Thursday, 17 March 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

found pic @ Google Images
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, the saint's religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast--on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick's death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture.
Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

St. Patrick's Day around the World
Sydney Opera House lit up for St. Patrick's Day @ Wikipedia
Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick's Day, especially throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in many other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.
In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day was traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick's Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world. Today, approximately 1 million people annually take part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.

Monday, 14 March 2016

It's π Day & Einstein's Birthday!

image credits:
Pi Day is the unofficial holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant pi (π) on March 14 in the month/day date format because the digits in this date correspond with the first three digits of π (3.14). It has become an international observance that is celebrated live and online and also celebrates Albert Einstein’s birthday.
Pi Approximation Day is held on July 22 in the day/month date format because it is the approximate value of π (22/7 = 3.14).

What is Pi (π)?
image credits: in2eastafrica
Pi (π) is the mathematical constant that has been known for almost 4000 years. Its value is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter in Euclidean space or the ratio of a circle’s area to the square of its radius. The value of pi is approximately equal to 3.14159265, but it is an irrational number and its decimal representation never ends or repeats.
The lower case Greek letter π is used because it is the first letter of the Greek work περίμετρος (perimeter), which probably refers to its use in the formula perimeter divided by diameter equals the constant for all circles. The concept of π has become the most common ground between mathematicians and non-mathematicians.

What do people do?
There are many activities that celebrate Pi Day such as games, creating some type of pi ambiance, eating “pi” foods, converting things into pi, making strange mathematical endeavors like having a contest to see who knows the most digits of pi. Many people celebrate Pi Day by eating pie and discussing the relevance of π. Many teachers will use this date to engage students in activities related to pi by singing songs and carols about pi and developing pi projects.
Mathematicians, teachers, museum directors, math students of all ages and other enthusiasts celebrate the number with pi recitations, pie-baking, pie-eating contests and math-related activities.

The First Pi Day

Pi Day celebrations was founded by Larry Shaw and it was first held at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988. The celebrations began with the public and museum staff marching around a circular space and then eating fruit pies. The museum has since then added pizza to its menu and has grown to include activities such as creating Pi puns, Pi-related antics, and many other activities that involve Pi.

Alternative Pi Days and Pi Approximation Days
Pi Day and/or Pi Approximation Day can be celebrated on other calendar dates such as:
July 22: When 22 is divided by 7, it equals 3.14.
March 4: When 14% of the 3rd month has elapsed.
April 5: When 3.14 months of the year have elapsed.
April 26: The Earth has traveled two radians of its orbit on this day (April 25 in leap years). This is celebrated exactly on the 41st second of the 23rd minute of the 4th hour on April 26 or the 116th day. (In leap years, it is celebrated exactly on the 3rd second of the 2nd minute of the 12th hour on April 25 or the 116th day.)
November 10: The 314th day of the year (November 9 in leap years).
December 21, 1:13 p.m.: The 355th day of the year (December 20 in leap years), celebrated at 1:13 for the Chinese approximation 355/113.

Source: (sligtly abridged)

You can read more about Pi Day on Teaching & Learning @ Pi Day 2012.

If you are looking for teachers' resources, check TeachPi, where you'll find ideas for Pi Day activities, learning and entertainment!