Archive for February, 2012
Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat is a holiday also celebrated as the New Year for Trees.
Tu B’Shevat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day, but if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B’Shevat.
…the European Celts believed that animals had certain supernatural powers on special days that were half-way between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Folklore from Germany and France indicated that when marmots and bears came out of their winter dens too early, they were frightened by their shadow and retreated back inside for four to six weeks*…
Another possible inspiration for Groundhog Day is the Roman celebration of Hedgehog Day. A day in which Romans believed a hedgehog seeing its shadow would also forecast 6 more weeks of winter.
Famous US groundhogs: Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck, Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam and General Beauregard Lee
*source: wikipedia: Groundhog Day
National Freedom Day is an observance day in the United States that respects the signing of a resolution that proposed the 13th amendment of the nation’s constitution on February 1, 1865. Abraham Lincoln, who was the president at the time, signed the resolution to outlaw slavery. National Freedom Day is annually observed on February 1.