March 12, 2020
Day 72 of 366
March 12th is the seventy-second day of the year. It is World Day Against Cyber Censorship, an online event held each year to rally support for a single, unrestricted internet that is accessible to all and to draw attention to the ways that governments around the world are deterring and censoring free speech online.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Baked Scallops Day, National Girl Scout Day, National Plant a Flower Day, and World Kidney Day. The last one is typically observed on the second Thursday in March.
Historical items of note:
- In 1710, English composer Thomas Arne was born.
- In 1912, the Girl Guides (later renamed to the Girl Scouts of the USA) were founded in the United States.
- In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi began the Salt March, a 200-mile march to the sea to protest the British monopoly on salt in India.
- In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation for the first time as President of the United States. It marked the beginning of his famous “fireside chats”.
- Also in 1933, actress Barbara Feldon was born.
- In 1946, Liza Minnelli was born.
- Also in 1946, voice actor and singer Frank Welker was born.
- In 1947, the Truman Doctrine was proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism.
- In 1968, Mauritius achieved independence from the United Kingdom.
- In 1984, actress Jaimie Alexander was born.
- In 1993, North Korea announced that it would withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and refused to allow inspectors access to its nuclear sites.
- In 1999, former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO.
- In 2011, a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melted down and released radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
March 12th is also the Aztec New Year, a date that depends on the version of the calendar, but is generally observed at sunrise.
The holiday is observed in some Nahua communities. The Nahua are the indigenous people of Mexico and El Salvador, comprising the largest group in Mexico, the second-largest in El Salvador, and historically present in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The Aztec and Toltec cultures were of this ethnicity. Their language of Uto-Aztecan affiliation is called Nahuatl and consists of many more dialects and variants, a number of which are mutually unintelligible. About 1.5 million Nahua speak Nahuatl and another million speak only Spanish.
To celebrate, ocote (pitch-pine) candles are lit on the eve of the new year. The ocote or ocotl produces a highly flammable and very aromatic resin. Celebrations also include fireworks, drumming, and singing, particularly in places like Huauchinango, Naupan, Mexico City, Zongolica, and Xicotepec. At the end of the celebrations, celebrants burn a flag that represents the year that ended while perfuming the replacement flag.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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