Chinese New Year celebrates the beginning of the year in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Generally it falls between the end of January and the middle of February on the Gregorian calendar. This is the longest and most festive of Chinese holidays. Celebrations begin the night before and can sometimes last up to a month. People of Chinese heritage celebrate the Chinese New Year all around the world. Chinese New Year is all about banishing bad fortune from the previous year and bringing good fortune into the New Year. People will often clean their houses to start fresh.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Christian tradition. Lent is a time for fasting and prayer that begins 46 days prior to Easter. It represents the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert. Special church services are also held. Priests will often place a cross of blessed ash on the foreheads of worshippers to remind them of their sins. Traditionally, these ashes came from the palm branches which had been blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. This is what gives Ash Wednesday its name.
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.