Mardi Gras is February 28th

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a lively celebration that marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of repentance and abstinence observed by many Christians. Mardi Gras offers a final opportunity to indulge and is traditionally marked by parades, music, parties and food. New Orleans is well known for its raucous Mardi Gras celebrations. If you cannot visit the French Quarter this Mardi Gras, see our page of links for other ways to celebrate festive event.

George Washington’s Birthday

George Washington, America’s first president, was born on February 22, 1732. A surveyor by trade, Washington became an officer in the Continental Army during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He was named the commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1775-1783). In 1787, Washington served as president of the Constitutional Convention at which the United States Constitution was drafted. He was twice elected president of the fledgling nation, serving from 1789 until 1797. Washington died on December 12, 1799.

See our page of links for more about this fascinating historical figure.

Presidents Day is February 20th

Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents Day, is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. The holiday was first celebrated in 1879 to honor our first president, George Washington. Until 1971, the holiday was always observed on Washington’s actual birth date, February 22nd. Washington’s Birthday is also a state holiday in many states. Some states have combined Washington’s Birthday with a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th), while others have officially designated the holiday a celebration of American presidents, in general. In Massachusetts, only George Washington is honored on this day.

Learn more about Presidents Day and our American presidents on our page of links.

Lincoln’s Birthday

Abraham Lincoln, America’s sixteenth president, was born on February 12, 1809. A lawyer by training, Lincoln had a successful law practice in Springfield, Illinois and served in both the Illinois House and United States House of Representatives. Lincoln lost his bid for the United States Senate in 1858, but was elected President in 1860. His tenure was marked by the onset of the American Civil War which was triggered by the secession of several slave-holding Southern States from the Union upon his election as president. The bloody war lasted from April 1861 until the Spring of 1865, when the South surrendered. Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, just days after the wars’ end.

See our page of links for more about this fascinating historical figure.

February is Black History Month

During February we celebrate Black History Month, also known as African American History Month. At this time we honor the contributions of African Americans to arts, culture, science, industry and society as a whole throughout American history. Please see our page of links for resources for celebrating African American History Month.

Valentine’s Day

St. Valentine’s Day or simply, Valentine’s Day, is celebrated in many countries around the world on February 14th. St. Valentine was a Catholic martyr who died in 270 A.D., but details of his life are sketchy. Also unclear is how St. Valentine’s feast day became associated with love and romance. However, it is thought that a poem written by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in 1375 helped to establish this link. Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by exchanging greeting cards, also called valentines, giving gifts of chocolates and roses, and sharing romantic dinners for two. Valentine’s Day is also an occasion to celebrate all types of love and friendship, and valentine cards are often exchanged with family members and between schoolchildren.

Find ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day on our page of links.

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