November National Days
No longer the domain of just Guy Fawkes Night & St Andrew’s Day, November could see you celebrating something nearly every day!
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Men’s Health Awareness Month
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Mouth Cancer Action Month
National Blog Posting Month
National Novel Writing Month
World Vegan Month
1 All Saints’ Day
Also known as All Hallows’ Day – hence Hallowe’en (Hallow evening) the day before. All Saints’ Day is celebrated annually with special church services. It is a feast day for Christians to remember all the saints & martyrs.
1 World Vegan Day
An annual event started in 1994 by the Vegan Society to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A vegan diet is 100% plant based. That means no honey, eggs or dairy products as well as the more obvious meat & fish. It is about trying to live without causing harm to other creatures. So many animals are factory farmed these days in order to yield higher profits & have miserable lives before that final slaughter. It’s not just about the animals’ lives though, plant-based agriculture is far more efficient than animal farming. Meat & dairy foods take far more land, energy & water & have a far greater negative impact upon climate change. Give it a try; take part in the Great Vegan Challenge & go vegan for 30 days during November.
1 National Stress Awareness Day
Annual event on the first Wednesday in November & organised by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA).
Stress occurs when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else. It causes a surge of hormones in your body which are released to enable you to deal with pressures or threats – the fight or flight response. Once the pressure or threat has passed, your stress hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if you’re constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in your body, leading to the symptoms of stress – sleeping problems, lack of concentration, sweating & loss of appetite.
The aim of the day is to offer support to individuals & organisations. For individuals this might include offering downloadable material coping strategies & sources of help available. For companies, volunteers can visit & talk to employers or employees to improve stress management policies & find ways to reduce & prevent workplace stress. The theme for this year is ‘the seven ages of stress’.
2 All Souls’ Day
A day for Christians to pay respect & remember the souls of all friends & loved ones who have died. Upon death, it is believed that souls have not yet been cleansed of sin & are in purgatory. Friends & relations pray on this day to allow the souls to enter heaven. The custom was started by St Odilo at his abbey in Cluny in 998 from where it spread throughout Europe.
Celebrating the capture of Guy Fawkes before he managed to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
Henry VIII’s Reformation made life uncomfortable for Catholics in England & by the time James I came to the throne, they were a bit fed up. A plot was hatched by a group of Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, to blow up the Houses of Parliament with the King & Members of Parliament inside. They hired a cellar beneath the building & snuck in barrels of gunpowder. One of the plotters sent a letter to warn his MP friend to stay away from parliament that day but the letter was passed on to the King & when the King’s soldiers checked the cellars on November 5th, they discovered Guy (Guido) Fawkes who had been given the job of guarding & lighting the gunpowder.
Whether the letter is actually to blame for the discovery of the plot or if the plan would actually have worked, we shall never know. The gang made their plans in a public inn & could easily have been over-heard; could you really buy that much gunpowder without being noticed; rumour has it that the gunpowder was fairly poor grade & wouldn’t have done the job anyway!
To celebrate the King’s survival, bonfires were lit around London & in honour of this, bonfires are still lit on November 5th & an effigy of Guy Fawkes burnt on it. This is simply called ‘a guy’ & is made by stuffing straw or newspapers into old clothes & adding a face. The guy is often wheeled around by children with the cry ‘penny for the guy’ in an effort to raise money for fireworks for the evening’s celebrations.
6-12 Orangutan Caring Week
To raise awareness of the plight of these creatures. Rainforests, the natural habitat of orangutans, are disappearing at an alarming rate. In December 2001, the Indonesian State Ministry of Environment estimated that between 5 million to 6 million acres of rain forest are destroyed each year. Orangutans are one of our closest relatives (we share over 96% DNA) & yet we are destroying their homes. Help raise awareness & educate the public by spreading the word through social media or clubs & schools. Adopt an orang-utan as an individual or group or adopt an acre of forest through the OURF’s Adopt A Tree Program.
8 World Radiography Day
Marking the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. This allowed internal structures to be viewed, especially in humans & immediately become popular in the medical profession. Radiographers use the day to promote radiography as a career, as a vital contribution to modern healthcare and as a chance to increase public awareness of diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy.
Part of Orangutan Awareness Week & run by the Orangutan Foundation. Brighten up your life & go orange for the day to help raise funds for orang-utans & their rainforest home. Have an orange cake sale, dress in orange, wear an orange wig or dye your hair, organise an orange themed meal (e-mail us if you need some ideas); there’s plenty to choose from. Visit the Orangutan Foundation website for inspiration.
8-15 World Fair Trade Week
A biennial event initiated by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). This year it is to be held in Milan, Italy. Over the week there will be an WFTO conference, exhibition, fashion show, cooking night & more. For those not wanting to travel to Milan, take a look at the WFTO website & become an Agent for Change.
9 British Pudding Day
A celebration of our sweet culinary expertise. When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a comforting pudding & Britain has got some good ones. Whether you’re into fruity crumbles, pies, a creamy trifle or an old fashioned steamed pud, treat yourself!
11 Armistice Day
Commemorated annually at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month to mark the signing of the armistice by the Allies & Germany in 1918 to cease the hostilities of World War I (the Great War). A 2 minute silence is observed at 11am to remember those who gave their lives for their country. In 1939 the 2 minute silence was moved to the Sunday closest to 11th November & named Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday. On this day we pay tribute to those who gave their lives in both World Wars & subsequent conflicts. Both days are now commemorated.
12 Remembrance Sunday
A day for the nation to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom during the World Wars & subsequent conflicts. As well as services across the country, a special service is held at The Cenotaph in London where the Queen pays tribute alongside politicians, the Mayor of London & representatives from the Armed Forces, Fishing Fleets & Merchant Air & Navy.
13 World Kindness Day
An annual event to celebrate & promote kindness in all its forms. Whether it’s giving up your seat on the train, cleaning someone’s car or handing out free sweets & chocolates, feel good about yourself with a random act of kindness & brighten someone’s day. If you feel you need some ideas, visit the Kindness UK website.
13-19 Anti-Bullying Week
Coordinated by the Anti Bullying Alliance. According to an Ofsted report, 46% of children & young people have been bullied at some point whilst at school. Bullying can be both physical & verbal. It can be online or face to face. The aim of the week is to help victims find the strength to talk to someone & to have the support to report all forms of bullying. The week also aims to enable teachers to respond effectively when children tell them they’re being bullied. The theme for this year is ‘make a noise about bullying’.
13-19 Alcohol Awareness Week
An awareness campaign run by local authorities, pharmacies & related organisations to raise awareness of alcohol issues and the impact it can have on our health and communities. Do you regularly go for a drink after work or come home & relax with a large glass of wine? Has one glass become two over time? Use this week to take a look at your alcohol consumption – no more than 3-4 units a day for men & 2-3 for women. That’s 2 pints of lower strength beer for men & a 1.75ml glass of wine or a pint of lower strength beer for women – & not every day! Work some alcohol-free days into your week & your body & your wallet should feel better for it.
14 World Diabetes Day
Created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation & the World Health Organisation. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, that lets glucose from the food we eat pass from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (hyperglycaemia) & over the long-term, this can cause damage to the body and organ failure.
There are 3 main forms of diabetes; type 1, type 2 & gestational. Type 1 diabetes is the most serious & usually occurs when the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin & therefore little or no insulin is produced. Daily injections of insulin are necessary to control the levels of glucose in the blood. With type 2 diabetes, there is an insulin resistance or an insulin deficiency. This type of diabetes can usually be controlled by exercise & diet although it may develop into type1 later on.
Gestational diabetes occurs when there are high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It usually disappears after pregnancy but women who have had it and their children are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Due to the diet & sedentary lifestyle we have today, type 2 diabetes is on the increase. Use this awareness campaign to take a look at your diet & fitness regime & take steps before it’s too late.
15 World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day
First held in 2002 & organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals & COPD patient groups throughout the world. Its aim is to raise awareness about COPD & improve care throughout the world. COPD is the name given to collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis & emphysema. Sufferers have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways. Typical symptoms include increasing breathlessness when active, a persistent cough with phlegm & frequent chest infections. The theme for this year’s COPD Day is It’s Not Too Late & was chosen to emphasize the actions people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis.
17-24 National Maintenance Week
An annual campaign run by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) to make people aware of the importance of winter property maintenance. The Society was founded in 1877 by William Morris who said ‘Stave off decay with daily care, to prop a perilous wall or mend a leaky roof ‘ & that’s still good advice today. So, whatever the age of your house, check roof tiles, clear guttering & check for blocked drains ready for the onslaught of wind, rain & snow that winter brings.
19 International Men’s Day
An annual event to celebrate the men in our life & the contribution they make to society. It celebrates men’s achievements & their contributions to their families, marriages & communities. The aim of the day is to focus on men’s & boy’s health, improve gender relations, promote gender equality & highlight positive male role models. The day is celebrated in over 70 countries worldwide.
19 World Toilet Day
A UN day established in 2013 to recognise the importance of sanitation. The aim of the campaign is to get people talking about toilets & sanitation – around 1 in 3 people don’t have a safe, clean, private toilet. Approximately 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation – that’s almost 1400 a day! The day also seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy. Twin your toilet with a loo halfway around the world at www.toilettwinning.org & change someone’s life. The money is used to provide clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education -things we all take for granted.
20 Universal Children’s Day
An annual observance established by the United Nations in 1954. The aim of the day is to encourage understanding between children & promote children’s welfare around the world. The day was used by the UN General Assembly to adopt the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Goals are set such as stopping the spread of HIV & AIDS in children & giving every child the chance to attend school. Progress has been made but there is still much to do. According to UNICEF, in 2013 around 168 million children were involved in child labour. Teachers can use the day as a chance to show how different children’s lives can be.
20-26 Road Safety Week
An annual event founded by the charity Brake in 1997, to stimulate community involvement in promoting road safety awareness year-round. The theme for this year is ‘drive less, live more’ & people are being encouraged to consider the journeys they make & make an effort to leave the car at home more & walk, cycle or take public transport. You’ll save money, burn calories & create less pollution. If you need to drive, remember to ‘Go 20’ in towns & villages to protect people on bike & foot. Every 30 seconds someone, somewhere in the world, is killed in a road crash. The misery of road deaths and injuries and the pollution caused by vehicles is a shameful epidemic that must end.
21 World Hello Day
An annual event to promote global peace. The day was begun in response to the conflict between Egypt & Israel in 1973. Since then World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries. To participate, simply greet 10 people & this will help demonstrate the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.
21 World Television Day
Begun in 1996 by the United National General Assembly “in recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by alerting world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues.” It’s not meant as a day to sit in front of the box but more to appreciate the role television plays in bringing news from around the world to us instantly.
23 Thanksgiving Day (USA)
Celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November. The first thanksgiving & feast was held by settlers in Plymouth in 1621 to give thanks for a good harvest. The event does not appear to have been celebrated annually until the 1660s. There was no set date for Thanksgiving & each colony celebrated it on different days depending on their harvest. It was not until 1789 that George Washington announced a Thanksgiving Day on 26th November of that year. Sporadic Thanksgivings were proclaimed by presidents over the years until in 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday in November & it has been observed annually ever since.
The Thanksgiving feast is the equivalent of our Christmas lunch & consists of native American fare: turkey, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, cranberry sauce, squash & followed by pumpkin pie. The day is very much a family one & schools & businesses close for a four day weekend.
24 Carers Rights Day
An opportunity for organisations to get together to help carers in their local community find out about their rights and how to get the help and support they are entitled to. Every year, more than 2 million people take on a new caring role. Many struggle to navigate the maze of services and entitlements, and miss out on financial and practical support as a result. Carers Rights Day raises awareness of the needs of carers & also aims to provide every carer with the knowledge of where to turn for advice, information and support, whether in their local community or online.
24 National Gutters Day
Part of National maintenance Week. Established by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) as a reminder to look after our houses, whether old or new. The annual clearing of gutters and drains can be much cheaper and less inconvenient than having to cope with a serious outbreak of dry rot in timber roof trusses following years of neglect, or dealing with a flooded basement or ground floor because of a blocked drain. The Romans even had Cloacina, the goddess of drains! So dig out a ladder & don your rubber gloves & check everything’s alright.
24 Buy Nothing Day
A challenge to spend 24 hours without buying anything. The aim of the day is to think about the effect on the environment our spending in the west has. Everything we buy has an impact on the environment; Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental & ethical consequences of consumerism. The developed countries – only 20% of the world population, are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage, & an unfair distribution of wealth. As consumers we need to question the products we buy and challenge the companies who produce them.
What are the true risks to the environment and developing countries? We all know recycling is OK for the environment, but consuming less is better and Buy Nothing Day is a great way to start. At the end of the day, think about the way you usually shop. Can you make a commitment to consume less, recycle more and challenge companies to clean up and be fair? The supermarket or shopping arcade might offer great choice but this shouldn’t be at the cost of the environment or developing countries.
25 White Ribbon Day
To prevent male violence against women. The first White Ribbon Campaign was launched by a group of men in Canada in 1991 after the brutal mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal. Other countries followed Canada’s example & in 1999, the UN recognized 25th November as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The campaign is still run by men & the day raises awareness of the work they do lobbying, campaigning & fundraising to protect women. Their message is simple: don’t do it, don’t condone it & don’t ignore it.
25-3 Dec National Tree Week
An annual event established by The Tree Council & first held in 1975, to launch the start of the winter tree planting season. Organisations encourage the public to take part in tree planting sessions around the country. We have lost a large percentage of our native trees to building sites & disease & with the increase in our carbon emissions, we need to start putting some tress back on this planet. Trees improve air quality by producing oxygen, which we need to breathe & removing carbon, offsetting harmful by-products of burning fossil-fuel. They offer protection from the sun & wind & they also clean the air by trapping dust, pollen & other pollutants. Trees also provide food & shelter for wildlife.
Find out what events are taking place near you at The Tree Council website or if you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, make a donation to help fund the cost of new trees.
26 Stir Up Sunday
The last Sunday before Advent. This is the day when the Christmas pudding is made. It consists of dried fruits, spices, sugar, suet, flour, brandy & eggs – luxurious foods in the 18th & 19th centuries. It is traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus & the 12 disciples. The pudding is stirred from east to west in honour of the 3 Wise Men. It is tradition for all the family to take a turn at stirring the mixture whilst making a wish. Some puddings contain silver coins (traditionally sixpences) & if you find one on Christmas Day, it is though to bring good luck.
The pudding is then steamed for around 8 hours. It is made a few weeks before Christmas to allow the flavours to develop. The dried fruit & alcohol mean that the pudding is well preserved & some people make 2 & keep one for the following year. The pudding is served on Christmas Day after the turkey with a sprig of holly as decoration & with a few spoons of brandy poured over it which is then set alight.
30 St Andrew’s Day
Feast day of the patron saint of Scotland (& Greece, Ukraine, Romania, Russia & Barbados).
St Andrew was a fisherman in Galilee & one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was also brother of St Peter. He was crucified for his beliefs on a diagonal cross like an X & so a saltire cross became associated with him. According to legend, during a battle in Lothian in 832 the Picts, led by King Angus were losing to the Saxons. The King prayed to God for victory & was rewarded by the sight of a white saltire in the sky. The King’s army won &, in recognition, the Saltire became the flag of Scotland. St Andrew was first recognised as an official patron saint of Scotland in 1320 at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, an appeal to the Pope by Scottish noblemen asserting Scotland’s independence from England.
The day is celebrated with events all over Scotland. In parts of Europe, the eve of St Andrew’s Day is a time for girls to find out the name of their future husband. Whether it’s putting names under the pillow before going to bed & then pulling one out the next morning to peeling an apple, throwing the peel down & seeing what initial it forms.