Calendar of Observances
Reprinted with permission from the Anti-Defamation League, New York, NY, 212-885-7700, www.adl.org. All rights reserved.
The calendar includes significant religious observances of the major faiths represented in the United States. It can be used when planning school exam schedules and activities, workplace festivities and community events. Note that Bahá’í, Jewish and Islamic holidays begin at sundown the previous day and end at sundown on the date listed.
National and International Holidays
The calendar notes U.S. holidays that are either legal holidays or observed in various states and communities throughout the country. Important national and international observances that may be commemorated in the U.S. are also included.
The dates of secular holidays are based on the Gregorian calendar, which is commonly used for civil dating purposes. Many religions and cultures follow various traditional calendar systems that are often based on the phases of the moon with occasional adjustments for the solar cycle. Therefore, specific Gregorian calendar dates for these observances will differ from year to year. In addition, calculation of specific dates may vary by geographical location and according to different sects within a religion.
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
January 1 NEW YEAR’S DAY
The first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, commonly used for civil dating purposes.
January 5 GURU GOBIND SINGH JI’S BIRTHDAY • Sikh
Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th Sikh guru of Nanak and founder of the Khalsa.
January 6 CHRISTMAS • Armenian Orthodox Christian
The day Armenian Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. Before the Roman empire adopted Christianity, this was the original day all Christians observed the birth of Jesus.
January 6 EPIPHANY | THEOPHANY • Christian
Celebrates the manifestation of Jesus as Christ. The Western Church associates Epiphany with the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus Christ, and the Eastern Orthodox Church associates Theophany with the baptism of Jesus Christ by John.
January 7 CHRISTMAS • Eastern Christian
Commemorating the birth of Jesus, 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.
January 7 MAHAYANA NEW YEAR • Buddhist
In Mahayana countries, the New Year starts on the first full moon day in January.
January 15 MAKAR SANKRANTI • Hindu
Seasonal celebration marking turning of the sun toward the north.
January 15 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.
January 16 DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY
The birthday of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is on January 15th but it is observed on the third Monday in January.
January 16-20 NO NAME-CALLING WEEK
Annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling and bullying of all kinds.
January 27 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.
February Full Month BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Celebrates Black History and African American culture in the United States.
February 1 NATIONAL FREEDOM DAY
Commemorates the signing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865.
February 5 LUNAR NEW YEAR • Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist
Also known as the Spring Festival, an important festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.
February 6 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.
February 14 VALENTINE’S DAY
Celebrates the idea of romantic love.
February 15 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.
February 15 SUSAN B. ANTHONY DAY
A commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) and women’s suffrage in the United States.
February 18 MAHA SHIVARATRI • Hindu
Also called Shiva Ratri, the Great Night of Shiva, is a festival in reverence of the god Shiva. The festival is celebrated at the 13th night or 14th day of the waning moon in the Hindu calendar (month of February or March of the English calendar).
February 20 PRESIDENTS’ DAY
Honors all past presidents of the United States of America.
February 20 WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
U.N. day to recognize efforts to achieve fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.
February 21 SHROVE TUESDAY • Western Christian
A day of penitence as well as the last chance to feast before Lent begins. Also known as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and Carnival Day as this day is observed in many ways worldwide.
February 22 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.
February 26 –March 1 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 by inserting days into the calendar in order to maintain their solar calendar.
February 27 CLEAN MONDAY • Eastern Orthodox Christian
The beginning of Great Lent for Eastern Orthodox Christian churches, which starts 40 days before Pascha, counting Sundays.
March Full Month NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
Honors women as significant agents of historical change.
March 2–20 NINETEEN-DAY FAST • Bahá’í
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.
March 6 MAGHA PUJA • Buddhist
Also known as Sangha Day, it commemorates the spontaneous assembly of 1,250 disciples, completely enlightened monks, in the historical Buddha’s presence.
March 6-7 PURIM • Jewish
The “Feast of Lots” marks the saving of the Jewish people of ancient Persia from extermination.
March 8 HOLA MOHALLA • Sikh
An annual event which is a martial arts parade historically coinciding with Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. Celebrations related to Holla Mohalla may be held in various locations over several weekends preceding the actual date of the holiday.
March 8 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women worldwide.
March 17 ST. PATRICK’S DAY • Christian
Feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. In the U.S., a secular version is celebrated by people of all faiths through appreciation of all things Irish.
March 20 VERNAL EQUINOX
Marks the first day of the season of spring. The sun shines nearly equally on both hemispheres when it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere and simultaneously fall in the Southern Hemisphere.
March 21 HOLI • Hindu
A spring festival in India and Nepal dedicated to the god of pleasure, also known as the festival of colors or the festival of sharing love.
March 21 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Call to action to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination worldwide.
March 21 NOWRÚZ • Zoroastrian
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). (This date may vary based on region or sect.)
March 23-April 20 RAMADAN • Islamic
Observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad.
March 26 KHORDAD SAL • Zoroastrian
The Zoroastrian celebration of the birth of Zoroaster, the founder of the Zoroastrianism religion. The holiday is specifically celebrated in India and Iran, immediately following the Persian new year, Nowrúz.
March 30 RAMA NAVAMI • Hindu
Celebrates the birthday of Rama, king of ancient India, hero of the epic Ramayana, and seventh incarnation of Vishnu.
March 31 CESAR CHAVEZ DAY
Honors Mexican American farm worker, labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez (1927– 1993), who was a nationally respected voice for social justice.
April Full Month ARAB AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Celebrates the Arab American heritage and culture and pays tribute to the contributions of Arab Americans and Arabic-speaking Americans.
April Full Month GENOCIDE AWARENESS MONTH
A month that marks important anniversaries for past and contemporary genocides. Throughout the month, individuals, communities and organizations join together to remember and honor victims and survivors of mass atrocities.
April Full Month NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
Introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.
April 2 PALM SUNDAY • Western Christian
Observed the Sunday before Easter to commemorate the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
April 6 THERAVADA NEW YEAR • Buddhist
In Theravada countries, the New Year is celebrated on the first full moon day in April.
April 6-13 PASSOVER/PESACH • Jewish
The eight-day “Feast of Unleavened Bread” celebrates Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
April 7 GOOD FRIDAY • Western Christian
Commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the Friday before Easter. Known as Holy Friday in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
April 9 EASTER • Western Christian
Known as Pascha in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
April 9 PALM SUNDAY • Eastern Orthodox Christian
Observed the Sunday before Pascha to commemorate the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
April 13 HOLY THURSDAY • Eastern Orthodox Christian
Also known as Maundy Thursday, it is celebrated on the Thursday before Pascha, commemorating the Last Supper, at which Jesus Christ and the Apostles were together for the last time before the Crucifixion.
April 14 HOLY FRIDAY • Eastern Orthodox Christian
Commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the Friday before Pascha. Known as Good Friday in Western Christianity.
April 14 VAISAKHI (also spelled Baisakhi) • Sikh
The festival celebrates the founding of the Sikh community as the Khalsa (community of the initiated). On this day, Sikhs gather and celebrate Vaisakhi at their local Gurdwaras (Sikh house of worship) by remembering this day as the birth of the Khalsa.
April 16 PASCHA • Eastern Orthodox Christian
Known as Easter in Western Christianity, it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
April 17 LAILAT AL-QADR • Islamic
Commemorates the night that the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is known as the “Night of Power.” Often set on the 27th day of Ramadan, Sunnis may observe it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th or 29th and Shīʿite (Shiite) observe it on the 19th, 21st or 23rd day of Ramadan.
April 18 YOM HASHOAH • Jewish
“Holocaust Remembrance Day” memorializes the heroic martyrdom of six million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust.
April 21 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.
April 21-May 2 FESTIVAL OF RIDVÁN • Bahá’í
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.
April 24 ARMENIAN MARTYRS’ DAY
Memorializes the genocide of approximately 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 in Turkey.
May Full Month ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH (also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month)
Recognizes the contributions and celebrates the culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
May Full Month JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Recognizes the history of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievements of American Jews.
May 1 INTERNATIONAL WORKER’S 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.
May 3 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.
May 5 CINCO DE MAYO
In 1862 Mexican forces defeated French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla.
May 5 VISAKHA PUJA • Buddhist
Also known as Vesak or Buddha Day, it marks the birth, spiritual awakening and death (nirvana) of the historical Buddha. (This date may vary based on region or sect.)
May 9 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).
May 12 MOTHER’S DAY
Children of all ages show appreciation for their mothers and mother figures.
May 21 WORLD DAY FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY
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.
May 24 DECLARATION OF THE BÁB • Bahá’í
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.
May 25 ASCENSION DAY • Western Christian
Also known as Holy Thursday, celebrated 40 days after Easter, it commemorates the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.
May 25 ASCENSION DAY • Eastern Orthodox Christian
Also known as Holy Ascension, celebrated 40 days after Pascha, it commemorates the ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven.
May 26-27 SHAVUOT • Jewish
The “Feast of Weeks” celebrates the covenant established at Sinai between God and Israel and the revelation of the Ten Commandments.
May 28 PENTECOST • Western Christian
Also known as Whitsunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and women followers of Jesus Christ. Marks the birth of the Christian Church.
May 29 ASCENSION OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH • Bahá’í
Observance of the anniversary of the death in exile of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
May 29 MEMORIAL DAY
A federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.
June Full Month LGBTQ+ PRIDE MONTH
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.
June 4 PENTECOST • Eastern Orthodox Christian
The seventh Sunday after Pascha commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and women followers of Jesus Christ.
June 5 WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY (WED)
The United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
June 11 ALL SAINTS’ DAY • Eastern Orthodox Christian
In Orthodox churches observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost, it commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints.
June 11 RACE UNITY DAY • Bahá’í
Observance promoting racial harmony and understanding and the essential unity of humanity.
June 12 ANNE FRANK DAY
Birthday of a young Jewish girl whose diary describes her family’s experiences hiding from the Nazis through the assistance of Gentile friends.
June 12 LOVING DAY
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.
June 14 FLAG DAY
Anniversary of the adoption of the United States flag by Congress in 1777.
June 18 FATHER’S DAY
Children of all ages show appreciation for their fathers and father figures.
June 19 JUNETEENTH
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.
June 20 WORLD REFUGEE DAY
Raises awareness about the plight of refugees and displaced persons.
June 21 SUMMER SOLSTICE
Marks the first day of the season of summer. The length of time between sunrise and sunset is the longest of the year, with the sun shining the farthest from the Southern Hemisphere and the closest to the Northern Hemisphere.
June 26 ANNIVERSARY OF LEGALIZATION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN THE U.S.
On June 26, 2015, in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.
June 28 EID AL-ADHA • Islamic
Commemoration of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience of a command from God. Marks the end of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
July 3 DHARMA DAY • Buddhist
Also known as Asalha Puja, it commemorates the historical Buddha’s first discourse following his spiritual awakening.
July 4 INDEPENDENCE DAY
Anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.
July 10 MARTYRDOM OF THE BÁB • Bahá’í
Observance of the anniversary of the execution by a firing squad in Tabríz, Persia, of the 30- year-old Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad, the Báb, the prophet-herald of the Bahá’í Faith.
July 19-August 16 MUHARRAM • Islamic
The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. This first day, 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 Shīʿite Remembrance of Muharram, a period of intense grief and martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Muhammad.
July 26 AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) DAY
Commemorates the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities.
July 27 TISH’A B’AV • Jewish
Mourning of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE.
July 28 ASHURA • Islamic
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.
August 9 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.
August 12 INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY
Celebrates young people and the integral role they play in helping to create a world fit for children.
August 13-15 ULLAMBANA (also known as Obon) • Buddhist
Ullambana, a Sanskrit term that means “hanging upside down and suffering,” honors the spirits of past ancestors and strives to relieve aching souls from suffering. It lasts about half of the month of August. Obon, the Japanese transliteration of Ullambana, is only three days and varies from region to region—July in the eastern region and August in the western region.
August 21 SENIOR CITIZEN DAY
Recognizes the many contributions older adults make in communities across the United States.
August 23 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.
August 26 WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY
Commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
August 30 RAKSHA BANDHAN • Hindu
Also called Rakhi, this festival celebrates the protective relationship between brothers and their sisters.
September 4 LABOR DAY
Celebrated the first Monday in September in recognition of U.S. workers.
September 5 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CHARITY
Recognizes the role of charity in alleviating human suffering, as well as the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa.
September 6 KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI (Also known as JAYANTI) • Hindu
Celebrates Krishna’s birthday, Vishnu’s eighth incarnation on earth.
September 8 INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY
Call to action for universal literacy.
September 15-October 15 Full Month NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Celebrates the contributions, heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
September 16-17 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.
September 17 CONSTITUTION DAY AND CITIZENSHIP DAY
Commemorates the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787. Also honors all who have become U.S. citizens.
September 19 GANESH CHATURTHI • Hindu
Celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant-deity.
September 23 AUTUMNAL EQUINOX
Marks the first day of the season of fall. The sun shines nearly equally on both hemispheres when it’s fall in the Northern Hemisphere and simultaneously spring in the Southern Hemisphere.
September 23 BI VISIBILITY DAY
Seeks to draw attention to public policy concerns and foster respect for bi+ individuals and communities.
September 25 YOM KIPPUR • Jewish
The “Day of Atonement” marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah.
September 27 MAWLID AL-NABI (Also known as MILAD AL-NABI) • Islamic (Sunni)
The observance of the birthday of Islam founder Prophet Muhammad, which is celebrated in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. Shi’a Muslims celebrate it five days later than Sunni Muslims.
September 30-October 6 SUKKOT • Jewish
The week-long “Feast of Booths” commemorates the 40-year wandering of the Israelites in the desert on the way to the Promised Land.
October Full month NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH
A campaign to unite communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.
October Full Month NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH
Recognizes the contributions of workers with disabilities.
October Full Month LGBT HISTORY MONTH
Marks and celebrates the lives and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United States.
October 2 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE
Marked on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence, a U.N commemoration promoting the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding.
October 5 WORLD TEACHER’S DAY
Held annually to commemorate teacher organizations worldwide.
October 7 MAWLID AL-NABI (Also known as MILAD AL-NABI) • Islamic (Shi’a)
The observance of the birthday of Islam founder Prophet Muhammad, which is celebrated in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. Sunni Muslims celebrate it five days earlier than Shi’a Muslims.
October 7 SHEMINI ATZERET • Jewish
“The Eighth [Day] of Assembly” observed on the day immediately following Sukkot.
October 8 SIMCHAT TORAH • Jewish
“Rejoicing in the Torah” celebrates the conclusion of the public reading of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Hebrew Bible) and its beginning anew.
October 9 INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY (Native American Day)
Celebrates and honors Native American history and culture.
[The second Monday of October is also marked as a U.S. federal holiday, Columbus Day. Many people are opposed to the celebration of a man who led and committed atrocities against Indigenous people. Some states and cities in the U.S. have officially changed the day to Indigenous People’s Day. Similarly, it is celebrated as Día de la Raza, “Day of the Race,” in Spanish-speaking countries and communities.]
October 11 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.
October 15-24 NAVARATRI • Hindu
Nine-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It worships God in the form of the universal mother commonly referred to as Durga, Devi or Shakti, and marks the start of fall.
October 16 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.
October 17 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.
October 17 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY
Call to action for the eradication of poverty and destitution worldwide.
October 20 GUR-GADDI GURU GRANTH SAHIB • Sikh
Since 1708, Sikhs have accepted Sri Guru Granth Sahib as their eternal Guru, which holds the spirit of all Ten Gurus of the Sikhs. They consider Guru Granth Sahib to be a spiritual guide not only for Sikhs but for all of mankind; it plays a central role in guiding the Sikhs’ way of life.
October 24 DUSSEHRA/DASSERA • Hindu
Anniversary of the day when Rama killed the evil demon Ravana. Also known as Durga Puja, which celebrates the goddess Durga.
October 24 UNITED NATIONS DAY
Commemorates the founding of the world organization in 1945.
October 31 HALLOWEEN
The eve of All Saints’ Day.
October 31 REFORMATION DAY • Christian
Commemorates the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
November Full Month NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH
Adoptees, birth families, adoptive families and adoption professionals reflect on, educate and celebrate adoption practices.
November Full Month NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH
Celebrates and honors the history and culture of Native Americans and indigenous people in the United States.
November 1 ALL SAINTS’ DAY • Western Christian
Commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints. Eastern Orthodox Christianity observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
November 2 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.
November 7 ELECTION DAY
A day set by U.S. law for the election of public officials.
November 9-10 KRISTALLNACHT
Also known as the Night of the Broken Glass, commemorates the 1938 pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and Vienna.
November 11 VETERANS’ DAY
Honors military veterans and the U.S. Armed Services.
November 12 BANDI-CHHOR DIWAS • Sikh
A commemorative occasion having no fixed date which occurs in October or November and celebrates the release of the Sixth Guru Har Gobind Sahib from imprisonment and coincides with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
November 12 DIWALI • Hindu
Also called Deepavali, “Festival of Lights”, it celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
November 13-17 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.
November 16 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.
November 20 TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
Memorializes those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
November 23 THANKSGIVING DAY
Following a 19th-century tradition, it commemorates the Pilgrims’ harvest feast in the autumn of 1621. It is considered by some to be a “national day of mourning,” in recognition of the conquest of Native Americans by colonists.
November 26 DAY OF THE COVENANT • 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.
November 27 GURU NANAK DEV JI’S BIRTHDAY • Sikh
A very important holiday in the Sikh faith as Guru Nanak Dev was the First Guru of the Sikhs and the Founder of Sikhism. He was born in mid-November; the holiday is celebrated according to the lunar date.
December 1 WORLD AIDS DAY
International day of action on HIV and AIDS.
December 3 ADVENT • Western Christian
Advent is a season of spiritual preparation in observance of the birth of Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, it starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the season is longer and begins in the middle of November.
December 3 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Raises awareness about persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.
December 8 BODHI DAY • Buddhist
Also known as Rohatsu, commemorates the day that the Buddha, Siddharta Gautama, experienced enlightenment or spiritual awakening (bodhi). Celebrated on the eighth day either of December or the 12th month of the lunar calendar.
December 8-15 CHANUKAH • Jewish
Eight-day “Festival of Lights”, also known as Hanukkah, 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.
December 10 HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
December 12 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.
December 15 BILL OF RIGHTS DAY
Commemorates the signing into law of the ten original amendments of the United States Constitution in 1791.
December 21 WINTER SOLSTICE
Marks the first day of the season of winter. The length of time between sunrise and sunset is the shortest of the year, with the sun shining closest to the Southern Hemisphere and the farthest from the Northern Hemisphere.
December 24 CHRISTMAS EVE • Christian
Celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.
December 25 CHRISTMAS • Western Christian
Commemorates the birth of Jesus.
December 26 2023-January 1, 2024 KWANZAA
A seven-day celebration honoring African American heritage and its continued vitality. “Kwanzaa” means “first fruits (of the harvest)” in Swahili.
December 29 WOUNDED KNEE DAY
On December 29, 1890, more than 200 Lakota Sioux were massacred by U.S. troops at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
December 31 NEW YEAR’S EVE
In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, and drink, etc.