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Mosaic Calendar ‑ February

Posted by Office of Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention (HREHP) on January 31, 2013 in General Announcements

Each year the Dalhousie Office of Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention (HREHP) develops a mosaic calendar of religious holidays and cultural dates for faculty, staff and students.

See below for a sample of February dates to observe, reflect, celebrate or promote throughout the university community. The complete calendar is available on the website,

Black History Month

Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in the month of February, while in the UK it is held in the month of October.

As a people, with roots dating back to 1603, African-Canadians have defended, cleared, built and farmed this country; our presence is well established, but not well-known. The celebration of Black History Month is an attempt to have the achievements of Black people recognized and told.

When the contributions of people of African descent are acknowledged, when the achievements of Black people are known, when Black people are routinely included or affirmed through our curriculum, our books and the media, and treated with equality, then there will no longer be a need for Black History Month.

Black History Month event at Dalhousie

Storied Lives II (February 6th 6:00-8:00) Rm 307 SUB

Life in Canada for women of African Descent

BSAC will be presenting three phenomenal diverse Black women from the Diaspora, Ms. Bernice McLaughlin (African Nova Scotian), Dr Felicia Eghan (African), and Ms. Josephine Muxlow (Caribbean) as they gather to share personal accounts through story telling of their struggles and triumphs about residing in Canada.

February 2
Groundhog Day (Canada U.S)

As suggested by folklore, if on this day, the groundhog sees his shadow; there will be six more weeks of winter.

February 3
Setsunbun-sai (SH)

Popularly known as the bean-throwing festival, Setsunbun-sai marks the end of winter and the eve of the first day of spring according to the ancient East Asian solar calendar familiar to the Japanese. Beans are thrown into each room of the house, and then through the outer doors, with the shout, "Devils out, fortune in.”

February 7-12
White Cane Week (CDN)

In 1921, a photographer named James Biggs, of Bristol, England was blinded in an accident. Released from hospital, he had the idea of painting his cane white so it could be easily seen at night. The advantages of the white cane soon became apparent as people alerted to Biggs' blindness assisted his movements with guidance and warning of obstacles. Biggs' innovation soon became an internationally accepted symbol of blindness. Today, nine provinces have legislation which restrict the use of the White Cane to those legally blind. Since 1946, the first week of February has traditionally been "White Cane Week" in Canada, due to the CCB's initiative.

February 8
Mulk (Baha’i)

The 18th month of the Baha’i year.

February 10
Chinese New Year (BU DA CON)

This is the year of the Snake. Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is known as "Spring Festival," the literal translation of the Chinese name 春節 (Pinyin: Chūnjié), since the spring season in Chinese calendar starts with lichun, the first solar term in a Chinese calendar year. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western Carnival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēngyuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year's Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chúxī (除夕) or "Eve of the Passing Year." Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, Vietnam, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar New Year celebrations of its geographic neighbors

February 11
DAL: James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies approved 1991

James Robinson Johnston, 1876-1915, was the first Nova Scotian of African descent to graduate in the Law Faculty at Dalhousie University. He rose to become a prominent lawyer in the province and a leading humanitarian. The idea of establishing such a post emerged in the late 70's and after extensive local and national activity led to a proposal being approved by the Dalhousie Senate in February 1991 and by the Dalhousie Board of Governors in March 1991. It took a further five years to accumulate the $2.5 million to launch the Chair.

February 13
Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers.

February 14
Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. The date was marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers.

Nirvana Day (BU)

February 15
National Flag of Canada Day

February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. It marks the day in 1965 when our red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and indeed, hundreds of communities across Canada. Red and white were designated as Canada's official colours in 1921 by His Majesty George V. This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate our flag and what it stands for - a Dominion that is the envy of the world.

Vasant Panchami (HI)
Nirvana Day (BU)
Nirvana (JA)

Nirvana is observed primarily by Mahayana Buddhists, most commonly on February 15th. The day commemorates the death of the historical Buddha and his entry into Nirvana. Nirvana Day is a time for contemplation of the Buddha’s teachings. Some monasteries and temples hold meditation retreats.

February 20
World Day for Social Justice

At its sixty-second session, in November 2007, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed February 20th as World Day of Social Justice. The day is to be observed for the first time in 2009.

February 21
Family Day (some provinces in Canada)

February 23
Ta’anit Ester

Also known as the Fast of Esther, is a Jewish fast from dawn to dusk on the eve of Purim. Commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim. Since the Fast of Esther is not one of the four public fasts ordained by the Prophets, the laws are more lenient; pregnant women, nursing mothers, and those who are weak are not required to observe it.

February 24
Purim (JU)

A Jewish Holiday, where work should be avoided. Commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther). Purim in 2013 will start on Sunday, the 24th of February and will continue for 2 days until Monday, the 25th of February, so observing Jews will celebrate Purim on the sunset of Saturday, the 23rd of February.

February 26
Tu B'Shevat (JU)

Tu Bishvat (or Tu B'Shevat) is a minor Jewish holiday in the Hebrew month of Shivat, usually sometime in late January or early February that marks the "New Year of the Trees") Tu Bishvat is one of four "New Year’s" mentioned in the Mishnah. Customs include planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts, especially figs, dates, raisins, carob and almonds.

February 26 – March 1
Intercalary Days Ayyam-i-Ha (BA)

Four "Days of Ha" are devoted to spiritual preparation for celebrating hospitality, charity and gift giving.