February is a Month of Love and Acceptance
February 14, 2023 9:01 am
February 14, 2023 9:01 am
February is here! The year 2023 is already soaring, and this month, the shortest of the year, is sure to do the same. Hopefully, many have started the year strong and are working towards achieving many of their goals and resolutions. Last month, we learned about days in January surrounding health and education to start this new year on a positive note. For February, we will highlight a month about love and acceptance of those around us. To learn about the many great holidays and celebrations that spread love and acceptance, continue reading to learn about their origins and what you can do to support.
Black History Month has been a nationally declared month in the United States since the 1970’s, but prior to this, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History held a national Negro History Week beginning in 1926. Over time, the word spread to cities across the country about their pride in celebrating these times in history. Eventually, colleges and universities beginning in the 1960’s added three more weeks to the week-long celebration, unofficially creating Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford became the first president to acknowledge Black History Month. Interestingly, the reason the month of February was chosen to celebrate Black History is because well-known abolitionists Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas each have their birthday in the same week during February.
Black History Month is now celebrated in many ways, including hosting community events at museums, universities, and public schools. These events bring pride and recognition to celebrate and remember the important advancements and milestones that have happened over time. Additionally, films, speeches, and written works are examined in greater detail to learn about the history of the black community and the obstacles they have overcome in American history and still face today.
Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for centuries and has origins with the Christian faith and ancient Roman culture. In the Christian faith, it is believed that St. Valentine would marry young couples in secret against the orders of the Roman monarch, Emperor Claudius II. Eventually, St. Valentine was put to death for doing this as it was his belief that single, young men made the best soldiers in his military. Other tales suggest St. Valentine was attempting to rescue Christians from harsh Roman prisons and eventually was caught and jailed himself. Before his death, it is believed that he wrote the first Valentine’s Day card to the jailors daughter who visited him in jail. The saying “from your Valentine” is believed to have originated from this as this was how he signed his final card to his love. Though these origins are disputed, it is evident that the celebration has become an important part of our culture. The day, celebrated every year on February 14, has become much bigger than celebrating the love that is shared in a romantic relationship. It is a day that has grown and is used to celebrate the love that people have for one another no matter if it is a friendship or a relationship.
Random Acts of Kindness Day is a new international celebration. The origins of this day date back to 1995 when a non-profit organization headquartered in Colorado called the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation started this day in February of that year. In 2023, the day will be celebrated on February 17 and is celebrated by being a good human to others. Since the mid-2000s, this day has gained momentum, with many colleges around the country starting Random Acts of Kindness clubs to spread good vibes to students and members of the community. These acts can be as simple as holding the door for a group of people or paying for other people’s groceries or meals. With the purpose of this day to make the world a kinder place on that day and for all days following, no act is too small or too big. The best part about this day is showing that kindness is free and the feeling of helping others is contagious and priceless.
In November of 2007, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed February 20 as World Day of Social Justice. Since 2009, the holiday has been celebrated across the world. The goal of this day according to the United Nations is to “create solidarity, harmony, and equality within and among and within many countries.” At the yearly World Summit, countries make a pledge to achieve a society that all can thrive in and enjoy. The pledge also contains a commitment to creating a framework that promotes social justice at national, regional, and international levels. While there is still work to do, many strides continue to be made daily around the world.
February may be the shortest month, but that does not mean it is not full of impactful holidays and celebrations for all. From examining black history, celebrating the love we have for others on Valentine’s Day, and fighting for social justice on World Day of Social Justice, there are many themes and days in February that mean a lot to various groups of people. If we all continue to show love, kindness, and acceptance for others, our world instantly becomes a better place. To explore additional celebrations in February, explore this Diversity Awareness Calendar.
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