Holidays in January/February
By Zoha Ali
Martin Luther King Jr. is known by most as a hero, and rightfully so considering how he is widely known for his civil rights movement, alongside other titles. His focus was on racial equality, more so ending the gap between races, for which he faced many hardships and trials but eventually helped in closing racial segregation. To commemorate his memory, it is said that every third Monday in January is known as Martin Luther King Jr. day. On this day in the US, it is known to be a federal holiday to preserve his memory, and everything he worked so hard for.
On January 25, a quirky and fun holiday is celebrated which is known as, Opposite Day. As most know, and can guess, on this day every action which is done is meant to be perceived in its opposite way. Although no specific source/person has claimed to have been the origin of this holiday, some believe that it was because of a statement that was made by President Calvin Coolidge in 1920 when he joked about not wanting to run for presidency. Others seem to believe that it originated at the cause of the book Alice in Wonderland, and the mention of an Opposite Day there. Although no real claims have been made as to the true origin of this day, it’s still known as the fun and quirky holiday to mess around with friends and family at any age!
The Feast of Epiphany, otherwise known as the Three Kings Day, is an important event within Christianity, which is celebrated on January 6 of this year. This day is known as Theophany which refers to the revelation of God to men in the embodiment of Jesus Christ. The three wise men were said to have followed the star over Bethlehem (indicating birth of Jesus Christ), and reached the child (Christ) lying in the manger on January 6. To most, this day is just as important as Christmas, as the feast of epiphany indicates the end of Christmas time. In fact, most do not know that the song, 12 days of Christmas, was meant to indicate the 12 days after Christmas leading up to the feast.
Groundhog day is known to be on February 2 of every year indicating a very old and important tradition. This event, as most can guess, revolved around the notorious groundhog and its shadow. If the animal can spot its shadow, indicating a sunny day, there will be approximately 6 more weeks of winter, however if the opposite occurs, it will be an early spring. This tradition is said to have come from Germans in the early 1800s and how they brought their weather predicting tradition up to the US on February 2nd. Aside from actually playing an important role perhaps in the weather area, this event is most certainly one that can unite us all to watch our furry friend and its shadow.
Super Bowl Sunday is a huge tradition for sports fans around the world that takes place on February 7. On this Sunday, every NFL team will participate in this big game, however, only one team will stand notorious marking how they’re the best of the best. This event as you can guess is quite big, in fact it is known as the second largest snack day next to New Years Eve. It is so popular that most fans admit that they will sit down specifically just to watch mid-game ads. After all, in an event so large such as this, even the ads count for something.
Chinese New Year is an event important to many, and celebrated all around the world. It has no set date as the event takes place on a different day each year. This year it will be held on February 12. This celebration will last for 15 days starting from the new moon up until the full moon, where it ends on celebrating the Chinese Lantern festival. This event is marked with fireworks, family, and traditional meals just like how most Christmases are in the west. 2021 is the year of the Ox.
Valentine’s Day falls on February 14 each year. On this day, it’s known by most to spend time with your significant other and exchange gifts, and go on romantic dinners to show love and affection. Most people believe that this holiday was based after Saint Valentine; a priest that conducted weddings for those young soldiers who were not allowed to marry because of the Roman emperors law. He also was said to have worn a cupid ring for others to recognize him in public, and supposedly he also handed out greeting cards in the shape of a heart to remind Catholics of God's love. Some on the other hand believe the roots of this holiday come from old Roman traditions where one had to pay respects to the God Fertility by giving the God gifts. Perhaps this is where the norm of exchanging gifts to your significant other originated from.
Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is an event which will take place on February 25, the day before Ash Wednesday. On this day, people are recommended to fill themselves with food right before Ash Wednesday (a fasting period). On this day it’s also recommended to eat your favourite snack/food right before you give it up for Lent. This holiday is celebrated the most in New Orleans with parades and festivities. Several fun and quirky traditions also take place, such as dressing themselves in the colour purple, green, etc. Even though celebrations may not be as wild as previous years, make sure to still fill your stomach with as much as you can eat!
Ash Wednesday will take place right after Mardi Gras indicating the start of the Lent season for Christians. During this time, people must give up things which they enjoy and fast for a period of 40 days. This is to symbolize the sign of penitence where one is sorrowful for their sins/faults. On this Wednesday specifically, Christians will go to mass and at the end receive ashes on their forehead with the sign of the cross. The ashes are representative of the saying that; we came from dust, and to dust we will return. This event is quite notorious within Christianity.