Saturday, December 28, 2013

Still Life With Robin: A Peek Ahead to 2014

Brian Boru (Wikimedia Commons)
by Peggy Robin

In this last column of the year 2013 I thought I would take a look at the year to come and give you a heads-up on the big anniversaries that you should be prepared to discuss, or at least hear discussed at length. Just as 2013 saw weeks and weeks worth of media coverage of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and wall-to-wall reminiscences of the Kennedy assassination on its 50th anniversary, we can expect the year 2014 to bring the same level of media interest to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion (June 6, 1944) and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, followed by the first declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on July 28).

Also, mark your calendars for April 23rd -- it’s William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. Well, that’s the date traditionally assigned by historians as the bard’s birthday. All that is known for sure is that a baby boy named William Shakespeare was baptized at the parish church in Stratford on April 26, 1564, and that baptisms at that time tended to be done on the third day after a birth. Perhaps because of the uncertainty of the exact date, celebrations of this event will not necessarily coincide with the presumed birthday. The Folger Shakespeare Library is holding its big birthday bash/open house a few weeks early, on April 6, 2014. To see what’s in the works visit

April 23rd is also the one thousand year anniversary of an important turning point in European history. It’s the victory of the forces of King Brian Boru over the Vikings at the Battle of Contarf, marking the end of Viking rule over Ireland. The King lost his life in the battle, leaving his forces disunited and subsequently warring against each other for much of the next half century, resulting in an Ireland so weak that it fell prey to takeover by the Normans who had already taken over England (see: That pretty much set the pattern for the next 800 years of Irish history. Still, 2014 will be a year of millennial celebrations in Ireland, and if you want to join in, here’s a good place to start finding out where and when the parties, re-enactments, and commemorations will be held:

As for other notable dates in 2014: There’s just one Friday the 13th in the coming year, on June 13. Is that a harbinger of good luck for the other 51 weeks?

The palindrome date for this year occurs on April 10, 2014 (4102014). See:

And to close out the year, there’s the 2014 sequential date which arrives on December 13, 2014, that is, 12.13.14.

Happy New Year to all!


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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