February International Holidays - 2018

Rapport International works with customers who do business internationally or with culturally diverse customers, so we thought it would be beneficial to provide a monthly update of holidays around the world. Each month we feature one holiday and give some information about its origins and any stories behind the celebrations.  We hope you enjoy the information and that it's helpful.

bangladesh then and nowThis month we will explore Language Martyrs' Day, also called Language Movement Day, which is celebrated in Bangladesh on February 21st. This day is observed to commemorate the 1952 Language Movement and subsequent massacre that eventually lead to the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971.

After the partition of India in 1947, what we now know as Bangladesh was then East Pakistan and was ruled by the government residing in West Pakistan (what is now Pakistan). Despite the fact that about 54% of the population of the two Pakistan provinces lived in East Pakistan and spoke Bengali as their main language, the government in West Pakistan declared that Urdu would be the official language of all of Pakistan and that Bengali would no longer be taught or recognized as an official language. Due to frustrations with this ruling, in 1952 Bengali students rose up in protest of the ruling. Armed Pakistani police arrived at the protest and arrested several student protestors. These arrests caused the protests to escalate and spread to the East Bengali Legislative Assembly where they blocked legislators from entering and protestors insisted they argue their cause to the Assembly. When several protestors tried to storm the building, the police opened fire and several students were wounded and killed. The killings led to wider-spread protests throughout the city. Many of the Legislators were sympathetic to the protestors cause and in 1954 Bengali was granted official recognition. Then in 1956 Bengali was further supported by being granted the title of Official Second Language of Pakistan.

Despite this small victory, East Pakistan continued to be under-represented in the Pakistani government and in 1971 the Bengali Nationalist movement rose up in the Bangladesh Liberation War to win its independence from Pakistan.

Today a monument called the Shaheed Minar monument stands in Dhaka, Bangladesh to commemorate the lives lost in the protest on the 21st of February 1952, and this day is a national holiday to remember the sacrifices made to fight for the language of Bengali and the rights of the people of Bangladesh.

 

Other holidays celebrated around the world in February:

 3rd February

  • Heroes' Day: Mozambique

4th February

  • Independence Day: Sri Lanka

5th February

  • Constitution Day: Mexico

6th February

  • Waitangi Day: New Zealand

7th February

  • Independence Day: Grenada

8th February

  • Prešeren Day: Slovenia

9th February

  • Feast of Saint Maron: Lebanon

10th February

  • Feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck: Malta
  • Thanksgiving: Liberia

11th February

  • Armed Forces Day: Liberia
  • National Foundation Day: Japan
  • Revolution Day: Iran
  • Youth Day: Cameroon

12th February

  • Union Day: Myanmar

14th February

  • Valentine's Day

15th February

  • Chinese Spring Festival: Mauritius
  • Vietnamese New Year's Eve: Vietnam

16th February

  • Vietnamese New Year: Vietnam

17th-20th February

  • Tet holiday: Vietnam

18th February

  • Independence Day: Gambia

19th February

  • Presidents' Day: United States of America

21st February

  • Language Martyrs' Day: Bangladesh

22nd February

  • Independence Day: Saint Lucia

23rd February

  • National Day: Brunei
  • Republic Day: Guyana

25th February

  • National Day: Kuwait
  • People Power Anniversary: Philippines

26th February

  • Liberation Day: Kuwait

27th February

  • Independence Day: Dominican Republic

This is not an exhaustive list, and we’d love to hear about more international holidays. Please share them in the comments below!

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