Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!!

Father's Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities.

The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held on July 5, 1908 in a church located in Fairmont, West Virginia, by Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South of Fairmont. The church still exists under the name of Central United Methodist Church.

Sonora Smart Dodd of Washington thought independently of the holiday one Sunday in 1909 while listening to a Mother's Day sermon at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church at Spokane, and she arranged a tribute for her father on June 19, 1910. She was the first to solicit the idea of having an official Father's Day observance to honor all fathers.

A bill was introduced in 1913, US President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea in 1924, and a national committee was formed in the 1930s by trade groups in order to legitimize the holiday.  Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972.

The officially recognized date of Father's Day varies from country to country.

Father is an important part in everyone's life. He has equal share in nurturing his children. Since he is generally the head of the household and the bread earner of the family, he is loaded with a number of responsibilities, right from nourishment of the kids to their health, education and finance. He would try hard to fulfill all the dreams (even the craziest one) of his family, by putting his own desires on hold. He truly deserves a day specially dedicated to him, so that he is made to realize how important he is in everyone's life in the family. Here comes the importance of Father's Day, which is a day set apart for saluting the supreme role of fatherhood. Not a religious occasion though, a number of traditions are prevalent in the countries celebrating the day. Given below are some of the most popular traditions for Father's Day.

Fathers Day Traditions

A father's love is a powerful force. Here are ten meaningful family traditions to help you celebrate Dad this Father's Day. 

1. Make sure Dad knows that this is his day and that you will be spending time as a family doing whatever he wishes. If you have younger kids in the house, ask them to make him a crown that he can wear on his big day. 

2. Let the kids make Dad breakfast and send it up to him on a tray when he wakes up. Also make sure he has a cup of coffee or tea, as well as the day's newspaper and a sharp pencil if he enjoys doing the crossword or Sodoku puzzle. 

3. Give Dad a Memory Jar. Cut 50 to 100 strips of paper, and give 20 or 30 to each family member so that they can each record special memories they have shared with dear Dad. This Father's Day, present him with the jar. In subsequent years and on other important holidays throughout the year, you can add to the jar by including more strips of paper in his card or gift. 

4. Ask the kids to write a letter to their Dad, detailing the things that they appreciate about him, as well as the special memories that they will treasure from the past year. Make this an annual tradition and keep the letters so that you can collect them in a book or album as the children get older. An alternative is to record the sentiments on video. Each year, you can watch the video and add to it.

5. Ask your dad about his favorite charity and, each year, make a donation in his name. 

6. What is Dad's favorite sport or activity? Take the family along for a bike ride or picnic, if he enjoys the great outdoors. If he's a golf lover, have the kids plan a few hours of fun at the local putt putt course. 

7. What is Dad's favorite board game? Make sure to take time during the day to play a game. 

8. Invite the dads in your neighborhood over for a barbecue. The moms can do the grilling while the dads relax with a cold glass of iced tea or other beverage. 

9. If you don't have grandparents or uncles living close by, make sure to give each of the special dads in your family a call or send them a handmade card.

10. In many countries, societies, schools and clubs have been organizing cultural programs, competitions to commemorate Father's Day and pay tribute to fatherhood. Some of the common programs include craft making competitions, games and sports events. Board games play a prominent role in entertaining the people and the guest of honor.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Networking ...
  • Women use 20,000 words a day while men only use 7,000

Global Issues ...
  • Females in developing countries on average carry 20 litres of water per day over 6 km
  • Globally women account for the majority of people aged over 60 and over 80
  • Pregnant women in Africa are 180 times more likely to die than in Western Europe
  • 530,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth each year
  • World population hit 6,872,741,131 on 1 January 2009
  • Of 1.2 billion people living in poverty worldwide, 70% are women
  • 80% of the world's 27 million refugees are women
  • Women own around only 1% of the world's land
  • AIDS sees women's life expectancy of 43 in Uganda and Zambia
  • 5 people are added to the world's population every 2 seconds
  • Women are 2/3 of the 1 billion+ illiterate adults who have no access to basic education

Innovation ...

  • Globally women comprise 42% internet users (Italy 37% ... US & Canada 51%)
  • In OECD countries women comrpise only 30 per cent of degrees in science and technology
  • Women's representation in computer and information sciences workforce is around 30% globally
  • Female inventors still only account for around 10% of the US inventor population

Business / Finance ...

  • Women control $14 trillion in assets and this should grow to $22 trillion over next 10 years
  • Women comprise 21 of the 37 million people living below the poverty line in the US
  • Only in Japan and Peru are women more active in starting a business than men
  • Women spend more time researching before they invest than men do

Media / Arts ...

  • Only 21% of all news subjects (people interviewed or whom the news is about) are female
  • Women less than 1% department heads, editors, media owners but third of working journalists
  • 80% of UK purchasing decisions are made by women but 83% of 'creatives' are men

Work ...

  • Women do two-thirds of the world's work but receive only 10% of the world's income
  • Women's education is the most powerful predictor of lower fertility rates
  • One year out of college women earn 20% less than men and 10 years later 31% less
  • Women on average are away from workforce for 14.7 years compared to 1.6 years for men
  • The biggest EU gender pay gap is in Cyprus and Estonia at 25% then Slovakia at 24%

Government ...

  • 56% of women who voted supported Obama compared to only 49% of men voted for Obama
  • Until 20 years ago there had never been more than 5% women MPs globally
  • Benazir Bhutto was the first woman prime minister of a muslim country (assassinated 27/12/07)
  • From the 27 EU member states, UK ranks 15 for women's representation in national Parliaments
  • From 1945 to 1995 the percentage of women MPs worldwide increased four-fold

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Saturday, March 7, 2009


International Women's Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Started as a political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia and the countries of former Soviet bloc). In some celebrations, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the women around them in a way somewhat similar to Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day mixed together. In others, however, the political and human rights theme as designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

The IWD is also celebrated as the first spring holiday, as in the listed countries the first day of March is considered the first day of the spring season.

The first International Women's Day

In 1869 British MP John Stuart Mill was the first person in Parliament to call for women's right to vote. On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. Women in other countries did not enjoy this equality and campaigned for justice for many years.
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.
The very first International Women's Day was launched the following year by Clara Zetkin on 19 March (not 8 March). The date was chosen because on 19 March in the year of the 1848 revolution, the Prussian king recognized for the first time the strength of the armed people and gave way before the threat of a proletarian uprising. Among the many promise he made, which he later failed to keep, was the introduction of votes for women.
Plans for the first International Women's Day demonstration were spread by word of mouth and in the press. During the week before International Women's Day two journals appeared: The Vote for Women in Germany and Women's Day in Austria. Various articles were devoted to International Women's Day: 'Women and Parliament', 'The Working Women and Municipal Affairs', 'What Has the Housewife got to do with Politics?', etc. The articles thoroughly analyzed the question of the equality of women in the government and in society. All articles emphasized the same point that it was absolutely necessary to make parliament more democratic by extending the franchise to women.
Success of the first International Women's Day in 1911 exceeded all expectation.
Meetings were organized everywhere in small towns and even the villages halls were packed so full that male workers were asked to give up their places for women.
Men stayed at home with their children for a change, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to meetings.
During the largest street demonstration of 30,000 women, the police decided to remove the demonstrators' banners so the women workers made a stand. In the scuffle that followed, bloodshed was averted only with the help of the socialist deputies in Parliament.
In 1913 International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Wommen's Day ever since.
During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women's Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Congratulations to all WOMEN!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


The tradition of Maslenitsa takes its roots in pagan times, when the Russian folks would bid farewell to stark winter and welcome long-awaited spring with mouth-watering pancakes, as round, yellow and hot, as the Sun itself, as well as with games, songs, dances and burning down the Winter effigy. The rites of this holiday are in this or that way associated with the send-off of winter and welcoming of spring. Maslenitsa is celebrated during the last week before the Lent, that is seven weeks prior to the Easter.

Until christening of Russia, Maslenitsa was celebrated on the vernal equinox day. The Orthodox Church, however, timed this holiday to the Lent, in order not to oppose the traditions of the Russian people (in a similar way, Christmas was timed to the winter equinox day).

Maslenitsa is amusing and mischievous welcoming of spring, which brings about enlivening of nature and bounty of sunny warmth. From times immemorial people took spring for the beginning of new life and venerated the Sun as giving life and energy to the whole creation. It was in honour of the Sun that they baked flat cakes, and after leavened dough came into use, they started baking pancakes.
Russian ancestors believed that when eating the round and hot pancakes reminding of the Sun they took in a bit of the warmth and might of the star of day.

The name of the holiday, Maslenitsa (derived from maslo, which means butter or oil in Russian) obviously owes its existence to the tradition of baking pancakes. With the help of pancakes people tried to evoke the grace of the Sun and induce it to better warming of the frozen earth. Thus, they baked those encouraging little suns of pancakes.

Besides, it was a custom in Russian villages to do various actions associated with a circle, such as, for example, going on horseback around the settlement several times, decorating a cart wheel and carrying it on a pole along the streets, and dancing the round dance (khorovod). Such ceremonies were believed to butter the Sun, cajole it and make it kinder. Hence is the name Maslenitsa.

Every day of Maslenitsa (Pancake Week) has its own name and needs certain rites.

Monday is welcoming. By this day they finished building ice-hills, seesaws and show booths. The rich already started baking pancakes. The first pancake was traditionally given to a beggar in remembrance of the dead.

Tuesday is playing. From the very morning the young were invited to chute ice-hills and eat pancakes. People would invite the kinsfolk and friends with the words: "We've got the ice-hills ready and pancakes baked , please, come and try.

Wednesday is regaling. On this day the son-in-law would pay a visit to the mother-in-law's pancakes. Besides her daughter's husband the mother-in-law would invite other guests as well.

Thursday is merry-making. From this day on Maslenitsa unfolded to its full extent. The folks indulged in all kinds of entertainments, such as ice-hills, shows, seesaws, horse-riding, carnivals, fist fights and carousals, for sure.

Friday is mother-in-law's party. Now it was the turn of the sons-in-law to invite their mothers-in-law and treat them with pancakes.

Saturday is sister-in-law's party. Young wives would invite their sisters-in-law for a feast. The newlywed was supposed to give presents to her husband's sisters.
The last day of Maslenitsa is Forgiveness Sunday, when everyone asks each other's forgiveness to be freed from sins before the Lent. In response they hear the traditional "God will forgive".

On the last day of Maslenitsa they burn down a straw effigy symbolizing winter. Thus they are sending-off winter till the next year.

The rite of burning the effigy is related to the ancient, both pagan and Christian, idea of revival through sacrifice and death; it stands for the revival of fruit-bearing powers of nature, the renewal of its life power. It appears that this pristine holiday harbours profound meaning: the birth of life through struggle, death and revival. The Christian Church, however, tried to uproot this holiday as being pagan, yet it only contrived to shift its dates and shorten the festivity span from fourteen to seven days.

So bake the sunny pancakes and let the winter burn away!

Russian Wiki