Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Culture/religion: National observance
Date: January 17
The third Monday of each January is dedicated to commemorating the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. King advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation, first coming to national prominence during the bus boycott of African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. In 1963, King led the March on Washington and was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. King is considered the most influential African American civil rights leaders of the 1960s. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Encyclopedia Britannica
The Springfield Branch NAACP will host its annual MLK march and program on Monday, January 17. Get more information here.
Date: January 17
Tu BiShvat, also known as “New Year of the Trees,” is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat.
It is thought Tu BiShvat was originally an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. In Israel, the holiday has become a tree-planting festival, and Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of loved ones and friends.
Tu BiShvat begins at sundown January 16.
Alternate spelling: Tu B’Shevat
Pronunciation: TOO bish-VAHT
Tu BiShvat, ReformJudaism.org
Glossary of Jewish Terminology, Judaism 101, jewfaq.org
Mahāyāna New Year
Date: January 18
Mahāyāna (“the Great Vehicle”) is one of two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice.
The Mahāyāna New Year is celebrated at different times for each country and tradition – some celebrate on December 31 or January 1 along with many other new year celebrations, while other celebrate it at the first full moon, usually around mid-January.
For Buddhists, the new year is a time for meditation and self-reflection; improvement and learning from past mistakes. The most important activity of the new year is praying to their deities, particularly Buddha, and visiting temples to light candles which is considered good luck for the coming year.
Mahāyāna New Year, Feast-Guide.com
The Origins and Practice of Holidays: Mahayana New Year, Boston Public Library
How Mahayana Buddhists Celebrate New Year, World Religion News