Alternative dates for your diary…

By Stephanie Farry

There’s always a lot going on in February and March. Between Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Burns Night, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, St David’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Mothering Sunday, you might think your calendar is already full—so it might surprise you to hear of some other ‘festivals’ in the next few weeks. 

National Storytelling Week begins on 30th January and is a chance to celebrate favourite tales. One story to think about could be that of Candlemas (2nd February), when Christians remember the day that Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus at the temple, sometimes by blessing candles at church or putting lights in windows. Tradition suggests that if the weather is good at Candlemas there’s bad weather to come, but if it’s cloudy and rainy the weather will get better! 

After telling stories all week, you can go on to celebrate Charles Dickens Day on the 7th February. The following day is ‘Safer Internet Day’, this year focusing on respect and relationships online, then ‘Darwin Day’ on 12th Feb aims to inspire ‘intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth’. Popular in the United States, but also known in the UK, is ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ on 17th February.

Fairtrade Fortnight begins on 27th February and is a great time to try buying Fairtrade if you don’t normally.  27th February is also International Polar Bear Day! Then 28th February is Collop Monday, or Shrove Monday, traditionally the day to preserve meat to be stored away during Lent.

3rd March is World Book Day—another chance to enjoy and share stories. It’s also World Wildlife Day, so you could combine the two and tell stories about animals!  There are bound to be more good stories to share on International Women’s Day, on the 8th March, too.

If all this celebrating is wearing you out, take comfort that 18th March is World Sleep Day—a celebration of the importance of healthy sleep.  Then you’ll be recharged ready for World Frog Day on the 20th, and a busy following week, with World Poetry Day on 21st March, which is also the first day of Shakespeare Week, and then both Tolkein Day and ‘Wear a Hat Day’ (in aid of Brain Tumour Research) on the 25th and Piano Day on the 29th.

Are these dates already in your calendar?  Happiness writer Gretchen Rubin recommends ‘celebrating a minor holiday’ to help prevent the feeling that life is passing you by, because particular days become more unusual and so more memorable.  What other minor holidays are you looking forward to celebrating as we move through the winter months?