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Events of the Month


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JAN-1: We continue in the UN declared Decade for a Culture of Peace.


JAN-1: This is the last day of the week-long, inter-faith celebration of Kwanza (a.k.a. Kwanzaa, Quansa) - a cultural holiday celebrating African-American heritage. "Kwanza" is a Swahili word for "the first," or "the first fruits of the harvest". The seven principles of Kwanza are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. 1


JAN-1: This is the second New Year's day of the new millennium. (The last year of the 20th century ended at midnight, in the evening of 2000-DEC-31.


JAN-1: The first day of a Zoroastrian four day festival of Ghambar Maidyozarem. It celebrates God's creation of the sky and the harvesting of winter crops.

bullet JAN-1 to 3:  Shogatsu (a.k.a. Gantan-sai) is the most important holiday in Japan. It is celebrated by followers there of Shinto and Buddhism. In Japan, each new year is traditionally regarded as a fresh start; JAN-1 is believed to be representative of the entire year to follow. 2
bullet JAN-5: Sikhs celebrate the Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh. He was the tenth Guru of the Sikh Panth, and particularly remembered for his battles for religious freedom, and his teachings of the equality of all individuals. 3
bullet JAN-6: The western Christian church celebrates Epiphany every year on this day. This recalls the visitation of an unknown number of Persian astrologers to Jesus after his birth. The day is associated with the baptism of Jesus by the Eastern Orthodox churches.
bullet JAN-7: Most Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on this day. They continue to use the Julian calendar, which is currently offset by 13 days from the more commonly used Gregorian calendar. The gap between the calendars continues to grow.
bullet JAN-14  Sikhs observe Maghi on this day. It recalls the deaths of 40 Sikhs in a battle for freedom.
bullet JAN-14: Most Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year on this date.
bullet JAN-16: National Religious Freedom Day is intended to broaden awareness of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom - the first law in the history of western civilization which protected religious freedom for all persons. It promotes religious freedom worldwide. Celebrations occur on or before JAN-16. 6
bullet JAN-18: This is the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It runs from the feast of St. Peter on JAN-18 until JAN-25, the feast of St. Paul. 8 It promotes unity within the Christian faith.
bullet JAN-20: This is World Religion Day. The Baha'i Faith created this observance to promote interfaith understanding and cooperation. The celebrations emphasize common factors seen in all of the world's great religions.
bullet JAN-21: Sanctity of Human Life 2002 begins, and lasts until JAN-28. This is a pro-life activity based on the belief that human personhood begins at conception. 7 It runs from the third to the fourth sunday in January.
bullet JAN-21: This holiday celebrates the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. He is the only American besides George Washington to have a national holiday designated on his birthday. 4 He is perhaps best known for his "I have a dream" speech, delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on 1963-AUG-28 -- a dream that has yet to be fully realized. 5 His actual birthday was JAN-17.
bullet JAN-22: On this date in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized abortion access throughout the United States. Pro-life and pro-choice groups are observing the 29th anniversary in very different ways.
bullet JAN-24: Zoroastrians celebrate Jashan Sadeh, their mid-winter festival. It honors the element of fire which is sacred in the Zoroastrian faith. 
bullet JAN-27: This is 57th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, which had been constructed by the Nazis during World War II to permit the mass extermination of Jews and Poles.
bullet JAN-29: Hindus in Northern India observe Basant Panchami (a.k.a. Vasanta Panchami & Magh Sukla Panchami) during the month of Magh (January-February). This celebrates the first day of spring. Yellow colored clothes are traditionally worn; yellow is a sign of auspiciousness and spirituality. Hindus worship the sun, Mother Gang, the Goddess Saraswathi, the Deity of the sacred river Ganges and the earth. 10

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Celebrations coming in early February:


FEB-2: Imbolc is one of four major Wiccan sabbats. It literally means "in the belly." It looks forward to warmer weather coming later in the year.

bullet FEB-3: This is Super-Bowl Sunday, the day each year when spousal assaults reach their annual peak. 

FEB-3: Four Chaplain's Sunday is a Christian/Jewish Interfaith celebration. It recalls an event during World War II when four Chaplains, both Jews and Christians gave away their life jackets to soldiers when a troop ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean


FEB-4:  Hindus celebrate the birthday of Swami Vivekananda Jayanti (1863 to 1902). He spread the message of Hinduism to the West, and greatly influenced leaders of the Indian independence movement.

bullet FEB-12: This is the Chinese Spring Festival, known in the West as the Chinese New Year. The date of the start of the festival is established by a lunar/solar calendar and thus varies from late January to mid February. It lasts for three days. This begins the year of the horse. It is the year 4699 or 4639 by the Chinese lunar calendar; sources differ. 11

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Although care was taken in the preparation of this list, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or their consequences.

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  1. Kwanzaa Information Center at: 

  2. "New Year (Shogatsu)," at:

  3. "Guru Gobind Singh Ji," at: 

  4. "Martin Luther King, Jr," at: 

  5. "I have a dream," at: 

  6. Council for America's First Freedom at 

  7. "Sanctity of human life 2001 resources," at:

  8. "The week of prayer for Christian unity 2001," at:

  9. "World religion day," at:

  10. "Vasanta Panchami," at:

  11. "Chinese New Year Lunar Calendar," at:

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Although care was taken in the preparation of this list, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or their consequences.

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Copyright 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Essay prepared on 2001-DEC-22
Latest update: 2002-JAN-21
Compiled by B.A. Robinson

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