Religious Holy Days


January 2017

The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, in which old fires are extinguished and new fires are lit, and the Hopi Holy Cycle, in which the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe are celebrated, begin in January and February, but the dates of observance vary by tribe.  It is also the season of K’aliyee, the time of the north wind that blows off glaciers and icecaps that linger from the last ice age.


Wednesday, January 25
Memorial of Hōnen Shonin – Buddhism
Anniversary of the death in 1212 C.E. of the founder of the Jōdo Shū (Pure Land) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Japan.

Friday, January 27
Chinese / Vietnamese / Korean New Year – Buddhism / Confucianism / Taoism
The first day after the new moon is a religious and cultural festival for Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese persons, marking the first day of the year 4715, the Year of the Rooster.

Monday, January 30
Jashne Sadeh – Zoroastrianism
A celebration of the discovery of fire by King Hashang of the Peshdadian dynasty.

Tuesday, January 31
Birth of Gurū Har Rai – Sikhism
A celebration of the birth of the seventh of the Sikh gurūs [1630 – 1661 C.E.], according to the Nanakshahi calendar.



February 2017 

 

The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, in which old fires are extinguished and new fires are lit, and the Hopi Holy Cycle, in which the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe are celebrated, begin in January and February, but the dates of observance vary by tribe.  This month is also known as Buxwlaks or the season of blowing needles in aboriginal spirituality, in which the wind knocks loose the foliage of frozen evergreens.  It marks the approach of the new year.

Wednesday, February 1
Vasanta Panchami – Hinduism
A North Indian celebration associated with Saraswati, the goddess of learning, and with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

Thursday, February 2
Presentation of Jesus in the Temple – Christianity
Commemorates Mary and Joseph’s presentation of the child Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, as required by Mosaic law.

Imbolc [also known as the Feast of Torches or Lughnassad] – Wicca 
A celebration of beginning growth and the divine generative powers (i.e., the Goddess nurturing her young Son) from which physical and spiritual harvests will come, Imbolc is often an initiatory period.

Friday, February 3
Setsunbun-sai – Shintō 
A family celebration of the end of winter; beans are thrown into rooms of a house for good luck, with the shout, “Devils out, Fortune in!”

Sunday, February 5
Triodion begins – Christianity (Eastern churches)
This day marks the beginning of the ten weeks preceding Holy Pascha (Easter).  The term Triodion refers to the book containing the liturgies for the worship services during this time period.

Four Chaplains Sunday – Interfaith 
A commemoration of four U.S. Army chaplains—Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Rev. George L. Fox, Fr. John P. Washington, and Rev. Clark V. Poling—who died while saving soldiers from drowning when their troop transport ship, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat in 1943.  The four chaplains are remembered for their courage and their spirit of interfaith collaboration in service to humanity.

Monday, February 6
Mulk – Bahá’í
Beginning of the eighteenth month of the Bahá’í year, the name “Mulk” means “dominion.”   

Friday, February 10
Tu B’Shevat – Judaism
A joyous celebration of the coming spring, including the planting of trees and the conservation of fruits native to Israel, as well as special meals where Jews eat the seven fruits of the land (wheat and barley; grapes; figs; pomegranates; olives; and honey).  The festival begins at sundown.
 
Tuesday, February 14
Valentine’s Day – Western Christianity 
A celebration of love originally connected to the Roman Christian martyr who died in 269 C.E.

Wednesday, February 15
Nirvana Day – Buddhism
In northern Buddhist traditions, this day marks the anniversary of the historical Buddha’s death in ca. 486 B.C.E. and his subsequent entrance into enlightenment or Nirvana.  In southern Buddhist traditions, the Buddha’s death is commemorated during Visakha.

Sunday, February 19
Birthday of Kwan Yin Bodhisattva – Buddhism [Mahayana Pure Land tradition]
A celebration of the birth of the bodhisattva of compassion—an enlightened being who vows to attain final, supreme enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings from suffering.  In the Pure Land tradition, this bodhisattva frequently accompanies Amida Buddha in icons and other depictions.
 
Friday, February 24
Ayyám-i-Há – Bahá’í  [through February 28]
Starting at sundown, this festival marks the beginning of the intercalary days for festivities, gift giving, and charitable actions.

Maha Shivaratri – Hinduism
A night devoted to the worship of the god Shiva, whose dance creates and destroys and recreates the world; it is marked by vigils and fasting.

Sunday, February 26
Cheesefare Sunday [Forgiveness Sunday] – Christianity (Eastern churches)
This feast marks the last day of eating dairy products prior to Holy Pascha (also known as Easter).  The Great Fast or Great Lent begins at sundown and is marked by forty days of vegetarian fasting, intense prayer, and almsgiving in preparation for Holy Week.  The following day is known as Clean Monday.

Monday, February 27
Losar [Tibetan New Year] – Buddhism
Celebrating the beginning of the year 2144 in the Tibetan calendar.

Tuesday, February 28
Sri Ramakrishna Jayanti – Hinduism
A celebration of the birth of the teacher of Swami Vivekananda, who introduced Hinduism to the United States at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.

 



Thank you

Thank you to ACPE Supervisor Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark at UCSF Medical Center Spiritual Care Services, San Francisco, CA, for compiling this list each month. Email him for more information.  

Also our thanks to the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, the Multifaith Action Society of British Columbia (Canada), BBC’s Religion Website, Peel Schools District Board (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the Arizona State University Provost’s Office, the NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, the Anti-Defamation League, Project Interfaith (Omaha, NE), the University of Victoria Faculty of Law (British Columbia, Canada), and www.interfaithcalendar.org

To subscribe to this calendar and sync it with your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendars, visit ucsfspiritcare.org and select the “Resources” menu.