September 9, 2020
Day 253 of 366
September 9th is the 253rd day of the year. It is Emergency Services Day (also known as 999 Day) in the United Kingdom. The annual event promotes efficiency in the UK Emergency Services, to educate the public about using the emergency services responsibly, and to promote volunteering across the emergency services in positions such as Special Constables and NHS Community Responders.
Historical items of note:
- In 1543, Mary Stuart, at nine months old, was crowned “Queen of Scots” in the central Scottish town of Stirling.
- In 1739, the Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in Britain’s mainland North American colonies prior to the American Revolution, erupted near Charleston, South Carolina.
- In 1776, the Continental Congress officially named its union of states the United States.
- In 1791, Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, was named after President George Washington.
- In 1828, Russian author and playwright Leo Tolstoy was born.
- In 1839, John Herschel took the first glass plate photograph.
- In 1850, the Compromise of 1850 transferred a third of Texas’s claimed territory (now parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming) to federal control in return for the United States federal government assuming $10 million of Texas’s pre-annexation debt.
- In 1890, Colonel Harland David Sanders was born. He was the businessman who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken, and his title is honorary as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor bestowed by that state.
- In 1892, Amalthea, the third moon of Jupiter, was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard.
- In 1914, the Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade was created. It was the first fully mechanized unit in the British Army.
- In 1941, singer-songwriter and producer Otis Redding was born.
- Also in 1941, computer scientist Dennis Ritchie was born. He created the C programming language.
- In 1947, the first computer bug was found when a moth lodged in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.
- In 1952, actress, author, and singer Angela Cartwright was born.
- In 1953, Australian actress and Doctor Who actress Janet Fielding was born.
- In 1954, actor Jeffrey Combs was born.
- In 1959, French composer and producer Éric Serra was born.
- In 1960, actor and producer Hugh Grant was born.
- In 1965, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development was established.
- In 1966, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was signed into law by United States President Lyndon B. Johnson.
- In 1969, the Official Languages Act came into force in Canada, making French equal to English throughout the Federal government.
- In 1971, actor and guitarist Henry Thomas was born.
- In 1972, Croatian-American actor Goran Višnjić was born.
- In 1975, Canadian singer-songwriter and actor Michael Bublé was born.
- In 2001, Band of Brothers, the Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks miniseries based on a book by Stephen E. Ambrose, premiered. At that time, it was the most expensive miniseries ever made.
- In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.
September 9th is Chrysanthemum Day (also known as Kiku no Sekku, 重陽, and Chōyō) in Japan.
It is also known as the Double Ninth Festival, a holiday celebrated in multiple countries on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar. It is a traditional Chinese holiday, mentioned in writing since before the Eastern Han period (before AD 25).
The origin centers on a man named Heng Jing, who believed that a monster would bring pestilence. He told his countrymen to hide on a hill while he went to defeat the monster. Later, people celebrated Heng Jing’s defeat of the monster on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month.
It is called the Chong Yang Festival or Chung Yeung Festival in China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, Jungyangjeol (중양절 or 重陽節) in Korea, and Tết Trùng Cửu in Vietnam. According to the I Ching, nine is a yang number; the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) has too much yang (a traditional Chinese spiritual concept) and is thus a potentially dangerous date.
To protect against danger, it is customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum liquor, and wear the zhuyu (茱萸) plant. Both chrysanthemum and zhuyu are considered to have cleansing qualities and are used on other occasions to air out houses and cure illnesses.
On this holiday some Chinese also visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects. In Hong Kong and Macao, whole extended families head to ancestral graves to clean them and repaint inscriptions, and to lay out food offerings such as roast suckling pig and fruit, which are then eaten (after the spirits have consumed the spiritual element of the food).
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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