February National Days
The weather’s still cold & spring’s not yet on the horizon, so choose an event below to celebrate & gather your friends. Go for comfort food such as Yorkshire Pudding Day or Bramley Apple Week or support charities on World Cancer Day or Gold Heart Day.
CC Awareness Month (Cholangiocarcinoma)
National Heart Month
Raynaud’s Awareness Month
Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Month
Commemorates the purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of Jesus & also the presentation of the baby Jesus to God at the temple. It is so called as on this day, the Church’s candles for the year were blessed. In pre-Christian times it was called the festival of light & marked the mid-point between the winter solstice & spring equinox.
2 Groundhog Day
According to legend, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early. If it is sunny, the groundhog will see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will remain for six more weeks. German immigrants brought the custom over with them to Pennsylvania (they had originally used badgers but none could be found in America). It is known as Marmot Day in Alaska.
2 World Wetlands Day
They purify and replenish our water, and provide the fish and rice that feed billions. Wetlands act as a natural sponge against flooding and drought and protect our coastlines. They burst with biodiversity, and are a vital means of storing carbon. Often viewed as wasteland, 64% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Find out more about it & help raise public awareness.
One of the few vegetables we don’t seem to mind in a cake & can pretend it’s one of our 5-a-day & a healthy snack! There are many variations; you can add walnuts & pineapple, ice with a cream cheese frosting or keep plain. One of my favourite cakes so I’m looking forward to this day.
A Japanese festival celebrating the day before the start of spring. Fried soybeans are thrown to ward off evil spirits (Oni) since they are thought to be present during the change in the season.
4 World Cancer Day
A chance to take a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer. The day highlights that solutions do exist across the continuum of cancer and that they are within our reach. Unfortunately, most of us have experienced cancer in some way, either personally or through a friend or relative. Take this opportunity to promote to friends the importance of a healthy diet. Also, get to know your body as early detection can be crucial.
4-18 March Rugby Six Nations
England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France & Italy compete in this rugby tournament. Fixtures take place in all six countries & some of the rivalries date back more than 140 years!
5 Chocolate Fondue Day
Yummy! What could be more of a party crowd pleaser than a chocolate fondue or fountain? Dipping in luscious slices of fruit (& trying not to let it dribble down your chin or outfit). Derived from the French word ‘fondre’, to melt, a waterfall of melted chocolate just epitomizes decadence.
5 Number Day
A fun maths event to raise money for the charity NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). Schools can decide how they wish to run the event; whether an all day affair or a maths quiz. It is also an opportunity for the children to learn about the work of the NSPCC.
5 Nutella Day
Started by American blogger Sara Rosso in 2007 to celebrate her love of this nutty spread. Photos, recipes & messages are posted on social media as fans join together to share & spread the word. Since 2015, the day has been publicized by Ferrero, the makers of Nutella. Why not treat loved ones to personalised jars of Nutella on this day.
5 National Yorkshire Pudding Day
Celebrate this Yorkshire tradition & sit down to a roast dinner with Yorkshire puds. What could be nicer on a cold winters day.
6 Waitangi Day, New Zealand
This public holiday commemorates the signing of New Zealand’s most historic document Te Tiriti o Waitangi, The Treaty of Waitangi. The treaty was signed by Māori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown and gave the Māori people the same rights as the British, recognising Māori ownership of their lands and properties. It also established a British Governor of New Zealand.
6-12 Bramley Apple Week
The Bramley is rightly recognised by professional chefs and home cooks alike as the best apple for cooking. Grown only in Britain, the Bramley’s unique qualities make it one of the most versatile ingredients, equally at home in a savoury stir fry or a traditional apple pie.
The first Bramley tree was grown in 1809 by Mary Ann Brailsford in her garden in Nottinghamshire. In 1856, a man asked the then owner Matthew Bramley, if he could take some cuttings from the tree & sell the apples. The current owner agreed on the condition that the apples were named after him. In 1900 the original tree blew down in a storm but managed to survive. Bramley trees were then planted extensively in order that Britain would not lose this native fruit.
6-12 Tinnitus Awareness Week
Raising awareness & supporting those with the condition. Tinnitus sufferers experience a ringing, whistling, buzzing or hissing sound in their ear or ears which doesn’t correspond to any external noise. The severity of tinnitus varies from person to person and it can also fluctuate in loudness from one day or situation to another. Display a poster at work, school or local library.
7 Safer Internet Day
To promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. It is celebrated in over a hundred countries and offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology. It also explores the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.
7-14 Marriage Week
A great annual focus for couples to take time to pause and learn some new skills to take their marriages from good to very good! This week is supported by a group of charities and individuals who believe that healthy marriages bring benefits for all of society and should be encouraged and supported wherever possible.
12 Darwin Day
To celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809. The day is used to highlight Darwin’s contribution to science and to promote science in general. His publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ introduced the scientific theory that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry & evolved through a process of natural selection.
13 Galentine’s Day
A day for ladies celebrating ladies. Made famous by the character Leslie Knope in Parks & Recreation, Galentine’s Day is all about having a fun time with the gals you love. In the series, Leslie goes our for brunch with her friends & gives them all handmade presents but you can celebrate the day however you wish.
13-19 Go Green Week
A week of student run activities to raise awareness and demand stronger action to tackle the climate crisis. This year it includes Fossil Free Friday, a campaign to stop universities & colleges from investing in & receiving funding from fossil fuel companies. People & Planet organise the event so visit www.peopleandplanet.org to find events near you.
14 Valentine’s Day
Named after several saints, no-one really knows the true history but there are several legends to choose from. One tells of Valentine as a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When the emperor decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, the emperor ordered that he be put to death.
Another story suggests that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. Whilst in jail himself, Valentine wrote the jailor’s daughter a letter (either after helping her or falling in love with her). He signed it ‘From your Valentine’. St Valentine’s Day may also have its origins in the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival held in the middle of February. It became popular in the 18th century to give a token of affection to a loved one on this day & by 1900 printed cards had started to take over.
14 Gold Heart Day
Organised by The Variety Club Children’s Charity to raise public awareness of the everyday needs of disabled, sick & disadvantaged children. It also raises money that will be directed toward the provision of vital daily items for thousands of children, young people and their carers. So have a heart & wear a Gold Heart to show your support. Visit www.variety.org.uk for more information.
14-21 National Nest Box Week (NNBW)
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are asking you to put up a nest box in your local area to help increase the number of suitable nesting spaces for birds. Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast as gardens are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. Taking part in NNBW gives you the chance to contribute to bird conservation whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your nest box. Register for your free NNBW information pack at www.bto.org
15 National Gumdrop Day
Multi-coloured gelatine-based sweets covered with sugar – a bit like Jelly Tots. You are allowed to eat them to your hearts content on this day.
19 Chocolate Mint Day
The smooth richness of chocolate mixed with the cool refreshing taste of mint; what a combination! Nothing can beat a refreshing chocolate mint to round off a meal & as for mint choc chip ice cream ……….. Anyone remember Mint Cracknel bars?
20 Love Your Pet Day
Sometimes we take our pets for granted; show them how much you love them with pampering & lots of attention.
20 Presidents’ Day (USA)
Originally, both February 12 & February 22 were observed as federal holidays in the USA to honour the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln & George Washington, respectively. In 1971 President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday & named it the Presidents’ Day. Presidents’ Day is observed on the third Monday of February each year & honours all past presidents of the USA. Unfortunately, Nixon didn’t have quite as much influence as he thought & the observed federal holiday is actually known as George Washington’s Birthday although some states list it as Presidents’ Day.
21 International Mother Language Day
This United Nations’ day is observed every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date was chosen to remember the killing of 4 students who campaigned to officially use their mother language, Bengali, in Bangladesh. It is a public holiday there.
22 World Thinking Day
A day of friendship, advocacy and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. Each year, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world celebrate World Thinking Day by learning about their international sisters in designated focus countries for the year & doing fun and educational activities.
24 Stand Up To Bullying Day
Bullying and harassment might not be obvious to other people but it can make people feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated . It can be written in an email, social media, by phone or face to face. It can take place at work, school or at a club. No matter what form it takes, it can be very damaging to those affected. The day is “To raise awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying and to raise funds to support those doing real-world work to stop it.”
26 National Tell A Fairy Tale Day
Story telling is a dying art as television takes over. Once upon a time, fairy tales were a way of teaching children how to behave in the big wide world without nagging. Listening to fables was enjoyable & children learnt about morals without realising. So turn off the TV for the evening, snuggle up for a tale & live happily ever after.
27 Polar Bear Day
Polar bears require sea ice for reaching their prey; without sea ice, polar bears can’t survive. In a world warmed by climate change, the polar bear’s sea ice home is literally melting away. Without action, wild polar bears—the very symbol of the Arctic—could disappear. Saving energy produced by carbon-based fuels reduces our carbon emissions and can slow and even reverse global warming, which causes sea ice to melt. Take the Thermostat Challenge & turn your thermostat down a few degrees to show your commitment to greenhouse gas reductions.
27-12 Mar Fairtrade Fortnight
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. It supports the development of thriving farming and worker communities that have more control over their futures and helps protect the environment in which they live and work. Buying products with the FAIRTRADE Mark supports farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities. The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.
The Fairtrade Mark is the biggest and best known ethical label in the UK yet 1.20% of cocoa & less than 10% of tea globally is traded on Fairtrade terms. Help remind everyone of the dramatic difference choosing Fairtrade makes and how much it is still needed. Just changing one item in your weekly shop to Fairtrade would make a difference.
28 Shrove Tuesday
Commonly known in the UK as Pancake Day. This is a feast day on the last day of Epiphany when any rich foods are used up ready for 40 days of fasting during Lent. These days, most people tend to do the feasting bit without the fasting afterwards! Pancake races take part all over Britain, where housewives run down the main street, frying pan with pancake in in hand & have to toss the pancake at least once before reaching the finish line.
28 Mardi Gras
The culmination of carnival celebrations which start at Epiphany. French for Fat Tuesday, this is a feast day similar to Pancake Day & usually involves parties & parades. The most famous is in New Orleans.