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Events and Holiday Schedule

Diversity Calendar 2021

July

July 1: Canada Day, or Fête du Canada, is a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act, which established the three former British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as a united nation called Canada.

July 4: Independence Day (also known as the Fourth of July), a United States federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The original 13 American colonies declared independence from Britain and established themselves as a new nation known as the United States of America.

July 8-9 (sundown to sundown): The Martyrdom of the Bab, a day when Bahá’ís observe the anniversary of the Báb’s execution in Tabriz, Iran, in 1850. July 11: St. Benedict Day, the feast day of St. Benedict celebrated by some Christian denominations.

July 11: World Population Day, an observance established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of global population issues.

July 14: International Non-Binary People’s Day, aimed at raising awareness and organizing around the issues faced by non-binary people around the world while celebrating their contributions.

July 14: Bastille Day, a French federal holiday that commemorates the Storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris that held political prisoners who had displeased the French nobility. The Storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789, was regarded as a turning point of the French Revolution. Celebrations are held throughout France.

July 15: St. Vladimir of the Great Day, feast day for St. Vladimir celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

July 17: The Hajj, annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, required by all able Muslims at least once in their lifetime

July 17-18: Tisha B'Av, a fast in commemoration of the destruction of two holy and sacred temples of Judaism destroyed by the Babylonians (in 586 B.C.E) and Romans (in 70 C.E.). At the Tisha B’Av, after select passages from the Torah are read and understood, netilat yadayim, or the washing of the hands, is performed.

July 18-19 (sundown to sundown): Waqf al Arafa, the second day of pilgrimage within the Islamic faith.

July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day, launched on July 18, 2009, in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday via unanimous decision of the U.N. General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices: “It is in your hands now.” It is more than a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and to change the world for the better.

July 19-20 (sundown to sundown): Eid al-Adha, an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Muslims around the world observe this event.

July 23: The birthday of Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia whom the Rastafarians consider to be their savior.

July 24: Asalha Puja, or Dharma Day, is a celebration of Buddha’s first teachings.

July 24: Pioneer Day, observed by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to commemorate the arrival in 1847 of the first Latter-day Saint pioneers in Salt Lake Valley.

July 25: St. James the Greater Day, feast day for St. James the Greater celebrated by some Christian denominations.

July 26: Disability Independence Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

July 30: International Day of Friendship, proclaimed in 2011 by the U.N. General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

August

August 1: Lammas, a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest within some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

August 1: Lughnasadh, a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season.

August 1: Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus, beginning of the 14-day period of preparation for Orthodox Christians leading up to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

August 6: Transfiguration of the Lord (Feast of the Transfiguration), celebrated by various Christian denominations, the feast day is dedicated to the transfiguration of Jesus.

August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, celebrates unique cultures of indigenous people world wide

August 10: Hijri New Year, the day that marks the beginning of the new Islamic calendar year.

August 13: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Black women and White men. Black women are paid 62 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

August 15: Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, as well as parts of Anglicanism, the day commemorates the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life.

August 15: Dormition of the Theotokos, a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches that commemorates the "falling asleep," or death, of Mary the Theotokos ("Mother of God") and her bodily resurrection before ascending into heaven.

August 17: Marcus Garvey Day, which celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist who is revered by Rastafarians. Garvey is credited with starting the Back to Africa movement, which encouraged those of African descent to return to the land of their ancestors during and after slavery in North America.

August 18-19 (sundown to sundown): Ashura, an Islamic holiday commemorating the day Noah left the ark and the day Allah saved Moses from the Egyptians.

August 22: Obon (Ullambana), a Buddhist festival and Japanese custom for honoring the spirits of ancestors.

August 22: Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu holiday commemorating the loving kinship between a brother and sister. “Raksha” means “protection” in Hindi and symbolizes the longing a sister has to be protected by her brother. During the celebration, a sister ties a string around her brother’s (or brother-figure’s) wrist and asks him to protect her. The brother usually gives the sister a gift and agrees to protect her for life.

August 22: Hungry Ghost Festival, a Chinese holiday where street, market, and temple ceremonies take place to honor dead ancestors and appease other spirits.

August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and the anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean.

August 26: Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920, certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. Congresswoman Bella Abzug first introduced a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day in 1971. Since that time, every president has published a proclamation recognizing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

August 29-30: Krishna Janmashtami, a Hindu celebration of Lord Vishnu’s most powerful human incarnations, Krishna, the god of love and compassion. Celebrations include praying and fasting.

 

September

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

 

National Recovery Month, increases the awareness of substance abuse disorders and celebrates recovery.

September 4-11: Paryushana Parva, a Jain festival lasting about eight to ten days that is observed through meditation and fasting. Its main focus is spiritual upliftment, pursuit of salvation and a deeper understanding of the religion.

September 6: Labor Day in the United States. Labor Day honors the contribution that laborers have made to the country and is observed on the first Monday of September.

September 6-8 (sundown to sundown): Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, marking the creation of the world.

September 10: Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu holiday lasting around 10 days, where the elephant-headed Hindu God is praised and given offerings.

September 11: Beheading of St. John the Baptist, a holy day observed by various Christian churches that follow liturgical traditions. The day commemorates the martyrdom by the beheading of St. John the Baptist on the orders of Herod Antipas through the vengeful request of his stepdaughter, Salome, and her mother.

September 11: Ethiopian New Year. Rastafarians celebrate the New Year on this date and believe that Ethiopia is their spiritual home.

September 15-16 (sundown to sundown): Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day of atonement marked by fasting and ceremonial repentance.

September 18: International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time in September 2020, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations’ commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls.

September 20: HeForShe, promotes gender equality, initiated by the United Nations

September 20-27: Sukkot, a seven-day Jewish festival giving thanks for the fall harvest.

September 22: Autumnal Equinox, a time for various religious observances worldwide.

September 22: Ostara Mabon, a celebration of the vernal equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans.

September 24: Native American Day, a Federal holiday observed annually on the fourth Friday in September in the state of California and Nevada and on the second Monday in October in South Dakota and Oklahoma, United States.

September 27: Elevation of the Life Giving Cross (Holy Cross), a day that commemorates the cross used in the Crucifixion of Jesus in some Christian denominations.

September 27: Meskel, religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches that commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress, Helena, in the fourth century.

September 27-29 (sundown to sundown): Shemini Atzeret, a Jewish holiday also known as The Eighth (Day) of Assembly, takes place the day after the Sukkot festival, where gratitude for the fall harvest is deeply internalized.

September 28: Teacher’s Day in Taiwan. This day is used to honor teachers’ contributions to their students and to society in general. People often express their gratitude to their teachers by paying them a visit or sending them a card. This date was chosen to commemorate the birth of Confucius, the model master educator in ancient China.

September 28-29 (sundown to sundown): Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday, marks the end of the weekly readings of the Torah. The holy book is read from chapter one of Genesis to Deuteronomy 34 and then back to chapter one again, in acknowledgement of the words of the Torah being a circle, a never-ending cycle.

September 29: Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, is a minor Christian festival dedicated to Archangel Michael that is observed in some Western liturgical calendars.

 

October

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.

October is LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay-rights movement.

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a month to celebrate and increase awareness about the diversity of cultures and ethnicities and the positive impact diversity can have on society.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October is National Polish-American Heritage Month.

October 1: The beginning of Black History Month in the UK, Ireland, and The Netherlands.

October 1: Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Native American women and White men. Native American women are paid 57 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

October 4: St. Francis Day, feast day for St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment, celebrated by many Catholic denominations.

October 4: Blessing of the Animals, in congruence with St. Francis Day. Many Unitarian Universalists have picked up on the Catholic tradition of blessing animals, particularly pets, as St. Francis was known for his special connection to animals.

October 6-14: Navaratri, the nine-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It worships God in the form of the universal mother commonly referred to as Durga, Devi or Shakti, and marks the start of fall.

October 10: World Mental Health Day. First celebrated in 1993, this day is meant to increase public awareness about the importance of mental health, mental health services, and mental health workers worldwide.

October 11: National Coming Out Day (U.S.). For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

October 11: Canadian Thanksgiving, a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.

October 11: National Indigenous Peoples Day, an alternative celebration to Columbus Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.

October 15: Dasara, Dussehra, or Vijayadashami, in the eastern and northeastern states of India, marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga's victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to help restore dharma.

October 16: Milvian Bridge Day, a one-day festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia. It is the only day of the year people can BASE jump off a bridge into New River Gorge.

October 18-19 (sundown to sundown): Eid Milad un-Nabi, an Islamic holiday commemorating the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. During this celebration, homes and mosques are decorated, large parades take place, and those observing the holiday participate in charity events.

October 19: Mawlid Al-Nabi, the observance of the birthday of Islam founder Prophet Muhammad, celebrated during the month of Rabiulawal, the third month of the Muslim calendar. Shi’a Muslims celebrate it five days later than Sunni Muslims.

October 20: Sikh Holy Day, the day Sikhs celebrate Sri Guru Granth Sahib, their spiritual guide.

October 20: International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Each year it is held on the third Wednesday of October.

October 21: Spirit Day, observers wear purple to support LGBTQ youth and prevent bullying.

October 29: Latinx Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Latinx women and White men. Latinx women are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

October 31: All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), a celebration observed in a number of countries on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed.

October 31: Reformation Day, a Protestant Christian religious holiday celebrated alongside All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) during the triduum of Allhallowtide in remembrance of the onset of the Reformation.

October 31-November 1 (sundown to sundown): Samhain, a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year.

November

November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, proclaimed in 2012 by Former President Barack Obama. It honors the more than 40 million caregivers across the country who support aging parents, ill spouses or other loved ones with disabilities who remain at home.

November is Movember, an annual event involving the growing of mustaches during the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.

November 1: All Saints’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all known and unknown Christian saints. (In Eastern Christianity, the day is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost.)

November 2: All Souls’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all faithful Christians who are now dead. In the Mexican tradition, the holiday is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos (October 31- November 2), which is a time of remembrance for dead ancestors and a celebration of the continuity of life.

November 4: Diwali, the Hindu, Jain and Sikh five-day festival of lights celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and lightness over darkness.

November 5-6 (sundown to sundown): Birth of Báb, a Bahá’í holiday celebrating the birth of the prophet Báb.

November 6-7 (sundown to sundown): The birth of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í religion.

November 11: Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans. The date is also celebrated as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, in other parts of the world and commemorates the ending of World War I in 1918.

November 16: International Day for Tolerance, promotes respect for diverse religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities.

November 16: Dutch American Heritage Day

November 19: International Men’s Day emphasizes the important issues affecting males, including health issues that affect males, improving the relations between genders, highlighting the importance of male role models and promoting gender equality. This holiday is celebrated in over 70 countries.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

November 21: Feast of Christ the King, a Catholic holiday established in thanking God for the gift of time and a rededication to the Christian faith.

November 25: Thanksgiving in the United States. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

November 26: Native American Heritage Day, held annually the Friday after Thanksgiving, encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe and honor Native Americans through appropriate ceremonies and activities. The day was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2008.

November 28-December 6: Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, or Israelites, over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus, approximately 2,200 years ago.

November 28-January 6: Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus.

November 28- December 24 Advent, a Christian season of celebration leading up to the birth of Christ.

November 30: St. Andrew’s Day, the feast day for St. Andrew within various Christian denominations.

 

December

December 1: World AIDS Day, commemorating those who have died of AIDS, and to acknowledge the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

December 8: Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn celebration, by various Christian denominations, of belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

December 8: Bodhi Day, the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali.

December 10: International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious holiday in Mexico commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.

December 13: St. Lucia’s Day, a religious festival of light in Scandinavia and Italy commemorating the martyrdom of St. Lucia, a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith in 304 C.E. She secretly brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome while wearing a wreath of candles on her head so both her hands would be free.

December 16-24: Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating the trials Mary and Joseph endured during their journey to Bethlehem.

December 21: Yule Winter Solstice, celebrated by Pagans and Wiccans. The shortest day of the year represents a celebration focusing on rebirth, renewal and new beginnings as the sun makes its way back to the Earth. A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky.

December 25: Christmas Day, the day that many Christians associate with Jesus’ birth.

December 26: Boxing Day, a secular holiday celebrated in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa.

December 26-January 1: Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.

December 26: Zartosht No-Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra), a day of remembrance in the Zoroastrian religion. It is a commemoration of the death anniversary of the prophet Zoroaster, or Zarathushtra.

December 26: St. Stephen’s Day, a day to commemorate St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, or protomartyr.

December 26: Feast of the Holy Family, a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus, his mother and his foster father, St. Joseph as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.

December 27: St. John’s Day, Apostle and Evangelist, feast day for St. John, celebrated by Christian denominations.

December 28: Feast of the Holy Innocents, a Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus.

December 31: Watch Night, a day for Christians to review the year that has passed, make confessions, and then prepare for the year ahead by praying and resolving.