May 18, 2017

#05-044: July Potpourri

etching of a battle scene in front of a large, fortified building; numerous structures are in ruins and smoke fills the sky
The storming of the Bastille

Note: Canadians moving house en masse, a British "invasion," and the overthrow of the French monarchy--July still has a lot going on!

Get Ready: Are you familiar with the Beatles? If so, what's your favorite Beatles song?

Like every month, July has a plethora of unusual holidays ranging from the silly to the serious. Here are a few that caught my eye.


July 1 is celebrated in the Canadian province of Quebec as Moving Day. Its history is long and convoluted, but it goes something like this.

Back when the Francophone province was still part of France, a law was passed to keep the semi-feudal landlords from evicting tenants before the snows had melted. May 1 became the starting date for leases, and thus was known as "Moving Day."

In 1973, the provincial government decided that summer weather was better suited to moving than spring, so the date was changed to July 1. This also allowed children to complete their school year in one place. One statistic says that in 2004, approximately 4% of all households moved!


The English city of Liverpool and the German city of Hamburg share a unique holiday: Beatles Day, celebrated on July 10. On that day in 1964, the "Fab Four" returned from their first U.S. tour, just before the premiere of their first film, "A Hard Day's Night." With those two events, their global fame was cemented.

Why those two cities? Liverpool is their hometown, and Hamburg is where they cut their teeth as performers, playing in clubs there for over two years in the early '60s. It was also there that they first received their signature "Beatle haircut."


A few days later is a more somber holiday. July 14 is France's National Day, an important moment in the French Revolution when, on July 14, 1789, the people rose up and tore down the fearsome old fortress--at that time used as a political prison--known as "The Bastille."

This "Storming of the Bastille" was not the start of the Revolution, which had begun the previous May. But since the edifice represented repressive royal authority, it was a symbolic triumph. It was also a practical one: as the building also contained an armory, its downfall put much-needed weapons in the hands of the rebels.

The French call it simply le quatorze juillet, French for "the fourteenth of July." Some English speakers know it better as "Bastille Day."


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. cemented
  2. convoluted
  3. cut their teeth
  4. edifice
  5. evicting
  6. feudal
  7. Francophone
  8. plethora
  9. ranging
  10. somber

  1. French-speaking
  2. solidified; confirmed
  3. serious
  4. did something at the beginning of their career
  5. like the medieval social system
  6. going from one thing to another thing
  7. a large amount
  8. kicking out
  9. a building
  10. twisted; complicated

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 18, 2017

1 comment:

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