When it comes to February in the United States, two holidays dominate the month: Groundhog Day on February 2nd, when we find out how much more winter is coming at us, and Valentine’s Day on the 14th, when we find out if we’re romantic enough to keep our beloved coming back for more.
Just because the groundhog and St. Valentine rule the shortest month doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty more celebration. Some of the most influential people in the history of the U.S. share February as their birth month, including Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, whose birthdays are acknowledged the third Monday of the month on President’s Day, Charles Dickens, Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks.
February is also Black History month, kicked off by National Freedom Day on February 1st, the day on which, in 1865, President Lincoln signed the resolution, later ratified as the 13th amendment, that outlawed slavery in the United States.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent for Catholics, most commonly falls in February, as does Fat Tuesday, the final day of Mardis Gras and the last chance for good Catholics to revel in their vices before giving them up for the 46 days before Easter.
If you want to party all February-long though, you might want to observe some of these lesser-known holidays that simply call out for fun, unusual festivities.
Need to throw an extra birthday in the mix? How about Elmo’s. The beloved fuzzy monster on Sesame Street was born February 3rd.
On February 4th, make a vacuum for your mailman in honor of Create a Vacuum Day and Thank a Mailman Day.
While you are celebrating both national weatherpersons and the western monarch on February 5th, don’t forget to spread some love for the popular hazelnut spread Nutella. It’s World Nutella Day.
If you’ve ever had a toothache that you just can’t forget, give it props on Toothache Day, February 9th.
February 13th is Get a Different Name Day, so if you’ve been hating on your name since birth, this might be a good day to file some legal paperwork.
If you want to forget Valentine’s Day exists on February 14th, what better way than celebrate National Organ Donor Day or Ferris Wheel Day instead?
Do all of the grouches you know a favor on February 16th, Do a Grouch a Favor Day, and keep up the kindness on February 17th for Random Acts of Kindness Day.
It’s time for Fido to live it up on February 23rd, in honor of International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.
And every four years, the 29th is not just Leap Day, it’s also Yellowstone Park Day, in acknowledgment of the day that Yellowstone became the world’s first national park.