Important Dates in FebruaryBack
Feast of St Brigid of Kildare, Ireland
Born around 453 AD, Brigid was the daughter of a slave and a chieftain, a story in itself. After refusing an arranged marriage, Brigid went on to found many convents whose schools provided an education for thousands of young women who otherwise would have had none.
A woman well ahead of her time, she was the lone female figure whose voice was heard in a male-dominated Church. Brigid died on the 1st of February in the year 525 AD.
The pagan Festival of Imbolc honouring the goddess Brigit or exalted one, the daughter of the god Dagda, falls on the same day, 1 February, as the Feast of St. Brigid.
Imbolc is one of the four cross-quarter days, with Beltaine, Lugnasadh and Samhain. It fell midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox of the Celtic calendar and falls on 1 February in the modern Gregorian calendar.
World Cancer Day
"We must do more to end the many tragedies that cancer inflicts. About one third of cancers can be prevented, while others are curable if diagnosed and treated early. And even when cancer is advanced, patients should benefit from palliative care."
The three-year global campaign 2016-18 take the theme ‘We Can. I Can.’ explores how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
"The Sustainable Development Goals contain a specific target calling for an end to FGM. When this practice is fully abandoned, positive effects will reverberate across societies as girls and women reclaim their health, human rights and vast potential."
Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
The highest prevalence of FGM among girls of 14 and under is in Gambia at 56 per cent, Mauritania 54 per cent and Indonesia where around half of girls aged 11 and younger have undergone the practice.
Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia 98 per cent, Guinea 97 per cent and Djibouti 93 per cent.
FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes
On 11th February 1858 Our Lady first appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous. Later Bernadette, under pressure from her parish priest, asked her, “Who are you?” and heard from Our Lady’s own lips, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. In 1992 Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick to be held on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
World Day of the Sick
2017 theme: Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me…’ (Lk 1:49).
Pope Francis says the commemoration “gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast, and the marginalized.”
11 February was chosen as it is the date of the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. Mary’s apparition at Lourdes to the “poor, illiterate, and ill” Bernadette, he said, reminds us “that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life.”
Read Pope Francis’ message here:
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
This is the second International Day to celebrtate and encourage Women and Girls in Science. It takes as its theme, Gender, Science and Sustainable Development:The Impact of Media”
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets are expected to stimulate action and to guide a sustainable development of the planet, embracing its economic, social and environmental dimensions in a balanced way to spearhead societies towards a sustainable and equitable future.
A greater participation of women in science is considered to be a social, economic, environmental and cultural imperative globally.
World Day of Social Justice
The United Nations' (UN) World Day of Social Justice is annually observed on 20th February to encourage people to look at how social justice affects poverty eradication. It also focuses on the goal of achieving full employment and support for social integration.
International Mother Language Day
"Mother languages in a multilingual approach are essential components of quality education, which is itself the foundation for empowering women and men and their societies."
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General