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Minnesota Career Development Association

Holidays & Religious Observances Calendar

Disclaimer: MCDA has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy of the dates. The information has been verified through the use of various sources and some dates may vary due to the lunar, Gregorian and Julian calendars.

January 2018

January 1: Gantan-sal (Shinto): Gantan-sai is the annual New Year festival of the Shinto religion.

January 2-4: Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch, on the first full-moon day in January.

January 6 – Orthodox Christian: Epiphany, a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians, that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus 12 days after his birth.

January 7 – Orthodox Christian: Christmas.

January 15 – U.S. Holiday: Martin Luther King Day (Observed) commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for non-violent social change.

January 21: World Religion Day, observed by those of the Baha’i faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding. World Religion Day starts sundown of January 17.

January 26: Republic Day of India recognizes the date the Constitution of India came into law in 1950, replacing the Government of India Act of 1935.

January 27: The International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

January 30-31: Tu B’shevat, a Jewish holiday recognizing “The New Year of the Trees.” It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.

February

February is Black History, also known as African-American History Month in the United States and Canada.

February 1 – U.S. Holiday: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865.

February 13: Mardi Gras, the last day for Catholics to indulge before Ash Wednesday starts the sober weeks of fasting that come with Lent.

February 14 – Hindu: Maha Shivaratri, a Hindu holiday that honors Shiva, one of the Hindu deities.

February 14 – Christian: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

February 16: Chinese New Year (Year of the Dog), one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration.

February 16-18 – Religion: Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, a time of renewal through sacred and secular practices.

February 19 – U.S. Holiday: Presidents Day (Observed)

February 28-March 1: Purim, a Jewish celebration that marks the time when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide.  

March

March is Women’s History Month. Started in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.

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

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

March 2-3 – Hindu: Holi

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 13 – April 15: Deaf History Month

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 25 – Hindu: Ram Navani, a day of worship and celebration of the seventh avatar of Vishnu.

March 25 – Christian: Palm Sunday, a holiday commemorating the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is the last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of the Holy Week.

March 29 – Christian: Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper, at which Jesus and the Apostles were together for the last time before the Crucifixion.

March 30 – Christian: Good Friday, a day celebrated by Christians to commemorate the execution of Jesus by crucifixion.

March 30-April 7: Passover, an eight-day Jewish holiday and festival in commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

April

April is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all.

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

April 1 – Christian: Easter, a holiday to celebrate Jesus’s return from death after the crucifixion.

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, created to raise awareness of the developmental disorder around the globe.

April 13 – Muslim: Lailat-al-Miraj, a holiday that commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s

April 20-May 2 – Religion: The Festival of Ridvan, a holiday celebrated by those of the Baha’i Faith.

April 22: Earth Day, events are held worldwide in support of the environment and raise awareness about the need to care for our planet.

April 27: The Day of Silence, during which students take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment.

May

May is Mental Health Month, spread the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

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).

May 16-June 14: Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer and devotion to Islam.

May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a global celebration of sexual-orientation and gender diversities.

May 19-21: Shavuot

May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day set aside by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.

May 28 – U.S. Holiday: Memorial Day (Observed), a federal holiday established to honor military veterans who died in wars fought by American forces.

May 29: 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 it is a gazetted holiday in India.

June

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on the world. LGBT groups celebrate this special 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 Gay Pride Day.

June 10 – Religion: Lailat-al-Qadir, the holiest night of the year for Muslims traditionally celebrated on the 27th 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.

June 14 – U.S. Holiday: Flag Day in the United States, observed to celebrate the history and symbolism of the American flag.

June 15: 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 khutba (sermon) and give zakat al-fitr (charity in the form of food) during Eid al-Fitr.

June 15: Native American Citizenship Day, commemorating the day in 1924 when the United States Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans.

June 24 – U.S. Holiday: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Day.

July 2018

July 4 – U.S. Holiday: Independence Day (also known as the Fourth of July), a United States federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

July 11: World Population Day, an observance established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of global population issues.

July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day, launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.

July 26: Disability Independence Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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

August 26: Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution that gave women the right to vote.

September

From September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day,which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

September 2: Krishna Janmashtami, a Hindu celebration of Lord Vishnu’s most powerful human incarnations, Krishna, the god of love and compassion.

September 3 – U.S. Holiday: Labor Day, public holiday to honor all working people.

September 6 (Sunrise): Paryushana Parva, a Jain festival lasting about 8-10 days, and is observed through meditation and fasting. Its main focus is spiritual upliftment, pursuit of salvation and gaining a deeper understanding of the religion.

September 9-11: Rosh-Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, marking the creation of the world.

September 11: The Ethiopian New Year. Rastafarians celebrate the New Year on this date and believe that Ethiopia is their spiritual home.

September 12: Celebration of Ganesha, a Hindu holiday lasting around 10 days, where the elephant-headed Hindu God is praised and given offerings.

September 15 – October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day,which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

September 18-19: Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day of atonement marked by fasting and ceremonial repentance.

September 23-30: Sukkot, a seven day Jewish festival giving thanks for the fall harvest.

September 30-October 2: 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

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.” October is also LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

October 2: Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday, marks the end of the weekly readings of the Torah.

October 8: National Indigenous People’s Day, an alternative celebration to Columbus Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.

October 11: National Coming Out Day. For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

October 19: Dussehra (Dasera), the beginning of a ten-day festival celebrated by Hindus to recognize Rama’s victory over evil.

October 20: The day Sikhs celebrate Sri Guru Granth Sahib who is their spiritual guide.

November

November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

November 1: All Saints Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all known and unknown Christian saints.

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 and November 2), which is a time of remembrance for dead ancestors and a celebration of the continuity of life.

November 7: Diwali, the Hindu, Jain and Sikh five-day festival of lights celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and lightness over darkness.

November 11 – U.S. Holiday: Veterans Day, a holiday honoring military veterans.

November 12: The Birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i religion.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance.

November 22 U.S. Holiday: Thanksgiving.

November 25: Feast of Christ the King, a Catholic holiday established in thanking God for the gift of time, and re-dedication to the Christian faith.

December 2018

December 1: World AIDS Day, commemorating those who have died of AIDS, and to acknowledge the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

December 2-10: Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights.

December 2 – 24: Advent, a Christian season of celebration leading up to the birth of Christ.

December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons, designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

December 8: Bodhi Day, a holiday observed by Buddhists to commemorate Gautama’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India.

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 12: Eid Milad Un Nabi, an Islamic holiday commemorating the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.

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

December 21: The Winter Solstice/ Yule, 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 way back to the earth.

December 25 – Christian: Christmas.

December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.