Diversity Calendar February

Religious Events, Key Holidays in Mexico and Japan, and the One Holiday You Must Remember

First, remember that 2012 is a leap year: 29 days this February.

African-American Heritage Month

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February is African-American Heritage Month, marking the birthdays of figures who made important contributions to African-American history, and to general American culture. Feb. 1 is the birthday of the playwright and poet Langston Hughes. The abolitionist Frederick Douglas was born on the 14th. And Feb. 17 marks the birthday of the great singer Marion Anderson, the first African American to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. And W.E.B Du Bois, one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was born on the 23rd.

A Diversity of Religious Holidays

Christians of both the Eastern and Western traditions will begin the holiday season leading to Easter with Great Lent. This commences on Feb. 20 for Eastern Orthodox Christians, and on the 22nd or Ash Wednesday for Western Catholics. Feb. 2 marks Imbolc, the Wicca celebration of fire, light, and the return of life.

Religious Holidays in the East and Middle East

Muslims will celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, Maulid an-Nabi, on Feb 4. Buddhists in the Mahãyãna tradition will mark the death of Buddha in 483 B.C.E. on the 15th, and commemorate his attainment of final nirvana. On Feb. 20 Hindus will honor Shiva, one of the most important deities in Hinduism. It is celebrated with fasting, prayer and meditation. T'u B'Shvat (New Year of the Trees) is a minor Jewish holiday celebrated on the 8th. 

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World’s Biggest Holiday Comes to an End

In the Asian world, the New Year season will end with the Lantern Festival on Feb. 6 (People's Republic of China) and on the 17th (Republic of China, Taiwan). Tibetans will celebrate the New Year on Feb. 22nd. Please enjoy the colorful video of the Lantern Festival in our sample calendar.

National Holidays: Mexico, Japan and More

February is also filled with national and independence days. Major countries with key holidays include Mexico (Constitution Day, Feb. 8)  and Japan (National Foundation Day, Feb. 11). Others include National Day in Sri Lanka on the 4th, National Day in Kuwait on the 25th, and Independence Day in the Dominican Republic on the 27th.

And for all the romantics out there, if you love someone, the one holiday you absolutely must remember is Feb. 14: Valentine's Day.

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