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What's HappeningWhat’s happening in Jan and Feb

January 1, 2017

What’s happening in January

 New Year’s Day

January 1 is New Year’s Day in many countries. On this day, many people get together with family or friends. Some people like to watch football games and the Rose Bowl Parade on TV.

The new year is a time for people to think about their lives. Maybe they want to change their lives. Some people might want to start exercising or losing weight. Some people might want to stop smoking. These goals are called New Year’s resolutions. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2017?

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Three Kings Day

January 6, Three Kings Day, is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. This holiday is popular in many Spanish-speaking countries. It honors the Biblical story of three kings who came from the Orient (Asia). They followed the star of Bethlehem to the place where Christ was born.

Children love Three Kings Day. They write letters to the kings. In their letters, they write about good things they have done. They ask the kings for gifts. They prepare food and drink for the kings and for their camels. In the morning, the children find gifts in their shoes.

The traditional treat of Three Kings Day is Rosca de Reyes. It is a crown-shaped sweet bread decorated with glazed fruit and yellow cream. Before the bread is baked, a small doll is hidden in the dough. The person who finds the doll will have good luck for the rest of the year.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 16 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 47 states. In Arizona and New Hampshire it is called Civil Rights Day. In Idaho it is called Human Rights Day. This day honors the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is always celebrated on the third Monday in January.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister. He was a civil rights leader. Dr. King wanted all Americans to be equal. He gave speeches about freedom. He led freedom marches. He gave a famous speech, “I have a dream.” Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Many communities have services and events this day. Schools, banks, and government offices are closed on Monday, January 18.

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Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year starts on January 28 and ends fifteen days later with the Lantern Festival. Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian countries. In fact, many Chinese people will travel from far away to go home. People dress up in new clothes. Children receive lucky money wrapped in red envelopes from older people.

The Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar. Twelve animals represent each year of the lunar calendar. 2017 is the year of the rooster. The 2017 lucky rooster colors are gold, brown, and yellow. The  element is fire. People born in the year of the rooster are active, responsible and trustworthy. Caroline Kennedy, Justin Timberlake, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Serena Williams were all born in the year of the rooster.

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What’s happening in February

 Black History Month

February is Black History Month. It started as “Negro History Week” in 1926. This month celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans in U.S. history. The theme of Black History Month in 2017 is “The Crisis in Black Education.” For more information click Black History Month.

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Groundhog’s Day

Groundhog’s Day is an old tradition in the U.S. and Canada. On February 2, the groundhog comes out from its hole to look for its shadow. If the groundhog sees its shadow, winter isn’t over. If he doesn’t see his shadow, springtime will begin soon. In 2016, the groundhog did not see his shadow. Will he see his shadow in 2017? Punxsutawney Phil is a famous groundhog. Click here to see him in this video from 2016. ———————————————————————————————————————————

Valentine’s Day

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. People give their loved ones candy, flowers, and cards. Hearts, cuspids, and red roses are common symbols of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is just for fun. It is not a public holiday.

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Washington’s Birthday

February 20 honors George Washington, the first president of the U.S. The official name of this day is Washington’s Birthday, but most people call it President’s Day to honor all American presidents, especially Abraham Lincoln. The 16th president of the U.S. was also born in February. This federal holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in February. Banks, schools, and government offices are closed. Click George Washington’s Birthday for more information.

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Carnival

February 24 is the beginning of Carnival in Brazil. Carnival is a time of freedom and equality. Many people take off almost a week from work.  There are parties and parades. In the United States, there are similar carnivals called Mardi Gras. The Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana is very famous.

Carnival is an annual festival that comes forty days before Easter. Ash Wednesday on March 1 ends carnival and starts the somber time of Lent. It is a time of mourning for Christians as they prepare for the death of Christ and his resurrection on Easter.

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Published January 2017

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