Mardi Gras takes place every year on Shrove Tuesday, the last day before lent begins in the Christian tradition. It also marks the end of the Carnival season for many Catholic and Orthodox communities. Because lent is a time to give up things such fatty foods and festivities, Mardi Gras is a day of excess. It is the last day to enjoy things forbidden during lent. Traditionally, people would try to get rid of things like milk, butter, and eggs.
Daisy Gatson Bates Day is celebrated on the same day as Presidents’ Day, the third Monday of February in Arkansas. It honors Daisy Gatson Bates who was an Arkansas civil rights activist. She was involved in working towards desegregation in Arkansas schools.
Presidents’ Day is a holiday that honors all of the past U.S. presidents and their achievements. It is celebrated on the third Monday of February. This date was chosen because both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were born in mid-February. They are two of the most celebrated presidents on Presidents’ Day.
Susan B. Anthony Day celebrates the life and achievements of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony. Anthony played an important part in helping women win the right to vote. She was born on February 15, 1820. Her birthday is celebrated in in Wisconsin, California, Florida, and West Virginia.
Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love and all kinds of love. Many people dedicate this day to spending time with their significant others. They exchange gifts and cards and celebrate together with romantic meals. This can also be a time to express love to other loved ones through cards and gifts of chocolates or flowers. Traditionally, this day commemorates Saint Valentine, who was arrested and executed for performing wedding ceremonies for Roman soldiers, who were forbidden to marry. There were several other Saints named Valentine who are also celebrated on this day.
Lincoln’s Birthday celebrates the life and achievements of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. It is celebrated on February 12th (Lincoln’s actual birthday in 1809) by Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and New York. Lincoln’s Birthday is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving in Indiana and West Virginia. It celebrates President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, and his achievements.
Tu B'Shevat (Also known as Tu BiShvat) is a Jewish observance also known as New Year of Trees. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month Shevat. Today, many Jewish communities promote ecological awareness on this day, planting trees in celebration. Meals on this day often consist of dried fruits and nuts. According to Orthodox Jewish belief, fruit is not considered Kosher until the tree is three years old. Any fruit produced in the third year on or after Tu Bishvat is considered Kosher and safe to eat.
Rosa Parks Day celebrates African-American civil rights activist, Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks was famously arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. This act was illegal due to the Jim Crow laws of segregation. Parks appealed her conviction with the help of the NAACP. At the same time, many people including Martin Luther King, Jr. boycotted the Montgomery bus system until the U.S. Supreme court ruled the segregation laws unconstitutional and the busses were integrated.
Groundhog Day is a traditional holiday in the United States and Canada in which a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil predicts the end of winter. Each year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Phil comes out of his hole in front of thousands of people to look for his shadow. If he sees his shadow, this predicts 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring is on the way. There are several groundhogs throughout Canada and the U.S. who predict the forecast for their towns, but Punxsutawney Phil is widely considered the “official” groundhog. His predictions are correct 39% of the time.
Freedom Day has different meanings in different countries but is always celebrating freedom from something or commemorating events in the nation.
Related Observances: Liberation Day, Republic Day, Victory Day