May 30, 2017

#05-049: October Potpourri

numerous shiny-faced men and women of various ages and races surround President Barack Obama in an informal group photo
U.S. President Obama with teachers on Teachers' Day (in May!)

Note: In October we celebrate Guardian Angels, teachers (another kind of angel!), the Canadian recognition of women as persons, and Basque Country.

Get Ready: Do you believe in angels? Do you think you have a personal one?

Let's look at some miscellaneous holidays in October.


Some Christians have a charming belief that each person has been assigned a "guardian angel" to watch over him or her. The idea has often been exploited in stories and films; Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life" comes to mind. Few people realize, however, that the Roman Catholic Church upholds this belief, and has designated October 2 The Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, a date celebrated more in some places than in others.


As I mentioned in Lesson #05-046, more countries celebrate Teachers' Day in October than in any other month. In addition to the three dozen or so national observances, there is also the UNESCO-supported "World Teachers Day" on October 5, celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. 

It was first announced on October 5, 1994, in remembrance of the date in 1966 when a special conference set forth international standards for preparation and education of teachers, as well as their recruitment and employment, and the conditions in which they would work. Its purpose was to improve the status of teachers globally, and October 5 is now used in promoting these guidelines.


October 18 is Persons Day in Canada, perhaps most noteworthy for its ambiguous name. It is not a day on which "all persons" are celebrated; rather, it is named for a court case popularly called "the Persons Case."

Previously, Canada's Supreme Court had ruled that women were not "qualified persons" and therefore could not serve as senators. The Persons Case (technically called "Edwards v Canada (AG)" or, more fully, "Henrietta Muir Edwards and others v The Attorney General of Canada") overturned this decision on October 18, 1929. The following year, Canada appointed its first woman to the Senate.


As recently as 2011, October 25 became The Day of the Basque Country. Technically not a country, but rather an autonomous region within Spain, "Basque Country" centers on the city of Bilbao, seat of a culture which straddles the mountainous French border and long predates the arrival of the Romans in the area.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. ambiguous
  2. autonomous
  3. charming
  4. exploited
  5. noteworthy
  6. overturned
  7. set forth
  8. straddles
  9. three dozen
  10. upholds

  1. used, especially for profit
  2. 36
  3. having more than one possible meaning
  4. declared; announced
  5. supports; promotes
  6. pleasing; delightful
  7. reversed; set aside
  8. remarkable
  9. is located on either side of
  10. ruling itself

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 30, 2017

1 comment:

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