With October coming to a close, that means the end of Diversity Awareness Month. Diversity Awareness Month is one that you don’t hear of too often. Many people of many different backgrounds live in the United States, and we must try and observe the holidays that other countries do. There is a saying that the U.S. is a melting pot of cultures, so here is a little information of the different holidays of different cultures that you probably had no idea about.
January 15: World Religion Day This is reserved by people of the Baha’i faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding.
February is Black History Month celebrated in the United States and Canada. It was first observed in 1976 and has gone on every February since.
February 1: National Freedom Day This day celebrates the signing of the thirteenth amendment that abolished slavery in the United States in 1865.
February 15: Nirvana Day The commemoration of Buddha’s death. He died at the age of 80 and was the founder of Buddhism.
March is Women’s History Month which was first observed in 1987. March is also National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
March 8: International Women’s Day. It was first observed in 1911 in Germany and spread globally.
March 11: Purim It is a Jewish celebration that celebrates when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide.
March 13: Holi A spiritual festival celebrated by the Hindu people. They have bonfires throughout the day and throw colored powder and water at each other.
April 5: Ram Navani Hindus worship and celebrate the seventh avatar of Vishnu (Lord Rama). Devotees typically wear red and place flowers on the shrine of the God.
April 21: Day of Silence Students take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment.
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo Commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). This day celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, including parades and mariachi music performances.
May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development A day set aside by the United Nations as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on the world
June 15: Native American Citizenship Day. This observance commemorates the day in 1924 when the United States Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans.
June 19: Juneteenth (a.k.a.) Freedom Day or Emancipation Day It is observed as a public holiday in 14 U.S. states. This celebration 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 19, therefore, became the day of emancipation for thousands of Blacks.
July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day Launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN 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 when he said “It is in your hands now”.
July 30: International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
August 17: Marcus Garvey Day 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 26: Women’s Equality Day Commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution that gave women the right to vote.
From September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.
September 5: Buddhist Ghost Festival aka Hungry Ghost Festival Ancestral worship by those practicing Taoism, where street, market, and temple ceremonies take place.
September 28: Teacher’s Day Taiwan uses this day 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.
October 9: Canadian Thanksgiving It is a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.
October 23: Ashura A holiday recognized by Muslims to mark the martyrdom of Hussain. It also commemorates the day Noah left the ark and Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.
November 11: Veterans Day An annual 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 the first World War in 1918.
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 Day at Our Lady of Guadalupe This day commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.
December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa An African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage
These holidays change dates each year, but now you know a little more about the holidays and cultures of other countries.