Diversity Calendar 2017: Multicultural Holidays for Inclusive Companies (IMG)

What is your motivation for seeking a diversity calendar? To make your company more diverse and inclusive? To become a more well-rounded, accepting person overall? To join a particular movement, or reduce the racial wealth gap?

Whatever your motivation, We the People appreciate you wanting to know what other cultures and societal groups find important.

For Excellent Presence, factoring in background and culture are critical in the work we do to help your B2C company define, understand, attract, and better serve your own ideal client.

What are their Ideal Clients‘ worldviews, passions, hopes, and fears?

What keeps them up at night?

What days of the year are special to them, and why?

This article speaks to the latter specifically, and will hopefully be immensely valuable to your inclusive company when deciding how to celebrate diversity in the workplace.

To suggest a new date for this list, please submit it as a comment. Please don’t write us directly. This list is a labor of love, maintained by one lone (marginalized) Change Agent. (The owner.)


Every year-end, if this calendar isn’t updated by January 1, I get inundated with private update requests and comments about how useful it’s been to your work.

I appreciate your appreciation!

Could I ask for your help?

It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain this very complete, no-cost resource by myself throughout the year. In recent years, I’ve found myself struggling to update it each December/January.

I don’t want to have to abandon it.

If this list helps YOU, won’t you please consider donating to help me keep it updated? I appreciate any amount you feel led to offer. ♥

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We focused on cultural and religious holidays, primarily those recognized in the U.S., but also others important to the history of an ethnic group.

Most are relevant to Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, people with disabilities, women, and non-Christian religious groups BECAUSE these are American society’s outliers. But there are a wide range of others provided, like those relevant to Native Americans, Islamic culture, and more.

To add other “outlier” holidays to this list, please leave your submission in the comments rather than writing us directly. This free list is updated once yearly.

Whether you’re seeking to complete a diversity and inclusion calendar for your company, or simply to learn more about holidays of different cultures, there are a wealth of dates important to both religious and ethnic minorities in the U.S., and the people who want to honor them.

The one-page format saves you the frustration of paging slowly through, month by month, like on a typical calendar. (Especially useful on mobile!)

Instead, diversity holidays are listed here by category.

Within each category, they’re then organized by month and day for easy chronological use.

We hope this helps you quickly find the most relevant dates to your life, research, or organization.

As comprehensive and accurate as we’ve tried to make it, this list is intended as a quick reference, not a diversity holiday “bible.” So if you have time, you might like to do additional research to better understand a date’s significance.

For your convenience, we’ve provided the general significance of each special date, plus a bit of info on some of its more common religious cultural celebrations. (It may be a good idea to briefly cross-reference dates with official sources, as you’ll see that several change from year to year.)

Even so, this list of cultural diversity holidays and special dates can be a great way to start a conversation with someone of a different background.

Be sure to bookmark this page to refer to often!

Diversity Holidays by Category

Our one-page blog format saves you the frustration of paging slowly through, month by month, like you would on a typical calendar. (Especially useful on mobile!)

Instead, diversity holidays are listed here by category.

Then, within each category, they’re organized by month for easy chronological use.

We hope this helps you quickly find the most relevant dates to your life, research, or organization.

Help Me Keep this List Updated?


General Diversity Holidays

April is Celebrate Diversity Month. It was started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each other.

May 21 is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day set aside by the United Nations in 2001  as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.

October brings Global Diversity Awareness Month to remind us of the positive impact a diverse workforce of men and women can have on a society.

October 3 through October 7, 2022 (the first full week of October) marks National Diversity Week, founded in 1998 to raise awareness about the diversity which has shaped, and continues to shape, the United States. It’s celebrated on a city- or company-wide scale across the U.S., though some organizations observe it at other times of the year.

October 17, 2022 (every third Monday in October) is Multicultural Diversity Day, a national day created by Cleorah Scruggs, a fourth-grade teacher in Flint, Michigan, the day was adopted as a national event by the NEA’s 1993 Representative Assembly to “increase awareness of the tremendous need to celebrate our diversity collectively.”

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Black/African American Holidays

  • January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
  • January 1 is the Emancipation Proclamation anniversary. 
  • January 5 is George Washington Carver Day.
  • The 3rd Monday in January is Martin Luther King Day.
  • February is Black History Month.
  • February 4 is Rosa Parks Day.
  • February 14 is Frederick Douglass Day.
  • March 5 is Crispus Attucks Day, or Boston Massacre Day.
  • March 10 is Harriet Tubman Day.
  • March 16 marks publication of the First Black Newspaper in America.
  • March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
  • April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day.
  • April 16 is Emancipation Day.
  • May 17 is the Anniversary of the School Desegregation Ruling.
  • The 3rd Sunday in May is “Malcolm X Day”.
  • May 25 is African Liberation Day. 
  • June is African American Music Appreciation Month.
  • The 2nd second Sunday in June is the “Odunde Festival,” or African New Year
  • June 12 is Loving Day.
  • June 19 is Juneteenth, (AKA “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day”).
  • June 23 is Birthday of Haile Selassie (Rastafari).
  • July 18 is Nelson Mandela International Day.
  • July 19 is the Maafa Commemoration. 
  • August 13 is the date in 1920 that the red, black, and green Pan-African flag was formally adopted.
  • August 17 is Marcus Garvey Day.
  • September 11 (or, during Leap Year, September 12) is Enkutatash, or the Ethiopian New Year. 
  • September 25 is when school desegregation came to Little Rock, AR
  • October 1 is Jerry Rescue Day
  • October 2 marks the date Thurgood Marshall was sworn into the Supreme Court. 
  • October 3 marks the date Frank Robinson was signed as Major League Manager. 
  • October 17 is Black Poetry Day, observed annually. 
  • The 4th Sunday in November is Umoja Karamu Celebration.
  • December 1 is Rosa Parks Day.
  • December 2 is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
  • December 26-January 1 is Kwanzaa.

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Hispanic/Latino American Holidays

February 25 to April 16, 2022 are festivities celebrating Carnaval Miami, a several-day festival in Miami. Events span multiple days and often multiple blocks, and has drawn up to 1 million people in previous years. It may include cultural events such as fishing or domino tournaments, soccer tournaments, cooking contests, a 10K, the “Miss Carnaval Miami” beauty pageant, domino competitions, and more. It was started 40+ years ago by a group of young Cuban-Americans as a goodwill gesture, as waves of immigrants fled Fidel Castro’s Communist regime to Miami. Money raised on non-free events is reinvested to support the local culture, i.e., student scholarships.

March 31 is Cesar Chavez holiday in California, Arizona and Texas. This holiday, proclaimed by President Obama in 2014, honors the Mexican-American labor and civil rights activist who gained attention in the 1960s as the leader of the United Farm Workers. His non-violent advocacy approach earned him worldwide respect. California, Arizona and Texas have made the day a state holiday, while other states are still considering doing so.

April 30 is El Día de los Niños. This special day, originating in Mexico, celebrates the importance of children. This Latin American tradition is now recognized in the U.S., often as a day to celebrate children, families, and literacy. While Children’s Day is not an official holiday in Mexico (school is in session), it’s generally a day filled with festivities designed to help children feel special.

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo originating from Mexico. It marks the defeat of the French army during the Battle of Puebla (Batalla de Puebla) in Mexico on May 5, 1862, but is actually considered to be relatively minor to native Mexican history, and is really only celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla. In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is celebrated to commemorate Mexican culture and heritage, chiefly in cities and towns with large Mexican populations, such as Denver, CO, Portland, OR, and Chicago, IL, and is recognized with parades, food, music, and dancing. (NOTE: Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day, as many Americans believe. Mexican Independence Day is September 16, one of their most important national holidays.)

May 10 is Dia de las Madres (Mothers’ Day), observed on this date in Mexico and other Latin-American countries. The first official Mother’s’ Day celebration in Mexico was held on May 10, 1922.

June 10 to June 12, 2022 (second weekend of June) holds events associated with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, chiefly in New York City, but now recognized in various other U.S. locations. The parade, held on the second Sunday in June, starts on Fifth Avenue on 44th Street and goes up to 86th Street. It continues to have tremendous attendance, now more than ever due to Puerto Rican Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, an influential figure who grew up in the projects in the Bronx. Judge Sotomayor managed to attend Princeton and Yale, going on to become one of the most successful Hispanic women to date in the judicial field in the U.S.

June 19 – 24 is Les Fogueres de Sant Joan (“Bonfires of Saint John”), is a Spanish festival dedicated to fire. It includes events such as the proclamation (The Pregón), the setting up of the bonfires (the Plantà), the procession of the effigies (Cabalgata del Ninot), and parades and processions in different neighborhoods of Alicante in Spain. The main event on the 24th of June is the feast day of Saint John Baptist, when large satirical statues made of cardboard and wood are set alight.

August 15 is Asuncion de la Virgen (the Feast of the Assumption), celebrated by Catholics in Spanish-speaking countries. It celebrates the belief in Mary’s ascending to heaven. This holiday has been celebrated since the 18th century and is also known as the Virgen de la Paloma. Many churches will present a statue of Mary on the altar and then have a procession on the streets that are filled with music, dance and a feast of local delicacies. You may even hear fireworks either in the day or the evening.

September 15–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 16 is Mexican Independence Day. The day commemorates Sept. 16, 1810, when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla urged Mexicans to rise up against the Spanish-born ruling class.

Oct 12 is Día de la Hispanidad (Spain), or Spanish National Day. This date (“Columbus Day,” U.S.), remembers the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America, a day with complex controversial meanings. Hispanics in the U.S. are split on their political feelings about the holiday. In most Spanish-speaking countries, it is celebrated as Dia de la Raza (Mexico), Día de las Culturas (Costa Rica), to celebrate the contributions of the country’s indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian cultures. Latin Americans celebrate October 12 under many different names, including Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity (Argentina), Decolonization Day (Bolivia), Day of Interculturality and Plurinationality (Ecuador), Day of Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue (Peru), and Indigenous Resistance Day (Venezuela). October 12th is not recognized as a holiday in Cuba.

November 1 mainly as Día de los Santos Inocentes (“Holy Innocents Day”), but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”), celebrated in Mexico, Central America. It is an observance festivity to celebrate and honor one’s ancestors, specifically children and infants. It’s based on the belief that there is an interaction between the living world and the world of spirits.

November 2 is Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”), celebrated in Mexico, Central America. In most regions of Mexico, November 2 is to honor deceased adults. On the Día de los Muertos, the almas, or the spirits of the dead, are said to come back for family reunions. Many celebrate setting up ofrendas (altars) in their homes to honor the memory of deceased loved ones and to welcome their visiting souls. Others visit their loved one’s cemetery plot and decorate it with flowers, candles and food. The holiday is celebrated with family and community gatherings, music, and feasting, and the festivity of its observance acknowledges death as an integral part of life.

December 6 is Día de la Con­stitu­ción (Constitution Day), which marks the an­niversary of a ref­er­en­dum held in Spain on Decem­ber 6, 1978, in which a new con­sti­tu­tion was ap­proved for Spain. This was an im­port­ant step in Spain’s transition to be­com­ing a con­sti­tu­tional mon­archy and demo­cracy.

Decem­ber 8 is La In­macu­lada Con­cep­ción de la Vir­gen María (the Holy­day Day of Ob­lig­a­tion of the Im­macu­late Con­cep­tion of Mary). It celebrates December 8, 1854, when Pope Pius IX is­sued a doc­u­ment stat­ing the im­port­ance of the Im­macu­late Con­cep­tion in the Cath­olic Church. The Feast of the Im­macu­late Con­cep­tion refers to the be­lief that Je­sus’s mother Mary was con­ceived without sin, and that God chose her to be Je­sus’s mother.

December 12 is Feast Day at Our Lady of Guadalupe. This day commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.

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

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Holidays for Women

February 6 is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day that marks part of the UN’s efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. About 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM and 3 million girls are at risk each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). FGM relates to all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. This practice is an abuse of human rights and causes serious health complications, including fatal bleeding.

February 12 is the International Day of Action on Women’s Health, which focuses on protecting the sexual and reproductive health of women.

March is Women’s History Month. an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated in March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8.

March 8 is International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany. In August 1910, an International Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual International Women’s Day and was seconded by fellow socialist and later communist leader Clara Zetkin. It has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements.

March 10 marks the annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). Since the inception of this day in 2005, NWHAAD’s goal has been to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves and their partners from HIV. This day brings organizations and communities together to help women and girls protect themselves from HIV through prevention, testing and treatment.

June 23 is International Widows Day, an annual global awareness day launched by the United Nations in 2010 to raise awareness of the violation of human rights that widows suffer in many countries, following the death of their spouses. This day is also an opportunity for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows -– too long invisible, uncounted, and ignored.

August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which 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.

September 18, 2022 (third Sunday in September) is National Women’s Friendship Day. It was created by women, and for women — by the Kappa Delta Sorority in 1999. The objective of this day is to promote special friendship among women.

September 22 is American Business Women’s Day, observed annually. It is a day set aside to honor and reflect on the contributions and accomplishments of the millions of women in the workforce and the millions of women business owners in the U.S.

October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child. The main aims of the day are to promote girls’ empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights, while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face. The celebration of the day also “reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning, and research.”

October 15 is the International Day of Rural Women, the first of which was observed in 2008. This new international day, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 12/18/07, recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security, and eradicating rural poverty.” It is purposely held the day before World Food Day in order to highlight the role played by rural women in food production and food security.

October 29 marks the date that the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 to take action to bring about equality for all women. The foundation focuses on a broad range of women’s rights issues, including economic justice, pay equity, racial discrimination, women’s health & body image, women with disabilities, reproductive rights & justice, family law, marriage & family formation rights of same-sex couples, representation of women in the media, and global feminist issues.

November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, designated in 1999 by the UN General Assembly. At least 1 out of every 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her.

November 25 to December 10, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. (You’ll notice that the beginning of the 16 days is actually Int’l Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the final day is Human Rights Day.)

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Holidays for Persons with Disabilities

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. It which was established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

March is National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month. It was established to raise public awareness of the autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and assist those with multiple sclerosis in making informed decisions about their health care.

March 13 – April 15 is Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

April is Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s normal development of social and communication skills.

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), created to raise awareness of the developmental disorder around the globe. WAAD was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health priority.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month (also referred to as “Mental Health Month”). Observed in the month of May in the U.S. since 1949, it reaches millions of people through media, local events, and screenings to raise awareness about mental illness and related issues in the States.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, begun to raise awareness about communication disorders and promote treatment to improve quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing.

May 9 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

May 30 is World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Day. World MS Day is officially marked on 30 May each year to bring the global MS community together to share stories, raise awareness, and campaign with and for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis. Events and campaigns take place throughout the month of May.

July 26 is Disability Independence Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act provides protection from employment discrimination as well as better access to goods, services, and communications for people with disabilities.

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.

December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). Since 1992, the United Nations’ IDPD has been celebrated globally each year on 3 December to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities (PwD). It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of PwD in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life. Each year the day focuses on a different issue.

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Islamic Holidays

Note: The dates differ from region to region, as they are calculated based on the New Moon.

March 28 to March 29, 2021 is Laylat al-Bara’ah (also known as the Night of Records and the Night of Forgiveness), commemorating when God descends from heaven and forgives the people of their sins. For that reason, Muslims spend the night in prayer, and fast the next day.

April 12 to May 12, 2021 is Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Each year, Ramadan starts approximately 10 to 11 days earlier than the previous year. During this month, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during from sunrise to sunset. This time of fasting and prayer is designed to purify the soul and reconnect with God.

May 9, 2021 is Laylat al-Qadr, the “Night of Decree.” The first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad; it is one of the odd nights within the last 10 days of Ramadan. Devotees offer extra prayers (particularly the night prayer) reading the Quran, and those who can afford it spend the night in the mosque, praying.

May 12 to 13, 2021 is Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim celebration commemorating the ending of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Allah for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing one’s finest clothing, saying prayers, and nurturing understanding of other religions.

July 19 to 20, 2021 is Eid al-Adha, the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, the most important feast of Islam. It occurs approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan. This year in North America, it starts on September 1. The festival recalls Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah, and concludes the Hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca).

August 9 to 10, 2021 is Al-Hijra, Islamic New Year, during the month of Muharram. The Islamic year begins on the first day of Muharram, and is counted from the year of the Hegira (anno Hegirae), the year in which Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina (A.D. July 16, 622). Muharram is one of the most special occasions in Islamic history and calendar. Firstly, it commemorates the brutal assassination of Hazrat Imam Husayn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and his entire family at the battle of Karbala. Secondly, it is also observed as the first month in the Islamic calendar. 

August 18 to 19, 2021 is Ashura. For Shi’a Muslims, Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram and commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on the 10th day of Muharram in the year 61 AH. The massacre of Husayn, with a small group of his companions and family members, had a great impact on the religious conscience of Muslims, particularly Shi’a Muslims, who commemorate Husayn’s death with sorrow and passion. Both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims observe this occasion in different manners. Shi’a Muslims dress themselves in black, the color of mourning, and attend the majlis (assemblies) where Shia orators read out and enact the incident of martyrdom of Imam Husayn and his team in detail. The main event takes place on the 10th day of Muharram.

October 18 to 19, 2021 is Mawlid al-Nabi or Eid Milad Un Nabi, celebrating the birth and life of Prophet Muhammad. It falls on the 12th or 17th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal. Mawlid al-Nabi is a spiritual and social occasion for the Muslims who celebrate it. It is a memorial day when the Sirah (the life story of the Prophet) is revisited and scholars and singers in the Sufi tradition remind the members of the Ummah about the teachings of the Prophet(s), as well as the successes and challenges of the young Muslim community in Mecca and Medina. During this celebration, homes and mosques are decorated, large parades take place, and those observing the holiday participate in charity events.

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Jewish Holidays

Note: In the Jewish calendar, a holiday begins at sundown the evening before the date specified.

January 27 to 28, 2021 is Tu BiShvat/Tu B’Shevat, the “New Year for Trees.” This minor holiday falls on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Tu B’Shevat is one of four “New Years” mentioned in the Mishnah, and is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. See Lev. 19:23-25, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years, and the fourth year’s fruit is for God. Following that, you may eat the fruit. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day. But if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B’Shevat. There are few customs or observances related to this holiday, one of which is to eat a new fruit on this day, or to eat from the Seven Species (shivat haminim) described in the Bible as being abundant in the land of Israel.

February 25 to 26, 2021 is Purim, one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It celebrates the Jewish people’s deliverance from a royal death decree around the fourth century BCE, as told in the Book of Esther. It is celebrated on the 14th of the month of Adar, which is usually in March. The 13th of Adar is the day that Haman chose for the extermination of the Jews, and the day that the Jews battled their enemies for their lives. On the day afterwards, the 14th, they celebrated their survival. The holiday is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther, which commemorates Esther’s three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king.

March 27 to April 4, 2021 is Pesach, or “Passover.” It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays. On the first two days of Passover, a traditional Seder is eaten and the story of deliverance is shared. Pesach is one of the most commonly observed Jewish holidays, even by otherwise non-observant Jews. Probably the most significant observance related to Pesach involves avoiding chametz (leaven) throughout the holiday. This commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise. It is also a symbolic way of removing the “puffiness” (arrogance, pride) from our souls.

April 8 to 9, 2021 is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, which Congress established as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. It’s observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately 6 million Jews and 5 million others who perished in the Holocaust at the hand of Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day and public holiday.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, established on April 20, 2006 by former President George W. Bush to recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to our culture.

May 16 to 17, 2021 is Shavo’ut, the “Festival of Weeks,” the second of three major Jewish festivals that focus on historical and agricultural importance. The other two are Passover and Sukkot. Shavu’ot is not tied to a particular date, but follows Passover by 50 days. Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah). Work is not permitted during Shavu’ot. It is customary to stay up the entire first night of Shavu’ot and study Torah, then pray as early as possible in the morning. It is also customary to eat a dairy meal at least once during Shavu’ot.

June 17 to 18, 2021 is Tisha B’Av, is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar, and usually is in July or August. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date. Tisha B’Av is never observed on Shabbat. If the 9th of Av falls on a Saturday, the fast is postponed until the 10th of Av. Although this holiday is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, it is appropriate to consider, on this day, the many other tragedies of the Jewish people, many of which occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and from England in 1290.

September 6 to 8, 2021 is Rosh Hashana, or Jewish New Year. Also known as the “Days of Renewed Responsibility,” it begins at sunset on day one and ends at nightfall the next. The Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. One popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of a wish for a sweet new year. Another is Tashlikh (“casting off”), where Jews walk to flowing water (such as a creek or river) on the afternoon of the first day and empty their pockets into the river, symbolically casting off their sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off.

September 15 to 16, 2021 is Yom Kippur, or the “Day of Atonement” is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath: No work can be performed on that day, and it is well-known that you should refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. This holy day completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (or sometimes “the Days of Awe”). It is customary to wear white on the holiday, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that one’s sins shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1:18).

September 20 to 27, 2021 is Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. Beginning at sunset on the first day, this 7-day festival celebrates the harvest and commemorates the Jews’ passage through the wilderness. The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in their year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z’man Simchateinu (in Hebrew), “the Season of our Rejoicing.” No work is permitted on the first and second days of the holiday, but it is on the remaining days. Common observances include building and “dwelling” in a booth, or waving branches and a fruit during services.

November 28 to December 6, 2021 is Chanukah (Hanukkah). Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” it is an eight-day Jewish holiday recognizing the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is observed by lighting candles on a Menorah—one for each day of the festival. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. It is not a very important religious holiday. The holiday’s religious significance is far less than that of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu’ot. It is roughly equivalent to Purim in significance. Chanukkah is not mentioned in Jewish scripture; the story is related in the book of Maccabees, which Jews do not accept as scripture.

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Hindu Holidays

January 15 is Makar Sankranti, observed by Hindus at the beginning of the Capricorn period under the sidereal zodiac, and signifying the arrival of warmer days. The festival is also dedicated to the sun god and marks the 6-months’ prosperous period for Hindus known as Uttaarayan. Makara Sankranti is believed to be a time for peace and prosperity. As it’s regarded as important for spiritual practices, people accordingly take a holy dip in rivers — especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery — which is believed to wash away sins.

January 26 is Republic Day of India, a day to remember when India’s constitution came into force on Jan. 26, 1950, completing the country’s transition toward becoming an independent republic. This day also coincides with India’s 1930 declaration of independence. Much effort is put towards organizing events and celebrations that occur on Republic Day: large military parades are held in New Delhi and the state capitals; representatives of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and traditional dance troupes take part in the parades; awards and medals of bravery are given to the people from the armed forces and also to civilians; helicopters from the armed forces then fly past the parade area showering rose petals on the audience. National, state, and local government offices, post offices, and banks are closed on this date, while stores and other businesses and organizations may be closed, or have reduced opening hours. Republic Day represents the true spirit of the independent India.

March 11, 2021 is Maha Shivaratri, the night of the worship of Lord Shiva. It occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna, a moonless February night when Hindus offer special prayer to the lord of destruction. Shivratri (In Sanskrit, ‘ratri’ = night) is the night when he is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya, “the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.” The festival is observed for one day and one night only. All through the day, the devotees keep severe fast, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra “Om Namah Shivaya,” and make offerings of flowers and incense to the Lord amidst ringing of temple bells. They maintain long vigils during the night, keeping awake to listen to stories, hymns and songs. The fast is broken only the next morning, after the nightlong worship.

April 21, 2021 is Rama Navami, a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, is one of the oldest avatars of Lord Vishnu having a human form. The festival is a focal point for moral reflection and being especially charitable to others.

April 25, 2021 marks Mahavir Jayanti, one of the most important holidays for practitioners of Jainism, a religion that advocates the practice of nonviolence and self-control. Its observance not only coincides with the birth of Indian religious leader Vardhamana, but is also a celebration of it. This religious holiday is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Caitra, as prescribed by the Jainism lunar calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, this is usually around March or April.

April 8, 2021 is Buddha Purnima or Vesak, a Buddhist holiday celebrating Gautama Buddha’s life. It is observed to memorialize the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. According to the Hindu Calendar, it is celebrated on a full moon day of month Vaishakha.

April 14 celebrates the birthday of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, an Indian politician and social rights activist. He was a politician and economist who played an important role in the formation of India’s constitution. As a proponent for widespread human rights in India, Ambedkar sought to eliminate India’s caste system, and he eventually became the first law minister of India.

October 7 to 15, 2021 is Shardiya Navratri or Maha Navratri, the “Nine Nights” festival, and most popular and significant Navratri of all Navratris. The name Shardiya Navratri has been taken from Sharad Ritu. All nine days during Navratri are dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Shakti. Shardiya Navratri falls in the month of September or October. The nine-day festivity culminates on the tenth day with Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami. Women, especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat, adorn themselves with 9 different colors, which are allocated to each day of Navratri. The color of the day is decided on the weekday. Each weekday is ruled by one of the planets or Navgrahas, and accordingly, colors are assigned to each day.

November 4, 2021 is Diwali, the “Indian Festival of Lights.” This major Hindu holiday signifies the renewal of life, and the victory of good over evil, and combines a number of festivals to celebrate different gods/goddesses and life events, as described in Hindu tradition. The day before Diwali is spent cleaning the house, shopping, and decorating with flowers. A design is painted in white in front of the door of the house to bring good luck. Lamps are lit for the entire five days besides roads and streams, along edges of roofs, and on window sills to enable Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity, to find her way to every home. For Jains, Diwali is celebrated as the day that Mahavira attained Nirvana.

November 19, 2021 is Guru Nanak Jayanti, a famous festival in India, celebrated to honor the birth of Guru Nanak, who was the first Sikh Guru. It is a special festival for the Sikh community residing in the state of Punjab. Guru Nanak’s birthday usually falls on Kartik Puranmashi, according to the Indian calendar.

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Buddhist Holidays

January 28, 2021 is Mahayana New Year, celebrated on the first full-moon day in January by members of the Mahayana Buddhist branch.

February 12 to 14, 2021 is Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year. Losar, which means “new year” in Tibetan, is considered the most important holiday in Tibet. The New Year here means a fresh beginning. Non-Tibetans are always welcome at these celebrations. The specific rituals are not exclusive; everyone is invited to join the welcoming of a fresh start.

February 15 is Nirvana Day each year, the commemoration of Buddha’s death at the age of 80, when he reached the zenith of Nirvana. February 8 is an alternate, lesser celebrated date of observance.

February 26 to 27, 2021 is Magha Puja Day, a Buddhist holiday that 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 respect to him.

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Other Religious, Traditional, and Informal Holidays

January 16 is National Religious Freedom Day. National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. That statute became the basis for the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and led to the freedom of religion for all Americans. Religious Freedom Day is officially proclaimed on January 16 each year by an annual statement by the President of the United States.

January 18 is World Religion Day. This day is observed by those of the Baha’i faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding. World Religion Day starts sundown of January 17.

February 1 to February 15, 2022 marks the Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival), and is an official week of public holiday in China. This year is the Year of the Tiger. Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese lunisolar calendar and is recognized by gift giving, parades, decorations, and feasting. Chinese New Year 2022 falls on Friday, February 1, 2022. Celebrations last up to 16 days, but only the first 7 days are considered a public holiday.

January 31 is the birthday anniversary of Guru Har Rai, the seventh Sikh guru. He is remembered for his sensitivity towards nature and his passion for preserving it. In a way, the Sikhs are stepping forward to protect vulnerable Mother Nature to meet the challenge of the present day, as a tribute to their seventh Guru, Sri Guru Har Rai Ji.

April is Arab American Heritage Month, marking a time to reflect on the contributions Arab Americans have made to the U.S., and the diverse group of people who make up the nation’s Middle Eastern population. The month of April is a special opportunity to enhance understanding of the nuanced and diverse aspects of Arab American heritage that is often forgotten or intentionally avoided by the media.

May is National Older Americans Month, which recognizes the contributions of older adults across the nation. Older Americans Month also serves to raise awareness concerning elder abuse and neglect.

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.

June 12, 2022 is known as National Children’s Day in the United States, celebrated annually on the second Sunday in June. A day to honor the children in our lives, National Children’s Day is a time to slow down our fast-paced lives, turn off the tech, and refocus on the important things. Taking one day may not be enough, but using it as an opportunity to redirect our family’s focus and bonding can be an important step in a child’s life.

June 15 is Native American Citizenship Day, commemorating the day in 1924 when the U.S. Congress passed legislation recognizing the Citizenship of Native Americans.

June 21 is a holiday formerly known as National Aboriginal Day (renamed in June 2017 to National Indigenous People’s Day). National Aboriginal Day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year, by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated annually on June 21. This date was chosen as the statutory holiday for many reasons, including its cultural significance as the Summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many indigenous peoples and communities traditionally celebrate their heritage. It is unclear whether this holiday is still celebrated, or if it has been replaced by Indigenous People’s Day in October.

August 9 is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The focus this year is “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honoring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.”

October 2 is the International Day of Nonviolence, and Gandhi’s Birthday. Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma” Gandhi is one of the most respected spiritual and political leaders of the twentieth century. Through nonviolent resistance, he helped free India from British rule. The Indian people called Gandhi “Mahatma,” meaning “Great Soul.”

October 10, 2022 is Indigenous People’s Day. Beginning in 1992 on this day, drums across the USA and in different time zones coordinate ceremonies and observances at 12 p.m. to celebrate and honor 500 years of North American Indigenous people’s resistance and survival. From that day to the present, Native Americans observe Indigenous People’s Day, not Columbus Day. Indigenous People’s Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and Governor Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990. It was instituted in Berkeley, CA, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, CA, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up. It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee.

October 16 is World Food Day. Since 1979, this worldwide event has sought to increase awareness, understanding, and informed year-round action to alleviate hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.

October 26, 2021 (the last Tuesday in October) is Mix It Up at Lunch Day, a national campaign that helps K-12 teachers develop inclusive school communities. Launched by Teaching Tolerance in 2002, Mix It Up at Lunch Day encourages students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. It’s a simple act with profound implications: Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice, biases, and misperceptions. (EDITOR’S NOTE 12/19/19: Awaiting date confirmation from tolerance.org. 2/4/21: It is unclear whether this campaign is still active, as we have never heard back from Tolerance and see no indication of this date on any of their Web properties.) REMOVED Feb. 2022 due to no return contact ever.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, initiated in 1915 by Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and Director of the Museum of Arts in Rochester, NY. This special time started as a single day designed to recognize the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S. Later, in 1990, then-President G.W. Bush approved the designation of the full month of November as what is also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

December 5 to 9, 2022 is Inclusive Schools Week, an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) celebrating the progress schools have made in providing a supportive, quality education to students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socioeconomic status, cultural heritage, language preference, and other factors. The first full week in December, it provides an important opportunity for educators, students, and parents to discuss what else needs to be done to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.

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

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The Reveal

In making an effort to increase inclusion and appreciate diversity, you’re helping to better our world. Having and learning diverse perspectives makes us more open-minded, well-rounded, successful people. We hope you’ll bookmark this list to return and use it often.

And remember how vital this information is when engaging in customer profiling work for your organization.

A person’s background and culture are extremely important to their needs, wants, how they buy, what turns them off, and what they expect from YOUR company!

Find an error or have an important date you’d like to share for the diversity calendar? Let us know in the comments.

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