|Ash Wednesday | 46 days before Easter Sunday (February or March)|
Lent begins with the imposition of ashes, an ancient symbol of penance common in the Old Testament and pagan antiquity. Jesus alludes to it when he condemns the cities of Bethsaida and Chorazin for not doing penance. "If the miracles performed in you had taken place in Trye and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes". (Matthew 11:21)
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting.
Meditations: Ash Wednesday
|Chinese New Year | January or February|
Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world's population. Although the People's Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals. Various Chinese communities around the world also use this calendar.
History and Info - The Chinese Calendar
|Groundhog Day | February 2nd|
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.
If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.
If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
|Mardi Gras / Shrove Tuesday / Carnaval / Carnival | Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (February or March)|
It started as a practice of confession immediately prior to the Lenten season as it is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wedneday. While tied to religious observance, in practice, the celebrations of this day have been anything but reverent. From the middle ages to today, large pancake breakfasts, races, and jubilation have been associated with this date.
Mardi Gras at HolidayOrigins.com
|President's Day (USA) | Third Monday of February (February 22nd)|
The original version of the holiday was in commemoration of George Washington's birthday in 1796 (the last full year of his presidency). Washington, according to the calendar that has been used since at least the mid-18th century, was born on February 22, 1732. According to the old style calendar in use back then, however, he was born on February 11. At least in 1796, many Americans celebrated his birthday on the 22nd while others marked the occasion on the 11th instead.
President's Day at Patriotism.org
|Valentine's Day | February 14th|
The first interpretation has this celebration originating as a pagan tradition in the third century. During this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside of Rome where shepherds kept their flocks. The God Lupercus, was said to watch over the shepherds and their flocks and keep them from the wolves. Every February the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia to honor Lupercus so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks. Also during Lupercalia, but in honor of the goddess Juno Februata, the names of young women were put into a box and names were drawn by lot. The boys and girls who were matched would be considered partners for the year, which began in March. This celebration continued long after wolves were a problem to Rome.
Valentine Be Mine! Origin's of Valentine's Day