June 27, 2020
Day 179 of 366
June 27th is the 179th day of the year. It is National PTSD Day in the United States, which is dedicated to raising awareness regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The day was officially designated in 2010, but the United States Senate expanded the observance to the entire month of June in 2014, creating PTSD Awareness Month.
It is also National HIV Testing Day in the United States. If you’re at risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, please get tested.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Onion Day, National Ice Cream Cake Day, National Sunglasses Day, National Orange Blossom Day, and Summersgiving (which is typically observed on the Saturday after the Summer Solstice).
Historical items of note:
- In 1760, Cherokee warriors defeated British forces at the Battle of Echoee near present-day Otto, North Carolina. This was during the Anglo-Cherokee War.
- In 1880, author, academic, and activist Helen Keller was born.
- In 1895, the inaugural run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Blue was conducted from Washington, D.C., to New York City. It was the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.
- In 1898, the first solo circumnavigation of the globe was completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia.
- In 1941, Romanian authorities launched one of the most violent pogroms in Jewish history in the city of Iași, resulting in the murder of at least 13,266 Jews.
- In 1950, the United States decided to send troops to fight in the Korean War.
- In 1954, the Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, the Soviet Union’s first nuclear power station, opened in Obninsk, near Moscow.
- In 1966, director, producer, and screenwriter J.J. Abrams was born. (Brilliant idea man, but he loves the “mystery box” to a fault and really has trouble sticking the landing.)
- Also in 1966, the American Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows premiered.
- In 1975, actor Tobey Maguire was born.
- In 1982, Space Shuttle Columbia was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on STS-4, the final research and development flight mission.
- In 1989, actor Matthew Lewis was born. Was Neville Longbottom really the Chosen One?
- In 1999, actor Chandler Riggs was born. We all know him best as Carl (or Corrrrrrral) from The Walking Dead.
June 27th is Seven Sleepers’ Day – Siebenschläfertag in German – the feast day commemorating the legend of the Seven Sleepers as well as one of the best-known bits of traditional weather lore (expressed as a proverb) remaining in German-speaking Europe.
Basically, the atmospheric conditions on that day are supposed to determine or predict the average summer weather of the next seven weeks.
In Christian and Islamic tradition, the Seven Sleepers – اصحاب الکهف, literally People of the Cave – is the story of a group of youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 CE to escape religious persecution and emerged some 300 years later.
The earliest version of this story comes from the Syrian bishop Jacob of Serugh around 500 AD, which was derived from an earlier (now lost) Greek source. It was later popularized by Gregory of Tours and in Paul the Deacon’s History of the Lombards. The best-known Western version of the story appears in Jacobus da Varagine’s Golden Legend, circa 1260.
The cult became common during the Crusades of the High and Late Middle Ages, and June 27th was declared a commemoration day in most of the Catholic dioceses. The story appears in the Qur’an (Surah al-Kahf 18:9-26), including more details such as the mention of a dog who accompanied the youths into the cave and appears to keep watch. The Quran version mentions that these people slept for approximately 300 years.
Oh, and contrary to popular belief, the name of the day does not refer to the edible dormouse, a rodent known as Siebenschläfer in German for its seven-months hibernation.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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