February 2021 Holidays and Observances, on behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, Please see below a list of notable February, Holidays and Observances:

Black History Month (observed for the full month of February): 

According to History.Com (https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month), “Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history…Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.  The Black History Month 2021 theme, ‘Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity’ explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.”

February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865.

February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated yearly as part of the Spring Festival.

February 12: Lunar New Year is the first day of the year according to the lunar (lunisolar) calendar. This year it falls on February 12. In many parts of the world, people know of it as Chinese New Year. In Chinese communities, the celebration ends on the 15th day of the new year with the Lantern Festival. Other Asian communities all over the world also follow the lunar calendar, so lunar new year is celebrated across cultural and ethnic groups. It is an important time for family reunion and delicious food; a time to reflect on the past and prepare for a bright future.

February 16: Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture.

February 16: Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday: This holiday takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the 40-day period that precedes Easter.  The type of celebration or name of the holiday depends on the country of origin and local traditions.

February 17: Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent on the Christian calendar. Its name is derived from the symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence.

February 20: World day of social justice.  Was declared an annual celebration by the UN General Assembly in 2007.

February 21: International Mother Language Day.  This holiday has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. 

February 25-28: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar. Intercalary days are observed with gift giving, special acts of charity, and preparation for the fasting that precedes the New Year.  People of the Bahá’í Faith also participate in a 19-day fast from Feb. 28 – March 19 to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God.  This fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year.

February 25-26: Purim, a Jewish celebration that marks the time when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide. On Purim, Jewish people offer charity and share food with friends.

February 27: Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival especially for worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Millions of devotees take a holy bath on this day. Devotees also carry out charity work on this day.

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