With Christmas and new year celebrations gone, the winter weather and long dark nights may seem just the time to hunker down and count the days till summer, but don’t despair: there’s plenty to look forward to at the start of the 2019 Spring term!
Christmas isn’t over yet! Christmas isn’t just a single day, but lasts until 6th January (twelfth night). Traditionally the decorations stay up till then. If that isn’t enough for you, Orthodox Christmas Day this year isn’t until Monday 7th January.
While it may seem dismally dark outside when the alarm goes off each morning at the start of term, remember that from now on the days will be getting longer. The Spring equinox is on Wednesday 20th March so from then on we’ll have more daylight hours then night, with the clocks going forward on Sunday 31st March for the start of British Summer Time.
There are a multitude of feasts, festivals and special events to look forward to this term:
- 2 January to 23 February RSPB Big Schools Bird Watch. A chance to get pupils involved in some citizen science by contributing to this annual bird survey. You can find out more and get class resources from the RSPB website.
- Friday 25 January Burns Night. Scots the world over celebrate their national poet.
- Sunday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day, an occasion many schools mark or build into their teaching. The theme this year is Torn from home. You can find out more and order free resources from the HMDT website.
- Thursday 31st January Young Carers Awareness Day. Championing the needs of Young Carers, the theme this year focuses on mental health. You can find out more from the Carers Trust website and via the #CareForMeToo hashtag.
- Tuesday 5th February Chinese New Year. Commencing the Year of the Pig.
- Thursday 14th February Valentine’s Day
- Monday 25th February to Sunday 10th March is Fairtrade Fortnight. The focus this year is on fair trading of cocoa. You can find out more and get school resources from the Fairtrade Foundation.
- Friday 1st March is St David’s Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales, and a bank holiday in Wales
- 5th March is Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day), with the next day, Ash Wednesday marking the first day of Lent.
- Thursday 7th March is World Book Day in the UK (although the rest of the world celebrates this on 23rd April). You can find out more about this, and events throughout the year from the WBD website.
- Friday 15th March is Red Nose Day. This charity event takes place every two years and is a firm fundraising fixture in many UK schools. You can find out more and order a fundraising pack from the Comic Relief website.
- Sunday 17th March is St Patrick’s Day, when half the world discovers its Irish roots. Monday 18th March is a bank holiday in Eire & Northern Ireland.
- Thursday 21st March marks both the Hindu festival of Holi (‘festival of colours’) and the Jewish festival of Purim.
- 31st March is Mothering Sunday in the UK (the international date is 12th March).
- Monday 1st April is April Fools Day. It’s the first time in several years that this has fallen on a school day, so watch out for jokes!
- 14th April is Palm Sunday in the western Christian Calendar, with Good Friday bank holiday falling on 19th April, although with Easter falling later this year, most schools will already be on holiday on these dates.
- Saturday 20th April is the First day of the Jewish Passover
- Sunday 21st April is Easter Sunday, with the Easter bank holiday on Monday 22nd April. This date is also the first Stephen Lawrence Day. This day was announced by the Prime Minister in 2018 as a national day of commemoration for murdered teenager. You can find out more from the website of the Stephen Lawerence Memorial Trust.
- Tuesday 23rd April is St George’s Day. He’s the patron saint of England, but there’s no bank holiday for the English, so it will be back to school for many.
The list contains something for everyone, I hope, and plenty to look forward to. Let me know if I have missed any important dates and I’ll add them.
Whatever you are looking forward to this spring, have a Happy New Year!
Festival and event dates from www.timeanddate.com
Image: Rodger Caseby