Holiday Calendar & Heritage Months
Black History Month
The next Heritage Month is Black History Month in February. The month honors those who have endured centuries of struggle, and those who continue to fight for civil rights.
The world is rich with diversity, which is reflected in the observances celebrated by its various cultures and populations.
Knowledge of the following diversity holidays and celebrations can enhance your workplace diversity and inclusion efforts.
January 1: New Year’s Day, the first day of the year according to the modern Gregorian calendar, celebrated in most Western countries
January 1: Feast Day of St. Basil, a holiday observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorating the death of Saint Basil the Great
January 3: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church, commemorates the naming of the child Jesus
January 4: World Braille Day, observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for blind and partially sighted people; celebrated on the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille
January 5: Twelfth Night, a festival celebrated by some branches of Christianity that marks the coming of the Epiphany
January 6: Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day), a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth
January 6: Christmas, recognized on this day by Armenian Orthodox Christians, who celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany
January 7: Christmas, recognized on this day by Eastern Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas thirteen days later than other Christian churches because they follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar
January 9: Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs who initiated the Sikhs as the Khalsa (the pure ones) and who is known as the Father of the Khalsa
January 10: Bodhi Day, a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment; also known as Bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali
January 13: Lohri-Maghi, an annual festival celebrated by Sikhs commemorating the memory of forty Sikh martyr
January 14: Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India
January 16–17 (sundown to sundown): Tu B’shevat or Rosh Hashanah La’Ilanot, a Jewish holiday recognizing “The New Year of the Trees.” It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. In Israel, the flowering of the almond tree usually coincides with this holiday, which is celebrated by planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts.
January 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.
January 17: World Religion Day, observed by those of the Bahá’í faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding
January 18: Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch on the first full-moon day in January
January 18–25: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, during which Christians pray for unity between all churches of the Christian faith
January 19: Timkat, a holiday observed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River on Epiphany
January 26: Republic Day of India recognizes the date when the Constitution of India came into law in 1950, replacing the Government of India Act of 1935. This day also coincides with India’s 1930 declaration of independence.
January 27: The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust; the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and UN Holocaust Memorial Day
January 27 (sundown to sundown): Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” — Former President Barack Obama
February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Since 1976, the month has been designated to remember the contributions of people of the African diaspora.
February 1: Lunar New Year, one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. The Lunar New Year is also celebrated at this time in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia.
February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States in 1865
February 1–2: Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring
February 1: St. Brigid of Kildare, feast day for St. Brigid celebrated by some Christian denominations
February 2: Candlemas, a Christian holiday that celebrates three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus, Jesus’ first entry into the temple, and Virgin Mary’s purification
February 3: St. Blaise Day (The Blessing of the Throats), the feast day of St. Blaise of Sebaste celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and some Eastern Catholic Churches
February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated annually as part of the Spring Festival
February 3: Four Chaplains Day commemorates the fifty-fifth anniversary of the sinking of the US Army transport Dorchester and the heroism of the four chaplains aboard.
February 5: Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day, Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture.
February 14: St. Valentine’s Day, a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus. This holiday is typically associated with romantic love and celebrated by people expressing their love with gifts.
February 15: Lantern Festival, the first significant feast after the Chinese New Year; participants enjoy watching paper lanterns illuminate the sky on the night of the event
February 15: Parinirvana Day (or Nirvana Day), the commemoration of Buddha’s death at the age of 80, when he reached the zenith of Nirvana; February 8 is an alternative date of observance
February 16: Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival especially for worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Devotees take a holy bath on this day and also carry out charity work.
February 16: Magha Puja Day (also known as Maka Bucha), 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. It is celebrated on various dates in different countries.
February 21: Presidents Day, a federally recognized celebration in the United States that honors the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln birthday, as well as those of every US president
February 25–March 1: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar. Intercalary days are observed with gift-giving, special acts of charity, and preparation for the fasting that precedes the New Year.
February 27: Meatfare Sunday (The Sunday of the Last Judgment), traditionally the last day of eating meat before Easter for Orthodox Christians
March is Women’s History Month. Established in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.
March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, 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.
March 1: Lailat al Miraj, a Muslim holiday that commemorates the prophet Muhammad’’ nighttime journey from Mecca to the “Farthest Mosque” in Jerusalem, where he ascended to heaven, was purified, and given the instruction for Muslims to pray five times daily. Note that in the Muslim calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Lailat al Miraj starting at sundown on February 28.
March 1: Maha Shivaratri, Hindu festival celebrated each year to honor Lord Shiva. It is celebrated just before the arrival of spring. It is also known as the Great Night of Shiva or Shivaratri and is one of the largest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of India.
March 1: Mardi Gras, the last day for Catholics to indulge before Ash Wednesday starts the sober weeks of fasting that accompany Lent. The term “Mardi Gras” is particularly associated with the carnival celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana.
March 1: Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Although named for its former religious significance, it is chiefly marked by feasting and celebration, which traditionally preceded the observance of the Lenten fast. It is observed by various Christian denominations.
March 1: St. David’s Day, the feast day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales
March 2 (sunset) to March 20 (sunset): Nineteen-Day Fast, a time in the Bahá’í faith to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God. This fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year.
March 2: Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent on the Christian calendar. Its name is derived from the symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence. It takes place immediately after the excesses of the two days of Carnival that take place in Northern Europe and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
March 3–5: Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, a time of renewal through sacred and secular practices
March 6: Cheesefare Sunday or Forgiveness Sunday, the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent for Orthodox Christians
March 7: Beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Christian faith. March 7, the day Great Lent begins this year, is also known as Clean Monday.
March 8: International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
March 9: Asian-American Women’s and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the pay gap between Asian-American and Pacific Islander women and White men. Asian-American women are paid 90 cents for every dollar paid to White men.
March 13–April 15: 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 13: Orthodox Sunday, celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent. It is the celebration of the victory of the iconodules over the iconoclasts by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Therefore, the service commemorates the restoration of icons for use in services as well as a Christian’s private devotional life.
March 16–17: Purim, a Jewish celebration that marks the time when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide. On Purim, Jewish people dress up in costumes, offer charity, and share food with friends.
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday started in Ireland to recognize St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who brought Christianity to the country in the early days of the faith
March 18: Holi, the annual Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival observed in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, along with other countries with large Hindu and Sikh populations. People celebrate Holi by throwing colored powder and water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlada accomplished when demoness Holika carried him into the fire. It is often celebrated on the full moon (the Phalguna Purnima) before the beginning of the vernal equinox as based on the Hindu calendar.
March 18–19: Lailat al Bara’a, also known as Lailat Al Baraah, Barat, or popularly as Shab-e-Bara or Night of Forgiveness. It is an Islamic holiday during which practitioners of the faith seek forgiveness for sins. Muslims spend the night in special prayers. It is regarded as one of the most sacred nights on the Islamic calendar.
March 18–20: Hola Mohalla, a Sikh festival that takes place on the second day of the lunar month of Chet, a day after the Hindu spring festival Holi
March 19: St. Joseph’s Day, in Western Christianity the principal feast of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 20: Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans. It is observed as a time to mark the coming of spring and the fertility of the land.
March 21–22: Naw-Rúz, the Bahá’í New Year, is a holiday celebrated on the vernal equinox. It is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is suspended.
March 21–22: Nowruz/Norooz, Persian New Year, a day of joy, celebration, and renewal. It is held annually on the spring equinox.
March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed annually in the wake of the 1960 killing of 69 people at a demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in South Africa. The United Nations proclaimed the day in 1966 and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
March 22: Hindi New Year
March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations international observation that offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. First observed in 2008, the international celebration also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.
March 25: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, a Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus
March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities as well as recognize those who helped fight for rights for transgender people
April is Celebrate Diversity Month, a celebration that was initiated in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will gain a deeper understanding of each other.
April is Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about and acceptance of the developmental disability that impacts an individual’s experience of the world around them
April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, created to raise awareness around the globe
April 2–May 2 (sundown to sundown): Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer, and devotion to Islam
April 10: Palm Sunday, a Christian holiday commemorating the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It takes place on the last Sunday of Lent, at the beginning of the Holy Week.
April 10: Ram Navami, a Hindu day of worship and celebration of the seventh avatar of Vishnu (Lord Rama). Devotees typically wear red and place extravagant flowers on the shrine of the god.
April 13: Equal Pay Day, an attempt to raise awareness about the raw wage gap, a figure that shows that women, on average, earn about 80 cents for every dollar men earn. The date moves earlier each year as the wage gap closes. Equal Pay Day was initiated in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity as a public awareness event to illustrate the gender pay gap.
April 14: Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), the Christian holiday commemorating the Last Supper, at which Jesus and the Apostles were together for the last time before the crucifixion. It is celebrated on the Thursday before Easter.
April 14: Mahavir Jayanti, a holiday celebrated by the Jains commemorating the birth of Lord Mahavira. It is one of the most important religious festivals for Jains.
April 14: Vaisakhi (also known as Baisakhi), the celebration of the founding of the Sikh community as the Khalsa (community of the initiated) and the birth of the Khalsa
April 15: Good Friday, a day celebrated by Christians to commemorate the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. It is recognized on the Friday before Easter.
April 15: Lord’s Evening Meal, celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses in commemoration of an event believed to have occurred on the first night of Passover in approximately 33 CE, i.e., the Last Supper
April 15–April 23: Passover, an eight-day Jewish holiday in commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt
April 16: Lazarus Saturday, a day celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy to commemorate the raising from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany
April 17: Easter, a holiday celebrated by Christians to recognize Jesus’ return from death after the crucifixion
April 21–May 2: The Festival of Ridvan, a holiday celebrated by those of the Bahá’í faith, commemorating the twelve days when Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder, resided in a garden called Ridvan (paradise) and publicly proclaimed his mission as God’s messenger for this age
April 22: Earth Day promotes world peace and sustainability of the planet. Events are held globally in support of environmental protection of the Earth.
April 23: St. George’s Day, the feast day of St. George celebrated by various Christian churches
April 23: The Day of Silence, during which students take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment
April 24: Armenian Martyrs’ Day recognizes the genocide of approximately 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 in Turkey.
April 27–28: Yom HaShoah, Israel’s day of remembrance for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust
April 29: Ninth Day of Ridvan, a festival of joy and unity in the Bahá’í faith to commemorate the reunification of Bahá’u’lláh’s family and by extension the unity of the entire human family the Bahá’í faith calls for. It permeates the symbolic meaning of the Ninth Day of Ridvan.
April 29: Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of the year for Muslims, is traditionally celebrated on the twenty-seventh day of Ramadan. It is known as the Night of Power and commemorates the night that the Quran was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
May is Asian Pacific American 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 is Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month (or Mental Health Month), which aims to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.
May 1: Beltane, an ancient Celtic festival celebrated on May Day, signifying the beginning of summer
May 2–3 (sundown to sundown): Eid al-Fitr, the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, marking the end of Ramadan. Many Muslims attend communal prayers, listen to a khutuba (sermon), and give Zakat al-Fitr (charity in the form of food) during Eid al-Fitr.
May 3: Feasts of Saints Philip and James, a Roman rite feast day held on the anniversary of the dedication of the Church to Saints Phillip and James in Rome
May 5: Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating 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 with a variety of festivities, including parades and mariachi music performances.
May 5–6 (sundown to sundown): Yom Ha’Atzmaut, national Independence Day in Israel
May 6: National Day of Prayer, a day of observance in the United States when people are asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation”
May 8: Buddha Day (Vesak or Visakha Puja), a Buddhist festival that marks Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death. It falls on the day of the full moon in May and is a gazetted holiday in India.
May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, a global celebration of sexual orientation and gender diversities
May 18–19 (sundown to sundown): Lag BaOmer, a Jewish holiday marking the day of hillula of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai
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 in harmony
May 23–24 (sundown to sundown): Declaration of the Báb, the day of declaration of the Báb, the forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith
May 24: Orthodox Easter (also called Pascha), a later Easter date than what is observed by many Western churches
May 26: Ascension of Jesus or Ascension Day, celebrated as the ascension of Christ from Earth in the presence of God within most of the Christian faith
May 30: Memorial Day in the United States, a federal holiday established to honor military veterans who died in wars fought by US forces
May 29: Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, commemorates the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on the world. LGBTQ+ groups note this time with Pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, and other group gatherings. The last Sunday in June is LGBTQ+ Pride Day.
June is Immigrant Heritage Month, established in June 2014. It gives people across the United States an opportunity to explore their heritages and celebrate the shared diversity that forms the unique story of the United States. It celebrates immigrants across the United States and their contributions to their local communities and economy.
June 4–6 (sundown to sundown): Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that has double significance. It marks the wheat harvest in Israel and commemorates the anniversary of the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai.
June 5: Pentecost, the celebration of the giving of the Ten Commandments by God at Mount Sinai
June 12: Trinity Sunday, observed in the Western Christian faith as a feast in honor of the Holy Trinity
June 14: Flag Day in the United States, observed to celebrate the history and symbolism of the US flag
June 15: St. Vladimir Day, a Roman Catholic feast celebrating St. Vladimir
June 15: Native American Citizenship Day, commemorating the day in 1924 when the US Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans
June 16: Corpus Christi, a Catholic holiday celebrating the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist
June 16: Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, observed by members of the Sikh faith. Guru Arjan Dev was the fifth Sikh guru and the first Sikh martyr.
June 19: Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, was established as a federal holiday in June 2021. 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 African Americans.
June 19: New Church Day, according to Christian belief, on this day the Lord called together the twelve disciples who had followed him on Earth, instructed them in the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, and sent them out to teach that “the Lord God Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages and ages.” This was the beginning of the New Christian Church.
June 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day or First Nations Day, a day that gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization in Canada
June 24: Litha, the summer solstice celebrated by Wiccans and Pagans. It is the longest day of the year, representing the sun’s “annual retreat.”
June 24: Feast of the Most Sacred Heart, a solemnity in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church
June 29: Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, a liturgical feast in honor of the martyrdom in Rome for the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul in Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Last Sunday in June: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Day in the United States. It commemorates the Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28, 1969.
July 1: Canada Day, or Fête du Canada, 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 US federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The original thirteen 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): Waqf al Arafa, the second day of pilgrimage within the Islamic faith
July 9: The Martyrdom of the Bab, a day when Bahá’ís observe the anniversary of the Báb’s execution in Tabriz, Iran, in 1850
July 9–10 (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 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 Program. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of global population issues.
July 13: Asalha Puja, or Dharma Day, a celebration of Buddha’s first teachings
July 14: International Nonbinary People’s Day, aimed at raising awareness and organizing around the issues faced by nonbinary 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 18: Nelson Mandela International Day, launched on July 18, 2009, in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices in which he stated, “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 23: The birthday of Haile Selassie I, the former emperor of Ethiopia whom the Rastafarians consider to be their savior
July 24: Pioneer Day, observed by Mormons to commemorate the arrival in 1847 of the first Latter-day Saints pioneer 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 29–30: Hijri New Year, the day that marks the beginning of the new Islamic calendar year
July 30: International Day of Friendship, 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 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 fourteen-day period of preparation for Orthodox Christians leading up to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary
August 5–6: Tisha B’Av, a fast in commemoration of the destruction of two holy and sacred temples of Judaism destroyed by the Babylonians (in 586 BCE) and Romans (in 70 CE). 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.
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 7–8 (sundown to sundown): Ashura, an Islamic holiday commemorating the day Noah left the ark and the day Allah saved Moses from the Egyptians
August 11: 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 12: Hungry Ghost Festival, a Chinese holiday in which street, market, and temple ceremonies take place to honor dead ancestors and appease other spirits
August 13: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, whose 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 13–15: Obon (Ullambana), a Buddhist festival and Japanese custom that honors the spirits of ancestors
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: 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.
August 21: Khordad Sal (Birth of prophet Zoroaster), birth anniversary (or birth date) of Zoroaster, a spiritual leader and ethical philosopher who taught a spiritual philosophy of self-realization and realization of the divine. Zoroastrians celebrate this day with prayer and feasting.
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 24: Paryushana Parvarambha, a Jain festival lasting eight to ten days that is observed through meditation and fasting. It focuses on spiritual upliftment, pursuit of salvation, and a deeper understanding of the religion.
August 26: Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920, certification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US 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 US president has published a proclamation recognizing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.
August 31: Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu holiday lasting approximately ten days, in which the elephant-headed Hindu god is praised and given offerings
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.
September 5: Labor Day in the United States honors the contribution that workers have made to the country and is observed on the first Monday of September.
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 of St. John the Baptist, who was beheaded 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 18: International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time in September 2020, represents the long-standing efforts toward the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations’ commitment to human rights and its efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls.
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 25–27 (sundown to sundown): Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, marking the creation of the world
September 26–October 5: Navratri, the nine-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Festival participants worship God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as Durga, Devi, or Shakti, and the event marks the start of fall.
September 27: Elevation of the Life Giving Cross (Holy Cross), in some Christian denominations, a day that commemorates the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus
September 27: Meskel, a 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 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. The birth of Confucius, the model master educator in ancient China, is also commemorated on this date.
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 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 LGBTQ+ History Month, a US observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer 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 Black History Month in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and The Netherlands.
October 1: Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day, raises 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 4–5 (sundown to sundown): Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day of atonement marked by fasting and ceremonial repentance
October 5: 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 7–8: Mawlid Al-Nabi, the observance of the birthday of Islam founder, the 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 9: 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 9–16: Sukkot, a seven-day Jewish festival giving thanks for the fall harvest
October 10: Canadian Thanksgiving, a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year
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 (United States). For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.
October 11: National Indigenous Peoples Day, an alternative celebration to Columbus Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.
October 16–18 (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.
October 17–18 (sundown to sundown): Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday, marks the end of the weekly readings of the Torah. The Torah 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 never-ending cycle.
October 20: Sikh Holy Day, the day Sikhs celebrate Sri Guru Granth Sahib, their spiritual guide
October 24: Diwali, the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh five-day festival of lights that celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and lightness over darkness.
October 25–26 (sundown to sundown): Birth of Báb, a Bahá’í holiday celebrating the birth of the prophet Báb
October 26–27 (sundown to sundown): The birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í religion
October 29: Latina Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Latinas and White men. Latinas 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
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 forty million caregivers across the country who support aging parents, ill spouses, or other loved ones with disabilities who remain at home.
November 1: All Saints’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all known and unknown Christian saints (In Eastern Orthodox 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 11: Veterans Day, a US 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 13–19: Transgender Awareness Week, the week before Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, in which people and organizations participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address issues members of the community face
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 more than seventy 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 20: Feast of Christ the King, a Catholic holiday established to thank God for the gift of time and a rededication to the Christian faith
November 24: Thanksgiving Day in the United States. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.
November 25: Native American Heritage Day, held annually on 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 President George W. Bush in 2008.
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 27–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 1: World AIDS Day commemorates those who have died of AIDS and acknowledges the need for continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, designed to raise awareness in regard 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 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 CE. She secretly took 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 18–26: Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that is celebrated 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.
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 United Kingdom, 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 commemorates the anniversary of the death 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 27: St. John’s Apostle and Evangelist Day, 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 30: 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 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.