February Celebrations Around the World
February only consists of 28 days. But many people of different cultures have filled it with more holidays than any other month. Valentine’s Day is not the only holiday celebrated this month. Around the world, different cultures and countries celebrate different holidays.
February 4th is celebrated as Special Working Day in China. The working population of China often works long hours that stretch into the weekend. The concept of having a day off is not used in the working field. To maintain its high GDP, the government of China limits the amount of time that people have off. But, when holidays do occur in China, the weekend either before or after becomes a Special Working Day. This ‘holiday’ is celebrated by working longer hours than usual, to make up for the hours lost during another holiday.
February 5th is Mexico’s Constitution Day. Picnics, music concerts, and street celebrations are held all across country. Since Constitution Day is a federal holiday, banks, schools, and government offices are usually closed. The first ‘Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos’ was celebrated in Central Mexico following a revolution that started in 1910 and continues to be celebrated today.
In Chile, decorated boats fill the Calle-Calle River during the celebration of La Semana Valdiviana (Valdivian Week) on February 9th. These boats compete for prizes and the title of ‘Queen of All Rivers’. Tourists and natives enjoy street performances and dancing with a fireworks show to close the celebration.
February 13th and 20th are observed as Family Day. On Family Day, many people take part in events that include the whole family. Offices are closed and school is usually cancelled during this celebration. Family Day was fire held in Alberta, Canada in 1990, to remind everyone of the importance of family. Festivities include board games, ice skating, and watching movies while eating freshly baked cookies and warming up with a mug of hot chocolate.
The 13th of February is also known as Shrove or Pancake Tuesday in the United Kingdom. On this holiday people celebrate pancakes by not only eating them, but also by entering pancake races. In such races, one has to run with a pancake in a frying pan. Although the start of Pancake Tuesday isn’t really known, there are several old English customs that make this holiday unique. One tradition is called Mischief Night, where people go door to door in disguises and ask for pancakes.
People fill the streets as performances and parades stretch as far as the eye can see on February 27th. In Brazil, Carnival is an annual festival held four days before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Although Carnival can be celebrated in multiple areas around the world, it is more famous in Rio de Janeiro, with the main parade starting on Sunday. The celebration of Carnival generates one billion dollars in revenue for the country of Brazil and becomes more popular year after year.