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May 1 - International Workers' Day

May 2021

May is the most beautiful month of the year and a period when nature floods with wonderful colours. 

“May” is likely named for the Greek goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. The Anglo-Saxon name for May was Tri-Milchi, in recognition of the fact that with the lush new grass cows could be milked three times a day. 

May 1 was established as International Workers' Day on July 20 in 1889 during the institutions of the teleconference in Paris, in commemoration of the Chicago Massacre of 1886, the working day working conditions.  Driven by the successful distinctions of Canadian comrades, the composite materials from the users appealed to the appearance of strikers mobile-matched in May 1, 1886.


Their main request was working up to eight hours, as at that time , there was no regulatory working framework in the US and workers were forced to work countless hours, even on Sundays.  More than 90,000 workers took part in the dynamic march in Chicago, while about 350,000 workers from 1,200 factories took part in the strike. In London, thousands of protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square to demand similar requests 

Moreover, May even is the last month of spring, is the most beautiful one, as nature spreads colourful flowers and trees, the most magical picture, boosting our mood and our senses, welcoming the summer with a positive mood. “Crataegus monogyne”, a species of hawthorn, is commonly known as mayflower or May flower in England.


In Britain, as in most parts of Western Europe, May day marked the end of the harsh winter months, welcomed the beginning of Summer, and optimistically looked forward to the bright and productive months. For our ancestors, largely in rural areas, it was a major annual festival and was celebrated through out the country, especially on the first of May with music, dancing and games. In modern England there are customs associated with the May Day and have their roots in pre-Christian traditions of the Druids. The Druids were Celtic polytheists who prospered in Britain before the spread of the Romans, and who celebrated May Day until the middle of the year (since for the Celts the last month of the year was October). When the Romans arrived in Britain, they brought with them their own customs, namely a five-day flower festival, Floralia, which was celebrated around May Day. The English parsley is called Maypole, meaning Mayan Pole, and is one of the most characteristic customs of May Day. 


In the old days, people used to cut small trees into poles and nail them to their gardens as a sign that summer was coming.  These poles were decorated with flowers that were collected on May Day, and they danced around the circular dances, thus celebrating the rebirth of nature.Around the 19th century, they added colorful ribbons, probably influenced by the Italian theatrical performances of the time, which used colorful ribbons in their dances. Somehow the Mayan Pole, a tradition rooted in ancient fertility rituals, influenced by Druids, Romans and various other Europeans, has come to be a colorful celebration for children.

- Natasa Kantzavelou


National Sourdough Bread Day

April 2021

National Sourdough Bread Day is on April 1st

And recognizes the need bread to bring people together around the world .Because of its great nutritional value, people often use the word "bread" to describe any important and at the same time, simple need for life.  


More than 170 years later, San Francisco is synonymous with sourdough bread. Rumours often swirl about the city’s relentless fog playing a role in the taste of its sourdough, cultivating a type of wild bacteria that only exists in San Francisco 

In the 1950s ,Great Britain invented a way of making bread that incorporated fat, extra yeast, and dough conditioners that made wheat capable of withstanding super high speed mixing. The “Chorleywood Bread”Process created an economical, fluffy, springy, very white bread capable of staying mold-free inside a plastic bag that could be manufactured in under four hours. The process was so successful that “Chorleywood bread” took over nearly the entire bread market of Great Britain and artisanal bakers largely went out of business.

Great Britain is also home of the Real Bread Campaign, fighting for better bread in Britain. The Real Bread Campaign is a clarion call to remind consumers and bakers that real bread can be made with just four ingredients: flour, water, a little bit of salt, and leavening. Sourdough has been the leaven of choice for Western civilization for six thousand years.


The history of bread begins in the Upper Paleolithic, in the middle of Prehistoric times.  Traces of unleavened bread dating from 30,000 BC.  found in several locations.  People ate grains in their raw form without any preparation and prehistoric bread was actually a porridge of raw wild grains crushed and mixed with water.  One day, people decided to bake this porridge in the form of small pies.  This was something that happened by chance, around 3000 BC, when a loaf of bread was forgotten and the Egyptians discovered sourdough bread whose grains of wheat were crushed into a kind of mortar.  In large clay pots they kneaded the dough with water from the Nile, rich in mud and natural forms of yeast, similar to bakery dough.  This dough was forgotten and as it rested for a few hours, it "fermented" in a natural way.


Greeks were the ones who perfected the technique of baking bread in the oven.  Their daily bread called "mass" was a simple unleavened barley pie, while their festive bread called "bread" was wheat bread.  Both items were baked on hot stones.  A few years later, Greeks abandoned this cooking technique and used a kind of oven with a front opening.  In the second century AD, there were 72 varieties of bread in Athens.

The secret, of successful tasty sourdough is hidden in the flour and in the hands that prepare the yeast. The BBC recently published the results of an experiment conducted by the Gastropod team, a show that focuses on culinary culture and food science.  So they revealed, because every time the yeast is different, depending on who makes it.


Sourdough breads are made with what’s known as a starter, which gives the dough what it needs to rise.  But how is it made, what’s it made of, and how does it work?


 Well, put simply, it’s just flour and water mixed together.  It’s left to ferment, which means bacteria and yeast multiply in it as they feed on the flour.  This sounds gross, but they’re harmless, and they’re what gives sourdough its unique taste.


“If you really want to make a friend,

go round someone's house

with a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread!”

Chris Geiger

- Natasa Kantzavelou

History of International Women's Day

March 2021

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.

For the past 15 years, the Day's goal has been to remind us that women should have equal rights with men, in all areas.


About a century ago, after years of struggle, British women gained the right to vote for the first time, with eight million women over the age of 30 being registered to vote. Responsible for this conquest are the "Suffragettes", a women's movement that aimed at women's suffrage. Their role was crucial in the acquisition of women's suffrage, at a time when their peers had few rights and played no role in political events.The word "suffragette" first appeared in a rather derisive Daily Mail commentary in 1906 on activists of the Women's social and political union, formed in 1903 by Emelin. Punkhurst in Manchester in the north of England.

Women's Pay Day: 4th of March

Did you know that  4th of Match is the day they say women in the UK start getting paid for the year compared to the average man? According to their analysis, the gender pay gap for all employees is 17.3%, meaning that women have to wait 63 days before they effectively begin to earn their yearly salary. After new legislation was introduced last April, companies in the UK that had over 250 employees were required to report a gender pay gap - in 2019 this has shown that 80% of big firms in the UK pay men more, on average, than women. The Fawcett Society – a UK society championing equal pay rights – reports that the latest Office for National Statistics data shows this gap to be 13.1%. Further more, during pandemic Mothers were 47% more likely to have lost their jobs in order to take care of their children who do homeschooling till now.

Although many British women have accomplished greatest achievements, changing the course of history

- Florence Nightingale who led a team of nurses during the crimean war became an icon in Victorian era giving nursing a favourable reputation.

- Margaret Thatcher, who died in 2013, was Britain's first female prime minister and also the country's longest-serving leader in the 20th century, ruling from 1979 to 1990.


-Powerful female role model with a strong influence on public opinion is Queen Elizabeth II who has been on the British throne since 1952. She is the longest living monarch in the history of the United Kingdom and the longest living queen in world history.


- In British people’s heart, Princess Diana will always have a precious place as the woman who have managed to changed the world in her own way.

- She is 3ft 5in tall, but she is one of the most influential British women as a writer and academic. Sinéad Burke, who was born with achondroplasia, aware of the limits of design, In 2018, during the London Fashion week, was photographed from Dior and Burberry as the the author who attracted the attention in TED about “Why Design Should Include Everyone” of more than 1.2 million views online.

The official theme for International women’s  day 2021 is "Choose to Challenge", recognising the need to call out gender bias and inequality. As women around the world battle the social, economic and political fallout from Covid-19, the need for this is greater than ever. To tie in with this year’s theme, IWD organisers are asking people to strike the Choose To Challenge pose - with your hands held high - and share it on social media to encourage a committment to helping forge an inclusive world. Some of the submissions will be featured on the IWD website and social media feeds.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally!
Make everyday International Women's Day.
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

- Natasa Kantzavelou

Image by Amy Shamblen

Valentine's Day

February 2021

February is the month of chocolates, flowers and for some lucky people blind dates! This Valentine's Day will of course be different as is everything else. But even with the restaurants and the shops closed, people will find a nice and romantic way to express their love to their loved-ones. 


Undeniably, 14th February is a commercial feast but people enjoy it and many count down the days as this day has historical significance since the 17th Century. 


Valentine was a catholic priest, he was sentenced to death for marrying couples in order to spread and strengthen the Christian faith. A legend says that while Valentino was in prison, refusing to renounce his faith, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer, to whom he even sent a letter with the signature: With love from your Valentino.


The Catholic Church later recognised Valentine as a Saint, and he became known as the protector of lovers.


In medieval England, lovers gave gifts to each other secretly on Valentine’s Day, some wrote poems or songs in order to arouse the same admiration as that enjoyed by brave knights. At that time people had strong superstitions. For example if an unmarried girl saw a robin on Valentine’s day, then she had to get married to a sailor, if she was lucky to see a goldfinch she would get a rich spouse.


In England, flowers is what usually the lovers should offer to their loved ones and it was “imposed” by France from Louis XVI, who gave Marie Antoinette red roses. Red Flowers symbolise the blood of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. 


The British choose for their Valentines chocolates, sweets and teddy bears which are very popular. Dinner is a precious moment, according to chefs Britons love chestnut soup with amaretto cream and brioche espresso, beef tenderloin and mushroom ragout and a chocolate rose with bitter chocolate mousse.

This Valentine day “wear” a glorious smile, listen to “Something" by The Beatles or play “My Funny Valentine" by Frank Sinatra, and express your feelings to your loved ones 

- Natasa Kantzavelou

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