Thursday

Aurelius Ambrosius
Milan celebrates the feast of its patron saint, St. Ambrose, with a special church service at one of the city’s oldest churches, the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio. Another highlight of the day is the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! street market. The streets near the piazza Sant’Ambrogio are busy with people trying an assortment of different local food and drinks, as well as a market of arts and crafts stalls.

Aurelius Ambrosius (340 CE–397 CE) was born in Treves (Trier), Gaul. He trained as a lawyer and became governor of Milan before he was appointed as the city’s bishop in 374 CE. He wrote about the scriptures, composed many hymns, devoted his time to studying theology and gave his possessions to the poor.

St Ambrose was known for denying church entrance to emperor Theodosius I for his massacre of about 7000 people in Thessalonica in 390. He also had considerable influence over St Augustine, an early Christian Saint whose writings were widely read.

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goddess Demeter
On this date in ancient Greece, an annual rite called the Haloia of Demter was performed.  According to mythology, each year the goddess Demeter wanders the earth in search of her stolen daughter Persephone.  The goddess' sorrow brings Winter to the world and all trees and flowers cease to bloom; however, Spring returns when Persephone is allowed to temporarily leave the darkness of the Underworld and Demeter once again rejoices.

Demeter At Dusk - Poem by Erica Jong

At dusk Demeter
becomes afraid
for baby Persephone
lost in that hell
which she herself created
with her love.

Excess of love-
the woman's curse,
the curse of loving
that which causes pain,
the curse of bringing forth
in pain,
the curse of bearing,
bearing always pain.

Demeter pauses, listening for her child-
this fertile goddess
with her golden hair, bringing forth
wheat and fruit and wildflowers
knee-high.
This apple-breasted goddess
whose sad eyes
will bless the frozen world,
bring spring again-
all because she once
walked through the night
and loved a man, half-demon,
angel tongued,
who gave her
everything she needed to be wise:
a daughter,
hell's black night,
then endless
spring.
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In 1941, at 7:55am, Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wing appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. 

"A date which will live in infamy"
               -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Esoteric Fact: 


The United States wasn’t the only nation to come under Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. As Evan Mawdsley reveals, that day also saw the Imperial Army launch an assault on the British colony of Malaya – with devastating results for Britain’s presence in south-east Asia.

This invasion of the British empire began fully 90 minutes before another Japanese fleet began the attack on Pearl Harbor, some 6,800 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Kota Bharu was the site of an RAF ‘aerodrome’, and British planes were able to mount counter-strikes. One of the transport ships was put out of commission, and the others withdrew to the north, but not before enough of the landing force had come ashore to establish a firm beachhead. Two hours after the Kota Bharu attack, a larger Japanese force – the better part of a division – began to land 100 miles further north in the Kra Isthmus of neutral Thailand.

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 In 1942 on this date, the United States Navy launches the largest battleship ever built, the USS New Jersey.

USS New Jersey
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