New Year’s Day
The first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, commonly used for civil dating purposes.
Temple Day (Buddhist)
Many Buddhists of all traditions pay their respects and pray for good fortune for the new year at the temple.
Known as Theophany in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the manifestation of Jesus as Christ. In addition, the Western Church associates Epiphany with the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus, and the Eastern Church with the baptism of Jesus by John.
Christmas (Armenian Orthodox Christian)
Armenian Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany, except for Armenians living in Israel, who celebrate Christmas on January 19th.
Christmas (Eastern Christian)
Most Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas 13 days later than other Christian churches based on their use of the Julian rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar.
Makar Sankranti (Hindu)
Seasonal celebration recognizing the increasing length of days.
World Religion Day (Bahá’í)
Observance to proclaim the oneness of religion and the belief that world religion will unify the peoples of the earth.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
The birthday of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated on the third Monday in January.
No Name-Calling Week
Annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling and ￼￼bullying of all kinds.
Milad Al-Nabi (Islamic)
Celebrates the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam. Shi’a Muslims celebrate it five days later than Sunni Muslims.
Tu B’Shvat (Jewish)
New Year’s Day for Trees, and traditionally the first of the year for tithing fruit of trees. Now a day for environmental awareness and action, such as tree planting.
UN Holocaust Memorial Day
Annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust coinciding with the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945.
Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)
In Mahayana countries the New Year starts on the first full moon day in January.
Celebrates Black History and African American culture in the United States.
National Freedom Day
Commemorates the signing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865. Saint Brigid of Kildare, who lived from 451 to 525 CE, is one of Ireland’s patron saints. She was an Irish Christian nun, and the founder of several convents including Kildare Abbey, one of the most prestigious abbeys in Ireland.
Lunar New Year
On this day Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese New Year are celebrated.
Race Relations Day
the National Council of Churches in recognition of the importance of interracial relations and learning.
Shrove Tuesday (Western Christian)
A day of penitence as well as the last chance to feast before Lent begins. Also known as Mardi Gras.
Ash Wednesday (Western Christian)
The first day of Lent for Western Christian churches, a 40-day period of spiritual preparation for Easter, not counting Sundays.
Celebrates the idea of romantic love.
Susan B. Anthony Day
Birthday of Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), a pioneer in the Women’s Rights Movement.
Nirvana Day (Buddhist)
Celebrates the day when the historical Buddha achieved Parinirvana, or complete Nirvana, upon the death of his physical body. Sometimes celebrated on February 8.
Honors all past presidents of the United States of America.
The “Feast of Lots” marks the salvation of the Jews of ancient Persia from extermination.
Magha Puja (Buddhist)
Also known as Sangha Day, it commemorates the spontaneous assembly of 1,250 arahants, completely enlightened monks, in the historical Buddha’s presence.
Ayyám-i-ha or Intercalary Days (Bahá’í)
The Ayyám-i-ha, or “Days of Ha” are devoted to spiritual preparation for the fast, celebrating, hospitality, charity and gift giving. They are celebrated the four days, five in leap year, before the last month of the Bahá’í year.
Honors women as significant agents of historical change.
Saint David of Wales (Christianity)
Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, was a church official who lived during the sixth century. It is said that he lived for 100 years, founded many churches and monasteries, and was celebrated for his teaching, preaching, and simple life. His saying, “Do the little things in life,” is a well-known Welsh phrase.
Nineteen-Day Fast (Bahá’i)
Baha’is between 15 and 70 years of age do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset and set aside time for prayer and meditation.
International Women’s Day
Celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women worldwide.
Maha Shivaratri (Hindu)
Also called Shiva Ratri, it is the Great Festival of Shiva.
The date when night and day are nearly the same length. It marks the first day of the season of spring.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Call to action to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination worldwide.
A traditional ancient Iranian festival celebrating the first day of Spring and the Iranian New Year. Also celebrated as New Year’s Day in Baha’i tradition (Naw-Ruz).
Palm Sunday (Christian)
Observed the Sunday before Easter/Pascha to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The eight-day “Feast of Unleavened Bread” celebrates Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
Known as Pascha in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
Yom Hashoah (Jewish)
“Holocaust Remembrance Day” memorializes the heroic martyrdom of six million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust.
Yom Haatzm’ut (Jewish)
“Israel Independence Day” celebrates the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. It is fixed as the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar.
Rama Navami (Hindu)
Celebrates the birthday of Rama, king of ancient India, hero of the epic Ramayana, and seventh incarnation of Vishnu.
Festival of Ridván (Bahá’i)
Thursday Annual festival commemorating the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-
founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden called Ridván (Paradise) and publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. The first (April 21), ninth (April 29), and twelfth (May 2) days are celebrated as holy days when Baha’is suspend work.
Armenian Martyrs’ Day
Memorializes the extermination of some 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 in Turkey.
Theravada New Year (Buddhist)
In Theravada countries the New Year is celebrated on the first full moon day in April.
Lag B’Omer (Jewish)
Celebrates the end of a divine-sent plague and/or Roman occupation during Rabbi Akiva’s lifetime (died c. 135 CE).
Recognizes the contributions and celebrates the culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
International Workers’ Day
Also known as May Day, it celebrates the social and economic achievements of workers worldwide. The day commemorates the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, in which police and protesters clashed following a workers’ strike for an eight-hour work day.
World Press Freedom Day
Serves as an occasion to inform the public of violations of the right to freedom of expression and as a reminder that many journalists brave death or jail to bring people their daily news.
Easter / Pascha (Orthodox Christianity)
The Orthodox sect of Christianity uses the Julian Calendar, and therefore celebrates Easter on a different date than the Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar.
Cinco de Mayo
In 1862 Mexican forces defeated French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla.
Ascension Day (Christian)
Celebrated 40 days after Easter/Pascha, it commemorates the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.
Children of all ages show appreciation for their mothers.
The “Feast of Weeks” celebrates the covenant established at Sinai between God and Israel, and the revelation of the Ten Commandments.
Also known as Whitsunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter/Pascha commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and women followers of Jesus. Marks the birth of the Christian Church.
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
Recognizes cultural diversity as a source of innovation, exchange and creativity, as well as the obligation to create a more peaceful and equitable society based on mutual respect.
Declaration of the Bab (Bahá’i)
Commemoration of May 23, 1844, when the Báb, the prophet-herald of the Bahá’í Faith, announced in Shíráz, Persia, that he was the herald of a new messenger of God.
Buddha Day (Buddhist)
Also known as Vesak or Visakha Puja, it marks the occasion of the birth, spiritual awakening and death of the historical Buddha.
Initiated originally to honor the dead of the Civil War, this observance now pays homage to the dead of all U.S. wars.
Ascension of Bahá’u'lláh (Bahá’i)
Observance of the anniversary of the death in exile of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
Commemorates the anniversary of the June 28, 1969 Stonewall riot in New York City, the incident that initiated the modern gay rights movement in the United States. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Pride Day is the last Sunday in June.
Race Unity Day (Bahá’i)
Observance promoting racial harmony and understanding and the essential unity of humanity.
Anne Frank Day
Birthday of young Jewish girl whose diary describes her family’s experiences hiding from the Nazis through assistance of gentile friends.
Observes the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down the miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states barring interracial marriage.
Anniversary of the adoption of the Unites States flag by Congress in 1777.
Children of all ages show appreciation for their fathers.
Originally commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865, it is now celebrated throughout the U.S. to honor African- American freedom and achievement.
World Refugee Day
Raises awareness about the plight of refugees and displaced persons.
In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year. It marks the first day of the season of summer.
Pentecost (Eastern Christian)
Nisf Shabaan (Islamic)
“Night of Repentance” in preparation for the fast of Ramadan. Fixed as the 15th day or middle (nisf) of the eighth month of Shabaan in the Islamic calendar.
All Saints’ Day (Eastern Christian)
In Orthodox churches observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost, it commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints.
Anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Martyrdom of the Báb (Bahá’í)
Observance of the anniversary of the execution by a firing squadin Tabríz, Persia, of the 30-year-old Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad, the Báb, the prophet- herald of the Bahá’í Faith.
A month of strict fasting from dawn until dusk in honor of the first revelations of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad.
Mourning of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE.
Dharma Day (Buddhist)
Also known as Asala Puja, it commemorates the historical Buddha’s first discourse following his spiritual awakening.
ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) Day
Commemorates the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities.
Laila Al-Qadr (Islamic)
“The Night of Power” marks the night in which God first revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad. Often fixed as the 27th day of the Islamic month of Ramadan, Sunnis may also observe it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th or 29th. Shi’ites observe it on the 19th, 21st or 23rd of Ramadan.
Eid Al-Fitr (Islamic)
The “Feast of the Breaking of the Fast” marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from dawn until dusk.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
Celebrates the richness of indigenous cultures and recognizes the challenges indigenous peoples face today, ranging from poverty and disease to dispossession, discrimination and denial of basic human rights.
International Youth Day
Celebrates young people and the integral role they play in helping to create a world fit for children.
Also known as Bon, the Japanese Buddhist festival honors the spirits of past ancestors.
Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)
Also called Rakhi, this festival celebrates the protective relationship between brothers and their sisters.
Buddhist Ghost Festival. The unsettled spirits of dead ancestors are calmed with chanting and offerings to enable them to pass peacefully into the next world.
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
Memorializes the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade, coinciding with the anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated its abolition.
Krishna Jayanti (Hindu)
Celebrates Krishna’s birthday, Vishnu’s eighth incarnation on earth.
Celebrated the first Monday in September in recognition of U.S. workers.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
Beginning of the Jewish New Year and first of the High Holy Days, which marks the beginning of a ten-day period of penitence and spiritual renewal.
International Literacy Day
Call to action for universal literacy.
Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu)
Celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant-deity.
Yom Kippur (Jewish)
The “Day of Atonement” marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrates the contributions, heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
Commemorates the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787. Also honors all who have become U.S. citizens.
The week-long “Feast of Booths” commemorates the 40-year wandering of the Israelites in the desert on the way to the Promised Land.
The date when night and day are nearly of the same length. It marks the first day of fall.
Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)
“The Eighth (Day) of Assembly” is observed on the day immediately following Sukkot.
Native American Day
Celebrates Native American history and culture.
Simchat Torah (Jewish)
“Rejoicing in the Torah” celebrates the conclusion of the public reading of the Pentateuch and its beginning anew.
Marks and celebrates the lives and achievements of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people in the United States.
Recognizes the contributions of workers with disabilities.
Nine-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It worships God in the form of the universal mother commonly referred to as Durga, Devi or Shakti, and marks the start of fall.
Coming Out Day
Encourages honesty and openness about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Commemorates October 11, 1987, when 500,000 people marched on Washington, DC, for gay and lesbian equality.
Anniversary of the day when Rama killed the evil demon Ravana. Also known as Durga Puja, which celebrates the goddess Durga.
Marks Christopher Columbus’s landing at San Salvador on October 12, 1492. Known as Día de la Raza, “Day of the Race”, in Spanish-speaking countries and communities.
Eid Al-Adha (Islamic)
The “Feast of Sacrifice” concludes the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), and is a three-day festival recalling Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Call to action for the eradication of poverty and destitution worldwide.
Birth of the Báb (Bahá’í)
Bahá’í observance of the anniversary of the birth in 1819 of Siyyid, “the Báb,” the prophet-herald of the Bahá’í Faith, in Shíráz, Persia.
United Nations Day
Commemorates the founding of the world organization in 1945.
Reformation Day (Christian)
Commemorates the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
The eve of All Saints’ Day.
Celebrates and honors the history and culture of Native Americans in the United States.
All Saints’ Day (Western Christian)
Commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints. Eastern Christianity observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
All Souls’ Day (Christian)
Commemoration of all faithful Christians who are now dead. In Mexican tradition it is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos between October 31 and November 2, and is an occasion to remember dead ancestors and celebrate the continuity of life.
Also called Deepavali, “Festival of Lights”, it celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
A day set by U.S. law for the election of public officials.
The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. The first day of the month, al-Hijra, remembers the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. It also marks the beginning of the ten-day Shi’ite Remembrance of Muharram, a period of intense grief and mourning of the martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Muhammad.
Commemorates the 1938 pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and Vienna.
Honors the U. S. Armed Services and commemorates the war dead.
Birth of Bahá’u'lláh (Bahá’í)
Observance of the anniversary of the birth in 1817 of Bahá’u’lláh, prophet- founder of the Bahá’í Faith, in Núr, Persia.
A day of fasting observed on the 10th day of the month of Muharram to celebrate Moses’ exodus from Egypt. For Shi’a Muslims, it also marks the climax of the ten-day Remembrance of Muharram, which mourns the martyrdom of Hussein at the Battle of Kerbala in 680 CE.
International Day for Tolerance
Emphasizes the dangers of intolerance and is a call to action for the advancement of human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as a day to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures and peoples.
American Education Week
Celebrates public education and honors individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child in the U. S. receives a quality education.
Day of the Convenant (Bahá’í)
Day of the Covenant is a festival observed to commemorate Bahá’u’lláh’s appointment of His son, Abdu’l-Baha, as His successor.
Chanukah / Hanukkah (Jewish)
Eight-day “Festival of Lights”, celebrating the rededication of the Temple to the service of God in 164 BCE. Commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek King, Antiochus, who sought to suppress freedom of worship.
Following a 19th century tradition, it commemorates the Pilgrims’ harvest feast in the autumn of 1621.
World AIDS Day
International day of action on HIV and AIDS.
Advent is a season of spiritual preparation in observance of the birth of Jesus. In Western Christianity, it starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. In Eastern Christianity, the season is longer and begins in the middle of November.
International Day of Disabled Persons
Raises awareness about persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.
Bodhi Day (Buddhist)
Also known as Rohatsu, it observes the spiritual awakening (bodhi) of founder Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha, ca. 596 BCE. Celebrated on the eighth day either of December or the 12th month of the lunar calendar.
Human Rights Day
On this day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Christian)
Celebrates the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (by her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico and the Americas) before Juan Diego, an indigenous convert to Roman Catholicism, on the Mexican hill of Tepeyac in 1531.
Bill of Rights Day
Commemorates the signing into law of the ten original amendments of the United States Constitution in 1791.
In the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year. It marks the first day of the season of winter.
Christmas (Western Christian)
Commemorates the birth of Jesus.
A seven-day celebration honoring African American heritage and its continued vitality. “Kwanzaa” means “first fruits (of the harvest)” in Swahili.
Wounded Knee Day
On December 29, 1890 more than 200 Lakota Sioux were massacred by U.S. troops at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
What is fair pay for the very poor? After the factory collapse in Bangladesh, Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on Cambodia’s 400,000 garment workers, who are paid just $61 a month.
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