Purim is a joyous holiday commemorating the rescue of the Jews by Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai from the evil Haman. The story is read aloud and when Haman is mentioned in the Megillah of Esther, people use noisemakers called groggers to drown out his name. Traditions eating hamentashen, three-cornered, pastries filled with fruit. This year Purim is celebrated from March 4th to March 5th.
Learn more about Purim and find ideas for celebrating this holiday on our page of links.
Women’s History Month celebrates women’s contributions to our shared social, cultural and political history. Women’s History Month has been observed since 1987 when a Congressional Resolution expanded Women’s History Week to a month-long celebration, which includes International Women’s Day on March 8th. This year’s theme is, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives”
See our page of links for resources to celebrate Women’s History Month.
George Washington, America’s first president, was born on February 22, 1732. A surveyor by trade, Washington became an officer in the Continental Army during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He was named the commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1775-1783). In 1787, Washington served as president of the Constitutional Convention at which the United States Constitution was drafted. He was twice elected president of the fledgling nation, serving from 1789 until 1797. Washington died on December 12, 1799.
See our page of links for more about this fascinating historical figure.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the longest and most significant celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year begins on New Year’s Eve and continues until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the month. The Chinese year 4713, the Year of the Goat, begins on February 19, 2015.
The Chinese New Year is typically celebrated among family. The centerpiece of the celebration is an elaborate meal of traditional foods thought to bring good luck, such as fish and and dumplings. The color red, which is also considered lucky, predominates during the New Year celebration. People wear red clothing, hang red lanterns and give gifts of red envelopes, usually containing money.
Learn more about this important holiday on our page of links.
Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents’ Day, is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. The holiday was first celebrated in 1879 to honor our first president, George Washington. Until 1971, the holiday was always observed on Washington’s actual birth date, February 22nd. Washington’s Birthday is also a state holiday in many states. Some states have combined Washington’s Birthday with a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th), while others have officially designated the holiday a celebration of American presidents, in general. In Massachusetts, only George Washington is honored on this day.
Learn more about Presidents’ Day and the presidents on our page of links.
St. Valentine’s Day or simply, Valentine’s Day, is celebrated in many countries around the world on February 14th. St. Valentine was a Catholic martyr who died in 270 A.D., but details of his life are sketchy. Also unclear is how St. Valentine’s feast day became associated with love and romance. However, it is thought that a poem written by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in 1375 helped to establish this link. Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by exchanging greeting cards, also called “valentines;” giving gifts of chocolates and roses; and sharing romantic dinners for two.
Find ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day on our page of links.