African American Heritage Month
Culture/religion: National observance
African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, evolved out of “Negro History Week,” which was first celebrated in 1926, sponsored by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History* (ASNLH). The ASHLH chose the second week of February to celebrate Negro History Week to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
For decades after the first celebration, mayors around the nation began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. In the late 1960s, many college campuses began recognizing Black History Month, in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. Every president since has done the same.
*Now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
African American History Month, Library of Congress
Lunar New Year
Culture/religion: Chinese heritage
Date: February 1
2022 is the Year of the Tiger.
With a history of over 3,000 years, Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the most important celebration for families.
Chinese New Year marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is the start of a new year on the lunar calendar and represents the desire for a new life.
The main activities of Chinese New Year include putting up decoration, reuniting with family for a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, firecrackers and fireworks and giving red envelopes and other gifts. Public celebrations also include dragon dances, lion dances and imperial performances like an emperor’s wedding.
Chinese New Year (Dates, Traditions, Animal Signs), China Highlights
Date: February 2
Imbolc is a Gaelic traditional festival, about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, signifying the beginning of spring. Imbolc is typically celebrated around February 1.
Imbolc was a festival of hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening of the days and the early signs of spring. The lighting of candles and fires represent the return of warmth and the increasing power of the sun.
Imbolc is one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals during the year: Samhain, Beltane and Lughnasadh.
Date: February 5
Vasant Panchami is a festival marking the arrival of the spring season in India and is celebrated on the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magha. The festival is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati – the Goddess of knowledge, music, learning and arts – who is the wife of Brahma, who created the universe.
It is believed that without Saraswati the world would be shrouded in ignorance, as she is the one who represents enlightenment. Vasant Panchami is the time when people start giving the first lessons on education to their children.
Yellow is said to be the Goddesses favorite color, so people wear yellow clothes and eat foods that are yellow.
Alternate names: Basant Panchami
Basant Panchami 2020: History, significance, puja date and time, Hindustantimes.com
Vasant Panchami, Wikipedia