January: Moveable Feasts

January is home to a handful of holidays that change their observation dates each year. These holidays are often referred to as “moveable feasts” because their dates are determined by astronomical events, such as the phases of the moon or the equinoxes and solstices.

New Year’s Day (January 1st)

New Year’s Day is observed on January 1st in most countries that use the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the new year. However, in some cultures, including the Chinese, Islamic, Hindu, and Jewish traditions, New Year’s Day occurs on various dates based on their lunar or lunisolar calendars.

The reason for New Year’s Day falling on January 1st is rooted in the Gregorian calendar, which was adopted by most countries in the 16th century. Before that, different cultures and regions used various calendars, with their own New Year’s dates.

The fixed date of January 1st was chosen to coincide with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This aligns with the ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia, a winter festival dedicated to the god Saturn.

Epiphany (January 6th)

Epiphany is a Christian holiday that commemorates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. It is also known as Three Kings’ Day, and it is celebrated on January 6th in many countries around the world. The date of Epiphany is not fixed, and it can vary by a few days depending on the Julian calendar.

Black Nazarene Feast (January 9th to 12th)

The Black Nazarene Feast is a religious festival held in the Philippines in honor of the Black Nazarene, a statue of Jesus Christ that is said to have miraculous powers. The feast is celebrated over four days, from January 9th to 12th, and it is one of the largest religious gatherings in the country.

Chinese New Year (January or February depending on the Lunar Calendar)

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. It is a lunisolar holiday, meaning that its date is determined by both the lunar and solar calendars. Chinese New Year typically falls between January 21st and February 20th. The date of Chinese New Year changes from year to year, and it can vary by several days.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Third Monday in January)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States that honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., an American civil rights leader. It is celebrated on the third Monday in January.

First Week of January

1st Monday in January

  • National Weigh-In Day (First Monday after New Years)
  • Handsel Day
  • Divorce Monday

Second Week of January

2nd Thursday in January

  • Healthy Weight, Healthy Look Day

2nd Saturday in January

  • Eagle Day
  • National Vision Board Day

Third Week of January

3rd Monday in January

  • Blue Monday – (Third Monday of the Year)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Federal)
  • Martin Luther King Day of Service
  • National Day of Service
  • Civil Rights Day
  • National Crowd Feed Day
  • Idaho Human Rights Day

3rd Tuesday in January

  • Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day

3rd Sunday in January

  • World Religion Day
  • World Snow Day

Fourth Week of January

4th Monday in January

  • Better Business Communication Day
  • Community Manager Appreciation Day

4th Saturday in January

  • Local Quilt Shop Day
  • National Seed Swap Day
  • Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day

Extra Days in January

  • Printing Ink Day – (Closest Tuesday to January 16)
  • National Plan for Vacation Day – (Last Tuesday in January)
  • Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day – (Last Monday in January)
  • World Leprosy Day – (Last Sunday in January)

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Disclaimer and Risk Warning: This content is presented to you on an “as is” basis for general information and educational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind. I am not a financial advisor. All statements are my own opinion.

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These are just a few of the many moveable feasts celebrated in January. These holidays often have rich traditions and customs that are passed down from generation to generation. They are a reminder of the connection between humanity and the natural world, and they are a way for people to celebrate new beginnings and hope for the future.