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Events of the Month

2003-FEBRUARY

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FEB: The Hopi Holy Cycle buffalo dances which began in January conclude in February. These are performed on Hopi reserves in the American South West. Dates differ among the various communities.

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FEB-1: February has been celebrated since 1926 as Black History month. Although much progress has been made in lessening racial segregation and racism in North America, the Christian church remains the most segregated institution in America. Sunday morning remains the most segregated time of the week, as many parishioners continue to attend racially segregated Christian churches. February was chosen because two historic figures, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, had birthdays in this month. 1

bulletFEB-1: This is the Chinese Spring Festival, known in the West as the Chinese New Year -- the year 4700 or 4640 (sources differ) in the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated at the time of the second new moon after the winter solstice. The date thus varies from year to year, and may occur in late January to mid February . 2003 is the year of the goat, sheep or ram. It is also celebrated as the new year in Korea and Tibet.
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FEB-1,2: On Imbolc (a.k.a. Oimelc), Wiccans and other Neopagans celebrate the yearly return of life and light. Also called Imbolg, the name is derived from a Gaelic expression "in the belly". It is seen as signaling the first stirrings of life within the womb of Mother Earth. This Pagan day of celebration was originally for the Celtic Goddess Brigid, the Godess of fire, water, healing, poetry and fertility. The Goddess Brigid was Christianized as St. Bridget of Kildare -- apparently a mythical character who was assigned many of the attributes of the Celtic Goddess. Imbolc became St. Bridget's Day. "St. Bride's crosses" made of rushes or reeds are still placed in some Irish houses on February 1st for protection and the assurance of good luck. The celebration has been secularized as Groundhog Day. Finally, it is also forty days after Christmas -- the traditional day of purification for a woman who has given birth. It is celebrated as Candlemas day among some Christian denominations. Altar candles are blessed. 2,3

bulletFEB-2: Setsubun-sai is a "bean-throwing night" among the Shinto in Japan. It marks the end of "Kan," the coldest season. 4
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FEB-6: Hindus celebrate Vasanta Panchami, the spring festival honoring Sarasvati, the Goddess of learning, arts, and music. Celebrations often include music and dancing.

bulletFEB-8: Many Buddhists observe Nirvana Day. This commemorates the death of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, in the Northern Buddhist tradition.
bulletFEB-9: The second Sunday in February is Race Relations Sunday. It was created by the National Council of Churches in 1922, in recognition of the importance of interracial relations.
bulletFEB-12: Eid ul Adha is the three-day Islamic Feast of Sacrifice. It concludes the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.  It commemorates Abraham's willingness to conduct a human sacrifice of his son Ishmael in obedience to Allah. Meat is give to the poor on this day.
bulletFEB-12: This is celebrated as Darwin Day -- the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 at Shrewsbury England. The British Humanist Association has launched an effort to have the day declared as a public holiday in the year 2009. Citizens in Polk County in Iowa will vote on whether to make Darwin Day a recognized holiday. These events are mainly sponsored by skeptics groups and Humanist associations in various countries.
bulletFEB-14: This is St. Valentine's day -- a day for love and lovers.
bulletFEB-25: Ayyam-i Ha is celebrated by members of the Baha'i Faith mark the first of a series of special "intercalary" days that synchronize their calendar to the 365.26 day year. Their calendar year consists of 19 months of 19 days each, totaling 361 days, and four or five intercalary days.

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Early in March...

bullet MAR-1: The third anniversary of the landmine ban treaty will be celebrated.
bulletMAR-1: The International Death Penalty Abolition Day will be observed.
bulletMAR-5: This is Ash Wednesday among Christians. Lent begins. It is a period of fasting and spiritual pursuit, leading up to Easter.
bulletMAR-7: This is observed as the World Day of Prayer by some Christians. This is sometimes confused with the Roman Catholic World Day of Prayer for Vocations which will be held in 2003 on MAY-11.

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Although care was taken in the preparation of this list, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or their consequences.

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Reference:

  1. "February is Black History Month," Ghana Review, 1995-JAN-27, at: http://www.dal.ca/~acswww/grfibhm.html
  2. "The Celtic Year: February 1: Imbolc," at: http://www.celticspirit.org/
  3. Setsubun Sai, Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, at: http://www.tsubakishrine.com/test/

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Copyright © 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Essay prepared on 2003-FEB-3
Latest update: 2003-FEB-3
Compiled by B.A. Robinson

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