Category Archives: Today’s Holiday

Shaheed Day

Shaheed or Shahid Day is a national day of mourning in Bangladesh. Before becoming autonomous in 1971, Bangladesh had been East Pakistan ever since India gained independence from Britain in 1947. West Pakistan wanted to make its language, Urdu, the only official language of both Pakistans. Most of the people in East Pakistan spoke Bengali and opposed the restriction on their language in government and commerce. In 1952, students held protests which erupted in violence. Lives were lost, and, as a memorial, people form a procession from the Azimpur graveyard on February 21 each year. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

First week of Lent

It wasn’t until the ninth century that the Lenten season, called the Great Lent in the East to differentiate it from the Advent fast called Little Lent, was fixed at 40 days (with Sundays omitted). For centuries the Lenten season has been observed with certain periods of strict fasting, as well as giving up something—a favorite food or other worldly pleasure—for the 40 days of Lent. Celebrations such as Carnival and Mardi Gras offered Christians their last opportunities to indulge before the rigorous Lenten restrictions. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Holetown Festival

The Holetown Festival, which takes place in the historic town of the same name in Barbados, marks the approximate date of English settlement and has been an annual event since 1977. The opening celebrations are held at the Holetown Monument, which commemorates the settlers’ landing. There are fashion shows, beauty contests, exhibitions, an antique car parade, and a carnival. Along with music concerts showcasing authentic Caribbean music and dancing, there are traditional hymns, folksongs, and a music festival at the historic St. James Church. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Tet (Vietnamese New Year)

The Vietnamese New Year, Tet, is an abbreviation for Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning “first day.” This is the most important festival of the year, signifying both the beginning of the year and of spring. At the start of the festival, the Spirit of the Hearth goes to the abode of the Emperor of Jade to report on family members. At midnight the New Year and the return of the Spirit of the Hearth are welcomed with firecrackers, gongs, and drums. A favorite food of the festival is banh chung, made from sticky rice, yellow beans, pig fat, and spices wrapped in leaves. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Maine Memorial Day

The American battleship Maine exploded while sitting at anchor in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. While the question of responsibility for the explosion was never really settled, many in the U.S. assumed that the Spanish were responsible for the ship’s destruction. The Spanish-American War was declared in April, and “Remember the Maine!” is the slogan that has been associated with it ever since. February 15 was observed for many years by the U.S. Navy and by Spanish-American War veterans’ associations in Havana and the U.S. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Vinegrower's Day

This pre-harvest vineyard festival in Bulgaria involves pruning the vines and sprinkling them with wine. Ritual songs and dances are performed in hopes of a plentiful grape harvest. In some areas, a “Vine King” is crowned with a wreath of twigs from the vineyards. Everyone treats him with great respect, for it is believed that fertility depends on the King’s happiness. Visits to well-known Bulgarian vineyards are organized, the vines are pruned, and guests are given an opportunity to sample the local wine and foods. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Shrove Tuesday

There are a number of names in the West for the last day before the long fast of Lent. The French call it Mardi Gras (meaning “Fat Tuesday”), because it was traditionally a time to use up all the milk, butter, and eggs left in the kitchen. These ingredients often went into pancakes, which is why the English call it Pancake Day. The name “Shrove Tuesday” is derived from the Christian custom of confessing sins and being “shriven” (i.e., absolved) just before Lent. No matter what its name, the day before Ash Wednesday has long been a time for excessive eating and merrymaking. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Lincoln's Birthday

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born on Feb. 12, 1809. A wreath-laying ceremony and reading of the Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., are traditional on Feb. 12. Lincoln’s actual birthday is a legal holiday in 11 states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia. In most other states, Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays are combined for a legal holiday on the third Monday in February called Presidents’ Day. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes commemorates the first of 18 appearances of the Virgin Mary to a 14-year-old French peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous. The young girl’s visions occurred between February 11 and July 16, 1858, near the town of Lourdes. The Virgin led her to a nearby grotto, and the miraculous spring that appeared there has been associated ever since with the power to heal. Some five million people a year make the pilgrimage to Lourdes, making it one of the world’s major pilgrimage sites. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Namahage Sedo Festival

A namahage is a man dressed as a demon, wearing a grotesque mask and cape made of straw. Namahages traditionally appear on New Year’s Eve at residents’ homes to warn children not to be lazy. In 1964 the city of Oga adapted a community event that occurs in people’s homes into a public festival that welcomes tourists. The Shinzan Shrine is the site for the festivities; in the dark, tens of people disguised as namahage parade down from the mountains and head to the shrine for music and dancing. Today a bonfire and rice cakes still await the arrival of the namahage. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary