The Junior Age

Tag: Cultural significance

Let The Games Begin The History Of Olympic Day

Olympic Day is celebrated all around the world on June 23, every year. Thousands of people get together to participate in cultural and sporting activities, such as runs, musical performances, and exhibitions.

Also read, The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

The Origin Of The Olympic Games

The first known Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C in the summer at Olympia, in southern Greece. The games were created to honour Ancient Greek god Zeus. Athletes prayed to Zeus for victory and left gifts to thank him for their victories.

When Rome conquered Greece, they banned the Olympics in 393 A.D. After over 1,500 years the modern version of the Olympic Games was revived in 1896 in Athens, Greece, by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and has been celebrated every four years since then. In 1924, Winter Olympics were added to incorporate winter sports such as cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding, figure skating. and ski jumping.

Who Is Baron Pierre De Coubertin? 

Baron Pierre de Coubertin is considered the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Born in Paris, France, he was a keen sportsman himself, who enjoyed boxing, fencing, horse-riding, and rowing. He believed that sports were an import- ant part of developing the mental energy of a person.

In 1894, Pierre founded the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) to help build a better world by educating young people about the importance of sports. He is responsible for the creation of the five-ring Olympic symbol in 1913, the Olympic Charter, and the protocol of the games, including the opening and closing ceremonies. He believed, “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the fight the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well. He was the IOC President between 1896 and 1925.

The First Olympic Day

During the 41st Session of the IOC in 1947, Dr. Grusa, a member from Czechoslovakia, presented a report on the concept of World Olympic Day. This day would be dedicated to promoting the Olympic values and ideals. The idea was officially adopted at the 42nd 100 Session in St Moritz, Switzerland in January 1948.

The first-ever Olympic Day was celebrated on June 23, 1948. Since then, Olympic Day has been celebrated annually to encourage participation in sports, promate the Olympic movement, and spread the spirit worldwide. It serves as an opportunity to engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds in sports activities, promoting the values of friendship, fair play, and peace.

Some Interesting Facts About The Olympics

The first Olympic Games had just 14 participating countries, and now over 200 countries participate in the Olympics.

The Olympic symbol was designed to include everyone. The five different coloured rings and the white background are the colours found on the flags of all participating countries.

motorboat sailing used to be Olympic sports but eventually got voted out and games like rugby and golf got voted in.

From 1921 to 1948, artists, writers, and musicians also took part in the Olympics. They competed for medals by creating their works of art based on the sporting successes of the games.

Fencing, football, judo, archery, sailing, handball, trampoline, and water polo are some of the sports included in the Olympic Games.

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Why Do We Have A Christmas Tree?

History Of Evergreen In Winter Festivals

For thousands of years, people have decorated their homes in winter with evergreen plants. The Ancient Egyptians would fill their houses with conifer trees  to worship the sun god, Ra. Ancient Romans and Pagans (those who didn’t follow a religion or believed in more than one god) believed the trees signalled the “return of life” and “light” after a long winter. The trees formed part of their celebrations for the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year.

Also read, Fascinating Christmas Traditions From Around The World

The Modern Christmas Tree

The modern Christmas tree is believed to have originated in the Alsace region of Germany in the 16th century. This region is now a part of France. According to some historical records, a Christmas tree was raised in the Strasbourg Cathedral in 1539. This tradition grew so popular throughout the region that the city of  Freiburg banned felling trees for Christmas in 1554.

Some historians believe that the Christmas tree was inspired by the paradise tree, a symbol of the Garden of Eden that featured in a mediaeval play about Adam and Eve. According to ancient myths and stories, Adam and Eve were the first man and woman on Earth.

Did You Know?

Christmas trees are normally evergreen conifers, such as spruce, pine, and fir trees.

Traditional Christmas Tree Decorations

Traditionally, these were decorated with flowers, dried fruit, paper flow-ers, and lit candles.

Martin Luther, the German scholar and priest, is often credited with being the first to decorate Christmas trees with candles. Legend has it that he was inspired by the stars on a walk home, one winter’s night.

German emigrants took these traditions with them as they resettled in other countries.

Why Are Trees Decorated With Tinsel And Baubles?

Tinsel was invented in Nuremberg, Germany in 1610. At that time, Christmas trees were decorated with real candles and tinsel was made from shredded silver to reflect the candlelight. Only rich people had tinsel-wrapped trees because silver was expensive. Eventually, tinsel was made with cheaper metals such as copper and tin.

A common decoration on the tree branches was red apples, which is believed to have sparked the modern tradition of hanging coloured baubles on our trees today.

In the 16th century, a glassblower called Hans Greiner, was the first to invent bau-bles. Since Hans couldn’t afford apples to decorate his tree, he made his own. Fruit and nut-shaped glass became an accessible Christmas tree dec-oration, and glassblowers started to make all sorts of shapes.

Tinsel and baubles are now made from a shiny plastic called PVC, which is sustainable but is not always recyclable.

Did You Know?

The Christmas tree was introduced to the UK by Queen Victoria’s German-born husband Prince Albert in the 1840s. At that time, Christmas trees would be hung from the ceiling or placed on tables and decorated with nuts, fruits, sweets, homemade decorations, and small presents.

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Two Indian Sites Added To The UNESCO World Heritage List

India’s Newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, 41 and Counting – Santiniketan, West Bengal

During the 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia, Santinikentan was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Santiniketan is a famous place in West Bengal where well-known Indian poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, established a world university, called Visva-Bharati in 1921.

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Who was Rabindranath Tagore?

He was a poet, playwright, novelist, musician, and painter. In 1913 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, for the English version of his collection of poetry, Gitaniali. He was the first non European to win a Nobel Prize in literature. He also wrote the national anthem of India. “Jana Gana Mana”.

Did You Know? Santiniketan, originally an ashram established by Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Maharshi Deben-dranath Tagore.

India’s 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site – Hoysala Temples, Karnataka

The Hoysala temples of Karnataka, located in the Belur, Halebidu and Somananthpura regions, have also been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The temples were built in the 12th to 13th centuries and stand as symbols of the creativity and skill of the artists and architects of the Hoysala era. The Hoysala Empire ruled a large portion of the modern day state of Karnataka between the 10th and 14th centuries. The capital of the empire was initially located at Belur and later moved to Halebidu.

What is UNESCO World Heritage List?

UNESCO has been working with countries around the world since 1972 to identify World Heritage sites and protect them for future generations. There are more than 1,000 sites on the World Heritage List, in three categories -cultural (such as a temple), natural (like a rainforest), and mixed (where both cultural and natural elements exist at the same location).

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