Saturday, May 31, 2008

On May 31

On this day in ...

... 1678 (330 years ago today), the City of Coventry, in England, staged the 1st annual Lady Godiva procession in honor of a legendary noblewoman who'd lived 6 centuries earlier. It is said that she annoyed her husband, one Leofric, with her pleas to free the townspeople from oppressive service and taxation. Finally, "exasperate[d]," he said:
'Mount your horse and ride naked, before all the people, through the market of this town from one end to the other, and on your return you shall have your request.'
In response she "loosed her tresses," which covered all but her legs as she rode nude through Coventry, so that the husband was compelled to fulfill his promise. (image credit) Godiva's impersonator in Coventry's 1st commemorative parade was a male, identified only as "James Swinnerton's son."

... 2008 (today), the World Health Organization observes the annual World No Tobacco Day, 1st established in the late 1980s. This year's theme is "Tobacco-Free Youth," aims at discouraging children from trying tobacco products -- and at encouraging businesses not to market these products to children.

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