhammad. During this month, no water or food may be taken from sunrise to sunset by Muslims who have reached puberty. Observant Muslims pray, read the Qur'an, and worship at home or at a mosque. At sunset, the daily fast is often broken by taking a sip of water and a bite into a sweet fruit, usually a date.
Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941): Jewish American. Lawyer and jurist. Throughout his distinguished career and particularly during his service on the Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939, Brandeis became known for his vigorous defense of civil liberties and of the interests of those threatened by the activities of large corporations, as well as for his insistence that legal issues be viewed in their economic and social context.
Aaron Copland (1900-1990: Jewish American. Composer. One of America's most distinguished composers of orchestral music and a beloved teacher and mentor to younger composers, Copland wrote a number of works that achieved the status of classics in his lifetime. The best known of these are his scores for the ballets Rodeo, Billy the Kid, and Appalachian Spring.
Diwali: Hindu. This is one of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus. It lasts for five days and combines a number of festivals to celebrate different gods and goddesses and events in their lives as described in Hindu tradition. The day before Diwali is spent cleaning the house, shopping, and decorating with flowers. A design is painted in white in front of the door of the house to bring good luck. Lamps are lit for the entire five days beside roads, streams, edges of roof, and on window sills to enable Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity, to find her way to every home.
Dutch American Heritage Day: United States. On November 14, 1991, President Bush signed a proclamation later adopted by Congress establishing this day to recognize the contributions made by people of Dutch ancestry live in the United States. The Dutch settled in North America in the 1600s, creating in 1625 the colony of New Amsterdam in what is now Manhattan. Approximately 8 million people of Dutch ancestry live in the United States, including many who played an important role in American history, such as both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, both descendants of Claes Martenszen van Rosenvelt, a farmer who settled in New Amsterdam in the 1640s.
Proclamation of the Republic: Brazil. This commemorates the day in 1889 that Brazil's second Emperor, Dom Pedro II was deposed and the United States of Brazil was declared.
Seven, five, Three Festival (Shichi-go-san): Japan. This day is celebrated by children who are seven, five and three years old. They are dressed in their best clothes. Little girls sometimes have their faces powdered white and their hair dressed in adult styles. The children are given bags of thousand-year candy to ensure a long, happy, and healthy life and are taken to shrines by parents to express thanks for good health and to pray for future blessings.
W(illiam) C(hristopher) Handy (1873-1958) : African American. Composer, band leader, and publisher. Handy is known as the Father of the Blues for both his work in collecting and popularizing blues and other African American folk music, and his own compositions based on the blues tradition. His best known work is St. Louis Blues, published in 1916.
Jan Ignacy Paderewski (1860-1941): Polish. Composer, pianist, and statesman. Paderewski, an internationally known virtuoso, interrupted his concert career to work for Poland's independence from Russia. He headed the Polish government briefly in 1919 and was elected president of the Polish Republic in exile in 1939, after the invasion of his country by the Germans and the fall of independent Poland.
Discovery of Puerto Rico Day: Puerto Rico. This holiday commemorates the discovery of Puerto Rico by Christopher Columbus in 1493.