ON THIS DAY: March 20, 2019

March 20th is

Alien Abduction Day *

Ravioli Day

World Sparrow Day *

World Storytelling Day *

Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day *

World Day of Theatre for Children *

UN French Language Day *

UN International Day of Happiness *

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day


MORE! Maud Menten, Amanda Clement and Amelia Chopitea Villa, click



Judaism – Purim begins at sundown, and ends at sundown tomorrow. Holiday celebrates the Jewish salvation from the machinations of Haman, vizier of the Persian Empire, who tried to turn King Ahasuerus against the Jews living in Persia. Queen Esther, who unknown to her husband was Jewish, denounces Haman, and the King has him hanged on the gallows Haman had built to execute the Jewish leader Mordecai  

 Hinduism – Holi/Dolapurnima /Phagu Purnima begins tonight, ends tomorrow night– major festival widely celebrated in India and Nepal. There are several myths and legends attached to the festival, but they all relate to the ultimate victory of good over evil, and truth over falsehood  

Vernal Equinox in Northern Hemisphere (at 16:45 UTC)
Autumnal Equinox in Southern Hemisphere

‘Supermoon’ – a full moon which seems a little brighter than usual as the Moon’s orbit brings it closer to Earth

World-wide religious celebrations of the equinox include:
Bahá’í holy day – Naw-Ruz (first day of the Bahá’í calendar, end of Bahá’í fast days)

Paganism – Ostara and Mabon
Persian New Year –Novruz Bairam/Norooz/Nauryz Meyramy, which is a public holiday in Azerbaijan and Iran

Japan – Shunbun no Hi/Kōreisai
(Vernal Equinox public holiday)

Mexico – Chichén Itzá:
Equinox at Temple of Kukulcán

Tunisia – Independence Day


On This Day in HISTORY

43 BC – Ovid born, major Roman poet; best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, one of the most important sources of classical mythology

141 –  Sixth recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet

673 – Prince Ōama becomes Emperor Tenmu of Japan as he ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne, the first Japanese monarch to be called Tennō (Japan’s word for Emperor) during his reign

1253 – Wareru born as a commoner, founder of the Martaban Kingdom, in what is now part of Myanmar. He was King from 1287-1307, when he was assassinated by two of his grandsons, but he was succeeded by his brother, Hkun Law. His establishment of a Mon-speaking kingdom helped preserve and continue the Mon culture

1345 – The conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars is blamed as the cause of the ‘Black Death’ plague epidemic by scholars of the day at the Université de Paris

1413 – Henry V ascends the throne of England upon the death of his father Henry IV

1525 – The Parliament of Paris begins its pursuit of Protestants

1602 – The United Dutch East Indian Company (VOC) is formed, and the Netherlands grants it a monopoly on trade with Asia

1612 – Anne Bradstreet born in England, American Puritan poet, the first writer in the British North American Colonies to be published; she had a better education than most women of the time, and became a well-read scholar, but met criticism for her writing (especially after her brother-in-law sent her work to be published without her knowledge) as being an unsuitable occupation for women, put down by Puritan ideology as vastly inferior to men

1616 – Walter Raleigh, imprisoned in the Tower of London for secretly marrying one of Queen Elizabeth I’s maids of honour without royal permission, released after nearly 13 years, to head an expedition to South America in search of El Dorado

1627 – The Anglo-French War heats up, with England supporting the Huguenots trapped during the siege of their stronghold at La Rochelle, but France and Spain sign accord to fight Protestantism

1739 – Nadir Shah of Persia, after invading India, occupies Delhi and takes possession of the Peacock throne of the Mughal Empire

1792 – The French Legislative Assembly approves using the guillotine for executions

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte enters Paris after his escape from Elba and begins his “Hundred Days” rule

1816 – U.S. Supreme Court affirms its right to review state court decisions when it overturns Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, a land dispute between the state of Virginia and the inheritor of Lord Fairfax’s Virginia estate; the Virginia Court of Appeals had ruled the state legislature had the right to transfer the estate to Virginia, and transfer part of the property to Virginian David Hunter; the U.S. Supreme Court declares that the U.S. government agreement with Great Britain after the American Revolution to return their lands to British Loyalists takes precedence over state law

1833 – U.S. and Siam sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, a free trade agreement

1845 – Lucy Myers Wright Mitchell born, American author and art historian, known for her two-volume work A History of Ancient Sculpture

1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is published, and becomes the best-selling novel of the 19th century

1854 – The Republican Party is organized in Ripon WI by about 50 slavery opponents

1865 – A plan by John Wilkes Booth to abduct U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is foiled when Lincoln changes his plans and does not appear at the Soldier’s Home near Washington DC

1879 – Maud Menten born, Canadian physician and biochemist, known for the Michaelis-Menten equation

1886 – The first American AC power plant begins commercial operation, in Buffalo NY, built by William Stanley, who is backed by George Westinghouse

1888 – Amanda Clement born, first woman paid to umpire a baseball game, serving as an umpire for semi-professional games in the American Midwest on a regular basis for six years (1904-1910), earning $15 to $25 per game, then continued occasionally umpiring into her forties. Clement was first hired as a teenager when she came to watch her brother play, and the umpire hired for the game didn’t show up. She was an accomplished athlete in baseball, basketball, sprinting, hurdles, shot put, gymnastics and tennis. She later used the money she earned as an umpire to pay for her college education. Because of her reputation for fair calls and being unsusceptible to bribery, baseball marketers listed her by name as the umpire at the games they were touting to bring in crowds. She wrote an editorial for the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1906 declaring that women made better umpires than men, in part because the men would not speak abusively to women umpires. A devout Congregationalist, she refused to umpire on Sundays, and often stayed at the homes of clergy while umpiring on the road. After college and regular umpiring, she taught physical education at the University of Wyoming, and other schools in North and South Dakota, then managed the YWCA in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1929, she returned to South Dakota to take care of her ailing mother, until her mother’s death in 1934. Clement then became a social worker for 25 years in Sioux Falls, South Dakota before retiring in 1966

1888 – The Sherlock Holmes Adventure, A Scandal in Bohemia, begins on this date

1890 – The General Federation of Woman’s’ Clubs is founded

1894 – Amalie Sara Colquhoun born, Australian landscape and portrait painter, large-scale stained glass designer; taught at Melbourne Technical College

View Through the Boathouse, by Amalie Sara Colquhoun

1897 – The first U.S. orthodox Jewish Rabbinical seminary is incorporated in New York

1899 – At Sing Sing prison, Martha M. Place becomes the first woman to be executed in the electric chair; she was convicted of the murder of her stepdaughter

1900 – The European powers announce their mutual agreement to keep China’s doors open to trade, just three months before the ‘55 days at Peking’ of the Boxer Rebellion

1900 – Amelia Chopitea Villa born, Bolivia’s first woman physician and its first graduate the field of pediatrics, becoming a surgeon, specializing in gynecology and pediatrics; represented Bolivia at the 1929 Congress of the Association internationale des femmes-médecins (Medical Women’s International Association) in Paris; her sister Ella becomes Bolivia’s second woman doctor

1903 – In Paris, paintings by Henri Matisse are shown at the “Salon des Independants”

1904 – B.F. Skinner born, American psychologist, behaviorist, inventor, social philosopher and author

1915 – ‘Sister’ Rosetta Tharpe born, American singer, songwriter and guitarist with cross-over appeal in gospel, jazz, blues and pop, “the original soul sister”

1918 – Marian McPartland born in England, English-American jazz pianist, composer and founder of Halcyon Records; honored in 2004 with Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award

1920 – Rosemary Timperley born, British author, best known for her ghost stories

1920 – Pamela Harriman born, devoted herself to Democratic Party politics and fund raising after death of husband Averell, first woman to be named U.S. Ambassador to France (1993)

1922 – The USS Langley is commissioned, the first aircraft carrier for the U.S. Navy

1923 – Shaukat Siddiqi born, Pakistani Urdu-language author; noted for his novels, Khuda Ki Basti (God’s Village) and Jangloos (Back Woodsman)

1925 – Romana Acosta Bañuelos born, first Hispanic U.S. Treasurer of the United States, (1971-1974); businesswoman, owner of a multimillion-dollar business, Ramona’s Mexican Food Products, Inc

1927 – John Joubert born, prolific South African composer who did most of his work in Britain. His Symphony No 2 is dedicated to the memory of the victims of Sharpeville massacre in 1960

1928 – Fred Rogers born, beloved Children’s television host of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001); wrote the theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

1932 – The German dirigible, Graf Zepplin, makes its first flight to South America on regular schedule

1933 – The first Nazi concentration camp is completed at Dachau

1934 – Rudolf Kuhnold demonstrates radar in Kiel, Germany

1934 – David Maloof born, Australian novelist, poet and playwright; noted for Remembering Babylon, which won the inaugural Dublin Literary Award in 1996

1935 – Bettye Washington Greene born, first African American woman chemist to work as a professional at the Dow Chemical Company, researching latex and polymers; there are several patents under her name related to advances in latex and polymers

1937 – Lois Lowry born, American author of over 30 children’s books; 1990 Newbery Medal for Number the Stars and 1994 Newbery Medal for The Giver

1940 – Mary Ellen Mark born, American photographer and photojournalist; noted for her published collections, Streetwise and Ward 81; honored with the World Photography Organisation’s Outstanding Contribution Photography Award

1941 – Fats Waller records “All That Meat and No Potatoes”

1947 – A blue whale weighing 180-metric tons is caught in the South Atlantic

1954 – Liana Kanelli born, Greek journalist, columnist, TV news anchor and Communist Party politician; Greek Parliament Member for Athens since 2000

1955 – Nina Kiriki Hoffman born, American scifi-fantasy-horror author; The Thread That Binds the Bones won the 1993 Bram Stoker Award for First Novel; and her short story “Trophy Wives” won the 2008 Nebula Award for Best Short Story

1956 – Catherine M. Ashton born, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, British Labour politician; First Vice President of the European Commission (2010-2014); inaugural High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (2009-2014); European Commissioner for Trade (2008-2009); Leader of the House of Lords/Lord President of the Council (2007-2008)

1956 – Tunisia gains independence from France, becoming the Republic of Tunisia. Former guerilla war leader Habib Bourguiba is the new country’s first president

1959 – Mary Roach born, American non-fiction and popular science author of such titles as Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War; Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex; Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

1961 – Sara D. Wheeler born, British travel author and biographer; noted for accounts of polar regions; first woman writer-in residence for the U.S. National Science Foundation at the South Pole; Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica is her account of spending seven months in Antarctica; after that she wrote a biography of the Polar explorer Apsley Cherry-Gerrard, of the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition; Wheeler was elected as a Royal Society of Literature Fellow in 1999

1961 – Ingrid Arndt-Brauer born, German Social Democratic Party politician; member of the Bundestag since 1999, noted for working on the gender equality and municipal policy committees; member of the Kreistag, district parliament of Steinfurt (1994-1997)

1963 – The first “Pop Art” exhibit opens in New York City

1964 – The ESRO (European Space Research Organization) is established

1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson orders 4,000 troops to protect the Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers

1969 – Yvette Cooper born, British Labour politician and economist; Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee since 2016; Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2009-2010; Chief Secretary to the Treasury (2008-2009); Minister of State for Housing and Planning (2005-2008); Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Regeneration and Regional Development (2003-2005); Parliamentary Secretary to the Lord Chancellor’s Department (2002-2003); Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health (1999-2002); Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 1997

1980 – The U.S. makes an appeal to the International Court concerning the American Hostages in Iran

1981 – Argentine ex-president Isabel Peron is sentenced to eight years in a convent

1982 – U.S. scientists return from Antarctica with the first land mammal fossils discovered there

1984 – U.S. Senate rejects an amendment to permit spoken prayer in public schools

1985 – For the first time in the 99-year history of Avon Products, Inc., representatives receive a salary, changing from a commissions-only system

1985 – Libby Riddles wins the 1,135-mile Anchorage-to-Nome dog race, becoming the first woman to win the Iditarod

1985 – The first Great American Meat Out Day * is launched by the vegans of FARM, inviting meat-eaters to try going a day without eating meat

1987 – U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved AZT, a drug shown to slow the progress of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

1989 – A Washington DC district court judge blocks a curfew imposed by Mayor Barry and the City Council

1990 – Namibia becomes an independent nation, ending 75 years of South African rule

1990 – Imelda Marcos, widow of ex-Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, goes on trial for racketeering, embezzlement and bribery

1991 – U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that employers could not exclude women from jobs where exposure to toxic chemicals could potentially damage a fetus

1991 – The first Storytelling Day * is held in Sweden

1993 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares emergency rule, and announces referendum on whether the people trust him or the hard-line Congress to govern

1995 – About 35,000 Turkish troops cross the northern border of Iraq in pursuit of the separatist rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

1995 – In Tokyo, 12 people are killed and more than 5,500 others sickened when packages of the nerve gas Sarin are released on five separate subway trains; the terrorists belong to a Japanese doomsday cult

1996 – U.K. authorities announce that humans can catch CJD (Mad Cow Disease)

1997 – Liggett Group, maker of Chesterfield cigarettes, settles 22 state lawsuits by admitting the industry markets cigarettes to teenagers and agreeing to warn on every cigarette pack that smoking is addictive

1998 – India’s new Hindu nationalist-led government pledges to “exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons”

1999 – Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones complete their non-stop trip over 26, 500 miles, which began on March 3, becoming the first men to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon

1999 – Legoland California opens Carlsbad, California

2002 – Arthur Andersen LLP pleads innocent to charges that it shredded documents and deleted computer files related to the energy company Enron

2003 – U.S. and British forces invade Iraq from Kuwait

2008 – Alien Abduction Day * becomes an official part of the Toronto Alien Festival

2010 – World Sparrow Day * is launched by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation of France. It was started by Indian conservationist Mohammed Dilawar, whose first project was helping the house sparrows in the city of Nashik

2010 – UN French Language Day * is established by UNESCO “to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity”

2011 – Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day * becomes an annual tradition to honor Mister Rogers on his birthday by wearing a sweater, doing something neighborly, and reflecting on what we can learn from his example

2013 – UN General Assembly declares first official International Day of Happiness * proposed by UN special advisor Jayme Illien, who was an orphan rescued from the streets of Calcutta by Mother Teresa’s Mission of Hope, and later adopted by American Anna Belle Illien, founder of the non-profit Adoptions International

2014 – World Day of Theatre for Children * launched by the ASSITEJ, which unites people and groups worldwide who made theatre for children and young people

2015 – A Solar eclipse, equinox, and a Supermoon (moon is closest distance to Earth) all occur on the same day


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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4 Responses to ON THIS DAY: March 20, 2019

  1. Malisha says:

    My kid loved the puppet “Daniel Tiger” on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. He would take his “Daniel Tiger Puppet” with him whenever we went on a trip, and often kept him on his hand the whole time. Although he liked other characters he saw in shows and on TV (Cookie Monster, Bert & Ernie), Daniel was his all-time favorite.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Along with Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers was of the few kid’s shows that didn’t grate on my nerves when I was babysitting for children of my friends. In later years, I detested Barney, a favorite for about six months of a friend’s toddler. I was so glad when he stopped arriving with the purple dino videos in his little backpack.

      • Malisha says:

        Oh I couldn’t STAND Barney! And his insipid song. But the one that I absolutely banned was the Smurfs. Basically, I can’t remember (although I did daycare) having the TV on for anything other than Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Some of the older kids wanted to watch Princess Diana’s wedding and I aagreed, but other than that I can’t remember any time we clicked on the TV (in those days, no technological talent was necessary to navigate TV programs; you had ON and OFF and about 10 channels that you located by turning a dial. Nowadays I’m pretty much handicapped in terms of television management manipulations. After a few frustrating tries I usually quit and put on a “CD,” you know, one of those round silvery things that makes music come out.

        • wordcloud9 says:

          Mercifully I was spared the Smurfs. The ads for their movies have been annoying enough.

          My husband is a techie, so we have FIVE different clickers for the TV/Stereo Sound/CD Player/Dish/DVD. None of the equipment is new or state-of-the-art, and my pleas for simplification have only resulted in getting the clickers down from SIX to five.

          I read a lot. Actual books. With pages that have to be turned.

Comments are closed.