Tonight is the start of Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan.
Under normal circumstances, the whole community comes together for special Eid prayers, and afterwards they all have large family celebrations, and food (especially sweet food) and decorations. Many people buy new clothes to wear at Eid. Some parts of the world have large street parties.
So to all those celebrating Eid this year – Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid), and let us all hope that next year you can celebrate properly.
International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May every year to celebrate the contributions that nurses make to society.
I think everyone would agree that the last 18 months have made everyone better appreciate the hard and important work that nurses do. Many nurses have been working long hours under very difficult conditions, literally risking their lives on COVID wards.
25 April is Anzac day in Australia and New Zealand. This day remembers the day that the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915.
The landing was part of an ambitious Allied attempt to capture Istanbul, defeat the Turkish Ottoman Empire (allied with Germany), and open up a supply route to Russia. Troops from Britain, Ireland, France, Canada, & India were also involved.
Today is St George’s day, the day of the patron saint of England.
But who was Saint George?
The legends say that George was a Roman soldier of Greek descent in what is now Turkey, in the 3rd century. At this time the Roman Empire still believed in the old gods, and George was killed for being a Christian.
His remains are said to be buried in the Church of St George in Lod, in Israel.
A much later legend says that George saved a city in Libya by spearing a dragon that was threatening the city. As a result, the entire city became Christian.
St George is a very popular saint, being also the patron saint of the country of Georgia, Malta, Portugal, the region of Aragon in Spain, Rio de Janeiro, Ethiopia, Beirut, Moscow and many other places.
Today, 20 March 2021 is Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. This ancient tradition has been celebrated for over 3000 years.
It is said that Persian king Jamsid saved the world from a winter that threatened to kill everything and everyone. He had a throne made from gems, and had demons raise him into the sky where he shone like the sun.
People from Iran and Central Asia often have a table in their house with various items (similar to the picture) symbolising the new year, growth and prosperity. There are various other new year customs, which you can read about here.
We would like to wish all women a happy International Women’s Day, which commemorates the social, cultural, political and economic contributions of women everywhere.
We also think about all the work that still needs to be done for full equality of women with men, including such things as violence against women, casual sexism, pay inequality, and other forms of gender inequality.
Although Christmas celebrations are a bit subdued this year, you can still go outside and enjoy the local Christmas lights wherever you are.
Like these for example in Granary Square, Kings Cross:
Also, if you can, please check up on those who may be celebrating Christmas alone this year. A quick phone call can go a long way.
There are also groups on social media for those who want a bit of online company. for example, on Twitter use #JoinIn on Christmas Day. This hashtag has been going every Christmas for 10 years (as an aside, it was originally started by comedian Sarah Millican).
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator for health and social care in England. They regulate hospitals, care homes, doctors, dentists, mental health services, community services and more.
They are always looking for feedback from us, the people being treated, on the ways that the services can be improved (or, indeed, where things are going well!).
For September and October 2020, the CQC are particularly interested to hear from people with long-term and invisible conditions.