Groundhog Day, celebrated on February 2, has its roots in an ancient Celtic celebration called Imbolog. The date is one of the four cross-quarter days of the year, the midpoints between the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstice.
Imbolog, marking the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, was the most important of the cross-quarter days. In a society dependent on agriculture and therefore on the weather, this was a time to celebrate having made it halfway through winter. The superstition arose that if the weather was fair on Imbolog, the second half of the winter would be cold and stormy, but if the weather was cold and overcast or stormy, the second half of the winter would be mild.
Today we rely upon Punxsutawney Phil, a Pennsylvania groundhog, to let us know what our fate will be. If February 2nd is sunny and Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If the day is cloudy, we can look forward to an earlier spring. Learn more about Groundhog Day on our page of links.
During February we celebrate African American History Month, also known as Black History Month. At this time we pay special attention to the contributions of African Americans to arts, culture, science, industry and society as a whole throughout American history. Please see our page of links for resources for celebrating African American History Month.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister and a leader of the Civil Rights movement who advocated a non-violent form of protest. He helped to organize some of the most famous marches in the Civil Rights Movement: the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his “I have a dream” speech and the 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. In 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Each year America honors Dr. King with a holiday in his honor on the third Monday in January. This year, Martin Luther King Day falls on January 19th. Learn more about Dr. King on our page of links.
Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is the New Year for Trees. This is the date used to calculate the age of trees for tithing. It has become a custom to collect money on this date to plant trees in Israel. The day may also be celebrated with fruits, especially those associated with Israel.
This year, Tu B’Shevat falls on January 15th. Learn more about this holiday on our page of links.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.'” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
The new year is on the horizon. Take a look back at 2014 and get ready to plunge into 2015 with our page of links.
“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
It’s almost time to ring in the new year. New Year’s Eve is celebrated around the world on December 31st with a variety of traditions and events. In the United States there are parties with family and friends, fireworks at midnight and many public events ranging from the iconic Ball Drop in New York’s Times Square to Boston’s First Night celebration, which has inspired similar events across the country. For many, New Year’s Eve is also a time for reflection and making resolutions for the coming year.
Find ideas for celebrating the start of 2015 on our page of links.