March 30, 2017

#05-024: April Birthdays - Part II

oil painting of a Founding Father type--high collar, longish hair, etc.
Thomas Jefferson

Note: April celebrants include the Buddha, Thomas Jefferson, a founder of modern Puerto Rico, numerous Scandinavian royals, and an African king.

Get Ready: Skim through the birthday celebrants (in bold) in this lesson. Which of them seem important to you? Which is/are the least important?

Let's continue looking at notable birthdays in April, as we began in Lesson #05-023.

As mentioned in Lesson #05-009, April 8 is celebrated as the Buddha's Birthday, but solely in Japan, where it is called Hanamatsuri or "Flower Festival." The Japanese government has conformed the lunar calendar date of "the eighth day of the fourth month" to the solar calendar. It is celebrated by pouring sugar-water over a statue of the baby Buddha.


April 13 is the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. There is a proclamation, but the day passes unnoticed by most Americans. There is no day off, and he is now lumped in with all the other presidents on "Presidents' Day" in February.


Next up, April 16 is a double-play. The first is José de Diego (1866-1918), a statesman from Puerto Rico who was known as "The Father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement." The second is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, born in 1940.


It seems April is a big month for the birth of Scandinavian royals. April 29 is the birthday of Princess Benedikte (b. 1944), the younger sister of Queen Margrethe. And April 30 marks the birth of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. This is one of Sweden's "Flag Days," days that are to be recognized by flying the national flag on all public flagpoles; private parties are also encouraged to host the banner.


In Swaziland, a country of only 17,364 square kilometers (6,704 square miles) bordering South Africa, King Mswati III's birthday is celebrated on April 19 (the actual day he was born). Mswati became king at the age of 18, in 1986, making him at the time the youngest ruling monarch in the world. With the dowager Queen Mother Ntombi Tfwala, he rules as an absolute monarch, and--though a Christian--has 13 wives.


Finally, in North Korea, April 21 is a day of memorial for Kang Pan-sok, born that day in 1892. She was the mother of long-time leader Kim Il-sung (1912-1994), making her the grandmother of Kim Jong-il (1941/1942-2011) and great-grandmother of the current leader, Kim Jong-un (born 1984). North Koreans refer to her as the "Great Mother of Korea."


That's it for the major notable birthdays in April!


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Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. absolute monarch
  2. conformed
  3. double-play
  4. dowager
  5. lumped in
  6. private parties
  7. Queen Mother
  8. royals
  9. Scandinavian
  10. solely

  1. thrown together
  2. a king or queen with unlimited power
  3. a widow
  4. an adjective describing Norway, Sweden, Denmark, etc.
  5. only
  6. a baseball term meaning "two things happening at once"
  7. individuals, not official people
  8. members of a royal family
  9. the mother of the current king or queen
  10. brought into agreement

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 30, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. j; 3. f; 4. c; 5. a; 6. g; 7. i; 8. h; 9. d; 10. e