26th January 2001 at 00:00
February 2

Candlemas (Christian)

Also known as the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Luke 2, 22-35), the name refers to the custom of carrying candles in a procession on this day.

February 8

Tu B'Shvat (Jewish)

A special new year's day for trees, dating from biblical times. In Israel, children plant trees as a symbol of the country's economic survival. Elsewhere, Jews make an effort to eat Israeli fruit, and they may also sponsor a tree planting in Israel.

February 21

Mahashivrati (Hindu)

A celebration of the god Shiva. In India, there are overnight vigils, followed by pilgrimages to temples devoted o Shiva.

February 27

Shrove Tuesday (Christian)

The day before Lent, named from "shriving" - the practice of going to confession before Lent (see below). February 28

Ash Wednesday (Christian)

The first day of Lent. In some churches the priest marks each worshipper's forehead with ash as a sign of penitence - the person is no more than ashes, dependent on the mercy of God.

February 28 - April 14

Lent (Christian)

A season of fasting, penitence and meditation leading to Easter, the central festival of Christianity, which also commemorates Jesus's fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights.

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