February is considered the least favorite month by many people. It’s easy for me to understand why. I live in Minnesota and the forecast high temperature this week is a negative number four of the next seven days. We in the Great White North are stuck indoors for both COVID-19 and the weather. But February is mid-winter. People have been restless this time of year for millennia.
In the United States, we celebrate a few February holidays. Groundhog Day is based on ancient European celebrations that involve weather divination used to predict the end of winter. Modern Valentine’s Day is associated with romantic love and sex, but it was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 in honor of Saint Valentine of Rome, who died in AD 269 due to Roman persecution of Christians.
In February, two things have been traditionally on our minds: when is winter going to end and the fertility of livestock. Food, basically. Do we have enough stored food to last us to the end of winter and will the animals produce offspring for more food in the future?
February is a time of ancient fertility celebrations. Ewes natural breeding season starts in February. So too for owls, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, coyotes, and other wildlife. This is all about spring babies. And ancient people created rituals to get in on the fun.
Modern people get this, right? It’s cold so we are hibernating. Eating and snuggling is what we do most. But we are a lot less interested in the fertility of animals. We get bored. Winter does not have the high stakes it once did. We risk obesity, not starvation.
Enter the B-List holiday.
Something modern people have decided to do is to designate every day of the calendar year as celebration or awareness to something. Every month has its own list, but if winter is leaving you restless and bored, consider these B-list February holidays:
Food & Beverage- Try making recipes from scratch!
2/1 National Dark Chocolate Day
2/2 National Tater Tot Day
2/3 National Carrot Cake Day
2/5 National Bubble Gum Day
2/5 National Chocolate Fondue Day
2/5 World Nutella Day
2/6 National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
2/6 National Frozen Yogurt Day
2/7 National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
2/9 National Pizza Day
2/12 National Plum Pudding Day
2/13 National Tortellini Day
2/15 National Gumdrop Day
2/16 National Almond Day
2/16 National Pancake Day
2/16 Paczki Day
2/18 National Drink Wine Day
2/19 National Chocolate Mint Day
2/20 National Cherry Pie Day
2/20 National Muffin Day
2/21 National Sticky Bun Day
2/22 National Margarita Day
2/24 National Tortilla Chip Day
2/25 National Chili Day
2/25 National Clam Chowder Day
2/26 National Pistachio Day
2/27 National Protein day
2/27 National Strawberry Day
2/28 National Chocolate Souffle Day
Animals- Play with your pet and learn about wildlife- they need you.
2/2 Groundhog Day
2/2 National Hedgehog Day
2/3 Doggy Date Night
2/3 National Golden Retriever Day
2/20 National Love Your Pet Day
2/22 National Walking the Dog Day
2/23 National Dog Biscuit Day
2/23 World Spay Day
2/26 National Skip the Straw Day
2/27 International Polar Bear Day
Relationships- Winter can be lonely so reach out even if others haven’t.
2/5 National Shower with a Friend Day
2/6 Time to Talk Day
2/7 National Send a Card to a Friend Day
2/11 National Make a Friend Day
2/12 National Freedom to Marry Day
2/13 Galentine’s Day
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 Singles Awareness Day
2/17 Random Act of Kindness Day
Activities- Find a new hobby or pick up an old one.
2/2 National Ukulele Day
2/8 National Boy Scout Day
2/8 National Kite-Flying Day
2/10 National Umbrella Day
2/11 National Guitar Day
2/13 World Radio Day
2/19 Tug of War Day
Government related holidays- Meh.
2/1 National Freedom Day
2/6 National Lame Duck Day
2/12 Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
2/15 Presidents Day
2/22 George Washington’s Birthday
Religious holidays- As you please.
2/2 Candlemas Day
2/17 Ash Wednesday
This list excludes all the career and health awareness days. And I am intentionally excluding that one sports ball day the United States is obsessed with. It gets enough attention already. And while we are one week into this February B-list holiday season, it turns out you can do these activities any day you want!
I have not mentioned two big cultural celebrations this month: 2/12 Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) and 2/16 Carnival (day before Lent). These holidays are marginally celebrated in the United States. But Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year in China and is celebrated across Asia by 1.5 billion people. Carnival is celebrated by millions in over 50 countries, including the United States as Mardi Gras, a regional celebration of New Orleans that attracts 1.4 million people annually. These are spectacular events with plenty of traditions and foods.
Nobody can stop you from celebrating them, wherever you are, if you want to!
Seriously, this time of year can feel claustrophobic. We want to get back outside, enjoy the weather, and all the social activities that it will bring (after COVID-19 is under control). Life can sometimes feel very limited because we focus on our troubles: job, money, uncertain future, relationships, or very real trauma from our past. In this digitally connected life, social media, tabloid news media, and marketing do little to help us as their primary mission seems only to make us angry and uncomfortable enough to spend more money.
But what of our natural curiosity? There is more to learn and experience than you ever can in one lifetime. And while the B-list holiday list admittedly seems dumb, its purpose really is to remind you of how much there is worth doing. Life goes beyond the basics of survival. A life without meaningful work, relationships, or activities is empty. And if you are feeling empty, try something new.
Today (February 7) is ‘National Send a Card to a Friend Day’. How great is it to get a card from a friend instead of a bill or junk mail? At the beginning of this year, I made a plan to start writing to friends and family on birthdays and at the change of the seasons. It’s old school social media. It’s real connection. If you are feeling blue, think about trying out this annual ‘holiday’, any day of the year.
It’s a great big world out there. Don’t forget.
-Copyright C.M. Mounts, February 2021