The month of February is full of famous birthdays and history from the past. If you’re looking for a month to celebrate Black history and religious holidays that may be new to you, February is the month for you.

Black History Month

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.  Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout U.S. history.  In February 1986, the U.S. Congress designated February as Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, because it holds the birthdays of Frederick Douglass (February 14, 1818) and President Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809).  Both these men helped to eliminate slavery.  Throughout this month, make it a goal to recognize the central role that African Americans played in U.S. history, more especially in your respective communities.

Join area organizations to celebrate and recognize Black History Month, including attending the Black-owned businesses expo, attending Crystal Bridges’ unique culinary experience of African American food and drink culture, or the University of Arkansas’ Black Music Symposium

National Girls & Women in Sports Day

Around the country, National Girls & Women in Sports Day is recognized by schools, organizations and teams during the first week of February.  Women who participated in sports in school are more likely to graduate from college.  Their odds of landing leadership positions are also increased because of their background in athletics.  According to several studies, there are proven health, leadership and academic benefits developed in women who participated in sports. On February 4, 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Women in Sports Day in recognition of the history of women’s athletics.  It also recognized the progress made by the Title IX amendment passed in 1972. 

Learn how sports can boost girls’ confidence, social life, and health through this article by Girls on the Run NWA

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health. The Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is shining a light on hypertension (high blood pressure), a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Become involved in support heart health locally with the NWA chapter of the American Heart Association

February 1: National Get Up Day

National Get Up Day offers an opportunity to share inspiring stories of perseverance.  The day reminds us to pick ourselves up when we’ve fallen and giving it (whatever it may be) another go! We never know when our efforts to seek a goal or overcome an obstacle will encourage another to do the same. Keep trying, keep learning, keep practicing and try again. We only fail when we stop trying. Here are tips from the Mayo Clinic on building resilience. 

February 15: Nirvana Day

Nirvana Day is the annual multicultural festival that commemorates the death of the Buddha once he reached Nirvana. You may also hear this festival called Parinirvana. Buddhists will celebrate Nirvana Day by visiting temples or monasteries and meditating. Take some time to practice meditation and reflect if you want to observe this day as well. 

Learn more about Buddhism or join a local organization through Buddhark’s local directory

February 15: Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday

Susan B. Anthony is one of the most famous women involved in the suffrage movement. She was also an advocate for temperance, labor rights, equal pay for equal work, and abolition. Continue Anthony’s work by volunteering or learning more about women’s rights organizations, like Girls Who Code or She Should Run.

February 22: Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and prayer that kicks off the season of Lent in Christianity. Catholics celebrate Ash Wednesday by heading to mass and having ashes drawn in the shape of a cross upon their forehead. However, not all denominations practice this day the same way. Others may just have a day of reflection or fasting. Learn more about Lent