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.
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
Kansas Day celebrates Kansas becoming the 34th state in the Union on January 29th, 1861. Teachers in Kansas are encouraged to get students involved in lessons about the history of Kansas. Activities are sometimes held at museums and historic sites around the state.
Civil Rights Day is celebrated in Arizona and New Hampshire in addition to Martin Luther King Day. It celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. and the equal rights of all Americans.
Human Rights Day is celebrated in Idaho in addition to Martin Luther King Day. It celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. and the equal rights of all Americans.
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday that celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He was a pastor who became a leader in the African-American Civil Rights movement. He is credited with helping to end racial segregation in the United States. Today, his birthday is celebrated on the third Monday of January. It celebrates equality for all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity.
Confederate Memorial Day is a legal holiday in many southern states. It remembers those who lost their lives fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. It is celebrated on different days all around the country. Texas celebrates it on Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, January 19th. Alabama, Florida, Georgia celebrate it on the fourth Monday of April. Mississippi celebrates it on the last Monday in April. In North and South Carolina it is celebrated on May 10th.