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Building on Days of Significance from around the world in January 2021, I now move on to Days of Significance from around the world in February 2021. Starting with Children’s Mental Health week which has taken place over the last week. According to Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity, 1 in 6 children have a diagnosable mental health problem with many continuing to have these into adulthood, and 50% of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms as early as 14. Launched in 2015, the 7 days between 1st and 7th February are hoped to bring awareness on the importance of young people’s mental health.
Also, throughout the month of February in the UK we celebrate LGBT History Month, which is an annual celebration providing education and insight into the history of the LGBT movement and related civil rights movement. The annual event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act in 2003, which stated that local authorities were not allowed to “intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. The aim of the month is to educate young people about the issues facing members of the LGBT community and to promote an inclusive society for everyone irrespective of their background.
Monday 1st February
The Dutch East India Company established a settlement in Mauritius in 1638 and unfortunately, with this, came slavery – by 1710 the Dutch abandoned Mauritius which opened the doors to the French and the arrival of more slaves to work on the plantations. When the British arrived in 1810, slaves accounted for a significant majority of the island’s population, in August 1834 Britain passed the Slavery Abolition Act, outlawing slavery. Although it took several months for Mauritius to follow suit, on February 1st 1835 it became the last of the British colonies to eliminate slavery. Today, February 1st represents Abolition Day, which commemorates the end of slavery in Mauritius.
Wednesday 3rd February
Mozambique celebrates Hero’s Day on the 3rd day of February to commemorate the lives of the fallen soldiers who fought for the country’s independence against Portuguese colonial rule in 1975.
Thursday 4th February
The Angolan War of Independence began as an uprising against the forced cultivation of cotton, starting on the 4th of February 1961 and eventually ending with Angolan Independence on the 11th of November 1975. Portuguese colonisation of Angola began in the 16thcentury and the 4th of February, known as Liberation day, is a public holiday which marks the start of the armed struggle against colonial rule.
Also, on the 4th of February, Sri Lanka celebrates National Day which commemorates the country’s independence from various regimes, in particular independence from British rule on this day in 1948.
Thursday 11th February
Youth Day has been a public holiday in the Republic of Cameron since 1966, the celebration is intended to recognise and increase the awareness of the significant role played by the country’s youth. The theme of the day is to encourage Cameroon’s youths to reject violence and embrace education, sports and the arts.
Also, on the 11th of February, Japan Celebrates National Foundation Day, known in Japanese as Kenkoku Kinen no Hi, or sometimes referred to as Kigen-setsu (Empire Day). The day recognises the ascension of the first Emperor of Japan in 660 BC, Emperor Jimmu. Effectively marking the day Japan was founded, the 11th of February is a national holiday for the Japanese, reminding them of the nation’s beginning.
Friday 12th February
February 12th represents the beginning of the year of the Ox, celebrated on this day in 2021, Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival and the Luna New Year, represents the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.
The day also represents New Year celebrations in other nearby countries; known as Seollal in South Korea, Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnam and Tsagaan Sar represent in Mongolia.
Monday 15th February
Nirvana Day is an annual Buddhist festival that commemorates the death of Buddha, where he reached Nirvana. The word Nirvana is Sanskrit for ‘extinction’ and refers to the dissolution of the delusions by which we are bound – whereby an individual who attains Nirvana is known as a Buddha. More simply, Nirvana is known as the mind state which gives a true insight into the nature of reality by understanding, accepting and being awake to the Four Noble Truths thus becoming free from the cycle of death and re-birth.
Also, on Monday 15th February is Family Day in Canada, which was first observed in Alberta in 1990 and is now celebrated more widely throughout Canada. Although it is not considered a national statutory holiday and has different forms and methods of celebration, simply put, the holiday celebrates the value of families and family life, the significance of our relationships with the people around us and the importance of unity of people and their communities.
Thursday 18th February
Located on the West Coast of Africa, The Gambia is the smallest country within mainland Africa and on this National Day the country marks independence from British colonial rule in 18th February 1965.
Monday 22nd February
Saint Lucia was first discovered by Europeans around the early 16th century and first settled by the French who named the island after Saint Lucy of Syracus, a young Christian martyr. February 22nd marks the island’s independence from Britain.
Tuesday 23rd February
Brunei National Day, celebrated on 23rd February, marks the day Brunei gained independence from Britain in 1984.
Wednesday 24th February
Estonia Independence, celebrated on 24th February, marks the anniversary of the declaration founding the Republic of Estonia in 1918 thus marking independence from Germany.
Friday 26th February
The Chinese Lantern Festival can be traced to around 2000 years ago and today marks the end of the New Year’s celebration and the beginning of the Spring season. Although customs vary regionally, lighting lanterns remains the most prevalent activity and is consider by some, a symbol of letting go of the past and welcoming good fortune.
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