While many countries will celebrate the Christian holiday Easter this April, there are other interesting holidays being celebrated globally in April too.
Here are a few that you may not have heard about!
1. National Shakespeare Day – England
William Shakespeare is considered one of England's greatest poets and dramatists. In England, Shakespeare fans celebrate National Shakespeare Day on April 23rd. Special pageants are held at Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace. Shakespeare is laid to rest at the Holy Trinity Church. Their bells ring out on this day as the Mayor of Stratford leads a procession to lay flowers on Shakespeare's grave. Bands, costumed actors, Morris dancers, civic dignitaries and pupils of local schools take part in the procession. While this is not considered a bank holiday in the UK, fans of the writer have campaigned for the UK Parliament to officially recognise National Shakespeare Day.
2. Tiradentes Day – Brazil
This holiday is celebrated each year on April 21st in Brazil, commemorates the execution of Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier. Xavier, a dentist by trade, was also a Brazilian revolutionary who founded the Inconfidência Mineira movement and fought for Brazilian independence and freedom from Portuguese colonial power. The movement was unsuccessful and Xavier was put on trial and found guilty. During his trial, he adopted the nickname 'Tiradentes', meaning 'tooth-puller'. He was hung on April 21st, which is now a recognised holiday in Brazil. Banks, schools and government offices are closed. Politicians come to pay their respects to the bronze statue of Tiradentes, which stands in Tiradentes Square in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the site of his execution.
3. Freedom Day – South Africa
South Africans celebrate Freedom Day annually on April 27th. This day marks the anniversary of the day in 1994 when the country held its first ever all-inclusive, democratic election. People of all races were allowed to vote in this election, which ultimately ended racial oppression under the previous apartheid system of government. A new government was established, led by Nelson Mandela, and a new constitution was created. While some may be celebrating with a day off of work or a family gathering, most notable is the keynote address given by the current South African president.
4. Songkran Festival – Thailand
The Songkran Festival is Thailand's New Year celebration. It marks the beginning of a new solar season and of summer. And how do they celebrate? With a water fight, of course! Friends and family splash water on each other as a wish for a year filled with blessings. The festival lasts three to five days and is probably the most popular festival in Thailand. Fun is had by all and, in the end, it turns into one big national water fight! Anyone is fair game! Some towns only splash water for one day while others will continue their water fight, along with concerts and other fun events, for the length of the festival. Splashing is not the only way to get wet – natives are known to bring out the water guns too! Crowds are heavier than usual as tourists and Thai travellers are plentiful during this time.
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