Dulce Rodrigues, writer
IT HAPPENED IN JANUARY
- 01, 38 B.C. - Beginning of Caeser's era, (year 716 of the foundation of Rome), used in the
oldest documents as sub era or in era.
- 01 - Saint Basil's Day: Saint Basil was born around 329 at Caesarea and died on 1st January 379.
Besides having been the bishop of Caesarea, from 370 onwards, Saint Basil was also a distinguished literary man.
He is known in Greece as "Agios Vassilis", the Greek Father Christmas, and he distributes the gifts on the 1st January.
In Greece, children celebrate New Year with Christmas carols they sing to honour Saint Basil.
- 06 - Day of the Three Magi: According to Saint Mathew's Gospels, three Wise Men, or Magi,
led by a giant brilliant star, went to Bethlehem of Judea, to the home of Mary and Joseph, and presented
the Baby Jesus with treasures of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh". In certain countries, like Spain, for example,
the real distribution of Christmas gifts takes place on the 6th January, a day also known as Epiphany.
In many other countries, a special cake is eaten on this day. In Portugal, the cake is called
which means Kings' Day Cake.
- 07, 1355 - Inês de Castro, lover of Prince Pedro of Portugal, is murdered in Coimbra by
three Portuguese nobles with the agreement of King Afonso IV. After his accession to the throne,
Pedro declared he had secretly married Inês and ordered the building of two magnificent
tombs in the Monastery of Alcobaça: Inês's remains were then transferred to one of the tombs
with royal honours; the other tomb was for Pedro. Both lovers now lie there side by side for eternity.
You may like to read the whole story of Pedro and Inês.
Inês's tomb in Alcobaça
Pedro's tomb in Alcobaça
This love story has been taken as a subject by Portuguese writers, namely the Portuguese writer
for his "A Castro", and by international writers among others the French
Henri Millon de Montherlant for his tragedy "La Reine Morte" and Victor Hugo for his "Inez de Castro".
In 1996 the Scottish
James MacMillan, one of today's greatest and best-known British composers,
has again chosen this historical tragedy as the subject of his first grand opera.
More recently, in 2005, the French writer Gilbert Sinoué got inspiration for his novel
"La Reine crucifiée" again from this eternal love story.
- 15, 1929 - Martin Luther King is born in Atlanta. He fought for the integration of the
Black people and won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. He was murdered in 1968.
- 20, 1505 - Festival of the “Fogaceiras". Still within a historial context, the city of Santa Maria da Feira (in the great metropolitan area of Oporto)
celebrates every year on Saint Sebastian’s Day, January 20, the so-called “Festa das Fogaceiras”. This festivity goes back to 1505.
According to local tradition, Saint Sebastian saved the city from the plague, and the people of the city made a vow to the saint.
During the festival young girls in white dresses with wide blue or red belts carry a castle-shaped sweet cake known as “fogaça”. Each cake has two paper flags on top.
- 25, 1871 - The German Empire (25 States) is proclaimed in Versailles to the benefit of William I, King of Prussia.
- 27, 1588 - By order of Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal) a Spanish fleet leaves the Lisbon
harbour with 8000 men and 2500 guns on board, tasked of fighting against Queen Elisabeth I of England.
Though called the Armada Invencivel (Invincible Fleet), it was destroyed on its way to England during a sea storm.
- 27, 1756 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg. At the age of five, his artistic
talents became known to the world, and his first trip took him to Vienna where his music
made the delight of princes and princesses. His pilgrimage through Europe took him from England to Germany,
over such cities as Brussels, The Hague, Amsterdam, Geneva, Lyon, Munich, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Prague.
While he was conquered by London where he stayed fifteen months, and by Italy where he made acquaintance
with the castrati, he hated Paris. He died in Vienna in 1791.
One of the most important dates in a person's life is our own birthday.
Would you like to know how much time has passed since that day?
Enjoy yourself making the calculation