Diversity Corner News - February 2016

 

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. 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.

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.


Interesting Facts about Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is a major holidays in not just China but also other countries in Asia.

1. The date varies!

The date for Chinese New Year changes each year. It always falls between January 21 and February 20, determined by the

Chineselunar calendar.

2. The holiday is oddly called "Spring Festival".

Though in winter, Chinese call their New Year holidays 'Spring Festival' (春节 chūnjié /chwnn-jyeah/), because 'Start of Spring' (4–18 February) is the first of the terms in the traditional solar calendar. While wintry weather prevails, 'Start of Spring' marks the end of the coldest part of winter, when the Chinese traditionally could look forward to the beginning of spring.

3. Every Chinese New Year starts a new animal's zodiac year.

A very old custom is to name the years by one of 12 animals in their zodiac cycle. For example, 2016 is a year of the Monkey. People focus on priorities: making amends, reconciling with people, avoiding offence, and re-establishing old ties. They buy and wear new clothes, give gifts, and clean house.

4. It is a festival for 1/5 of the world's population.

It's China's winter vacation week, like between Christmas and New Year's Day other countries. Schools in China get about a month off, and universities even more. China, Hong Kong and Macau, and nine other Asian countries have public holidays.

5. Billions of red envelopes ("hong bao") are exchanged.

These red envelopes with cash are given out from older to younger, from bosses to employees, and from leaders to underlings. It is a special New Year's bonus.

6. There is the world's biggest annual fireworks usage.

No single hour in any other country sees as many tons of fireworks lighted as in China around the midnight beginning Chinese New Year. China produces about 90% of the world's fireworks!

Fireworks are used to scare evil spirits: Most mainland Chinese believe that the flash and bang of firecrackers and fireworks scare away demons and evil ghosts.

7. "Xinnian Kuaile" means "Happy New Year".