April 8 is Hana Matsuri’s Birthday, National Empanada Day, & Draw a Picture of a Bird Day:

Hana Matsuri Birthday

Parents know the happiest day of their lives is the day their children are born. More than 2,500 years ago, on April 8, a baby, Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, was born. Because stories of the Buddha’s birth include blooming flowers, singing birds and sweet rain, his birthday is celebrated with a flower festival called the Hana Matsuri. Buddhists celebrate with a ritual of pouring sweet tea over Buddha statues and offering a cherry blossom or another flower to the Buddha at Buddhist temples and shrines in Tokyo and in the United States.

The Buddha, or the “Enlightened One,” teaches people to find their own enlightenment as well as release from human desire through the “Four Noble Truths.

1) All forms of existence are subject to suffering.

2) Suffering and rebirth are produced by desire.

3) The end of suffering comes with the end of desire.

4) The end of desire is reached by following the Noble Eight-Fold Path: right beliefs, right aims, right conduct, right effort, right speech, right occupation, right thinking, and right concentration: (Underwood, Lynn. “Religions of the World.” Milwaukee: Garreth Stevens, 1992.)

National Empanada Day

An empanada may be filled with a variety of savory or sweet feelings and is typically baked in the shape of a half-moon. Eat them as appetizers or a main course, or make a dessert empanada. Try a Cuban Empanadas recipe utilizing pre-made pie crust.

The word “empanar” means to wrap or coat in bread, so how you fill your empanada is up to you. Use a simple rice, spice and beans mixture or add taco meat or shredded pork. For traditional empanadas, use beef or chicken. The empanada has connections to other dough wrapped dishes, including the Italian calzone and the Asian samosa.

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Draw a Picture of a Bird Day

Without rhyme or reason, April 8 is for the birds, or more specifically, for drawing birds. Before you say, “Wait, I’m no John James Audubon,” consider the varied artistic styles of famous artists who chose birds as subjects. Consider the simple line drawing, “The Dove of Peace” by Picasso, a whimsical multimedia piece by Klee, “Twittering Machine,” the delicate “Flowers and Birds” by Shen Nanpin or the bold graphic tessellations by Escher. For tips on drawing birds, view Drawingthemotmot.

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