MOSAIC’S January Culture Corner

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January 1: New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day, also simply called New Year or New Year’s, is the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named.

January 6: Three Kings Day

Three Kings Day, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany, marks the biblical story of the three Magi — Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar — who, guided by a star, found baby Jesus and brought him gifts. Today, children celebrate Three Kings’ Day by receiving gifts of their own.

Children in Spain and Latin America are instructed to leave their shoes by the door of their house so, like Santa Claus, the three kings can come and leave them presents. And in Mexico, bakers make a rosca del rey, a sweet bread meant to represent a King’s crown that often has a baby Jesus doll hidden inside.

Read more about how and why this holiday is celebrated.

January 12: Korean American Day

Korean American Day commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the United States in 1903. The day also honors the Korean American’s immense contributions to every aspect of society.

Learn more about these contributions, read about their experiences and watch documentaries at Korean American Story. Find out more or share your experience by using #KoreanAmericanDay on social media.

January 14: Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, is one of the major Hindu festivals in India and is celebrated by Indians and Hindus across the world. The festival is a religious celebration as well as a seasonal observance and marks the winter solstice, when the shift of the sun leads to longer days. This day, also known as Maghi, is a major harvest festival and is dedicated to the sun god Surya and includes outdoor performances, music and dancing. According to Hindu belief, if one dies on Makar Sankranti they are not reborn, but go straight to paradise.

Learn why kite flying is an important aspect of this holiday.

January 17: World Religion Day

World Religion Day, an idea inspired by the Baha´’ı´ faith, promotes inter-faith understanding and harmony. Through a variety of events held around the globe, followers of every religion are encouraged to acknowledge the similarities that different faiths have.

January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Each year on the third Monday of January, America honors the birth, life, and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a leading figure of the American Civil Rights Movement It is a time to remember the injustices that Dr. King fought, and his fight for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all races and peoples through nonviolence.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only national holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities, according to the corporation for National & Community Service.

Visit the King Library and Archives, the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world.

January 27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah is an international memorial day commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews and 11 million others, by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Learn more about the Holocaust and check out additional resources.