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Diversity & Inclusion
Special Notes for Religious Celebrations
BAHA'I: The dates refer to the Baha'i day which begins at sunset on the preceding day and ends at sunset on the date listed.
BUDDHISM: Holy Days are synchronized with the phases of the moon; thus they vary from year to year according to the Gregorian calendar.
CHRISTIANITY: Some Holy Days have the same date each year; others vary from year to year.
HINDUISM: The dates change each year, based on the lunar calendar.
ISLAM: The dates are based on actual sightings of the crescent moon.
JUDAISM: All Jewish holidays begin and end at sundown on the dates listed.
SIKHISM: The calendar is based on the length of the tropical solar year, instead of the lunar cycle.
- New Years Day is observed in all the countries following the Gregorian calendar. (University Holiday)
- Gantan Sai also known as Shogatu (Shinto) New Year popularly celebrated in Japan. New Year festival observed with prayers for inner renewal. Japanese welcome in the New Year with prayers for renewal of hearts, good health and prosperity. They wear their best clothes and visit shrines in large numbers. During the seven days of the holiday, people visit one another's homes to offer good wishes for the New Year.
- St. Basil’s Feast Day (Greek Orthodox Christian) the New Year is celebrated to commemorate the kindness and generosity of St. Basil towards the poor. St. Basil was the forefather of the Greek Orthodox Church.
- Vasant Panchami (Hindu) celebrates spring, or Basant, and Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of learning and the arts. This is the time when some children begin learning the 50 letters used in the Sanskrit alphabet.
- Guru Gobindh Singh’s Birthday. (Sikh) - the last of the ten Gurus.
- Epiphany (Three Kings Day-Dia de los Reyes) is celebrated twelve days after Christmas; it marks the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus.
- Feast of the Theophany (Orthodox Christian)- Feast to recall the revelation of the Trinity in Christ's baptism
- Ashura (Islam) the day of Ashura or the tenth day of the first Islamic month is observed by Muslims as a whole. Shia Muslims observe Ashura to mark the martyrdom of Hussain. This day also commemorates the day when Noah left the ark, and when Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
- Mahayana (Buddhist) New Year is celebrated by the Buddhists on the first full moon day in January.
- Maghi (Sikh) observed to honor the heroic battle of the Forty Liberated Ones who laid their lives to save Guru Gobind Singh.
- New Year (Russian Orthodox) was celebrated on January 13th/14th in the 20th and 21st centuries.
- Muharram (Muslim) New Year and beginning the first of the lunar months.*
- Blessings Of The Animals (someHispanic Christians) observe this day to show respect for the domestic animals that matter a lot to people. Observed on various dates - especially related to St. Francis.
- World Religion Day is observed by the Baha’is to enhance and commemorate interfaith harmony and understanding.
- Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; during this week Christians pray for the restoration of unity between churches of the Christian faith.
- Martin Luther King Day commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. who was born on January 15th, 1929. One of the world’s best known advocates of non-violent social change, King was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 1964. He was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, and remains a symbol of the struggle for civil rights.
- St Agnes Day (Christian) commemorates the martyrdom of Agnes who was martyred at the tender age of 13. She gave up her life for her faith and is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, mentioned by name in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins.
- Conversion of St Paul (Some Christians) celebrate this day to mark St Paul’s conversion to Christianity; when he was faced with the vision of Jesus while on his way to persecute Christians and became an avid supporter of Jesus. Observed at worship services.
- Chinese New Year (Confucian/Daoist/Buddhist) based on the lunar calendar 2008 marks the “Year of the Ox.”
- Losar meaning “Start” (Tibetan Buddhists). It is the most important holiday in Tibet marking the Tibetan New year. Celebrations for this festival last for three days from today.
- Birthday of Guru Har Rai (Sikh) was the seventh Sikh guru.
Black History Month
- Candlemas Day (Christian, Wiccan & Pagan) is a purifying ceremony to commemorate new beginnings (with the light.) in Christianity the day marks when Mary took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth. It has also been a day for weather predictions: “If Candlemas be fair and clear, two winters you will have this year,” leading to the celebration of Groundhog Day which originated in Germany.
- Groundhog Day (USA & Canada) is based on the old belief that if the sun shines on Candlemas Day, or if the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges from its den, we will experience six more weeks of winter.
- Imbolc (Wiccan) is celebrated by the Pagans and is also referred to as Candlemas it is celebrated to commemorate the awakening of the land and the rising power of the Sun.
- Rissun (Shinto). It is a spring festival that marks the division between winter and spring and is celebrated with beans.
- Parinirvana – Nirvana Day*** (Buddhist) this day is celebrates and marks the death anniversary of Buddha. Pure Land Buddhists call the festival "Nirvana Day". Parinirvana is celebrated by some Buddhists on February 18th.
- Tu B'shvat** is "The New Year For the Trees" (Jewish) is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat
- Triodion ( Orthodox Christian) time period leading up to Lent. The liturgy involves hymns, odes and scriptures
- Our Lady Of Lourdes (Christian) commemorates the day in 1858 when St Bernadette had her first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- St.Valentine's Day is now more of a secular than a religious festival and is celebrated almost all over the world now. This day is celebrated by the exchange of gifts that convey affection and love. The history of this holiday cannot be traced with any one origin with authenticity. One version of the story tells of a priest named Valentine who would secretly marry people forbidden to wed by law. The emperor believed that he could form a larger and stronger army if men remained single and had no family ties. Valentine was arrested and beheaded on February 14th. Since he was a champion of love, he came to be known as the patron saint of lovers.
- Nirvana Day (alternative) (Buddhists) on February 8th. Nirvana Day is the commemoration of Buddha's death when he reached the zenith of Nirvana, at the age of 80.
- President’s Day (USA) originally honored Presidents Washington and Lincoln and now serves as a reminder of the contribution of all U.S. presidents.
- Transfiguration Sunday (Jewish) commemorates Jesus’ experience on Mount Tabor when his physical appearance became radiant as his connection with traditional Jewish holy figures became obvious to the disciples.
- St David’s Day (Christian). St David was a Celtic Christian saint who was known for his wisdom and missionary work. He is also known as the Dewi Saint and is the Patron saint of Wales.
- Mahashivratri (Hindu) day that honors Shiva, one of the Hindu deities.
- Shrove Tuesday (Christian) is the last day before Lent. Many people celebrate this day or days prior to it by having carnivals such as Mardi Gras held in France and Louisiana and by festivals in Germany and Latin America. In England it became known as “Shrove Tuesday” because people went to church to “shrove” or “confess” their sins.
- Ash Wednesday (Christian) observe this day to mark the beginning of the 40 day season of Lent; the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness. To show atonement and remorse ashes are marked on worshippers.
- Intercalary Days (Baha’i). It involves the insertion of days into the Baha’i calendar in order to maintain their solar calendar. This day is observed from February 26th to March 1st.
March is Women’s History Month: In 1987, March was declared the Women’s History Month, recognizing women from all walks of life regardless of their caste, color, creed, culture and age for their valuable contributions towards our shared history.
- Meatfare Sunday (Orthodox Christian) is two weeks before the start of Lent to prepare the faithful for the resurrection of Christ. This is the last day for the eating of meat before Lent.
- Cheesefare Sunday; also known as Forgiveness Sunday (Orthodox Christian). It is final day of Pre-Lent and orthodox Christians eat dairy products till Easter.
- Start of Nineteen Day Fast (Baha’i) fast from sunrise to sunset during this period till the 20th of March.
- Mothering Sunday (Christian). It is the fourth Sunday of lent.
- Four Chaplains Sunday (Christian and Jewish) celebrate the event that occurred during the Second World War in which four chaplains of Jewish and Christian traditions gave their life jackets to others as a troop ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Lent Begins (Clean Monday) – (Orthodox Christian) and is observed seven weeks before Orthodox Easter. It is also referred to as Clean Monday. This is the time for reflection and preparation for the Holy Week and Easter by fasting, giving charity and worshipping
- Magha Puja Day (Buddhist) This day marks an event early in the Buddha's teaching life when a group of 1,250 enlightened saints, ordained by the Buddha, gathered to pay their respects to him.
- St Piran’s Day (Christians). He is the patron saint of Cornwall and tin miners. He was of Irish descent and legend has it that he discovered the process for smelting tin.
- Women’s World Day of Prayers (Multi-faith) observance and has been a tradition since 1887, celebrated on the first Friday of March.
- Hina-Matsuri (The Festival of Dolls)- (Shinto) to celebrate and honor the daughters in the family
- Holi (Hindu) spring festival. It is celebrated with great fun and fervor and involves showering each other with color and merry making.
- Purim (Jews) mark the time when the Jewish community living in Persia were saved from genocide due to the because of the courage of a young Jewish woman named Esther. On Purim the Jewish indulge in extreme merry making, give out charity and share food with friends.
- Hola Mohalla; the day after Holi (Sikh) celebrate Hola Mohalla in which mock battles are fought and fêtes of martial arts are displayed along with religious discussions and music at Anand sahib.
- St Patrick’s Day (Christian) observance for St. Patrick’s is the patron saint of Ireland who brought Christianity to Ireland in the early days of the faith.
- St Joseph’s Day; also known as the Feast Of St. Joseph and in some churches as the Solemnity of Saint Joseph is celebrated in some Christian Churches to commemorate St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus.
- Eid Milad Un Nabi (Islam) commemoration of the birthday of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The Shia Muslims celebrate this day five days later.
- Spring Equinox – Eoster; is observed to celebrate the renewed life that comes with the arrival of spring.
- Nau Roz (Baha’i) New Year
- Shubun Sai (Equinox Day)- (Shinto); Spring Memorial Service is held at home altars to revere ancestors as kami. Gravesites are cleaned and purified.
- Memorial of Christ’s Death; this is the only religious festival celebrated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Christian); commemorates the angel Gabriel’s message to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the incarnation of Christ.
- Khordad Sal (Birth of Prophet Zaranhushtra); the birthday of Zoroaster, celebrated by the Zoroastrians according to the Fasli calendar. Also known as the Greater Nauroz.
- Ramanavami (Hindu) festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Rama. This day is celebrated by telling stories and going to the temple.
- Palm Sunday; celebrated by the Christians to commemorate the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem. It is the sixth and last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of the Holy Week.
- Bikarami Samvat (Varsha –Pratipada)- (Hindu) New Year celebrated particularly in South India. Diwali, another Hindu New Year, is the more popular in the UK.
- Maundy Thursday; Christians commemorate this day in honor of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as Eucharist
- Threvada New Year; celebrated by the Threvada Buddhists from the first full moon day in April for three days.
- Pesach (Jewish) Passover; a festival celebrated each spring to recall the Jew’s deliverance out of slavery in Egypt in 1300 BC. It is a celebration of freedom. The first two nights of Passover a traditional Sedar Meal is eaten and story is retold and passed down from generation to generation. This is an eight day celebration during which no bread or leavened food is eaten.
- Good Friday; celebrated by the Christians to commemorate the execution of Jesus by crucifixion and is observed on the Friday before Easter.
- Holy Saturday; celebrated by the Christians to mark the seventh and last day of the Holy Week. It is the last day before Easter.
- Easter Monday; is the day after Easter Sunday and is an official holiday in some Christian countries and in the state of North Carolina.
Vaisakhi also called Baisaki (Sikh) New Year festival, which also marks the founding of the Khalsa a distinctive Sikh brotherhood, founded by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
- Easter (Orthodox Christian) celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, his return from death after the crucifixion. It is considered to be the most important Christian festival.
- Ridvan (Baha’i)to commemorates the Bahaullah’s declaration of prophet hood. It is the most important event in the Baha’i calendar and is celebrated for twelve days with work being suspended on the 1st, 9th and 12th of the festival.
- Earth Day; first observed in the United States in the 1970’s it is celebrated to remind people of our environment and how our habits affect our environment.
- St. Georges Day; is the patron saint of England he is known for his martial valor and selflessness.
- Ridvan – 9th Day (Baha’i); commemorates the time when the Bahaullah’s family
- Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day); celebrates the day on which modern Israel became an independent state – May 14th, 1948.
Asian American Heritage Month
- Beltane (Norhtern Hemisphere Wiccan); Pagans celebrate the unison of the god and goddess which is believed to be the basis of all creation. This festival is celebrated with maypole dances.
- Somhain (Southern Hemisphere Wiccan); Pagans celebrate the unison of the god and goddess which is believed to be the basis of all creation. This festival is celebrated with maypole dances.
- Yom HaShoah; is the Holocaust Remembrance Day, a secular rather then a religious holiday established by the government of Israel. There are a variety of memorable observances both in Israel and the USA.
- Ridvan 12th Day (Baha’i); commemorates the time when Bahaullah’s family departed from the Garden of Ridvan.
- Birthday Of Guru Arjan Dev; the fifth of the Sikh Gurus (1563-1606)
- Cinco de Mayo; means the “The fifth of May” in Spanish. This day commemorates a battle that was won on this day in 1862 during the years that the Mexicans were struggling to drive foreign armies from the country and became an independent nation. In the USA this day is celebrated in a zesty spirit with parades, food, musical events and dances.
- Visakah Puja (Buddha Day); The holiest day of the Buddhist calendar, Visakha Puja marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha on the day of the full moon in May
- Mother’s Day; in 1872, Julia Ward Howe (author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) suggested this day be dedicated to peace. Mother’s Day meetings were held yearly in Boston Massachusetts on this day. In 1907 Ana Jarvis began a campaign to establish a National Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. It took four years and in 1911 it was proclaimed a national holiday. Countries celebrating Mother’s Day are the USA, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia and Belgium.
- Lag B'Omer (Jewish) observance to mark the thirty-third day of the counting of the Omer.
- Buddha Day – Vesak; is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar. This day commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.
- Ascension Day (Orthodox Christian) celebrate this day 40 days after Easter to commemorate the final earthly appearance of Jesus after his resurrection. The Christians believe that Jesus ascended into heaven.
- Corpus Christi - Catholic Christian; is celebrated in honor of the Eucharist.
- Declaration Of The Bab; Siyid’ Ali-Muhammad declared himself to be the Bab, or the Gate of God, on May 23rd, 1844. This date marks the beginning of the Baha’i faith, the Baha’i Era (B.E.) and the Baha’i calendar. School and work are suspended on this day.
- Memorial Day (USA); was first observed in 1868 to honor the dead of the Civil War. It has come to include lives lost in all the wars.
- Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i); death anniversary of Baha’u’llah. School and work are suspended.
- Shavuot (Jewish)observance to celebrate the giving of the Torah, God’s gift to the Jewish people, which is a guide for how to live in this world. It occurs seven weeks after Passover.
- Pentecost (Christian); is the seventh day after Easter. Celebrated by the Christians to commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples in the form of tongues of fire and rushing wind. A traditional day for baptism and confirmation of new Christians.
June is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Pride Month
- Flag Day (USA); is observed to celebrate the history and the symbolism of the American flag.
- Father’s Day (USA); the idea for creating a day for children to honor their father began in Spokane, Washington. A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, after her mother’s death, she wanted her father to know how special he was to her. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday.
- Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev (Nanakshahi Calendar) (Sikh); Guru Arjan Dev was the fifth Sikh guru and the first Sikh martyr. He was responsible for compiling all the writings of all the past gurus and formulating the Sikh Holy Scripture known as the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Juneteenth; also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day and is observed as a public holiday in fourteen states of the United States. This is an African –American celebration that honors the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas and Louisiana finally heard they were free, two months after the end of the Civil War. June 19th, therefore, became the day for independence for thousands of African Americans.
- Midsummer Eve Festivals; observed in Northern Europe and are Pagan in origin. Celebrated at the height of the brilliant northern summer before the first harvest, this has always been one of the most popular festivals in Northern Europe, especially in Sweden.
- Summer Solstice; is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and occurs on or around June 21-22nd.
- GLBT Pride Day (USA); this event emerged from the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, when patrons of a gay New York nightclub, The Stonewall Inn, resisted police attempt to raid the club.
- St Peter’s Day; observed by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to honor the disciple chosen by Jesus to give leadership to the church.
- Traditional Independence Day (USA); the Declaration of Independence was signed on this day in 1776. This document proclaimed the independence of the thirteen colonies from allegiance to the British Crown and the dissolution of all political ties with Great Britain.
- Asala – Dharma Day (Buddhist) commemorate the anniversary of the start of the Buddha’s teachings- his first sermon, “The Wheel of Truth”, after he achieved Nirvan
- Martyrdom of the Bab (Bahai); anniversary of the Bab’s execution in Tabriz, Iran in 1850.
- 17th Tammuz (Jewish) important day for fasting.
- Lailat Ul Mairaj; Islamic observance of Muhammad (pbuh) night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven.
- Lailat Ul Mairaj; Muslims commemorate this day to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven.
- Birthday of Haile Selassie I; Haile Selassie (Rastafari) was the Emperor of Ethiopia who the Rastas considered to be God and their Savior who would return to Africa the members of the black community who are living in exile. It marks Haile Selassie the Emperor of Ethiopia’s visit to Jamaica in 1966. The Rastafari movement surfaced in Jamaica among the peasant and working-class black people based on their belief that Haile Selassie was the Savior and that he will return to Africa the members of the black community that are living in exile. The Rastafari movement propagated through the interest in reggae music most notably that of Bob Marley the Jamaican born singer and song writer.
- Pioneer Day; observed by the Mormons to commemorate the arrival in 1847 of the first Latter Day Saints pioneer in Salt Lake Valley.
- Lughnasadh (Lammas) –(Wiccan) a Pagan harvest festival of Celtic origin that splits the year into four.
- Transfiguration (Orthodox Christian) celebration to commemorate the experience on Mt Tabor when Jesus' physical appearance became brilliant as his connection with traditional Jewish holy figures became evident to the disciples.
- National Night Out (USA) begun in 1998, is a fun and low-key way to fight crime by meeting your neighbors through a barbecue, ice cream social, or other function.
- Raksha Bandhan (Hindu) celebrates and honors the loving bond that exists between a brother and a sister.
- Lailat al Bara’t (Islam); celebrated as the night of forgiveness by the Muslims.
- Janmashtami (Krishna Jayanti)-(Hindu); celebrated and commemorates Krishna’s birthday; Krishna is the highest and most revered god in the Hindu religion.
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic) observance and commemoration of their belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus was taken body and soul into heaven.
- Dormition of The Theotokos (Orthodox Christian) commemorates and marks the death and burial of the Virgin Mary. Dormition means to “fall asleep.”
- Birthday Of Marcus Garvey (Rastafari) celebrated by the Rastas to commemorate the birthday of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican politician who foretold the crowning of a King in Africa, and instigated the 'Back to Africa' movement.
- Paryushana (Jain) celebrates the most revered festival comprising of eight or ten days of fasting and repentance.
- Ramadan (Islam) month of fasting begins
- Beheading Of John The Baptist (Christian) commemorates this day to remember the death of John the Baptist who is known to prepare the people so that they could recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
- Tisha B’ Av; observed by the Jewish to commemorate the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the years coincidentally on this day.
September is National Hispanic Heritage (Month-September 15-October 15). The proclamation for the United States to celebrate the contribution of Hispanics to our communities and country started with the observance of Hispanic Heritage Week in September of 1968. It wasn't until 1988 that Congress authorized the designation of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
- Labor Day (USA and Canada). The first Monday in September is celebrated with picnics and parades honoring workers in the two countries.
- Ecclesiastical (Orthodox Christian) Church Year begins.
- Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches mark this day to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Ethiopian New Year; Rastafarian celebrate their New Year on this date and believe that Ethiopia is their spiritual home; a place where they desire to return.
- Holy Cross Day (Christian) commemorates and recognizes the Cross on which Jesus was crucified as the main symbol of Christianity.
- Mexican Independence Day commemorates the 1810 revolution that ended Spanish dictatorship. The Independence Day festivities in Mexico begin at midnight on the day of the holiday. At that time, in villages, towns, and cities all over Mexico, the people gather at the "zocalo" or public square. There are bands playing and people throw confetti and wave flags. At midnight the president (or in small towns a local public official) reads the "Grito de Dolores" of Father Hidalgo, the organizer and principal leader of the rebellion against the Spaniards. The people chant the "Grito" after the president. He then rings the independence bell as fireworks light up the sky and the dancing and singing continues.
- Lailat Ul Qadr (Islam) celebrated by the Muslims in the last ten days of Ramadan to commemorate the first revelation of the Holy Quran. It is also known as the night when destinies are decided and Muslims pray to Allah for a good destiny.
- Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) (Jewish). A time of introspection, abstinence, prayer and repentance. The story of Abraham is read, the ram's horn is blown, and special foods are prepared and shared.
- International Day of Peace was first observed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.
- Eid Ul Fitr; Muslim celebration commemorating the ending of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Allah for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing finest clothing, saying prayers, and nurturing understanding with other religions.
- Mabon (Northern Hemisphere); Pagan commemoration of the autumnal equinox when day and night are of equal length, also celebrated as a time for harvest festivals.
- Ostara (Southern Hemisphere); Pagan celebration of welcoming of spring.
- National Native American Day (USA). Although not an official government holiday, most American Indian organizations and tribes do observe this holiday.
- Yom Kippur; celebrated by the Jewish as the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Also known as the Day of Atonement and is observed with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.
- Dussera (Dasera); celebrated by the Hindus to commemorate Rama’s victory over evil.
- Sukkot (Jewish); also known as the Feast of Tabernacles; celebrated by the Jewish to commemorate the years that the Jews spent in the desert en route to the Promised Land, and celebrates the way in which God took special care of them under difficult circumstances.
- Saint Francis Day; Christians celebrate St Francis Day to honor Saint Francis the founder of the Franciscan Monastic Order for his services to the people and for appreciation of the natural world.
- Shemini Atzeret: observed by the Jewish as the assembly of the eighth day. In Israel it is celebrate along with Simchat Torah.
- Columbus Day; (USA) recognizes the encounter of the New World in 1492 by Christopher Columbus.
- National Indigenous People's Day. In 1992, drums from across the USA and time zones coordinated ceremonies and observances at 12 p.m. to celebrate and honor 500 years of resistance and the survival of North American Indigenous people. From that day to the present Native Americans observe October 12 as Indigenous People's Day, not Columbus Day.
- National Coming Out Day (USA). On October 11, 1987, half a million people marched on Washington for gay and lesbian equality. This was the second such demonstration in our nation's capitol and the first display of the NAMES Project Quilt, remembering those who have died from AIDS. The momentum continued four months after this march as more than 100 gay, lesbian, and transgender activists from around the country gathered in Manassas, Virginia, about 25 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Recognizing that the GLBT community often reacted defensively to anti-gay actions, they came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of that march on Washington to mark it.
- Simchat Torah (Jewish); observance and commemorates the completion of the yearly cycle of weekly Torah readings. The literal translation of Simchat Torah is “Rejoicing in the Torah.”
- Diwali (Hindu, Jains and Sikh) celebrates the festival of lights. The most colorful and popular festival celebrated with great fervor by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.
- Reformation Day (Protestant Christian) marks the anniversary of their tradition and its emphasis on the place of the Bible and religious freedom.
- Birth Of the Bab; observed by the Bahia to celebrate the birthday of the founder of the Bahia faith.
- Hallowe’en; celebrated by the Christians as the night before All Saints Day (All Hallows Day.) This tradition dates back over 2000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
- Hallowe’en; celebrated by the Pagan as the Feast of the Dead. Pagans also celebrate it to commemorate the Celtic New Year.
- Dia de los Muertos (All Saints' Day) is a national holiday in Mexico and is also celebrated in parts of the USA. Mexicans regard this annual holiday as a happy occasion that reunites them with the souls of loved ones. This two-day celebration honors the souls of dead children on November 1 and honors the souls of older relatives and friends on November 2. Families decorate tombs in the graveyard and home altars with toys, favorite foods, flowers, bread figures, incense burners, and elaborately fashioned candlesticks. On the morning of the second day people gather in graveyards and serenade the spirits with brass bands and mariachi music. The dead are never forgotten because once a year they are honored during this annual holiday.
- All Saints Day; celebrated by the Anglican and Roman catholic Christians to honor all known and unknown saints.
- All Souls Day (Catholic and the Anglo Catholic) to honor the faithful departed by praying for the souls of people who are in Purgatory. All Souls' Day is celebrated on 3 November if the 2nd is a Sunday.
- Coronation of Emperor Haile Sailasse I; Rastafari celebrate the coronation of Haile Sailasse the Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastas trust Haile Selassie is God, and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile.
- Remembrance Sunday; a multi faith celebration observed on the second Sunday of November and is marked by ceremonies at war memorials and cenotaphs to remember those who gave their lives in fighting.
- Armistice Day; is celebrated on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to commemorate the ending of the First World War that ended in 1918. Also known as Veterans’ Day.
- Birth of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i); the members of the Baha’i faith celebrate the birthday of the founder of the Baha’i religion.
- Christ the King (Christian)s celebrate the preeminence of Jesus over all earthly authorities.
- Martydrom of Guru Tegh Bahadur; the Sikh commemorate the martyrdom of their ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur.
- Hajj (Islam)the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah; observed by the Muslims as the festival of sacrifice marking the day after Arafat. The Day of Arafat is the most important day in the Hajj ritual. This is a four day holiday in Islamic countries
- Day of Covenant; Baha’is celebrate the covenant of Baha'u'llah. Baha'is also celebrates the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on this day.
- Thanksgiving; celebrated in the USA to commemorate the first Thanksgiving that was celebrated by the people of the Wampanog Tribe and the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in 1621.
- Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha (Baha’i) marks the death of the son of Baha'u'lláh.
- Saint Andrews Day; is celebrated in honor of Saint Andrews, the patron saint of Scotland, Greece and Russia.
- Advent Sunday; Christians prepare to celebrate for the birth of Jesus. Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30 and is the beginning of the Christian worship year. This festival is marked by lighting candles, laying wreaths and special advent ceremonies and these celebrations continue till December 24th.
- World AIDS Day has become an annual day of recognition of AIDS—to remember those who have died, to acknowledge the need for continued commitment to care for those who are HIV/AIDS positive and to support the research to find a cure.
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception; celebrated by the Roman Catholics to commemorate the Virgin Mary’s conception as being without sin and therefore immaculate.
- Bodhi Day; observed by the Buddhists to commemorate Gautama's attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India.
- International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948, commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Feast day - Our Lady of Guadalupe; observed by the Catholic Christians commemorating the legendary appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 c.e.
- Advent Fast Begins (Orthodox Christian).
- Hanukkah (Jewish) also known as the Festival of Lights is an eight-day festival recalling the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom and the rededication of the temple after recapturing it from the Syrians. Each evening candles are lit on the "menorah" (candelabra), adding one candle each night. Hanukkah is a time for playing games ("dreidel" or a spinning top is a popular Hanukkah game) and singing, for visiting and for giving gifts
- Saint Lucy’s Day; Roman Catholics and Greek orthodox Christians commemorate Saint Lucy the patron saint of the blind on this day. She was a virgin martyr who lived in Sicily in the third century.
December 16th – 24th
- Las Posadas (Mexico-Christian) includes processions and parties reenacting Joseph and Mary's journey to B ethlehem.
- Muharram (Islam); Islamic New Year. Also marks the migration of Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Makkah to Medina.
- Winter Solstice or the first day of winter occurs on or around December 22. This is the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Yule (Christian); Yule (Wicca-northern hemisphere); Litha (Wicca-southern hemisphere)
- Christmas Eve; the day before Christmas.
- Christmas (Christian) is the day associated with Jesus' birth. It is celebrated on December 25 by Western churches and on January 7 the following year by Eastern Orthodox Churches.
- Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga, an African world scholar, in 1966. It is based on the agricultural celebrations of Africa called "the first fruits" celebrations, which are times of harvest, gathering, reverence, commemoration, and recommitment. Therefore, Kwanzaa is a time for achievements, reverence for the Creator and creation, commemoration of the past, recommitment to cultural ideals, and celebration of the good. Kwanza, a Swahili word, means "first," Kwanzaa, spelled with the double vowel at the end of the word, refers to the holiday. NOTE: Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one, thus available to and practiced by Africans of all religious faiths.
- Watch Night (Christian)