Notice the varied ways in which different people of diverse countries in the world celebrate Christmas. Ranging from the religious Vatican City traditions to the unwavering trust on the snowy, sledge pulled Santa, know how and what people like to do to celebrate the birth of Christ. Or discover the Top US Christmas Vacation Destinations - Las Vegas, National Christmas Center etc.
In one of the states, North Carolina, as part of tradition, did you know that women bake dozens of Christmas cookies and gather together for "cookie swaps". These evenings are filled with socialization and enjoying traditional foods. Or that, in Colorado, an enormous star made of lights is placed high on a prominent mountain in honor of the star of Bethlehem? This star can be seen for many miles all around and welcomes visitors and residents for the Christmas season.
We shall be uncovering a lot of info for you on the holiday season in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Dec 13 in History: Francis Drake sets sail around the world
On December 13, 1577, Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth with a five-ship flotilla on the dangerous path that killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan 50 years earlier. Drake made the move having received the commission which would make him famous - Queen Elizabeth I hired him to become the first Englishman to sail around the world.
Drake had, by 1573, gained a reputation particularly for being a solid captain, negotiating heavy seas and maintaining his own and the men's morale. When the group was captured in the port of San Juan de Ulua (modern Veracruaz, Mexico), he made an enemy for life - the Spanish Navy whom he fought courageously. He made it back to England successfully.
Before long, word reached him of a secret mission for the Queen in 1577. Having heard of Drake’s exploits, the Queen sought to employ the brave captain for raids on the Spanish colonies along the Pacific Coast of South America. Know more on how Drake managed to return to back home and was rewarded with knighthood for his daring exploits.
Folks, today, December 12th is Kenya's Independence Day or Jamhuri Day, as the Kenyans call it. Join us in wishing Kenyans an excellent future. It is celebrating 50 years of independence from British rule with a gala ceremony at the Kasarani Sports Center in Nairobi, Kenya.
Also, while planning an African safari, Kenya is the spot which springs to your mind first. Decide and look up its contours and all the info that you need about Kenya's weather, its people, and the Kenyan people's lifestyles.
Kenyan wildlife is indeed exotic and has a variety of species ranging from the daunting, big cats to the milder, striped zebras. The wildlife includes the huge African elephants, rhinoceroses, zebras, giraffes, and lions and other large cats. Most of these species are being protected in national parks and game reserves. Birds, including ostriches, flamingos, and vultures are found in abundance in Kenya, as are reptiles.
The annual migration of wildlife between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya that happens during June - September is a favorite event with wildlife lovers. The migration of almost two million wildebeest, zebras and other species is one of nature's greatest spectacles.
Dec 12 in History: Edvard Munch is born
The eminent painter behind The Scream, a piece of art that depicts the reflections upon the psyche of humanity as a whole, is Edvard Munch born in Norway in 1863. After 20 years, in 1883 a sick and frail Munch displayed his first painting in public rebelling against his father. Hundred years hence, in 1963, the Munch Museum opened in Toyen, allowing thousands of paintings, drawings and prints - including 71 of the 82 paintings seized by the Germans - he left to the city of Oslo to be put on display.
Folks, South Africa is the place to be in right now - you could travel and pay your tributes to one of the most revered revolutionaries of our times, Nelson Mandela, on his last journey. Browse through or buy our maps to plan and have a smooth journey.
Being relatively dry, South Africa receives most of its rainfall in the summer months which occur between September and April. In fact, the people were braving the rains on December 10th too, holding on to their colorful umbrellas and hats at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, where Mandela's service was held.
Apart from this, Cape Town, Johannesburg, The Shipwreck Coast, Addo Elephant National Park, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Cango Caves, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and Kruger National Park are some of the important places to be visited.
Dec 11 in History: King Edward VIII Abdicates the Throne of England
On This Day in 1936, King Edward VIII stepped down from the throne of England, elevating his younger brother, Prince Albert to be the next King of England. Now conferred with the position of Duke of Windsor, Edward and his would-be wife Wallis Simpson left for France, where they married in June 1937.
The reason behind this abdication was attributed to the love affair that King Edward was carrying on with Simpson - an American married before - despite warnings from the Church of England that he was going against the religious institution of marriage. Read more in detail and know how Edward finally took the extreme step to renounce his kingship.
Folks, this time it is Africa that beckons you. South Africans are continuing to celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela rather than mourning his death. Find updates on this great revolutionary's journey in our New Maps and Info as well as calendar events sections. Know more on his last journey and which are the world's greatest leaders who have reached South Africa to partake in the memorial services.
All the nations mentioned above with the exception of Ireland are located in the African continent. While Madagascar is an island republic lying off the southeastern coast of Africa - did you know its capital is Antananarivo, Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe that lies in southern Africa.
Tripoli is the capital and largest city of Libya, which lies in northern Africa. Quite a range of maps for you.
Dec 10 in History: The First Nobel Prizes Awarded
In 1901, Nobel Prizes were awarded for the first time, on December 10th. Precisely five years after Alfred Nobel died, the foundation which he created to highlight contributions to the “greatest benefit of mankind” revealed the first deserving five winners of the Nobel Prize on December 10, 1901. Some of the most crucial discoveries in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace, have been annually identified and recognized by the committees and thus commended some of the world's most treasured scientists and thinkers. Dig deeper into the section to know more on who the winners were and how these prizes actually came to be instituted.
Well, is the feeling of the countdown truly creeping in? Do share your thoughts.
There is the updated World Map for Kids too, in case you missed it during the weekend.
The highest point in the country is Mt Kilimanjaro. It also has the largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria, and the second deepest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika, forming its boundary. Know more about its location, geography, its flag, its rich flora and fauna etc.
Dec 09 in History: Peruvian War of Independence Ends
On This Day in 1824, the Battle of Ayacucho brought the Peruvian War of Independence to an end. With King Ferdinand VII weakened in Europe by a military revolt, the uprising managed to secure independence for Peru and the rest of Spanish South America. The reprieve came after a long colonial rule of nearly 300 years.
As the colonial administration erupted into chaos near the end of 1823, Simon Bolivar sensed the opportunity to move into Upper Peru to the south and sent his second-in-command, Antonio Jose de Sucre, to attack during the spring months. Know more on how Sucre's strategies finally helped him tighten the noose around Spain to gain independence for Peru.
Hi Folks, this Sunday sit back and explore some of the now-in-vogue maps on Mapsofworld. We have updated and mapped for you the world's richest countries in our New Maps section. Did you know that Qatar is the richest and San Marino ranks amongst the top ten richest countries? These countries have been ranked in terms of GDP per capita of each country.
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world, located in northwestern Europe, whose population enjoys a high standard of living. This list of the top ten richest countries in the world is based on the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Database October 2013, which uses the GDP per capita of each country, adjusted for cost of living and inflation rates of different countries.
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Soon
Are you aware that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are fast approaching?
The opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics will be held on the 7th of February, 2014, while the closing ceremony will take place on the 23rd of February 2014. 45 nations have confirmed their participation in the winter Olympics.
Our Fry-Day Poll this week is on an issue that is of global concern and going forward would surely impact the world at large. Is the Iran Nuclear Deal a historic mistake? What do you think? One can argue that Iran could be given a second chance, but is it worth the trouble? Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has famously retorted that this could be a historic mistake. While some others like US President, Barack Obama said that we have successfully halted Iran's nuclear program.
The deal was finalized in Geneva, Switzerland. This signing of the deal means that Iran can still run nuclear power plants but not pursue development of nuclear weapons. As part of the deal, Iran has also agreed to stop construction of a heavy-water reactor being built at Arak.
Iran will also reduce below 5%, or modify to a form not suitable for further weapons development, its current stock of near-20% weapons-grade uranium in the next six months.
Do let us know of your thoughts on the same. Do you agree with the Israeli president or do you think it is fair enough to give Iran another chance? It might do us all a world of good.
Look up the infographic to know more on what part of the deal did Iran agree to? Who were the signee nations and who were the individuals who represented them at the signing? What were the reactions from around the world? Which nations welcomed the deal and which nations did not? All this and more in our new Fry-Day Poll on the Iran Nuclear Deal.
The San Salvador department map, newly updated for you, depicts the San Salvador department showing its seventeen municipalities and department boundaries. Are you aware that San Salvador lies in the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador and is its largest city? It is also the country's most important financial and cultural center.
And there is the dynamic Dhaka City Map too.
Folks, the football craze continues. Any guesses which team might win the World Cup this time? There is some more mind-boggling information on some of the competing teams, their coaches, their performances, etc., for the FIFA 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil. You can find loads of new info that will help you make calculated guesses - on Football Teams in FIFA World Cup, Belgium National Football Team in the FIFA World Cup, Italy National Football Team in the FIFA World Cup, Netherlands National Football Team in the FIFA World Cup, and Switzerland National Football Team in the FIFA World Cup.
For instance, did you know that the Netherlands team remains the only team in history that held the Number One position in FIFA rankings (August – September 2011) without winning any World Cup title. Will Netherlands be able to break the jinx this time? They have taken the first step as they have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Dec 5 in History: The Golden Horde's Moscow March
On this Day in 1408, Edigu led the Golden Horde - he was the last successor in Eastern Europe to Genghis Khan’s marauders of the early 13th century - into Moscow for one final show of force and strength. This came after 50 years of internal infighting killing several of Genghis' descendant kith and kin. Know more on how Edigu consolidated his lead and launched an attack on the Grand Prince of Russia. With Tokhtamysh on the run and presumed dead, Edigu led the Golden Horde into Moscow on December 5, 1408 to force the duke to admit Mongol supremacy.