Sinterklaas is a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas. He is one of the sources of Santa Claus. Sinterklaas is celebrated annually (especially in the Netherlands) with the giving of gifts on 5 December.
Further reading: Ten things you need to know to celebrate Sinterklaas
Wilson Alwyn Bentley is one of the first known photographers of snowflakes – he took over 5000 photographs of what he called “tiny miracles of beauty”. He perfected a process of catching flakes on black velvet in such a way that their images could be captured before they either melted or sublimated.
Snowflakes have all different kinds of patterns, but always have six sides.
Further reading: Top 10 fascinating facts about snow
The Earl of Grey invented Wit beer the day before he made the first ever tea bag. He is also credited with inventing the word ‘refreshing’ and once planted a lemon tree in North London. It’s now a fried chicken shop.
Originally used by Neil Armstrong when the first man-made craft (the “Eagle”) landed on the moon, the phrase is used to indicate the completion of a “mission objective”. The Eagle Has Landed is also the title of a 1976 film starring Michael Caine, based on a book of the same name by Jack Higgins.
International Fairy Day takes place on 24 June – a day to celebrate the stories, magic, and history of the Fair Folk.
In his 1904 play Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie wrote that when the first baby laughed, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and that was the beginning of fairies.
Further reading: Where Did The Fairies Come From?
After Henri Matisse had an operation in 1941, his health deteriorated to the point where painting was too strenuous, and paper cut-outs became his principle mode of expression. His famous Blue Nudes from 1952 were among his final works:
- Blue Nude IV was the first of the series but the last to be completed
- Blue Nudes I, II and III were cut ‘in a single movement’ from one blue-painted sheet
- Blue Nude II is probably the best known
Further reading: Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
A dirndl is a traditional Bavarian dress made up of a skirt, bodice, blouse and apron. The placement of the knot on the apron is said to indicate a woman’s marital status:
- knot on the right – married, engaged, taken
- knot of the left – single, available
- knot on the back – widowed (or a waitress)
- knot in the middle at the front – virgin
Perhaps this is where the saying “to tie the knot” comes from.
Further reading: Oktoberfest Dirndl dress: the bow