It’s the day the American Civil War began (1861), the day President Franklin Roosevelt died (1945), the day Yuri Gagarin went into space (1961), and the day the Space Shuttle was first sent into orbit (1981).
It’s Cosmonauts’ Day in Russia and Yuri’s Night, though I think that last one was made up in the last decade or so as a way for the Russians to toot their own horn (and they have achieved a lot in space, but why not just have “Manned Spaceflight Day” rather than name it after one cosmonaut. It could also just be an excuse to party, to fill that big gap between Red Army Day and May Day, though I suppose it’s really meant to celebrate achievements in manned spaceflight. As for me, I’d celebrate July 20th, but that’s probably just chauvinism at work.
In addition to all that, it’s Orthodox Easter this year, so they can now eat eggs and cheese and butter and meat and fish and all the other stuff that they’ve given up for the Great Fast.
It’s also peak time for the cherry blossoms in Washington DC – the end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival – a really beautiful time of year in the area! I went for a walk yesterday evening and it was sunny and warm and the blossoming trees and the blooming daffodils were really lovely.