Thursday, February 15, 2007

February may be the shortest month, but it’s full of events and activities, so if you feel up to braving the suddenly wet and wintry weather and hitting the road, there’s a lot going on. The week after Valentine’s Day is especially active:

On Sunday, Feb 18th, NASCAR fans flock to middle Florida for the Daytona 500 (And cheer on 72-year-old driver James Hylton, who is trying to qualify by racing in the Gatorade Duel. Hyton was NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year – back in 1966!)

Also on Sunday, the rising New Moon marks the start of Chinese New Year. (In the Chinese calendar, AD2007 is the year 4705, which marks the Year of the Boar, also known as Year of the Pig!). People born in the Year of the Pig are said to be chivalrous and gallant; read here for more. And before you hit the road, remember: you’ll have to wait until the Full Moon on Saturday March 3rd to see the brilliantly colorful 200-foot dragon dancing through the streets of San Francisco (and other cities) as part of the Chinese New Year Parade.

Then comes Monday Feb 19th, the day we celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Though our Founding Father was originally born on Feb 11th, 1731, the date was changed when the new! improved! Gregorian Calendar was adopted in 1752, delaying his 21st Birthday party for 11 days… In 1968, Washington’s Birthday was moved to the 3rd Monday in February, and adding to the confusion, this Monday holiday is sometime celebrated as “President’s Day” to remember George as well as Abe Lincoln (whose birthday was Feb 12th, 1809), even though neither of their “actual” birthdays will ever fall on the 3rd Monday in February. For more on the complicated history of this holiday: click here.

Finally, Tuesday Feb 20th is Fat Tuesday, final night of the many weeks worth of party-hearty Mardi Gras celebrations. After Mardi Gras come the distinctly solemn 40+ days of Lenten sacrifice, ending eventually at Easter (on April 8th this year) , but until then -- Let the Good Times Roll!

Up Next: Spring Training!


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