Today in History for December 23rd
THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Today in History, it is “Festivus”.
Festivus, is a a well-celebrated parody. The day has become a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 that serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe, who worked on the American sitcom Seinfeld, the holiday entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a 1997 episode of the program.
The holiday’s celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”.
The episode refers to it as “a Festivus for the rest of us”, referencing its non-commercial aspect. It has also been described both as a “parody holiday festival” and as a form of playful consumer resistance.
- 484 – Huneric dies and is succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund, who becomes king of the Vandals. During his reign the Catholics are free from persecutions.
- 558 – Chlothar I is crowned King of the Franks.
- 562 – Hagia Sophia in Constantinople reopened with a rebuilt dome after a series of earthquakes caused the original to collapse.
- 583 – Maya queen Yohl Ik’nal is crowned ruler of Palenque.
- 679 – King Dagobert II is murdered while hunting.
- 962 – Arab–Byzantine wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops storm the city of Aleppo.
- 1572 – Theologian Johann Sylvan executed in Heidelberg for his heretical Antitrinitarian beliefs.
- 1688 – As part of the Glorious Revolution, King James II of England flees from England to Paris, France after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.
- 1783 – George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.
- 1793 – The Battle of Savenay: a decisive defeat of the royalist counter-revolutionaries in War in the Vendée during the French Revolution.
- 1823 – A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, is published anonymously.
- 1876 – First day of the Constantinople Conference which resulted in agreement for political reforms in the Balkans.
- 1893 – The opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck is first performed.
- 1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System.
- 1914 – World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt.
- 1916 – World War I: Battle of Magdhaba – Allied forces defeat Turkish forces in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
- 1919 – Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 becomes law in the United Kingdom.
- 1921 – Visva-Bharati University is inaugurated.
- 1936 – Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
- 1938 – Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa.
- 1940 – World War II: Greek submarine Papanikolis (Y-2) sinks the Italian motor ship Antonietta.
- 1941 – World War II: After 15 days of fighting, the Imperial Japanese Army occupies Wake Island.
- 1947 – The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.
- 1948 – Seven Japanese convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.
- 1954 – First successful kidney transplant is performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray.
- 1958 – Dedication of Tokyo Tower, the world’s highest self-supporting iron tower.
- 1968 – The 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo are released after eleven months of internment in North Korea.
- 1970 – The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, New York is topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world.
- 1970 – The Democratic Republic of the Congo officially becomes a single-party state.
- 1972 – A 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the Nicaraguan capital of Managua killing more than 10,000.
- 1972 – The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster are rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism.
- 1979 – Soviet war in Afghanistan: Soviet Union forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.
- 1982 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces it has identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.
- 1986 – Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.
- 1990 – History of Slovenia: In a referendum, 88.5% of Slovenia’s overall electorate vote for independence from Yugoslavia.
- 2002 – An MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25.
- 2003 – PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai County, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
- 2007 – An agreement is made for the Kingdom of Nepal to be abolished and the country to become a federal republic with the Prime Minister becoming head of state.
- 2010 – A monsoonal trough crosses the northeastern coast of Australia from the Coral Sea, bringing mass flooding across Queensland.
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