Celebrating Our Diverse Community
At Unionville-Chadds Ford, we are proud to celebrate our diverse community.
We want everyone who interacts with our district to feel included, respected, and treated equitably.
Please join us as we celebrate our community by recognizing all cultures, heritages and abilities and continue to build an environment where everyone feels welcome and accepted.
Celebrating our diverse community includes sharing the stories of how our students, staff and community celebrate and recognize different holidays, months of recognition and awareness, and special cultural events.
If you have stories, photos, recipes, video messages or something that you would like to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured here!
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- Islamic New Year
- Eid al-Adha
- Independence Day
- Pride Month
- CINCO DE MAYO
- EID AL-FITR
- MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- Haitian Heritage Month
- Jewish American Heritage Month
- Good Friday
- WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
- AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH
- ARAB-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
- WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY
- ST. PATRICK'S DAY
- INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
- WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
- ASH WEDNESDAY (START OF LENT)
- MAHA SHIVARATRI
- IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
- BLACK HISTORY MONTH
- Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year)
- CHINESE NEW YEAR
- MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY
- NEW YEAR'S DAY
- BODHI DAY
- International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- Veterans Day
- Native American Heritage Month
- Indigenous Peoples' Day
- Columbus Day
- Polish-American Heritage Month
- Filipino-American History Month
- Italian-American Heritage Month
- National Hispanic American Heritage Month
- Yom Kippur
- Rosh Hashanah
- Labor Day
Islamic New Year
The Islamic New Year — also known as the Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year — is the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The first year of this calendar began in Gregorian CE 622 when the Prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina with his companions. In the Islamic calendar, days begin at sunset. The event falls on a different day every year because the Islamic year is 11 to 12 days shorter. As rituals and prayers mark the occasion, Muharram is known as the month of remembrance and is sacred to Muslims across the world.
The word Hijri is derived from Hijra meaning migration. The starting point of Islamic calendar is migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD.
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- WHEN IS THE ISLAMIC NEW YEAR?
- HISTORY OF THE ISLAMIC NEW YEAR
- ISLAMIC NEW YEAR TRADITIONS
- WHY ISLAMIC NEW YEAR IS IMPORTANT
WHEN IS THE ISLAMIC NEW YEAR?
HISTORY OF THE ISLAMIC NEW YEAR
In Mecca and other areas, Muslims of the 7th century CE faced religious persecution for their beliefs. Therefore, the exodus of Muhammed and his followers to the city that would later be called Medina — a movement called the Hijra — where Muhammad would set forth a Constitution that delineated Muslim’s rights and responsibilities. This event is of great importance in the Muslim faith, which is why Islamic New Year commemorates this sacred moment of history.
It’s not just the first day of the month Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar year, that’s important to observe for Muslims around the world. The entire month is of holy significance. For example, it is also in Muharram — second only in importance as a solemn occasion to Ramadan — that the 10th day, Ashura takes place, marking Noah’s leaving the Ark and also Moses crossing the Red Sea.
For Shia Muslims, it’s also the death anniversary of Muhammad’s grandson Hussein. They mark the occasion with mourning ceremonies. Shias, particularly those in Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Lebanon and Pakistan, take part in remembrance parades called “matam”, where men gather in the street to take part in ritual chest-beating. For Sunnis, Muharram is a time of ushering in the new, with solemn prayer and reflection.
The lunar calendar is 11 or 12 days shorter than the Western solar calendar, so a sort of “cycle” is created around Islamic New Year as it falls back year after year. This is so those of the faith can experience the same range of temperatures and weather events as all the historical figures in their holy books did.
Muharram is an important religious and cultural event, so asking Muslim friends about the significance of Muharram can be an interesting learning lesson. Muslims themselves could also share stories, ideas and feelings with others, to mark the Islamic New Year.
ISLAMIC NEW YEAR TRADITIONS
The Islamic New Year is observed as a public holiday in the majority of Islamic countries. The customs and traditions are different in various sects of the Islamic religion but generally involve religious recitals and religious acts of worship. Unlike the New Year celebrations of other calendars, the Islamic New Year is usually quiet, with Muslims reflecting on time and their mortality.
The month of Muharram itself is an important one for Muslims. Special prayers and sermons are carried out at mosques and some public places.
HOW TO OBSERVE ISLAMIC NEW YEAR
For Shias: mourn the passing of Hussein, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson
The leader’s murder was an outrageous event in Muslim history, when he was committed during a month where violence is especially shunned. Join the community at your mosque, or take a solemn moment to shed a tear at the injustice.
For Sunnis: contemplate peace and new beginnings
Again, the mosque is a good location to join others of the faith, but even alone or with close family, today is the time for remembering what it all means and planning how to carry on and move forward into a whole new year.
For everybody: remember that all people are the same
Even if your interest is purely academic, the day of Islamic New Year can be a place to start cataloguing all the differences between cultures that only serve to accentuate the similarities. Days of fasting, revering your prophet, taking a sabbath day each week, or even being agnostic or atheist among friends and acquaintances who worship — whoever you are, there are people like you in every country and under any creed.
WHY ISLAMIC NEW YEAR IS IMPORTANT
Muslims comprise over 24% of the world’s population
This means about a quarter of all people are likely celebrating Muslim New Year today, in one way or another, so diligently understanding peers and bearing in mind a few facts can go a long way.
It’s about freedom to worship
In Mecca, Muhammad and his followers often faced harsh criticism and discrimination, even abuse, because they believed in a single God (Allah) and not a pantheon of multiple gods. But they persevered, not unlike the faithful in the Christian bible. In other words, the desire for freedom and the willingness to fight or flee for it is universal.
A holy time for the faithful
Nobody can go wrong by speaking in reverence or holding a feeling of solemnity for this day. This act should be appreciated by those who notice because respect and kindness are never bad habits to get into.
Eid al-Adha is the Muslim holy day that honors the sacrifice Ibrahim (Abraham) was willing to make in obedience to God’s command: the life of his beloved son Isaac. But when Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God —impressed with Ibrahim’s faith — provided a sacrificial ram in the boy’s place. Muslims now celebrate this event by sharing a slaughtered animal in three parts: one part for themselves, one for their family, and the third part is given to the needy. We can all join in this spirit of sharing on this special day. The holiday will be mainly celebrated on July 10 this year.
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- WHEN IS EID AL-ADHA CELEBRATED?
- HISTORY OF EID AL-ADHA
- EID AL-ADHA TRADITIONS
- WHY IS EID AL-ADHA IMPORTANT
WHEN IS EID AL-ADHA CELEBRATED?
HISTORY OF EID AL-ADHA
The Prophet Ibrahim, known in Christianity and Judaism as Abraham, went through trials and tests throughout his life. One of these tests was when he was commanded by Allah (God) in a dream to sacrifice his son, Ismael. Both father and son agreed to obey the will of God and headed to Mount Moriah. Ismail lay with his forehead against the ground with a sharp knife placed on his neck by his father. Just when Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God sent a large ram to be slaughtered in the place of Ismael, which Ibrahim then sacrificed to the glory of God.
This event is of great significance, as it displayed the extent to which Ibrahim was willing to obey God’s decree, in order to please him. After getting tested time and time again, Ibrahim’s faith remained staunch and he was rewarded by God. Eid al-Adha is among the biggest Islamic holidays of the year. It is popularly known as ‘Qurbani’ or the Festival of Sacrifice, reminding everyone of God’s mercy and blessings to those who relentlessly do good.
Eid al-Adha also marks the end of Hajj, the obligatory sacred pilgrimage for Muslims to the holy city of Mecca. The main ritual of this day is to slaughter a goat, sheep, or camel, followed by its distribution. One-third of the meat goes to poor people, one-third is distributed to friends and neighbors, and one-third is enjoyed by one’s family. This act emphasizes the importance of sharing with the less fortunate. The festival of Eid is a joyous one and is celebrated by dressing up, visiting friends and relatives, preparing special meat dishes and desserts, gifting children with gifts and money, and hosting barbecue parties.
There are different names for the occasion of Eid al-Adha. It is known as ‘Kurban Bayramı’ in Turkey, ‘Hari Raya Haji’ in Malaysia and Singapore, and ‘Tabaski’ in West Africa. Regardless of the name, the spirit of the holiday runs strongly among Muslims worldwide.
EID AL-ADHA TRADITIONS
Eid al-Adha is a day of sacrifice but is celebrated grandly. Preparations for the holiday begin a month in advance, with designers launching clothing lines especially for the occasion of Eid. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated, and shopping lists are compiled for preparing celebratory feasts. The biggest preparation is the purchasing of the animal for sacrifice. Bazaars are set up where local vendors sell goats, cows, camels, and sheep. Haggling and buying the animal at the best price is a tradition in itself. In countries where this is not legal or common, a whole carcass is purchased and divided into portions of meat.
The day of Eid begins with Muslims waking up early, washing, and dressing in their finest clothes to perform the Eid prayers, followed by greeting friends, family, and neighbors at the mosque. Everyone is greeted with “Eid Mubarak,” wishing each other a blessed Eid. The rest of the day is spent rationing the meat from the sacrificed animal, distributing it, and then preparing for the evening festivities, which involve dressing up and having outdoor barbecues. It is very common to post your outfit of the day and Eid selfies on social media.
WHY IS EID AL-ADHA IMPORTANT
It honors faith and sacrifice
Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, commemorates Ibrahim's unwavering faith, even when God commanded him to sacrifice the the thing he cherished most in life — his son. This is a good time for us to think about what we are willing to do for the people we love. Most importantly, we remember that little acts of kindness can make a monumental impact in someone else's life.
It's an opportunity to share our abundance
This Muslim tradition, practiced on Eid al-Adha, symbolically illustrates the power of sharing by dividing meat into three portions to be eaten by family, friends and those in need. Being conscious of extending what we have beyond our own doors is a wonderful way for anyone to take part in celebrating this holiday
It's a lesson in gratitude
For Muslims, it's crucial to speak the name of Allah before killing an animal to be shared on Eid al-Adha. In this way, you honor the life of the animal sacrificing itself to feed the people. For all of us who eat meat, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, this is a good day to be grateful to all the animals.
Happy Fourth! The American glory of Red, White, and Blue, is celebrated on Independence Day on July 4. Americans come together on July 4 to celebrate the nation’s birthday and Independence Day. On this day, most Americans enjoy grills in their backyards, at beaches, or in parks. Some partake in parades or marches and enjoy the fireworks that are often launched at dusk.
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HISTORY OF JULY 4TH
In the 1700s, America wasn’t really a nation of ‘united states.’ Instead, there were 13 colonies with distinct personalities. From 1763 to 1773, Britain’s King George III increasingly placed pressure on the colonies as he and the British Parliament enacted a succession of draconian taxes and laws on them. Excessive taxes on British luxury goods like tea and sugar were designed to benefit the British crown without any regard for the hardships of the colonists. By 1764, the phrase “Taxation without representation is tyranny” spread throughout the colonies as the rallying cry of outrage.
The more the colonists rebelled, the more King George doubled down with force. Imagine if enemy soldiers not only had the right to enter your home but the soldiers could demand that you feed and house them. The Quartering Act of 1765 allowed British soldiers to do just that.
But the Stamp Act of 1765 became the straw that broke the colonists’ backs. Passed by Parliament in March, this act taxed any piece of printed paper, including newspapers, legal documents, ships’ papers — and even playing cards! As the colonial grumbling got louder and bolder, in the fall of 1768, British ships arrived in Boston Harbor as a show of force. Remember, the British Navy dominated the seas all over the world due to the far-reaching presence of the British Empire.
Tensions boiled over on March 5, 1770, in Boston Harbor during a street fight between a group of colonists and British soldiers. The soldiers fired shots that killed 47-year-old Crispus Attucks, the first American and Black man to die along with three other colonists in the Boston Massacre.
In 1773, the Boston Tea Party (from which today’s Tea Party Republicans get their name) erupted when colonists disguised as Mohican Indians raided a British ship, dumping all the tea overboard to avoid paying the taxes. Continued pressure led to resistance and the start of the Revolutionary War in the towns of Lexington and Concord when a militia of patriots battled British soldiers on April 19, 1775. Conditions were ripe for American independence.
When the first battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, only a handful of colonists wished for total independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered extremists.
However, halfway through the following year, many more colonists had come to lean more toward independence, as a result of growing hostility towards Britain and the spread of revolutionary views like those conveyed in the bestselling pamphlet published in early 1776 by Thomas Paine — “Common Sense.”
On June 7, 1776, the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia and Richard Henry Lee, the Virginia delegate, introduced a motion calling for the independence of the colonies. Amid heated debate, Congress rescheduled the vote on Lee’s resolution but appointed a five-man committee — including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Robert R. Livingston of New York — to draft a formal statement justifying the defect from Great Britain.
On July 2, 1776, in a virtually unanimous vote, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence, and on July 4th, it formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Ultimately, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence was a contentious process. After much debate over what to include and what to leave out, Thomas Jefferson, tasked with pulling the document together, envisioned a nation where “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” crystallized the very meaning of being an American. The document proclaimed the 13 American colonies’ liberation from Britain and reaffirmed their rights as free men — declaring that they were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain, King George III, and were now united, free, and independent states.
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
By an extraordinary coincidence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two signatories of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as presidents of the United States, both died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as president, also died on July 4, 1831, making him the third President who died on the anniversary of independence. The only U.S. president to have been born on Independence Day was Calvin Coolidge, who was born on July 4, 1872.
INDEPENDENCE DAY ACTIVITIES
1) Read the Declaration of Independence
Most Americans have never actually read the Declaration of Independence. But if it weren't for this short but historically significant document, they may not have been able to spend the day grilling or lighting fireworks, and definitely wouldn't have had the day off.
2) Watch fireworks
It's a blast — in more ways than one. Gazing at fireworks on the Fourth is a tradition that goes back centuries. In fact, John Adams alluded to this type of celebration in a letter he wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776.
3) Visit a national landmark or historical site
America is full of fascinating historical landmarks and sites. No matter where in the country you live, there is almost certainly a site of historical importance nearby. Some ideas could include a Native American reservation, a Civil War battleground, a government building, or a war memorial.
5 FACTS ABOUT THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
1) John Adams refused July 4: Because the actual vote for independence took place on July 2, 1776, John Adams refused to recognize celebrations for July 4.
2) Technically… The Declaration of Independence was finalized on July 4, but most of the signers actually signed the document on August 2, 1776.
3) Edits and revisions - There were a total of 86 edits made to the original draft written by Thomas Jefferson.
4) Independence wasn’t the only reason - The Declaration of Independence was penned down formally so that colonies seeking foreign allies could legally declare themselves free from the British.
5) It’s not a map, but…There isn’t a treasure map as shown in the movie “National Treasure,” but there is actually something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence — “Original Declaration of Independence dates 4th July 1776.”
Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
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HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH
According to the official website of the historical event, Juneteenth is ‘the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.’ Other than marking a pivotal date of significance in American history, Juneteenth also serves as an opportunity for African Americans to cherish their culture and heritage.
More than 155 years old, Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of African Americans from slavery in the U.S. The reason for it being celebrated on June 19 is because, on this day in 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Texas, he brought the news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free.
The proclamation declaring the abolishment of slavery was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, in the nation’s third year of an ongoing civil war. Known as the Emancipation Proclamation, it declared that ‘all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State […] shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.’ Granger’s arrival at Texas was to enforce this decree, which had originally gone into effect two years earlier. The news had come as a shock to more than 250,000 slaves in Texas who were unaware of it.
On June 19, in the city of Galveston, Granger publicly read General Order No. 3, which stated: ‘The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.’
As to why the news of the abolition of slavery reached Texas so late, there are varying accounts. One story states that the messenger bearing the news was assassinated on his journey. Some historians believe that the report on the Emancipation Proclamation was withheld by slave owners in Texas on purpose so that they can go about their business as usual and keep the labor force working. Historians also note that, until 1865, Texas remained a Confederate State, so Lincoln’s proclamation could not have been enforced until Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union Army and they took over. Either way, Granger’s arrival with the grand news stirred the air with jubilance and massive celebrations across the state. A former slave named Felix Haywood gave his recount of the first celebration in 1865 in the book “Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas” — ‘We was all walkin’ on golden clouds […] Everybody went wild […] We was free. Just like that, we was free.’
IMPORTANCE OF JUNETEENTH
Juneteenth is an extremely important holiday in history, commemorating the day when the enslaved people of Texas learned that slavery had been abolished and that they are free.
We need to learn from past mistakes: Acknowledging our past helps us to understand what all of us must do as a society to improve. We need to fight for equal access to education for African-American students, freedom of speech, and non-discrimination in all areas of life.
Empathy: Most of us can't imagine a world like this. When Texas finally "freed" their slaves in 1865, it came 30 months after Lincoln's proclamation. Still, even today, America struggles with racial discrimination.
Fight for Equality
Below are five courageous Americans who fought for equality:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. • Perhaps the most widely recognized name associated with the civil rights movement, Dr. King gave us the famous "I Have a Dream" speech in August 1963 — his 1968 murder proved that the movement still had a lot of work to do.
Rosa Parks • With a simple refusal to surrender her seat on a public bus, Parks made a bold statement for African Americans in the South — her December 1955 arrest inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Mildred Loving • Loving and her husband, Richard, were jailed for unlawful cohabitation in Virginia where interracial marriage was illegal in 1958 — their case reached the Supreme Court in 1967, which ruled unanimously in their favor.
Frederick Douglass • An escaped slave, Douglass became an advocate for the abolition of slavery as well as women's rights.
Dred Scott • Enslaved African American Dred Scott sued for his family's freedom in 1857 — the Supreme Court ruled against him, finding that no person of African ancestry could claim U.S. citizenship.
Pride Month is a time when the LGBTQ+ community comes together to celebrate the acceptance of sexual diversity. Pride Month is celebrated every June as a tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots. As a sub-holiday during Pride Month, Pride Day is celebrated on June 28. The day marks the date in history when the first pride march was held in New York City in 1970.
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CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH
Every year, during the month of June, the LGBT community celebrates in a number of different ways. Across the globe, various events are held during this special month as a way of recognizing the influence LGBT people have had around the world.
As well as being a month-long celebration, Pride month is also an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the community. Parades are a prominent feature of Pride month, and there are many street parties, community events, poetry readings, public speaking, street festivals, and educational sessions all of which are covered by mainstream media and attract millions of participants.
IMPORTANCE OF PRIDE MONTH
LGBT Pride / Gay Pride is a movement that celebrates sexual diversity. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people it is a way of protesting discrimination and violence. It promotes their dignity, equal rights, and self-affirmation and is a way of increasing society’s awareness of the issues they face.
Pride Month is so important because it marks the start of huge change within the LGBT+ community, as well as the wider societal implications. Although attitudes and injustice still remain, we have come a long way since the riots of 1969 and by continuing in this long-standing tradition we continue to raise awareness, improve the attitudes of society and encourage inclusiveness.
WHAT WERE THE STONEWALL RIOTS?
The riots were prompted by a raid that took place during the early morning, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. The LGBT community held a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations to protest against the raid and call for the establishment of places where gays and lesbians could go and be open about their sexual orientation. In such places, there should be no fears of being arrested. The riots served as a catalyst for the rights of LGBT people, and within 6 months, 2 gay activist groups had formed in New York. Over the years since the event, many gay rights organizations have been formed. Not just in the US but around the world.
CINCO DE MAYO
Sweet victory is celebrated with great zeal on Cinco de Mayo on May 5 every year. Everyone knows what May 5, or Cinco De Mayo, means tacos, fun, and fiesta. But did you know that without what happened on this fateful day, the United States may have not existed as we know it today?
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HISTORY OF CINCO DE MAYO
Let’s start by clearing the biggest misconception: No, Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day. But, that does not mean it’s less important or notable than it actually is, for the history behind it dawns on the importance of the landscape of North America as a whole.
An economically struggling Mexico was intervened by the French for the second time, who had the hopes to gain control of the Latin American country under the rule of Napoleon III. The French General, Charles de Lorencez, directed his army towards the capital of Mexico City, with the intent to overthrow the president of Mexico, Benito Juarez.
But things didn’t go as planned, as they encountered heavy resistance, culminating at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Even if their forces had half the numbers of their opponents, the Mexican Army, led by Ignacio Zaragoza, managed to successfully win over the French army at Puebla, a city just 70 miles from Mexico City. Four days later, on May 9, Juárez declared Cinco de Mayo a national holiday.
While the battle in itself was not a major strategic win, and the French took control of Mexico in 1864, it served to lift the spirits of resistance forces and helped them to gain an alliance with the Americans to successfully make Napoleon’s forces withdraw. Since it is believed the French would have likely aided the Confederacy at the Civil War, Mexico’s resistance likely changed the history of the United States.
Pro-Union Mexican citizens in the state of California heavily celebrated the victory at the Battle of Puebla viewing it as a victory for the Union’s cause, later formalizing and spreading the annual celebrations across all of California, and Mexican-Americans all around.
TRADITIONS FOR CINCO DE MAYO
In Mexico, the majority of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations occur in Puebla, where the battle had taken place. People dress up either as French and Mexican soldiers or in colorful outfits to participate in large parades. Patriotic clothing is sold by vendors for people to wear and stalls selling Mexican food are also found everywhere. Although tacos and margaritas are consumed the most on this holiday, as well as mole poblano, which is the official dish of Cinco de Mayo. The battle is also sometimes reenacted for locals and tourists to witness the Mexicans’ grand victory against the French troops.
Cinco de Mayo is also observed in the United States. Costume parties are hosted for friends and family, with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, white, and green) used in decorations. Mexican folk music is played and danced to. The celebrations are also taken to the streets with large parades and special promotions on Mexican food.
FUN FACTS ABOUT CINCO DE MAYO
When Mexico celebrates, we celebrate with them. The U.S. would not be what it is today without the support of Mexico’s great citizens. Cinco de Mayo's a great time to revel in all Mexico has to offer and celebrate the country and all it’s added to our own!
Who doesn’t love a good party? On Cinco de Mayo there are celebrations most everywhere. Someone may invite you to one or you may throw your own. Alternatively, many restaurants, clubs, and organizations host events. It’s a good time to relax, have fun, and enjoy the company of friends and family!
Cinco de Mayo's an excellent excuse to enjoy Mexican cuisine and even try your hand at a traditional recipe you haven’t had before. If cooking isn’t your thing, go out to eat! Support your local Mexican restaurant and try something new off the menu.
Eid al-Fitr is commemorated after the end of the Holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunrise till sunset, thus, Eid al-Fitr is also known as the ‘Festival of Breaking Fast.’
Many people observe the festival by visiting friends and family, exchanging gifts, and making special food and sweets that are synonymous with the festival itself.
Other cultural traditions also see Muslims going for special morning prayer on the day of Eid. Once the prayer ends, all Muslims in the congregation, be it a stranger or friend, exchange Eid greetings by hugging each other.
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WHAT IS EID AL-FITR
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy month of fasting, Ramadan, and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar.
It is widely believed that Prophet Muhammad got the first revelation of the Holy Quran during the holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is also a joyous occasion that celebrates all the virtues of Islam and unifies people.
On Eid al-Fitr, people usually wear new clothes and shoes. They also visit family and friends, ending the day with a special meal. Women also commemorate the occasion by applying henna/mehndi on their hands and feet.
IMPORTANCE OF EID AL-FITR
It’s a celebration of good times
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which is a month-long tradition of fasting and abstinence. Muslims do not eat or drink anything from sunrise till sunset. Ramadan is a time of reflection for Muslims as they are made to understand what the needy community goes through when there’s nothing to eat or drink. Eid al-Fitr, thus, is not only a time of going back to normal life but is also a reminder of the things we should be thankful for.
It’s a celebration of gatherings
Merriment and celebrations abound during Eid al-Fitr. People visit family and friends, often going for overnight stays. Special Eid greetings are exchanged in the form of gifts. Women also apply henna/mehndi on their hands in groups
It’s a celebration of food
People prepare special food items on Eid al-Fitr. Be it sweet dishes like ‘sheer khurma’ or savory platters consisting of chicken or mutton, it’s a celebration of food and being grateful for it.
HISTORY OF EID AL-FITR
Eid al-Fitr’s day changes every year according to the Islamic calendar, which depends on lunar cycles. Every year, the day shifts by at least a 10-day margin, falling earlier and earlier. This year’s Eid al-Fitr will most likely fall on May 3. In any case, the occasion is loved worldwide by the Muslim community and it is celebrated for three days. After a month of fasting and abstinence, Muslims celebrate the festival with much fanfare. It is also a day when ‘Zakat,’ a compulsory form of charity for Muslims who can afford it, is paid. Zakat, which amounts to 2.5% of the gross net of a Muslim household, is given to the less fortunate in society. ‘Fitrana’ is another form of charity that is also given during this time, and this type of charity aims to rectify any accidental mistakes a person may have made while fasting.
Many countries celebrate Eid al-Fitr according to their specific cultures and traditions. In the Middle East, people offer morning prayers by going to a specially designated area called ‘Eid-gah’. Eid-gah is usually a vast empty space. Unlike other Muslim prayers, Eid morning prayers do not have a special call for prayer. In other countries, like Malaysia and Pakistan, people visit their families and friends, taking along gifts and special food items. These countries’ traditions also see people making special food dishes like ‘sheer khurma’ and ‘sawaiyan’ on the morning of Eid. These sweet items are made with vermicelli, milk, sugar, and dry fruits. South Asians also refer to Eid al-Fitr as ‘choti’ Eid, meaning the smaller Eid. There are two Eid festivals in Islam; Eid al-Adha is considered the ‘bigger’ festival as it commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage with the sacrifice of animals like sheep, goats, cows, and camels
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
Mental health is wealth, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month, which is celebrated in May. The stigma around mental health and treatment has long existed, even though this has started to change. Still, people hesitate to seek help or even talk about it with their loved ones for fear of being judged and facing unnecessary backlash.
Simple logic dictates that if we are hurt anywhere, we must seek treatment to get better. This applies to both our mental- and physical well-being. While Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated in the U.S., a more universal day is also celebrated by the WHO on October 10, and it is known as World Mental Health Day.
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- HISTORY OF MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
- REACH OUT FOR HELP
- OBSERVING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
- IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
HISTORY OF MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
Mental Health Awareness Month was first celebrated in 1949. It was commemorated by the Mental Health America organization, which was then known as the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and then later as the National Mental Health Association before it got its current name. The association was founded by Clifford Whittingham Beers. Beers, who was born in 1876 in Connecticut, was one of five children in his family who all suffered from mental illness and psychological distress. All of them also went on to spend time at mental institutions and it was from his hospital admittance that he discovered that the mental health field had a notorious reputation for malpractice, maltreatment, and immense bias.
Beers went on to author “A Mind That Found Itself”, which is a bestseller even today. Gaining popularity and support from medical professionals, Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygiene. Beers and his colleagues at the association wanted to find ways to make sure that mental health patients not only received the right care but also did not feel alone in their fight against mental diseases.
Since 1949, each year, a theme is selected to be highlighted and celebrated throughout May. Recent years have seen themes like ‘Do More for 1 in 4’ (2011), ‘B4Stage4’ (2015), and ‘Nature’ (2021). During the month, various events are held that are covered by media and well-known figures like politicians and actors. Mental Health America also diligently releases a mental health toolkit for outreach activities.
REACH OUT FOR HELP
EMERGENCY: 911 (If there is an immediate risk of endangering oneself or others, contact 911. Inform the operator that you are calling about a mental health crisis.)
SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: 1-800-273-8255
SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE (ESPAÑOL): 1-888-628-9454
PA SUPPORT & LOCAL REFERRAL HELPLINE: 1-855-284-2494
CHESTER COUNTY TEEN TALK LINE: 1-855-852-8336
CHESTER COUNTY TEEN TEXT LINE: 484-362-9515
PA SUPPORT & LOCAL REFERRAL HELPLINE: 1-855-284-2494
24-HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE • CHESTER COUNTY, PA: 610-280-3270
24-HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE • DELAWARE COUNTY, PA: 610-447-7600
24-HOUR CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text PA to 741741
FAMILY SUPPORT LINE: 610-891-5275
You can also visit the following website for more information:
Mental Health America: https://mhanational.org/get-involved/contact-us
OBSERVING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
Take care of yourself - Life has numerous ups and downs. Some are solvable but others not so much. When your mental health acts up, seek the right treatment and make yourself better because, after all, life has much more to offer than just pain and suffering.
Take care of your loved ones - Check up on your friends and family. Many times, all people need is a shoulder to cry on and/or an ear to listen. Support and encourage them if they are being treated for any mental problems.
Talk about mental health - One of the best ways to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month is by talking about it with your peers. The more you talk about it, the more normalized it will become. This is one of the aims of the month as the stigma attached to mental health has led to countless delays in treatment AND research on the matter.
IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
It’s a celebration of mental health - The only way to enjoy life to the fullest and experience all its wonders is if we take care of ourselves, mentally and physically. Don’t shy away from talking about what’s plaguing you because it might not be your fault, no matter how much society tells you otherwise.
It’s a celebration of changing attitudes - We have come a long way from the times when mental patients were treated as outcasts, not only by their loved ones but also by medical professionals. Times have started changing and more and more people are changing their outlook on mental illnesses. However, we still have a long way to go.
It’s a celebration of humans - We humans are a set of meticulously put-together details. Our minds (and bodies) work in harmony to bring us amazing feats in technology, science, humanities, literature, etc. Our mental power, therefore, needs to be taken care of for a better tomorrow for the coming generations.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is primarily celebrated in the United States to recognize and commend the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the heritage and history of the United States. The U.S. celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May.
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WHO IS CELEBRATED THIS MONTH?
Asian/Pacific American (APA) or Asian/Pacific Islander (API) or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is a term sometimes used in the United States to include both Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans.
The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs defined Asian-Pacific Islander as: "A person with origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, South Asia, or the Pacific Islands.
This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Samoa; and in South Asia, includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.
The rich history and heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is thousands of years old and is integral to the shaping of the history of the United States. Formerly known as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the celebration was officially renamed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2009. The month-long observance recognizes the influence and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the achievements and culture of the United States.
The first documented arrival of Asians in America was in 1587 when Filipinos arrived in California. Additionally, evidence suggests that the first Japanese individual to arrive in North America was a young boy in October 1587. It’s believed he accompanied a Franciscan friar.
The first Chinese arrived in Hawaii in 1778. The first Koreans landed in the States in 1884. The first Samoans in the United States were documented in 1920 in Hawaii and the first Vietnamese in 1912.
In the 1970s, a former congressional staffer, Jeanie Jew, proposed the idea of celebrating Asian Pacific Americans to Representative Frank Horton. In June 1977, a United States House of Representatives resolution was introduced by Horton and Norman Y. Mineta, proclaiming the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. A month later, a similar bill was introduced in the Senate.
President Jimmy Carter made the then-week-long celebration official when he signed a joint resolution on October 5, 1978. In 1990, Asian-Pacific Heritage Week was extended to a month when George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress, designating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
OBSERVING THIS MONTH
Cook a traditional recipe - Embark on a cultural culinary journey in your kitchen! Begin with fresh ingredients and serve up some Asian or Hawaiian dishes.
Join the social media celebrations - You don’t have to be an Asian American or Pacific Islander to join the fun on social media. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who is one. Tag them in posts relevant to the day.
Travel back to your roots - Connect with relatives and trace your genealogy. Don’t forget to record your experiences in a memoir and make your family tree. It's something the next generation can treasure!
It honors immigrants - Asian American immigrants and Pacific Islanders contribute greatly to the U.S. economy. This is a time to recognize how they have strengthened our communities.
We learn about diversity - Events and activities give us a glimpse of Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ rich cultures.
It emphasizes racial equality - Celebrations like these keep the healthy dialogue between different races alive.
Haitian Heritage Month
Haitian Heritage Month is a nationally recognized month celebrated in May every year. It is a great time to celebrate the vibrant culture, distinct art, delectable cuisine, and to get to know people of Haitian origin.
Haitian Heritage Month is an expansion of the annual Haitian Flag Day, which falls on May 18. The flag day is observed with much pomp and splendor even by the diaspora. That’s how it found its way to the U.S., a country that’s home to a large Haitian population.
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HISTORY OF HAITIAN HERITAGE MONTH
Haiti, a country populated majorly by African descendants, gained its independence from French colonizers in 1804. The Battle of Vertiéres was a testament to the grit of the Haitian people, during which they overthrew the French to become a free country. Haiti was the first Black republic in the world to free itself from colonial rule. Today, the Haitian community exhibits these nuances of their history through their evocative art, literature, costumes, faith, and life.
Haitian culture is an amalgamation of Taino and African practices blended with European elements, thanks to French colonization. This mix of elements can be found in their cuisine too, which includes the rustic flavors of local dishes with a hint of French sophistication.
Moving on to cultural practices, Haitians are a joyous lot. Dancing is a way of life for this community and you can see this on any public occasion, be it a wedding or a church function. The practice of voodoo is also quite prevalent on the island and it entails the act of dancing as a ritual. Like in most communities of Caribbean origin, carnivals are a much-loved affair for Haitians. Their love for dance and music isn’t restricted to their national boundary alone. You can experience a similar festive vibe in Palm Beach County, Florida, where the Haitian community hosts the biggest and most visited heritage month celebrations every year.
If you’re planning to attend the celebration in Florida, dress up in a vibrant Karabela or a Dashiki shirt and dance and sing to your heart’s content. Have fun!
IMPORTANCE OF HAITIAN HERITAGE MONTH
It recognizes cultural diversity - This occasion acknowledges and appreciates the Haitian community for their contributions to our nation. By doing so, it upholds the U.S. tradition of multiculturalism.
It empowers self-identity - The month allows students and members of the Haitian community to take pride in their cultural history while maintaining their self-identity. It gives the Haitian community a month to embrace their heritage.
The festivities - Haitian Heritage Month is synonymous with street fests, concerts, exhibitions, workshops, and more.
FACTS ABOUT HAITI
WHAT WAS HAITI'S FIRST NAME?
Haiti’s first name was Saint Domingue. The name was changed to Haiti after they gained independence in 1804.
WHAT LANGUAGE DO HAITIANS SPEAK?
Almost all Haitians born and raised in the country speak Haitian Creole. A minority of Haitians can speak French too. English is not spoken in Haiti - Haitian Creole and French are the only two languages spoken in the country.
5 QUICK FACTS ABOUT HAITI
Second in independence - Haiti is only second to the U.S. (in the Western Hemisphere) when it comes to gaining independence from European colonizers.
Christopher Columbus discovered Haiti - Haiti was first discovered by Columbus — he thought he had stumbled upon Asia or, to be more specific, India.
They said “no” to slavery - The Haitian Revolution of 1791 did not just end slavery, it also ended French control over the country.
Plant-based currency? - Haiti’s currency is not made from a plant, but they surely derived its name from the gourd — Haitian Gourde (H.T.G.) is what everyone calls it.
Pumpkin soup, anyone? - On the first day of every year, Haitians celebrate their independence by drinking pumpkin soup, which was only considered a meal for the slave masters under French rule.
Jewish American Heritage Month
Stories of triumph and bravery always get us in the mood for celebrations, and this Jewish American Heritage Month in May is no different. From contributing important scientific discoveries to raising the flag for the abused and neglected, Jewish people have had a huge role to play in where America stands today on the world stage.
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- HISTORY OF JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
- OBSERVING JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
- IMPORTANCE OF JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
HISTORY OF JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Jews first arrived on American soil back in 1654 in New Amsterdam. In search of better opportunities and lifestyles, they made the U.S. their new home base, finding in it a space where they could openly practice their faith and lead their lives freely without the fear of persecution. The efforts to create a Jewish American Heritage Month had been in the pipeline since 1980. The U.S. Congress passed and authorized a bill that would allow President Carter to designate a special week in either April or May for Jewish heritage celebrations. Finally, in April of 2006, the whole month of May was dedicated to recognizing and honoring Jewish contributions and achievements.
Albert Einstein and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are some of the most prominent Jewish American figures. Einstein faced ridicule and bullying growing up with many of his teachers giving up on him. If he had succumbed to society’s ugliness, we, as human beings, might have missed out on a lot of great things today. Likewise, Ginsburg faced sexism at her workplace. People did not want to work with her just because she was a woman and many still believed that a woman’s place was in the kitchen. However, she pushed on and became the harbinger of many helpful laws, including abortion rights.
Jewish people have also been great advocates for other minorities and their rights in America. They participated in the Civil Rights Movement, making up a large portion of white Americans who showed up at voter registrations, rallies, sit-ins, etc. While, today, things may not be as difficult as they were even less than a hundred years ago, all the achievements by Jewish people, big and small, deserve to be recognized and celebrated — and there’s no better time than in Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).
OBSERVING JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Read up on Jewish Americans - There are tons upon tons of famous Jewish American figures. Albert Einstein and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are just two, and their contributions, while extremely significant, are just the tip of the iceberg. So go on and research more on iconic Jewish personalities, both living and dead.
Celebrate with your Jewish loved ones - There’s no better way to honor the day than by spending it with those who are being celebrated. Make a day (or a month, in this case) out of it by spending time together, going to museums, reading about Jewish history, and listening to your friends’ and their families' journeys.
IMPORTANCE OF JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
It’s a celebration of Jewish American achievements - Despite facing persecution and racism through time, the Jewish American community did not give up and has come through each time. If it were not for them considering America their home and dedicating their achievements to the country, the American image might have been very different today.
It’s a celebration of resilience - Never giving up is a core tenet of taking full advantage of life. If Jewish Americans had given up in the face of hardships and difficulties, a lot of brilliant minds and ideas would have been lost.
It’s a celebration of humanity - No matter from which religion we come, our skin color, or our socioeconomic backgrounds, we are all human beings at the end of the day. Remembering our humanity and work for its betterment together is the only way to survive and thrive.
Easter is the single most important holy day throughout Christianity. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ — a central belief for Christians worldwide and the focal point of their faith. Religious scholars believe the event occurred three days after the Romans crucified Jesus in roughly 30 AD. Christians therefore derive hope that they too will experience a resurrection in heaven.
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While those of the Christian faith observe Easter by participating in religious rituals, vigils, and going to Church, there are many non-religious traditions on Easter for children. The most common tradition is dying Easter eggs, including a lot of fun activities such as egg rolling and egg hunts. Flying kites and games like leapfrog are also popular, as well as games associated with the Easter bunny.
The Easter bunny became a popular addition to the holiday in the 18h Century.
Chocolate and other candy, especially bunny- or egg-shaped ones are widely consumed. Pastel colors like pink, baby blue, and lilac are associated with this day and are seen everywhere on clothing, dyed eggs, and at events.
HISTORY OF EASTER
Easter is a 2,000-year-old Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and marks the arrival of Spring. For many, Easter is all about chocolate bunnies, dyed eggs, and bouquets of daffodils and lilies, but the holiday is one of the most important observances of the year for Christians around the world.
Easter is also significantly associated with the exodus of the Jews from Egypt as depicted in the Old Testament and the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Last Supper, which took place the night before Jesus was arrested, is also linked to these events.
The Sunday before Easter is called Palm Sunday. It commemorates and celebrates the day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem when his followers greeted him by laying palm leaves at his feet to demonstrate their reverence for him. In many churches, the observance of Easter begins on the night of Holy Saturday, just before Easter Sunday. This religious service is known as the Easter Vigil.
According to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Great Lent, which begins 40 days before Easter on Clean Monday, marks the beginning of the Easter rituals. The 40 days, which do not include Sundays, is a time of repentance, fasting, and commemoration of the biblical events leading up to the persecution, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The last week is known as Holy Week and is concluded with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter.
Religiously, Easter is celebrated by Christians in a number of ways, including the baptismal rite and traditional liturgy observed by Catholics on the night of Holy Saturday, or the sunrise practices on Easter Sunday favored by Protestants. Easter is also celebrated zealously by members of the Orthodox church, but the day on which they observe Easter differs by 13 days from the Catholics, since they follow the Julian calendar.
Over time, many pagan celebrations have been merged with Easter to welcome the season of spring. These relatively modern traditions include the Easter bunny — a figure associated with spring, who brings colorful eggs symbolizing new life. The origins of the concept of the Easter bunny have been disputed, but many agree that it started in Germany. Either way, the kids always look forward to his arrival, and decorating eggs, consuming candy, and community Easter egg hunts have become a huge part of the evolved Easter holiday.
CELEBRATING EASTER (INFOGRAPHIC)
Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom.
The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, which occurs on the first two night (in Israel just the first night) of the holiday — a festive meal that involves the re-telling of the Exodus through stories and song and the consumption of ritual foods, including matzah and maror (bitter herbs). The seder’s rituals and other readings are outlined in the Haggadah.
Passover 2022 begins at sundown on Friday, April 15 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 23. The first Passover seder is on the evening of Friday, April 15, and the second Passover seder takes place on the evening of Saturday, April 16.
What is Seder?
Seder referee to the Passover Meal.
The Seder is the traditional Passover meal that includes reading, drinking 4 cups of wine, telling stories, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions.
As per Biblical command, it is held after nightfall on the first night of Passover (and the second night if you live outside of Israel), the anniversary of our nation’s miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery more than 3,000 years ago.
The Four Questions
The Four Questions are featured prominently in most Passover Haggadahs and come early in the Maggid section of the Passover seder.
The honor of asking the Four Questions is typically reserved for the youngest (capable) person at the seder, though many families recite or sing the Four Questions together.
Here’s are the questions in English (to view the question in Hebrew and in transliteration click here):
Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights we eat leavened products and matzah, and on this night only matzah.
On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs.
On all other nights, we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.
On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.
(Note that the first phrase is recited before each question.)
Interested in the answers to each of the four questions above? NationalToday.com shares the following:
(#1) Why dip our food twice? Dipping food is considered a luxury — as opposed to the poor (and enslaved) who eat "dry" and non-dipped foods.
(#2) Why eat only matzah? Matzah commemorates the fact that the bread did not have enough time to rise when the Jews hastily left Egypt.
(#3) Why eat "maror" (bitter herbs) instead of other vegetables? They remind us of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.
(#4) Why do we recline? We commemorate our freedom by reclining on cushions like royalty.
Passover Foods & Practices
Matzah, or unleavened bread, is the main food of Passover. You can purchase it in numerous stores, or you can make your own. But the holiday has many traditional, popular foods, from haroset (a mixture of fruit, nuts, wine, and cinnamon) to matzah ball soup — and the absence of leavening calls upon a cook to employ all of his/her culinary creativity. View Passover recipes here!
The central Passover practice is a set of intense dietary changes, mainly the absence of hametz, or foods with leaven. In recent years, many Jews have compensated for the lack of grain by cooking with quinoa, although not all recognize it as kosher for Passover.
The ecstatic cycle of psalms called Hallel is recited both at night and day (during the seder and morning prayers).
Additionally, Passover commences a 49-day period called the Omer, which recalls the count between offerings brought to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. This count culminates in the holiday of Shavuot, the anniversary of the receiving of the Torah at Sinai.
HISTORY OF PASSOVER
Passover is the most-celebrated Jewish holiday of the year. It celebrates the liberation and exodus of the Israelites from enslavement in Egypt over 3,300 years ago. According to the “Torah,” Jews are to observe Passover for seven days, beginning on the 15th of the Hebrew month Nisan, which usually occurs between late March and early April.
On the first evening of Passover, the Jews eat a special Passover Seder (ritual dinner) with close family and friends. Jews outside of Israel also eat a second seder on the second evening of Passover. At the feast, they also read the “Haggadah,” which retells the story of the release of the Jews from slavery, and drink a cup of wine at specific times during the story. Served on a special plate, the traditional Passover Seder features foods symbolic to the Passover story, which are eaten at 15 different stages during the reading of the “Haggadah.”
Foods on the Passover Seder plate include matzos (loaves of unleavened bread, symbolizing the Israelites’ hasty departure from Egypt), maror (bitter herbs, symbolizing the maltreatment and agony the Jews experienced during slavery), chazeret (bitter lettuce, often romaine), and charoset (a brown-textured nut and fruit paste). Other items include karpas (a vegetable, such as parsley or celery, dipped in salt water or vinegar), beitzah (a hard-boiled egg), and zeroa, or z’ora (a roasted goat, chicken, or lamb bone). The last two items represent the sacrifice offered in the Temple of Jerusalem.
At the end of the seder, participants pray and sing, and they rest during the day to commemorate their freedom.
Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus on Calvary, the site just outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. It falls on the Friday before Easter. Most Christian denominations recognize Good Friday as a holy day, with many, including members of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutheran faiths, fasting and attending church services. Good Friday is, for many, an intensely personal day of prayer and devotion.
WHY GOOD FRIDAY IS IMPORTANT
It's a holy day: Jesus was forced to carry his cross to Calvary, where he was crucified alongside two criminals. He remained alive on the cross for up to six hours. According to biblical tradition, from noon to 3 P.M. on that day, the sky grew dark.
We're reminded of Jesus' sacrifice: Christian doctrine teaches that Jesus was born to a virgin, Mary. As an adult, he became a preacher, performing miracles, and then was put to death by authorities. This sacrifice allowed for the forgiving or pardoning of Christians' sins.
Historical Jesus: Just about every scholar of antiquity believes that Jesus was a historical figure. New Testament expert Bart Ehrman writes that "(Jesus) certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees."
HOW TO OBSERVE GOOD FRIDAY
Pray: Many Christian churches hold prayer services during the hours of Christ's crucifixion. Many religious people observe a period of prayerful silence during this time, especially between the hours of noon and 3 P.M.
Fast: Depending on your Christian denomination, it may be appropriate to fast on Good Friday. It is a traditional day of fasting within the Catholic Church, for example.
Volunteer: Jesus stressed the need to help those less fortunate than ourselves. If your religious beliefs allow it, consider volunteering at your church or in your community on this day in the spirit of giving back.
HISTORY OF GOOD FRIDAY
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the site of Calvary is commemorated on Good Friday — a Christian religious holiday. Taking place during Holy Week, the holiday is considered part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday before Easter Sunday. The day is also widely known as Great Friday, Black Friday, or Holy Friday. Around the world, Good Friday is a national holiday in many countries, especially in the Catholic and Anglican nations. Fasting is the traditional way to observe this solemn day, followed by somber processions.
The exact origins of Good Friday are unknown, but the celebration dates back to the 4th century. Fasting and putting limitations on oneself to mourn the death of Jesus is an ancient practice. Why the holiday is called Good Friday is also unknown, but there are several theories. Some believe that ‘God’s Friday’ evolved to ‘Good Friday,’ while religious devouts firmly believe that the day is named ‘good’ as a symbol of Jesus and everything he stood for against evil-doers. It is also widely believed that Jesus died on a Friday, but this doesn’t explain the addition of ‘good’ to the holiday.
Jesus sacrificed his life out of love for his believers and all mankind. His death was the ultimate sacrifice. Despite it being a terrible day in history, the event paved the way for mankind’s salvation, with Jesus being resurrected two days later.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, begins 10–12 days earlier each year, allowing it to fall in every season throughout a 33-year cycle and is considered one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims.
It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, spiritual reflection, and unity. This annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.
IMPORTANCE OF RAMADAN
Community spirit: Ramadan is the month that brings people closer to their neighbors and the community at large. The best part is the distributing of food packages to the poor and homeless. Praying next to people they don’t usually meet builds peace in the community.
It develops good habits: The main goal during Ramadan is for people to become the best version of themselves. They make an effort to read and understand the Qur’an every day, try to be more charitable, and try their best to ditch bad habits.
Planning for Eid: Eid comes right after Ramadan but it’s still an important part of Ramadan. From buying new clothes to making plans for family gatherings, and getting ready to give gifts to loved ones, Eid is considered the reward for fasting!
RAMADAN FASTING FACTS
FASTING DURING RAMADAN:
PHYSICAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
- Detoxification: By not eating or drinking, a person’s body is given the chance to detoxify the digestive system throughout the month.
- More nutrient absorption: During Ramadan, the metabolism becomes more efficient, which means the amount of nutrients a person can absorb from food improves.
- Lowers cholesterol: Observing Ramadan has a positive effect on a person’s lipid profile, which means there is a reduction of cholesterol in the blood.
- Helps prevent diabetes: During the fasting process, glucose levels are stabilized, which can lead to the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
IS FASTING IN RAMADAN COMPULSORY?
Fasting is only obligatory for Muslims who have reached puberty. So children who have not reached puberty are exempt but are encouraged to fast some days or a portion of a day. However, there are exemptions for those who are seriously ill or whose health would be at risk due to fasting such as the elderly and the infirm.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT INVALIDATE A FAST DURING RAMADAN?
Intentionally eating or drinking, among other things can invalidate a fast. However, eating or drinking if it is done through a genuine mistake or unintentionally, does not nullify the fast; followers can continue fasting as normal.
HOW TO CELEBRATE RAMADAN
Dine with family: It's customary during Ramadan to invite friends, family, and acquaintances over for "suhoor" (pre-dawn meal) and "iftar" (break of a fast). Muslims and non-Muslims both can join in the fun and community spirit.
Give to charity: If they are capable, Muslims give to those in need during this time. In general, they give at least 2.5% of their assets during Ramadan. People can donate to the ones they know personally who require assistance. They can also give to local charities and food banks.
Fast from negative behaviors: Muslims fast from certain behaviors during the month of Ramadan. They abstain from anger, jealousy, complaining, and other negative thoughts and actions. They pay more careful attention to their behavior during Ramadan.
HISTORY OF RAMADAN
To understand how Ramadan became such an important part of Islam, we need to go back to the very beginning — 610 A.D., to be precise. This is the year during which an Arabian man by the name of Muhammad was meditating in the cave of Hira, located in the Jabal an-Nour mountain close to Mecca. While he was meditating, Muhammad was visited by the angel Jibril who revealed the first words of what later came to be known as the Qur’an. The angel told Muhammad that those words came directly from Allah and that He is the one and only God. At that time in Arabia, it was common for people to worship several different gods, but the angel told Muhammad that Allah is the only true God.
After revealing the words of God, the angel commanded that Muhammad recite what he had just been shown. Muhammad couldn’t read or write at that time, but he was able to recite the words perfectly. It was then explained to Muhammad that he was the last of the prophets who Allah had sent to spread the teachings of the religion of Islam.
The night the Prophet Muhammad first saw the angel Jibril is known as Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power). Many Muslims believe this night occurred on the 27th night of the lunar year (which is what the Islamic calendar is based on), though some believe it occurred on any of the other odd nights in the final 10 days of the month.
WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2. The day recognizes and spreads awareness for the rights of people with autism. The condition typically starts during childhood and continues into adulthood.
- WHY WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY IS IMPORTANT
- HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
- Famous people with autism In history
- HISTORY OF WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
WHY WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY IS IMPORTANT
- There is no cure, but there are treatments! Nowadays, there are many ways to treat autism spectrum disorders, but they can only be reached when the person is diagnosed! By becoming aware we can help others to get in touch with specialists and start a treatment that can increase their wellness.
- Don't try to change, start by understanding! People with autism spectrum disorders have specific characteristics, behaviors, tastes, and ways to do things! The key is to understand their way to see the world and their performance without trying to make them change.
- Adulthood with Autism disorders. There is no cure for Autism spectrum disorders! Once you get diagnosed it's a condition for the rest of your life, and research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence can increase daily skills and reduce autism symptoms.
HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
- Share information online. Even nowadays when almost everyone has access to information, there are still many people that don't know about autism and the characteristics of people with it. Become an advocate for the autistic community by educating the masses.
- Get involved with autism associations. There are many people who either have autism or have a family member with autism and are a part of community-wide, nation-wide, or global-wide association. Get in contact with them to get involved in any activities planned for the day.
- Take care of the people with autism spectrum diagnosis you know.World Autism Awareness Day is the perfect day to have a good time with your friends who are diagnosed with autism! Make sure to plan sensory-sensitive activities for you both to enjoy and pack gluten-free and casein-free foods to share.
Famous people with autism In history
There are many famous people with autism as, although autism can create challenges with everyday life, it can also be seen as a gift which enables people to share talents with the world around them. There are many notable figures in today’s society who have received an autism diagnosis. Plus, with autism being a fairly “new” diagnosis, several geniuses throughout history are believed to have been on the spectrum.
Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins
Thomas Wiggins, known as Blind Tom, was a child piano prodigy who was blind, and a slave. He possessed the marveled gift of being able to hear a short selection of complex music and echo it. At just four years old, he became a pianist, who began touring the United States by the age of eight. Although a lot of his profit was passed over to his slave owners, he became the highest paid pianist of the 19th century and, in 1960, at 10 years old, was the first black musician to perform at the White House.
His skills were said to surpass Mozart. If he was alive today, many believe that he would have been diagnosed autistic. He was highly fascinated with sound and had the ability to mimic sounds from bird calls to trains. He is also said to have rocked and twitched, and he was nonverbal.
Thanks to the knowledge we now have of autism, we understand Blind Tom sought after sensory input, as he was hyposensitive to sound, and rocking and twitching was probably his stim—music became his escape to feed his sensory needs.
It’s not certain the great Albert Einstein was on the autism spectrum, however, it has been widely speculated. Features of autism were present in his personality: namely, obsessive interests, difficulty in social relationships, and problems communicating.
Einstein was described as a loner and repeated sentences until he was seven years old. He also had trouble socializing. Looking simply at character traits might be too presumptuous, but it is worth noting great minds who have shaped major fields such as science are not superhumans, they just have abilities or gifts that many of us don’t.
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton, often called the father of modern science, was an English mathematician and physicist.
Just like Einstein, there are speculations he too could have been on the autism spectrum. His telling traits were that he hardly spoke, he was constantly immersed in his work, and his temperament was believed to be either lukewarm or bad-tempered with the few friends he had.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FAMOUS PEOPLE WITH AUTISM HERE: https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/famous-people-with-autism/
HISTORY OF WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder characterized by behavioral and communicational affections that impact a person’s ability to navigate social interactions and also causes repetitive and restricted behavior.
The first historical appearance of the word “Autism” was made in 1911 by the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used the term to describe a specific cluster of symptoms that were considered simple symptoms of schizophrenia as an extreme social withdrawal.
In that order, it was in 1943, when pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Leo Kanner characterized Autism as a social and emotional disorder in his article “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact”, and in 1944 Hans Asperger published his “Autism Psychopathology Article” where he described autism as a disorder of normal intelligence children who have difficulties with social and communication skills. These articles were an important contribution to the studies that helped to classified Autism as a disorder separate from schizophrenia in 1980.
With the continuous investigation and research on autism, World Autism Awareness Day was set to April 2 of each year by the “United Nations General Assembly” on “Resolution 62/139” and adopted on December 18 of 2007, to encourage member states to take action in raising awareness about people with autism spectrum disorder and support the research finding new ways to improve wellness and inclusion.
Finally, the notion of autism as a spectrum was developed in 2013 by the “American Psychiatric Association” in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” by combining all subcategories of autism and related conditions into one unified category, including varied characteristics, severity, and presentation of the symptoms.
AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH
Autism Awareness Month in April aims to celebrate and promote acceptance for those with autism. Autism is a complex developmental condition affecting the patient’s ability to interact, communicate, and progress, has not one but many subtypes.
Autism Awareness Month emphasizes the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, celebrate the differences, and be more inclusive towards autistic individuals around us.
Throughout the month, we focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support. This year, we are committed to creating a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a brain developmental disorder caused by genetic mutation and sometimes, by environmental triggers. Although the autism spectrum is vast, some of the common signs in autistic individuals are repetitive behaviors, hyperactivity, and extreme sensitivity to light, touch, and sound. While there is no absolute cure for autism, therapies and medication can help reduce abnormal behavior and the onset of related symptoms such as seizures.
3 FACTS ABOUT AUTISM
(#1) Autism means alone The word “autism” is derived from the Greek word “autos” meaning self. The literal meaning of Autism is “alone.”
(#2) It is more common than other common diseases. Autism is found to be more prevalent than childhood cancer, diabetes, and AIDS.
(#3) Dogs are autistic-friendly. Research has shown that dogs are linked to improved quality of life in autistic children, helping with their aggressive behavior, promoting independence, and safety.
WHY AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH IS IMPORTANT
It is the fastest-growing developmental disorder. There are approximately 70 million recognized cases of autism worldwide.
Autism has to be accepted with love. The increasing occurrences of autism in the United States is a telltale sign that it is high time the general public is factually educated on the disorder to inspire change and support. This month reminds us to be empathetic, warm, and welcoming to autistic individuals and families around us.
Early intervention help dealing with autism. If we can screen autism at an early age by being aware of its signs and symptoms, we can improve quality of lives such as by underlying brain development, behavior therapy, and occupational therapy.
ARAB-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) takes place in April. It celebrates the Arab American heritage and culture and pays tribute to the contributions of Arab Americans. Across the country, institutions, organizations and individuals engage in special events that celebrate the Arab American community and its rich heritage and numerous contributions to society.
During a time of heightened misunderstanding towards the Arab American community, it is more imperative than ever to use education and information sharing to embrace culture, dispel stereotypes, and empower the next generation of Arab American trailblazers.
Who is considered an Arab American?
Arab Americans have ancestry in one of the world’s 22 Arab nations, which are located from northern Africa through western Asia. The people of these nations are ethnically, politically, and religiously diverse but share a common cultural and linguistic heritage.
The world’s 22 Arab nations are: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Yemen.
In the U.S., many people conflate “Arab” and “Middle Eastern,” but linguistic and geographical factors mean that these terms are not fully interchangeable, according to the Arab American National Museum (AANM). The Middle East includes non-Arabic nations such as Iran, Israel, and Turkey. Similarly, not all Arabic nations are located in what is considered the Middle East — including Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco.
Religion & Language
A common misconception is that all Arab Americans are Muslim. Approximately 25 percent practice Islam, and an estimated 63 to 77 percent are Christian, according to the Arab American Institute.
A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that Arabic is the fastest growing language in the U.S. The number of people who speak Arabic at home increased by 29 percent between 2010 and 2014.
Many Arab Americans are second, third, and fourth-generation immigrants. Some are descendants of the first immigrants who arrived in the New York and New Jersey areas in the second half of the 19th Century.
Arab Americans can trace their ancestry to the countries from which they or their ancestors migrated to the United States. These countries include Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The largest group, comprising nearly one-third of the Arab American population, are Lebanese Americans.
WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY
World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated every March 21. This special day was created to raise public awareness, promote inclusivity, encourage advocacy, and support the wellbeing of those living with Down Syndrome.
- WHAT IS DOWN SYNDROME?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF DATE
- WDSD THEME 2022
- WHY WDSD IS IMPORTANT
- OFFICIAL COLORS OF WDSD
- HISTORY OF WDSD
WHAT IS DOWN SYNDROME?
Down syndrome (or Trisomy 21) is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socioeconomic lines in approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues.
SIGNIFICANCE OF DATE
The date for World Down Syndrome Day being the 21st day of the 3rd month (March), was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
WDSD THEME 2022
For World Down Syndrome Day 2022, we are asking:
What does inclusion mean?
Together we can empower people around the world to advocate for full inclusion in society for people with Down syndrome and for everyone.
The United Nations in the general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) calls for: “full and effective participation and inclusion in society”
But around the world…. Today’s reality is that people with Down syndrome and disabilities do not benefit from full and effective participation and inclusion in society. Why is this? Many reasons. But one reason is a lack of agreed understanding about what inclusion is and what inclusive systems look like in practice.
So what can you do?
Think about what inclusion means: Think about your daily life; when you take part in activities like school, work, recreation or public life, alongside other people. Are you included? Do you have the same opportunities as others? Or do you face barriers? Do you participate in inclusive activities? Or are they segregated?
Try to say “Inclusion means…” What is an an inclusive activity or an inclusive system? Do you take part in one? Or would you like to? How would you describe such an activity or system?
LEARN MORE ABOUT INCLUSION MEANS AT: https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/inclusion-means
WHY WDSD IS IMPORTANT
It promotes awareness: Down Syndrome effects approximately 400,000 families in the United States alone. World Down Syndrome Day helps educate the public on what Down Syndrome is and how to encourage those with Down Syndrome to participate in daily activities so they can live a full life and play a vital role in their community.
It empowers people with Down Syndrome: The accomplishments and contributions of people with Down Syndrome are often overlooked. However, this event highlights the positive difference they make in their community and gives them the recognition they deserve.
OFFICIAL COLORS OF WDSD
One way you can observe World Down Syndrome Day is by incorporating blue and yellow! As the designated colors of the cause, blue and/or yellow should be utilized on World Syndrome Day. You can show your support by wearing something blue or yellow, icing cupcakes with blue and yellow frosting for schools, decorating an office with blue and yellow flowers or balloons, or filling bowls with blue and yellow M&Ms—it doesn’t matter how you rock these colors, just be sure you do.
HISTORY OF WDSD
WDSD was first observed in 2006: Down Syndrome Association Singapore launched and hosted the WDSD website from 2006-2010, on behalf of DSi, for global activities to be recorded.
Campaign to generate international support: The Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome worked with Down Syndrome International and its members to launch an extensive campaign to generate international support.
Resolution adopted by consensus: Following the joint work of Brazil and Poland, the resolution was adopted by consensus during the plenary meeting of the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday 10 November 2011.
Campaign for co-sponsors: Down syndrome groups and associations around the world campaigned for their governments to co-sponsor the resolution. The resolution was eventually co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States.
International petition: In addition, DSi launched an international petition for the adoption of World Down Syndrome Day by the UN. This received more than 12,000 signatures in a 2 week period and was presented to the Chair of the Third Committee.
United Nations resolution: On 19 December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day.
It’s a date!: The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year, and invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome.
DSi would like to thank everyone who supported this campaign, with particular thanks to the Government of Brazil, the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome, all of our member organizations who appealed to their governments for support, and to everyone who signed our international petition.
Holi is a festival which signifies the triumph of good over evil and is largely celebrated by the Hindus. The Festival of Holi is celebrated to pay a tribute to the arrival of spring. The vibrancy of the festival indicates the transition from dry, gloomy winter to bright, vivid spring.
The festival is all about getting together to eat, dance, throw colours at each other and celebrate the festival. Holi is one of the most prominent and happiest festivals in India. The festival marks the arrival of spring and thanksgiving for a good harvest. All people, regardless of their age, take part in this event with enthusiasm and vigor.
Importance of holi
What is Gulal
5 FACTS ABOUT HOLI
It brings about unity: People, regardless of their age, caste, or color throw colors at each other.
Avoiding responsibility for pranks: A popular saying during the throwing of colors is “Bura na mano, Holi hai!,” which means “Do not mind, it’s Holi.”
Moisturizing skin: Before Holi, people moisturize the skin to be able to remove the ‘gulal’ (colored powder) easily afterwards.
Shower of colors: In the era of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, Holi was called 'Aab-e-Pashi,' which means shower of colors.
Food & Drink: Celebrations of Holi include delicious foods to tempt your taste buds. 'Gujiya,' a delicate sweet made with milk solids, nuts, and a pinch of love (which increases sweetness) is a popular food of Holi, along with the traditional drink ‘bhang.’
HISTORY OF HOLI
The name of this event comes from an intriguing tale of a vicious king and his determined son. Back in ancient times, it all started with the invincible evil king, Hiranyakashipu, who became arrogant and wanted to be worshiped by every person in the kingdom. However, his son Prahlad denied him and continued worshipping Lord Vishnu. This caused an immense wave of rage in the evil king, the consequences of which were suffered by Prahlad in the form of brutal punishments.
Despite all this, the strong belief of Prahlad enabled him to get through this cruelty and he kept praising Vishnu. Seeing his own defeat, Hiranyakashipu couldn’t control his anger and asked his sister Holika to sit on a pyre with Prahlad in her lap. Holika was known to be immune to fire but she didn’t know that it only worked if she entered the fire alone. Consequently, Holika was burnt to death, and Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi. Because of the defeat of the evil king, Holi is also called ‘Victory of Good Over Evil.’
Another story linked with throwing colored powders on each other is the love story of Krishna and Radha. Krishna was poisoned as a baby by some demoness and turned a blue color. He fell in love with Radha and was worried that Radha would reject him because of his skin color. Krishna’s mother suggested that he playfully color Radha’s face with some colors. He did so, Radha fell in love with him, and they later got married.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY
St. Patrick’s Day which is on March 17 every year, observes of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, libations and a whole lot of green.
WHY CELEBRATE ST PATRICKS DAY
HISTORY OF ST PATRICK’S DAY
The Catholic Church first recognized March 17 as a feast day commemorating Ireland’s best-known and most beloved patron saint, Saint Patrick, in 1631.
Saint Patrick’s feast day in Ireland remained a traditionally pious religious day. The day continued to be and still is observed as a feast day by the Church of Ireland, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. However, when the Irish government became aware of a growing interest in St. Patrick’s Day by American tourists in the mid-1990s, they launched a national campaign to convert America’s fascination with St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture into tourist dollars.
Meanwhile, in America, more than one million Irish men, women, and children were immigrating through Ellis Island in the 1800s. They faced oppressive discrimination in America, leaving most unemployed and living in severe poverty in New York City tenements. As their numbers grew, the Irish discovered strength in unity and rallied together to celebrate their beloved patron saint with a parade every March 17. The practice of St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivals followed Irish immigrants as they made their way across America’s heartland and into the deep south, seeking cheap farmland and job opportunities.
TRADITIONS & SYMBOLS
The Shamrock: The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.
Leprechauns: One icon of the Irish holiday is the Leprechaun. The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil.
In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Leprechauns have their own holiday on May 13, but are also celebrated on St. Patrick's, with many dressing up as the wily fairies.
The Snake: It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.
In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.
- HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
- THEME OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
- IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Susan B. Anthony was a political activist and an advocate of women’s rights. After the Civil War, she fought for the 14th Amendment that was meant to grant all naturalized and native-born Americans citizenship in the hope that it would include suffrage rights. Although the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, it still didn’t secure their vote. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to continue the fight for women’s rights.
In the early 1900s, women were experiencing pay inequality, a lack of voting rights, and they were being overworked. In response to all of this, 15,000 women marched through New York City in 1908 to demand their rights. In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. This was celebrated on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
An International Women’s Conference was organized in August 1910 by Clara Zetkin, a German suffragist and leader in the Women’s Office. Zetkin proposed a special Women’s Day to be organized annually and International Women’s Day was honored the following year in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with more than one million attending the rallies. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and white women were granted the right to vote in the U.S.
The liberation movement took place in the 1960s and the effort led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, allowing all women the right to vote. When the internet became more commonplace, feminism and the fight against gender inequality experienced a resurgence. Now we celebrate International Women’s Day each year as we push continuously with the hope of creating a completely equal society.
THEME OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn't enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.
IWD 2022 campaign theme: #BreakTheBias
- Imagine a gender equal world.
- A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
- A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
- A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
- Together we can forge women's equality.
- Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
LEARN MORE AT:
IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
It’s international and inter-organizational
No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network, or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was established and has been celebrated for a long time! As Gloria Steinem says, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We agree! The day is all about intersectionality, whether that's the organizations that support International Women’s Day or the type of women the day celebrates.
It’s a global holiday
International Women’s Day is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, and more with flowers and small gifts. There might be cultural differences between countries, but the appreciation of women and their accomplishments transcends all boundaries.
It raises awareness around the world
It may seem that we have progressed very far by now. Although some progress has been made, yes, a recent study of 145 nations showed that there's still a gender gap. Iceland has come closest to equality in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment, and that's definitely a start. But in other places like Yemen, women are only considered half a witness in court cases. They're even forbidden to leave the house without their husband’s permission. IWF was created to strive toward a standard of gender equality for all countries. Because, as we all know, raising awareness about women’s plight around the world helps elevate all women.
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
During the month of March, we give a little extra attention to all of the amazing accomplishments of strong, determined women. Every woman has a story to tell and gifts to share with the world. Women’s History Month celebrates the often-overlooked contributions of women in history, society, and culture.
Since 1987, the United States has formally recognized March as National Women’s History Month. March is selected as the month for observing Women’s History Month to correspond with International Women’s Day on March 8.
HOW IT GOT STARTED
Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH HERE: https://womenshistorymonth.gov/about/
WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S THEME?
The 2022 National Women’s History Theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope”
The 2022 Women’s History theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
This year, in particular, we are reminded of the importance of healers and caregivers who are helping to promote and sustain hope for the future. The NWHA encourages communities throughout the country to honor local women who bring and have historically brought these priceless gifts to their families, workplaces, and neighborhoods, sometimes at great sacrifice.
These are the women who, as counselors and clerics, artists and teachers, doctors, nurses, mothers, and grandmothers listen, ease suffering, restore dignity, and make decisions for our general as well as our personal welfare.
Women have long advocated for compassionate treatments and new directions in public health and in women’s mental and physical health. Women have also historically led the way in mending divisions, healing wounds, and finding peaceful solutions.
This timeless work, in so many ways and in addition to so many other tasks, has helped countless individuals in our communities recover and follow their dreams.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS YEAR’S THEME HERE: https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/2022-theme/
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
CELEBRATING WOMEN: For many years, women weren’t acknowledged enough in historical texts. This isn’t because they weren’t in the midst of important discoveries or helping out with important conquests. It’s mainly because men wrote the majority of historical documents for thousands of years. In March, we dig deep to uncover many of the important roles women have played throughout history.
WOMEN ARE INSPIRATIONAL: Learning about women who have stood up for their rights and fought for what they believe is fantastic motivation. We all have the power to influence the direction our world is headed in, and National Women’s History Month reminds us of that.
RECOGNIZING THE STRENGTH & POWER OF WOMEN: It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of daily life, but this month is an excellent opportunity to put a spotlight on all of the major things women accomplish each and every day. From domestic chores and carrying babies to fighting wars and governing countries, women are pretty amazing.
Patton Middle School has been celebrating our community by recognizing all cultures, heritages and abilities. Through features and spotlights during HawkTV, our morning announcements program, we've been celebrating diversity all year long. Students in our 7th Grade Digital Communications classes as well as other classes helped create these spotlights for Women's History Month!
ASH WEDNESDAY (START OF LENT)
Have you ever noticed how once a year, usually in February or March, there are a lot of people walking around with an ash cross on their foreheads? You may have known it had something to do with Lent, but maybe weren’t sure why the ash cross was significant. Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday focuses the Christian’s heart on repentance and prayer, usually through personal and communal confession. Often called the Day of Ashes, Ash Wednesday starts Lent by focusing the Christian’s heart on repentance and prayer, usually through personal and communal confession.
What is Lent and Why its Important
Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection. Other important dates during Lent include Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Importance of Ash Wednesday
During Mass (for Catholics) or worship service (for Protestants), the priest or pastor will usually share a sermon that is penitential and reflective in nature. The mood is solemn - many services will have long periods of silence and worshipers will often leave the service in silence. With this focus on our own mortality and sinfulness, Christians can enter into the Lent season solemnly, while also looking forward in greater anticipation and joy of the message of Easter.
The congregation is then invited to receive the ashes on their foreheads. Usually, as the priest or pastor will dip his finger into the ashes, spread them in a cross pattern on the forehead, and say, “From dust you came and from dust you will return.” In many congregations, the ashes are prepared by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday.
Ash Wednesday is observed by Christians and is a solemn day of self-reflection and repentance. There are many traditions followed on this day, fasting being a primary observance as the day marks the beginning of the season of Lent.
As a central ritual followed by Roman Catholics, the forehead is marked with ashes as a sign of repentance. These ashes are derived from the burning of leftover palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday celebrations. Incense and holy water are used for blessing the ashes.
Some believers wipe the ashes off before exiting a church, to signify a ‘cleansing of their sins.’ Others keep the ashes on, ‘bearing the cross out into the world.’
Maha Shivaratri is an extremely sacred day to Hindus across the globe and is observed with much enthusiasm. Maha Shivaratri is a major Hindu festival celebrated in honor of the god Shiva.Maha Shivratri, literally translates as ‘the great night of Shiva’ and according to legend, it is on this night that Lord Shiva performs his heavenly dance or ‘tandav’.
Maha Shivaratri honors the Hindu god Shiva, who is worshipped by Hindus from every part of the world. He is known as ‘The Destroyer’ within the Trimurti. In the Shaivite tradition, Shiva is the one who creates, protects, and transforms the universe.
There are 12 Shivaratris in a year; however, Maha Shivaratri is especially auspicious. Maha Shivaratri traditionally starts at midnight when the puja is performed. Shivratri is celebrated in every month of the luni-solar calendar, in accordance with the Hindu calendar but once a year, in late winter Maha Shivratri is celebrated to commemorate the oncoming summer.
HOW IS IT CELEBRATED
Maha Shivaratri is a major Hindu festival celebrated in honor of the god Shiva. It also refers to the night when Lord Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. This night marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti, which means the masculine and feminine energies that balance the world.
The celebrations take place across India according to the customs dictated in the region. Many people celebrate early in the morning, while some perform puja all night. Devotees even observe a day-long fast, only breaking it the next day after a bath. This fast is more of a test of one’s determination rather than to attain blessings. In 1864, Alexander Cunningham documented a fair and dance festival on Maha Shivaratri that took place at Khajuraho Shiva temples, involving Shaiva pilgrims camped over miles around the temple complex.
Outside India, Nepal also celebrates Maha Shivaratri, and it is, in fact, a national Holiday. The main celebration takes place in the Pashupatinath temple. Even in Pakistan, the Hindus visit Shiva temples, and the most important festival is the three-day affair in the Umerkot Shiv Mandir.
HISTORY & SIGNIFICANCE
Of the 12 Shivratris observed in any given year, Maha Shivratri is considered especially auspicious. Shivratri is supposed to be the night of convergence of Shiva and Shakti, which in essence mean the masculine and feminine energies that balance the world. In Hindu culture, this is a solemn festival that marks the remembrance of ‘overcoming darkness and ignorance in life’. Different legends, throughout history, describe the significance of Maha Shivratri and according to one of them, it is on this night that Lord Shiva performs his cosmic dance of ‘creation, preservation and destruction’. Another legend dictates that on this night, offerings of Lord Shiva’s icons can help one overcome and let go of their sins and start on the path of righteousness, allowing the individual to reach Mount Kailash and achieve ‘moksha’.
IMPORTANCE OF LORD SHIVA
Lord Shiva is part of the three supreme Hindu gods who make the Trimurti; Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. Maha Shivaratri is a festival celebrating Lord Shiva and literally translates as “The Great Night of Shiva.” Shivaratri commemorates the wedding night of Lord Shiva to his consort Parvati. Lord Shiva’s wife is Parvati, the Hindu goddess of marriage, love, fertility, beauty, devotion, children, divine strength, and power. During this night Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance, first performed the Dance of Bliss – the “Anandatandava”. This dance portrays the cyclical nature of the universe reflected by the cyclical nature of daily life as experienced by individual souls.
IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
March is Irish-American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the Irish that is present throughout the heart of America. From John F. Kennedy to Brad Pitt, some of the most famous, prolific, and influential Americans are of Irish descent. March is our opportunity to reflect upon this heritage, learn more about it, and celebrate what is a unique and brilliant strand of history.
HISTORY OF IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Irish-American Heritage Month was first celebrated by proclamation of the President in 1991. It seemed natural to choose March (Saint Patrick’s Day falls on March 17) for the month-long recognition of the contributions that Irish immigrants and their descendants have made to U.S. society. Virtually every realm of American endeavor, from steelworking to biotechnology to literature, has seen improvement through Irish-descended hands and minds.
The tradition of the Presidential proclamation continues on a yearly basis, with the top political figure from Ireland, the “Taoiseach,” visiting to conduct a shamrock-giving ceremony at the Oval Office, followed in the evening by a reception attended by the President and other key figures of both governments.
Most people know the basic facts of the influx of Irish families to the shores of the United States during the 19th century, with the image of the Irish immigrant being conscripted into the Army minutes after stepping off the boat perhaps the most ingrained in the minds of former grade-school history students.
What is less talked about is the anti-immigrant sentiment that was often faced by new Irish-Americans, largely a result of their Catholicism, which clashed with the predominantly Protestant backgrounds of the majority of families whose members had been among the original colonists. Irish-Americans faced bitter competition, even slanted legislation, in their search for good jobs and a place to call home.
This month we recognize not only the overcoming of those obstacles by Irish-Americans but also the incredible breadth and depth of their contributions to American society, from the Union’s edge over the Confederacy in the Civil War to the intellectual contributions that have kept our country on the top tiers of accomplishment.
IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH TIMELINE:
(1850) A new life on brighter shores: About a million people immigrate from Ireland to the U.S. during the Irish Potato Famine.
(1991) “From this day forward…”: The first Irish-American Heritage Month is declared by the U.S. Congress.
WHY IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT
#1 - It’s a window into the Irish culture: It’s always fun to learn new things, and there’s no limit to how deep you can dig into Ireland’s literature, scientific contributions, and rich history. The best part? Anybody can join in the celebration!
#2 - It reveals the textured stories of Irish immigrants: These colorful, important stories deserve to be told because they are an important part of American history.
#3 - Irish-Americans can connect with their roots: The original Irish immigrants brought with them their food, music, and a new style of political organizing — among many other traditions.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
February is dedicated as Black History Month, honoring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history, including the civil rights movement and their artistic, cultural and political achievements.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.
LEARN MORE AND VIEW DIFFERENT TOPICS RELATED TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH HERE
- BLACK HISTORY MONTH: PROMINENT FIGURES
- THEME OF 2022 BLACK HISTORY MONTH
- HOW BLACK HISTORY MONTH STARTED
- IMPORTANCE AND WHO IT HONORS
- WHY FEBRUARY WAS CHOSEN
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: PROMINENT FIGURES
While Black History Month is synonymous with prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver and Barack Obama, there are countless other African Americans who've made a profound impact in history: self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, astronaut Mae C. Jemison, open-heart surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, inventor Garret Morgan, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and "Father of Black History" Carter G. Woodson, who lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide celebration, among many others.
Explore biographies, videos and articles that celebrate their historic achievements here!
THEME OF 2022 BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The Black History Month 2022 theme is
“Black Health and Wellness”
The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.
Read more about this year’s theme here: https://asalh.org/black-history-themes/
HOW BLACK HISTORY MONTH STARTED
In 1915, in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, the group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Few people studied Black history and it wasn't included in textbooks prior to the creation of Negro History Week.
This week was chosen because it includes the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist (someone who wanted to end the practice of enslaving people), and former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln led the United States during the Civil War, which was primarily fought over the enslavement of Black people in the country. Many schools and leaders began recognizing the week after its creation.
The week-long event officially became Black History Month in 1976 when U.S. president Gerald Ford extended the recognition to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since.
IMPORTANCE AND WHO IT HONORS
Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.
Among the notable figures often spotlighted during Black History Month are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for equal rights for Blacks during the 1950s and ’60s; Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1967; Mae Jemison, who became the first female African-American astronaut to travel to space in 1992; and Barack Obama, who was elected the first-ever African-American president of the United States in 2008.
WHY FEBRUARY WAS CHOSEN
Woodson chose February specifically because it covered the birthdays of Frederick Douglass (February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12).
Martin Luther King Jr. said that "history books ... had almost completely ignored the contribution" of American Black people throughout history. Awareness of this undeniable fact can help the nation chart its course to a more enlightened age for every American.
In recognition of Black History Month, Pocopson staff created and curated Videos of staff members reading aloud books celebrating Black Authors and/or stories of African American culture and influence. Enjoy a couple of these videos below!
Patton Middle School has been celebrating our community by recognizing all cultures, heritages and abilities. Through features and spotlights during HawkTV, our morning announcements program, we've been celebrating diversity all year long. See the HawkTV spotlights for Black History Month below!
Click on the names below to watch
the HawkTV Spotlight and
learn more on that individual!
Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year)
Considered the first day of spring and most important of national holidays in Vietnam, Tet is the annual Vietnamese New Year celebration, coinciding with the Lunar New Year celebrated throughout the world in January or February. Technically, "Tet" is a shortened (thank goodness!) form of Tết Nguyên Đán, a way to say "Lunar New Year" in Vietnamese.
Vietnamese New Year Traditions
Tet is seen as a chance for a fresh start. Debts are settled, and old grievances are forgiven. Houses are cleaned of clutter and decorated with symbolic flowers. Plants get pruned, and drawers are cleared out. All preparations are meant to set the stage for attracting as much luck and good fortune as possible in the upcoming year.
Superstition permeates the air: Whatever happens on the first day of the new year is thought to set the pace for the rest of the year. Sweeping and cutting (including hair and fingernails) are taboo during Tet as no one wants to unknowingly remove incoming good luck!
Although Chinese New Year is observed for 15 days, Tet is typically celebrated for three days with some traditions observed for up to a week. The first day of Tet is usually spent with immediate family, the second day is for visiting friends, and the third day is dedicated to teachers and visiting temples.
One of the most important traditions observed during Tet is the emphasis put on who is the first to enter a house in the new year. The first person brings the luck (good or bad) for the year! Special people (who are considered successful) dear to the family are sometimes invited and given the honor to be the first to enter. If no one is invited, the homeowner leaves and returns a few minutes after midnight just to ensure they are the first to enter the house for the new year.
Because the primary aim is to attract good fortune for the new year, Tet and Chinese New Year share a lot of similar traditions.
How to Say Happy New Year in Vietnamese
Like Thai and Chinese, Vietnamese is a tonal language, making proper pronunciation a challenge for many English speakers.
Regardless, locals will understand your attempts through context during Tet. You can wish people a happy new year in Vietnamese by telling them chúc mừng năm mới. Pronounced roughly as it is transliterated, the greeting sounds like: "chuop moong nahm moy."
CHINESE NEW YEAR
Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is a 15-day festival that is celebrated annually depending on the sighting of the new moon. The occasion is also known as the Spring Festival, and an animal is associated with each New Year. The animals rotate and repeat according to a fixed cycle.
CHINESE NEW YEAR TRADITIONS
The Chinese Zodiac consists of 12 animals. These are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. In that order. The Chinese New Year is a grand one, just like the New Year celebration of the Gregorian calendar. A tradition closely followed on this day is getting together with the family to have a feast.
Certain foods are symbolic and are commonplace during the Chinese New Year. Dumplings represent wealth, so they are eaten in abundance, with fish being another food that is eaten a lot. Red is generally considered a lucky color in China and during the Chinese New Year, it is seen everywhere – representing vitality, beauty, luck, happiness, and good fortune.
WHY IS THE CHINESE NEW YEAR DIFFERENT?
5 FACTS ABOUT CHINESE NEW YEAR
1/4 of the world's population celebrates it.
More than 2 billion people celebrate or acknowledge the Chinese New Year.
The Chinese New Year Festival lasts till the Lantern Festival
Typically lasting 16 days, each day of the Chinese New Year has a special activity that is celebrated.
Appeasing the Harvest Gods
In earlier times, the Chinese New Year was a time for praying to the harvest gods for a fruitful year ahead.
Lucky red envelopes
Red envelopes are given as a way of wishing good luck.
The largest annual migration happens during this festival.
The reunion dinner with the family is the most important aspect of the Chinese Spring Festival and people travel long distances to be home for the occasion.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY
Martin Luther King Day is observed every year on the third Monday of January. King was an influential civil rights leader — best known for his work on racial equality and ending racial segregation in the United States. His life and achievements are remembered and celebrated on this day.
- INSPIRING QUOTES
- HISTORIC TIMELINE - MLK JR. DAY
- IMPORTANCE OF MLK JR. DAY
- WHY IS MLK JR. DAY KNOWN AS A DAY OF SERVICE?
- 5 FACTS ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
- MLK JR. DAY - AROUND THE WORLD
Biography.com put together a list of 17 inspiring quotes from MLK's famous speeches and writings about education, justice, hope, perseverance, and freedom.
"Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education."
—“The Purpose of Education” from Morehouse College student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."
—Stride Toward Freedom, 1958
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
—Strength to Love, 1963
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
—Strength to Love, 1963
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
—Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
—Oberlin College commencement speech, 1965
“Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
—Speech before a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, October 26, 1967
“For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”
—“I've Been to the Mountaintop” speech, April 3, 1968
VIEW THE ENTIRE LIST OF INSPIRING QUOTES HERE: https://www.biography.com/news/martin-luther-king-famous-quotes
HISTORIC TIMELINE - MLK JR. DAY
January 15, 1929: Birth of a King: Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, GA.
May 17, 1957: The King's Speech : King makes his first address to the nation, 'Give Us the Ballot,' at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
August 28, 1963: The Dream: King delivers his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech at the Lincoln Memorial on the day that more than 200,000 demonstrators participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
December 10, 1964: The Ultimate Prize: King wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
April 4, 1968: Tragedy Strikes: After delivering his final speech, 'I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,' in Memphis the day before, King is shot and killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
1980: Stevie Wonder Calls for Action: Stevie Wonder releases 'Happy Birthday,' a song in which he not only celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday but also laments the fact that anyone would oppose the idea of a Dr. King holiday.
1986: The First Day: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed for the very first time.
2000: Unity: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed by all 50 states for the first time.
IMPORTANCE OF MLK JR. DAY
He worked to advance civil rights: The words, leadership, time, and energy King devoted to civil rights helped end segregation in the United States and worked to eliminate unfair practices throughout the nation that negatively affected the Black community. He helped organize rallies, gave speeches across the country, and mobilized thousands of people to help end racial injustice.
He inspires us: MLK inspired millions of people in his lifetime and continues to inspire us to this day. Across the globe, activists look to King for inspiration and courage. Modern movements for racial equality and justice, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, are extensions of the work that he started.
He promoted civil disobedience: King's tactics and manner of protest were largely that of civil disobedience, including sit-ins, marches, and disregard for unjust laws. Many of us follow his example today when protesting and adopt the tactic of civil disobedience.
WHY IS MLK JR. DAY KNOWN AS A DAY OF SERVICE?
Martin Luther King Jr. once said "Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'”
Days of Service help to raise awareness, mobilize volunteers, and provide individuals with an opportunity to engage and build new connections, and help nonprofits find support for their programs. MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
5 FACTS ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
His birth name was Michael: The civil rights leader was given the name Michael King Jr at birth — later, his father changed his own name as well as of his son to Martin Luther, after the Protestant Reformation leader.
King started college at the age of 15: King skipped grades 9 and 12 and enrolled at Morehouse College in 1944.
‘I Have a Dream’ was not his first speech: Six years before his iconic speech at Lincoln Memorial, King spoke during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957.
King was imprisoned a lot: According to the King Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. went to jail 29 times.
His last public speech foreshadowed his death: In his last speech the night before he was assassinated, King said, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now, I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”
MLK JR. DAY - AROUND THE WORLD
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of many holidays throughout the world that celebrate political leaders and activists. Here are some other popular ones from across the globe.
- India celebrates Gandhi Day on October 2 - Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership in the nationalist movement against colonial British rule is celebrated.
- South Africa celebrates Nelson Mandela Day on July 18 - South Africans honor the former president and great leader Nelson Mandela.
- Kenya celebrates Obama Day on November 4 - Obama Day was declared in Kenya shortly after Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections of 2008 — because his father was Kenyan.
- Barbados celebrates Errol Barrow Day on January 21 - The holiday commemorates former Prime Minister Errol Barrow, who helped lead the country to independence from the British.
- Worldwide Malala Day is celebrated on July 12 - Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai’s birthday is celebrated to honor women and children’s rights around the world.
NEW YEAR'S DAY
January 1 is New Year’s Day — a time of optimism, planning, and resoluteness. There’s a feeling that maybe this year we’ll make the changes we’ve been meaning to: more rest, better habits, more exercise, etc. New Year’s Day is about taking a moment to get ready for everything that is about to unfold. Happy New Year!
- CELEBRATING NEW YEAR’S DAY
- IS IT “NEW YEARS" OR “NEW YEAR”?
- RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR WORLDWIDE
- HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S DAY
CELEBRATING NEW YEAR’S DAY
One of the most popular traditions and activities is to Create resolutions, intentions, or goals for the upcoming year.
New year, new … everything! The stress of the holiday season is behind you and you have a whole new year for travel, connection, learning, and exploration. What can you do this year that makes you unrecognizable to yourself a year from now? Go on, think big this year!
Share your resolutions with loved ones - Making any change to your life or behavior — big or small — becomes easier when you have the support of friends and family. Say what you’d like to do differently out loud and chances are you’re more likely to follow through.
IS IT “NEW YEARS" OR “NEW YEAR”?
“New Year’s Day” is the proper noun of the holiday we celebrate in the new year. When wishing someone a Happy New Year, you do not need to use the possessive apostrophe. When referring to it solely as the beginning of the year rather than the holiday, you use the lowercase “new year”.
WHY DO PEOPLE SAY HAPPY NEW YEARS WITH AN S? The ‘s’ tends to be carried over from the possessive proper noun: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. We tend to transfer the possessive into the greeting because, for some reason, it just sits better. However, the correct way to say the greeting is “Happy New Year.”
RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR WORLDWIDE
The Pacific island nations of Tonga, Samoa, and Kiribati are the first to ring in the New Year. New Zealand is next, followed by Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
The very last places on our planet where the New Year arrives are in two places: U.S. island territories Baker Island and Howland Island. Both are unoccupied National Wildlife Refuges. The last place where you can celebrate the arrival of a New Year is in another U.S. territory, American Samoa, which is occupied.
HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S DAY
In the United States and many other countries around the world, January 1, the first day of the Gregorian calendar, ushers in a new year replete with New Year’s resolutions and promises to do better than in the year before.
Most civilizations aligned their calendars with the moon. The ancient Mesopotamians and Babylonians observed the new year over 4,000 years ago. For them, a new year followed the phases of the moon and the vernal equinox — when sunlight and darkness were equally balanced.
The Babylonians ritualized the vernal equinox with Akitu, a religious observance spanning 11 days. The Egyptians marked the new year with the flooded waters of the Nile and the star, Sirius. To this very day, the Chinese New Year arrives with the second new moon after the winter solstice.
The evolution from the lunar calendar to today’s Gregorian calendar commences with the early Roman calendar devised by Romulus, allegedly suckled by wolves who, along with his brother, Remus, founded Rome. The original Roman calendar was introduced in the 8th century at the start of the vernal equinox (when the light and the darkness are equal, remember?) with 10 months and 304 days. Another Roman king, Numa Pompilius added Januarius and Februarius.
Most historians credit the Roman emperor Julius Caesar with developing the Julian calendar, designating January 1 as the start of a new year. The Gregorian calendar, which many nations around the world use today, arrived in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII aligned the calendar, not with the moon, but with the earth’s rotation around the sun — marking 365 days.
Heri Za Kwanzaa! Kwanzaa, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, is an African American and pan-African seven-day cultural holiday that celebrates family and community. During the holiday, families celebrate with feasts, music, and dance, and end the holiday with a day dedicated to reflection and recommitment to the seven principles.
- What is Kwanzaa and why is it celebrated?
- Why is Kwanzaa Important?
- What are the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa?
- How to Observe Kwanzaa?
What is Kwanzaa and why is it celebrated?
Why is Kwanzaa Important?
It promotes unity
Kwanzaa was birthed as a response to the Watts riots, which occurred as a reaction to longstanding racial injustice in America. The holiday was made by Dr. Maulana Karenga to bring African Americans together as a community in a celebration of identity.
It's for the culture
Kwanzaa is considered a cultural holiday rather than a religious celebration, meaning that even if you participate in Kwanzaa festivities, you can still celebrate the winter holidays that fall under your religion. Many households will have both a kinara and a Christmas tree in their living room at the same time.
It allows people to experience a connection to their roots
Many people in the African American community, and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas, find that Kwanzaa makes them feel closer to their roots. Celebrating a holiday based on ancient African tradition allows participants to experience a grounding connection to Africa.
What are the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa?
How to Observe Kwanzaa?
Get in the spirit with African decor
No holiday is complete without decorations! To get in the Kwanzaa spirit, decorate your home with African art, cloths such as kente, and fresh fruits that represent African idealism.
Learn some Swahili
Swahili is a language spoken throughout Africa and therefore unites all who celebrate Kwanzaa. One of the most important Swahili words to know are the names of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).
Pick up a drum
Many families celebrate Kwanzaa by playing music and singing cultural African or African-American songs. Pick up a drum, or any percussive instrument brought out for the celebration, and join in on the musical fun!
Every year on December 25, we celebrate Christmas, a day for spending time with family, observing an important Christian holiday, partaking in lighthearted traditions, or just spreading some holiday cheer! Christmas has evolved over several millennia into a worldwide celebration that’s both religious and secular and chock full of fun-filled, family activities.
Gift-Giving In most countries in the world, gifts are given to friends and loved ones, symbolizing the original offerings by the Magi of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.
Christmas Reenactments Over several days leading up to Christmas in Mexico, there are reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s frantic search for an inn where the baby Jesus might be born. On Christmas Day, children take turns batting a piñata stuffed with little toys and holiday candy.
Caroling Singing carols on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day involves strolling groups of singers, gaily dressed, who sing holiday songs in town squares, business districts, or in front of private homes.
5 FACTS ABOUT CHRISTMAS
26 million Xmas trees
In 2015, approximately 26 million Christmas trees were purchased at an average cost of $50.82 each.
$29.14 spending on Christmas cards
In the United States, most consumers shell out an average of $29.14 for Christmas cards.
More than half of Americans buy gifts online
About 64% of American consumers buy their gifts online.
Christmas wreaths are Christ symbols
The holly represents the crown of thorns Jesus wore at his crucifixion, and the red berries symbolize the blood he shed.
Christmas decorating lands thousands in the E.R.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 14,700 people visit hospital emergency rooms each November and December from holiday-related decorating accidents.
It has deeper meaning
The Christmas holiday focuses on honoring the sacred birth of Christ in the Christian religion. The Christmas traditions we know today stemmed from this story — the Three Wise Men came to see the newborn Jesus bearing gifts and they embody the seasonal spirit of giving gifts to others. It helps us remember the gestures of love, kindness, and forgiveness.
It's joyful, merry, and bright
Christmas is one of the most joyful holidays! Some celebrate it just to partake in its holiday fun or to spend time with family. Houses are decked out in colorful lights and beautifully decorated pine trees, the delicious smell of hot cocoa and spices fill the air — there's nothing that quite tops the beautiful Christmas spirit.
On December 8 is one of the most spiritually significant holidays in Buddhism, Bodhi Day - a sacred time of reflection.
Bodhi Day is a holiday which falls on December 8th and celebrates the day in which Siddhartha Gautama sat underneath the Bodhi tree and attained enlightenment. This one defining moment would become the central foundation upon which Buddhism has been built.
While there is no traditional greeting associated with the holiday, it is appropriate to wish those who may be celebrating a “Happy Bodhi Day” or “Blessed Bodhi Day.”
IMPORTANCE OF BODHI DAY
2500 years ago, a young Indian prince named Siddharta Gautama abandoned his ascetic lifestyle – which he had previously adopted when he abandoned his life of luxury – sat underneath a Bodhi tree with the one goal of seeking true enlightenment. This young prince then faced an amazing inner journey that tested him to his very core and had him face off against demons – both literal and figurative ones. Following intense meditation, he was able to see how everyone and everything was connected and therefore, reached a state of enlightenment.
Enlightenment that would lead him to create the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path. It is this enlightenment that Bodhi Day celebrates.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BODHI DAY, BUDDHA’S ENLIGHTENMENT, BODHI TREES, BUDDHISM’S FOUR TRUTHS AND THE EIGHTFOLD PATH HERE!
MARKING THE OCCASION: BODHI DAY
Buddhists associate many traditions with Bodhi Day. First, many mark the day by meditating, a practice that honors Buddha’s commitment under the Bodhi Tree. Other people will visit stupas (shrines). In some homes, Buddhishs will serve special cookies shaped like Bodhi trees or their heart-shaped leaves.
People also decorate their homes with colored lights, which signify the many paths to enlightenment. Often, the lights are placed on a miniature tree that represents the Bodhi Tree and remain illuminated for up to 30 days following the holiday.
Often, Buddhist homes will have ficus religiousa tree that they decorate with beads and multi-colored lights – much in the same way that Christians decorate their Christmas trees. They will also put on reflective ornaments that represent the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Adherents to Buddhism traditionally prepare a meal of milk and rice, which was the first food offered to Buddha after he reached enlightenment. That meal may be eaten individually or with family and community members.
A Bodhi tree is a very old sacred fig tree that belongs to the family Ficus religiosa. In religious iconography, the leaves of this tree are almost always represented as being heart-shaped. And while the tree in Bodh Gaya is the one that is most often referred to when speaking about Buddha’s enlightenment, there are other trees in other places which have a significance in Buddhism. (SOURCE: https://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/bodhi-day/)
BELOW ARE 5 FACTS ABOUT THE BODHI TREE:
- It is ancient: It is a very old sacred fig tree belonging to the family Ficus religiosa.
- It can grow anywhere: It originated from Bodh Gaya and now grows in some other parts of the world too.
- It is religiously symbolic: In religious iconography, its leaves are almost always represented as being heart-shaped.
- Nourished by constant water: It grows close to the banks of the Falgu River in Gaya, India
- It is a pilgrimage site: Its descendant, the Mahabodhi Tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims and is the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 is a day to help everyone become more compassionate and understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities. The day doesn’t discriminate between mental and physical disabilities, and the spirit of the day is to ensure that all people in the world have equal opportunities for work, play, health, and success. People with disabilities can be and very often are contributing and valued members of society, and today is all about appreciating them.
- WHAT IS THIS YEAR'S THEME?
- HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
- WHY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IS IMPORTANT
WHAT IS THIS YEAR'S THEME?
HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Become an advocate for people with disabilities
Look around your community and the places you frequent. If accommodations for people with disabilties are not in place, ask the shop owner, mall manager and/or your elected officials to install them.It’s the law.
Lend a helping hand
Inquire at your local senior center or residence, or of the nurses at an outpatient clinic, if they know of someone who needs assistance. Offer to help. Sometimes just delivering a medication, dropping off the mail, or picking up a few things at the grocery —simple tasks for you—would make the world of difference to someone with a disability.
Show some compassion
When you’re tired, harried and in a rush, you know you can sometimes be irritable. Don’t snap at someone who’s slowing you down,or take your frustrations out on them. They could be a person with a disability. If so, their lives are always like that, while your problems are probably fleeting. Likewise, don’t let any bad humor they exhibit ruin your day. This is when a smile can smooth everything over.
WHY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IS IMPORTANT
It builds awareness of people with disabilities
People with disabilities sometimes feel invisible in our society. People rush around them in their daily routines, barely noticing them. Today, try to make eye contact and smile and be available to help should they seem to be having difficulties.
We better understand the difficulties people with disabilities have
The treasured parking space right in front of the pharmacy, the sloped curbs at intersections with the textured mats in place so the vision impaired folks can feel the curb end, the buttons to open doors automatically, even elevators on the Subway —are all in place to make a difficult life a little easier for a person with disabilities. Notice these accommodations today, and then notice how few of them there are.
It’s more than a day —it’s the law
The Americans with Disabilities Act was created to define the rights of people with disabilities and the design standards which businesses and municipalities must incorporate to comply with the law. Called the ADA, it is quite explicit in the standards required, and a familiarity with it could be most helpful to anyone in.
Hanukkah is a celebration of the Jewish victory over a tyrant king and a rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews fought for freedom and reclaimed their holy temple; in order to rededicate it, they needed to light the menorah, but only had enough oil for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration to commemorate the eight-day miracle.
The Jewish Festival of Rededication, also called the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day celebration that falls each year on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev, which generally falls in December in the Gregorian calendar. (In 2021, Hanukkah is November 28 through December 6.) Hanukkah, also referred to as Chanukah, celebrates the rededication of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
- What are some Hanukkah Traditions?
- Why do we celebrate Hanukkah?
- What is the miracle of Chanukah?
- What are some HANUKKAH ACTIVITIES?
What are some Hanukkah Traditions?
Hanukkah celebrations begin when the sun sets on the 25th of Kislev, which typically occurs from late November through December. Each night as the sun sets, one branch of the Hanukkah menorah is lit by the shamash, making up the ninth and tallest branch on the menorah. Traditionally, candles are lit from right to left, although there is no one correct order in which to place and light the candles.
Prayers accompany each night’s candle lighting. Once the menorah is lit, it is often placed in a door or window that faces the street to share the light with neighbors. Traditional songs follow throughout the evening. Food plays an important part in Hanukkah, which includes those fried in oil to commemorate the miracle, especially ‘latkes’ and ‘sufganiyot.’
Why do we celebrate Hanukkah?
What is the miracle of Chanukah?
What are some HANUKKAH ACTIVITIES?
Light the menorah
Each night of Hanukkah, use the “shamash” or head candle to light one of the eight candles in the menorah, so by the last night of Hanukkah, all eight candles are burning!
Give some gelt
Gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins known gelt are traditional Hanukkah treats. The tradition harkens back to the Maccabees producing their own money after defeating the Greeks!
A dreidel is a traditional four-sided spinning toy. Each side has a Hebrew letter on it: “nun" means do nothing; "shin" means you put one in; "he" means you get half of what's in the middle; and "gimel” means you get the whole pot. Play with gelt or with real money for a great time!
America’s Thanksgiving holiday, born in the 1500s, mythologized in 1621, and observed even during the bleakest hours of the Civil War, now stands as one of the nation’s most anticipated and beloved days — celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday in November. Perhaps no other nonsectarian holiday has more tradition. Family, friends, food, and football have come to symbolize Thanksgiving — a rare celebratory holiday without an established gift-giving component. Instead, the day urges all of us to be grateful for things we do have.
- What are some Thanksgiving Traditions?
- Why is Thanksgiving on the Fourth Thursday?
- 5 Fun Facts about Thanksgiving
What are some Thanksgiving Traditions?
A feast fit for a family
When we think about Thanksgiving food, a few tasty dishes come to mind. Macaroni, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and the most important of all: a beautifully cooked, juicy, and huge turkey! Though these are the traditional dishes eaten at a standard Thanksgiving dinner, there’s definitely room to freestyle. Some switch out turkey for ham, beef, or even salmon! While others may include a side dish specific to their culture.
We often wonder why dinner comes so early on this day in comparison to the rest of the year, but it seems to all come down to convenience. An earlier eating time accommodates guests who are traveling from further away, allows more time for your stomach to digest a huge meal, and lets the more sporty bunch get some exercise through a family game of football, baseball, soccer, or basketball.
Since 1924, New York has been home to the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s tied for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade with America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. The three-hour parade is held in Manhattan and has been televised nationally by NBC since 1952. Prior to that, it was covered via radio broadcast. The parade airs early in the morning, from 9 A.M. to 12 P.M., and is how many families kick off their Thanksgiving festivities. Marching with the parade are school bands, floats with giant balloons of popular children’s characters, celebrity musicians, actors, and socialites. Broadway performers also take part by singing a popular number from their current running show.
Some families include breaking the turkey’s wishbone as part of their annual tradition. This happens after the meal is complete and the meat from the turkey is cleared from the bone. The wishbone, which is found attached to the breast meat within the turkey’s chest, gets set aside to dry. Once it becomes brittle, two people take ahold of either side of the bone, make a wish, and pull. Whoever breaks off the longer side gets their wish!
Why is Thanksgiving on the Fourth Thursday?
Future presidents followed Lincoln’s example of annually declaring the final Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving. But in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt declared November’s fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving rather than the fifth one. FDR thought an earlier Thanksgiving would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas — and help bring the country out of the Depression. A 1942 law — making the fourth Thursday a federal holiday — has stood ever since.
5 Fun Facts about Thanksgiving
Four towns named ‘Turkey’
In the United States, four different towns in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana are named Turkey.
A lot of calories are consumed
The average number of calories consumed during Thanksgiving festivities amounts to 4,500.
You can celebrate Thanksgiving 17th-century style
If you want to experience Thanksgiving like it was back in the 1600s, part of Plymouth, Mass is still more or less the same as it was back then — tickets for celebrating Thanksgiving there are purchased months in advance.
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the early 1920s didn’t have any giant floats or balloons.
46 million turkeys
Americans prepare an estimated 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving feasts every year
Veterans Day is a federal holiday to honor all veterans and thank them for their service.
Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11. It’s a holiday honoring men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces, on the anniversary of the end of World War I.
The importance of Veterans Day is to celebrate and honor all of America’s veterans for their bravery, sacrifice, and love for their country.
- What are some Veterans Day Traditions?
- Veterans Day - BY THE NUMBERS
- 5 Facts about Veterans in the United States
What are some Veterans Day Traditions?
Give military-themed gifts
Most veterans cherish their time spent serving their country and one of the best ways to honor that service is to present military-themed gifts like bottle openers (apparently a ‘thing’ among vets,) wooden U.S. flags, or specially-designed pens to the veterans in your life.
Check out Veterans Day restaurant deals
Big-name restaurants are looking out for veterans-turned-foodies with Veterans Day deals on free dinners (Chili’s, Applebee’s, and all California Pizza Kitchens) as well as breakfast specials (Golden Corral restaurants from 5–9 A.M.).
Ship some cookies overseas
Remember your active service military friends and veterans’ organizations overseas with a goodie bag of cookies by Operation Cookies, a company owned and operated by veterans sending delicious, home-baked cookies to homesick military personnel stationed anywhere in the world.
Veterans Day - BY THE NUMBERS
19.5 million – the approximate number of veterans in the United States.
9 million – the number of veterans over the age of 65.
5.06 million – the number of veterans receiving disability compensation.
2 million – the number of female veterans of those receiving disability compensation.
500k – the number of World War II veterans still living in the United States.
1.56 million – the number of veterans in California, the highest number in the country.
1.46 million – the number of veterans in Texas, the second-highest number in the country.
11% – the percentage of veterans who experience homelessness.
50% – the percentage of veterans experiencing homelessness who also live with a mental illness like PTSD.
5 Facts about Veterans in the United States
Many have served in at least one war
As of 2018, 18.2 million veterans who are still alive served in at least one war.
9% of all veterans in the U.S. are women.
As of 2019, the states with the highest percentage of veterans were Alaska, Wyoming, and Virginia.
World War II veterans
325,000 out of 16 million Americans who participated in World War II, were still alive in 2020.
The Korean War
Two million veterans served during the Korean War.
In the Hindu culture, one of the most significant holidays is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. It's a five-day celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.
Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that's also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. For instance, in Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C.; in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.
How is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated differently depending on what part of India your family is from. Hindus interpret the Diwali story based upon where they live. But there's one common theme no matter where people celebrate: the victory of good over evil.
In northern India, they celebrate the story of King Rama's return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.
Southern India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
How Many Days is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated over five days, with the fourth day being the most signficant:
DAY ONE: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
DAY TWO: People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
DAY THREE: On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.
DAY FOUR: This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
DAY FIVE: Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.
FROM OUR COMMUNITY: DIWALI RESOURCES
Diwali Snack Recipes
Diwali Sweets Recipes
Basic Recipes to Make Diwali Sweets
Learn More About Diwali
DID YOU KNOW:
The true meaning of Diwali is to spread the light of happiness, prosperity and wellness.
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Native American Heritage Month
Every year on November 1, Native American Heritage Month is celebrated to honor the remarkable Native Americans who have contributed a lot to improve the character of the nation. This month is also referred to as the American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. November is the time to rejoice in diverse and rich cultures, histories, and traditions and to appreciate the great contributions of the Native Americans. This month allows us to spread awareness about tribes or to educate people about the various challenges faced by the Native Americans in the past and today. Throughout this month, we commit to keep on supporting the remaining Native American tribes and let the world know about their sacrifices.
- Why do we celebrate Native American Heritage Month?
- WHY NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT
- How do you honor Native American Ancestors?
- What are the 10 Largest Native American Tribes?
- HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Why do we celebrate Native American Heritage Month?
"November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people,” according to the National Congress of American Indians.
WHY NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT
They have a rich history
The Native Americans have been living in America for a very long time. They were not a single nation but included a variety of cultures, nations, and languages. Some people believe that they have been living on the sub-continent for over 30,000 years.
Native Americans have contributed a lot
There are many contributions made by the Native Americans such as the discovery of edible plants, which are widely eaten by people around the world. They were the first people to raise turkeys, guinea pigs, and honeybees.
They established the government system
The government of Native Americans serves as the model of federated representative democracy. The government system of the U.S. is based on the system in which the power is distributed amongst the central authority and smaller political units.
How do you honor Native American Ancestors?
“Plant Native Flowers; Whether you plant them in your own yard or a community garden, planting plants that are native to the area is a great way to honor Native American Heritage Month and support Mother Nature at the same time. A little research will turn up lots of flowers, trees, and shrubs perfect for this,” says Red Tricycle.
What are the 10 Largest Native American Tribes?
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Learn about the Native Americans
Native American Heritage Month is an excellent way to learn about the history of American Indians. You can teach your children about the country’s past and how Native Americans have helped America.
You can visit or take your kids to a museum or virtually visit it to show them artifacts and exhibits of the Native Americans’ jewelry, customs, and culture.
Travel virtually to see other cultures
There are many cultural videos that you can watch on native culture like “Living Earth Festival”. If you or your kids are interested in learning about the Native American culture find a documentary or movie about it and watch it.
Indigenous Peoples' Day
Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 11, 2021) is celebrated on the second Monday of October, to honor the cultures and histories of the Native American people.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the people who first called this land home. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we remember the struggles and tragedies they endured and honor their contributions to the shared story of America.
WHY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY IS IMPORTANT?
(1) It celebrates the original inhabitants: Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates the Native Americans, the original inhabitants of North America.
(2) It recognizes the indigenous cultures: Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the beautiful indigenous traditions, cultures, and lives all around the world.
(3) It stands in solidarity with the indigenous people: We take a stand for and support the indigenous people on this day. We should also offer our support to those who invest and uplift the indigenous communities.
Columbus Day (October 11, 2021) - Columbus Day celebrates Christopher Columbus's sighting of America on October 12, 1492. As the first Italian explorer to arrive, his spirit of exploration paved the path for many Italians to follow. More than 500 years later, we continue to celebrate the courage and contributions of Italian Americans throughout the generations.
- COLUMBUS DAY & ITALIAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE
- How Columbus Day Became a Holiday
- Controversy Over Columbus Day
COLUMBUS DAY & ITALIAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE
Christopher Columbus was an an Italian-born explorer and the first to explore the Americas.
Italian-American Heritage Month occurs in October to overlap with the federal holiday of Columbus Day, which is celebrated on the second Monday of each October.
For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. In some parts of the United States, Columbus Day has evolved into a celebration of Italian-American heritage. Local groups host parades and street fairs featuring colorful costumes, music and Italian food.
The largest parade occurs on Columbus Day in New York City and has over 35,000 marchers!
How Columbus Day Became a Holiday
Columbus Day was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century, but did not become a federal holiday until 1937.
Some key dates include:
The first Columbus Day celebration took place in 1792, when New York’s Columbian Order—better known as Tammany Hall—held an event to commemorate the historic landing’s 300th anniversary.
In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage with patriotic festivities.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday.
Controversy Over Columbus Day
Throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy. Controversy over Columbus Day dates back to the 19th century, when anti-immigrant groups in the United States rejected the holiday because of its association with Catholicism.
In recent decades, Native Americans and other groups have protested the celebration of an event that resulted in the colonization of the Americas, the beginnings of the transatlantic slave trade and the deaths of millions from murder and disease.
Many alternatives to the holiday have been proposed since the 1970s including Indigenous Peoples' Day, now celebrated in many U.S. states and cities.
Polish-American Heritage Month
Polish-American Heritage Month (October 2021) - In October, we celebrate Polish American Heritage Month in the United States. Our Nation owes an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the millions of freedom-loving Poles who have come to our shores to build a new land. Polish Americans can be justly proud of the vital contributions people of Polish descent have made to our Nation in the arts, the sciences, religion, scholarship, and every area of endeavor.
From The American Presidency Project, Proclamation 5548—Polish American Heritage Month, 1986
- WHY POLISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT?
- FEATURED FOOD: PIEROGI
- Why is Polish-American Heritage Month celebrated in October?
WHY POLISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT?
- It celebrates diversity: Polish American Heritage Month is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the heritage and culture of your ancestors. If you're not Polish American, that's okay, too. Look at the month of October as your chance to enrich your life by exposing yourself to a new culture.
- It reminds us of our roots: This event is a great reminder of the positive impact Polish Americans had on our country back in the day, as well as the impact they continue to have today.
- It gets you in touch with your past: If you're not part of a large Polish American community, then Polish American Heritage Month is the perfect time for you to connect with those who have a similar history. Whether you reach out to local clubs, attend a Polish American event, or try to learn Polish, there are plenty of opportunities out there.
FEATURED FOOD: PIEROGI
Pierogi (the word ‘pierogi’ is plural in Polish, the singular is one ‘pieróg’ – pronounced pye-ROOG) are the most recognizable Polish food abroad. They are half-circular dumplings usually made from noodle flour dough, and sometimes from pastry dough.
Here are five facts about the beloved Polish dish:
(1) They can be sweet or savory: Although the outside — a noodle dough — never changes, the filling can be savory (meat, potatoes, vegetables) or sweet (berries, chocolate, whipped cream).
(2) Pierogi are served at significant events: As a staple of the Polish diet, pierogi are almost always served at Christmas and Easter; you can also find them at weddings and funerals.
(3) There's one in the Guinness Book of World Records: Students from a Polish catering school earned a Guinness World Record after they made a 90-pound pierogi in 100 minutes.
(4) The largest producer (still) of frozen pierogi in the U.S. was founded in Pennsylvania: Mary Twardzik and her son, Ted, began Mrs. T's Pierogies — a popular frozen pierogi company — in Shenandoah, PA in 1952.
(5) The word pierogi is already in its plural form: Although you may sometimes see pierogi spelled with an "s" (i.e. pierogies — typically an English spelling), this is incorrect; the Polish word "pierogi" is the plural word for "pieróg."
Learn more about pierogi including their history and reason for popularity in Poland here: Polish Food 101: Pierogi
Why is Polish-American Heritage Month celebrated in October?
We celebrate Polish American Heritage Month in October, but it wasn’t always that way. Congress first deemed August as Polish American Heritage Month in 1981. Later, it moved to October to commemorate the first Polish settlers — as well as the deaths of General Kazimierz Pułaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko (military leaders who fought in the American Revolution).
Filipino-American History Month
Filipino-American History Month (October 2021) - Every October is National Filipino American History Month which is all about celebrating the history, heritage, culture and achievements of Filipino Americans.
- Why is Filipino-American History Month Celebrated in October
- What is the theme of Filipino American History Month?
Why is Filipino-American History Month Celebrated in October
The celebration of Filipino American History Month in October each year is significant. It commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States.
This occurred on October 18, 1587, when “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California.
What is the theme of Filipino American History Month?
Each year, Filipino American History Month is recognized with a special theme. The 2021 theme is “50 Years Since the First Young Filipino People's Far West Convention.”
The Far West Conventions are viewed by many as the start of the Filipino American Movement and the birth of Filipino American identity.
Italian-American Heritage Month
Italian-American Heritage Month (October 2021) - Italian American Heritage Month is celebrated every year to honor and recognize the centuries of achievements, successes, and valuable contributions of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans.
Each year Italians around the country take time to celebrate their heritage, history, and culture with festivals and parades.
- History of Italian-American Heritage Month
- 5 WAYS ITALIANS CHANGED AMERICAN HISTORY
- 3 REASONS WHY ITALIAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT
History of Italian-American Heritage Month
5 WAYS ITALIANS CHANGED AMERICAN HISTORY
America’s name is Italian inspired: Amerigo Vespucci, who explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502, is the source of the name "America."
An Italian explorer discovered the New World: Christopher Columbus landed on various Caribbean islands that are now the Bahamas as well as the island later called Hispaniola.
An Italian first mapped the East coast: Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to map the Atlantic coast of today's United States.
The Declaration of Independence has Italian inspiration: Filippo Mazzei, a physician and promoter of liberty, was a close friend and confidant of Thomas Jefferson. He published a pamphlet containing the phrase "All men are by nature equally free and independent."
The pope helped Italian immigrants: To assist immigrants in the U.S., Pope Leo XIII dispatched a contingent of priests and nuns. Among them was Sister Francesca Cabrini, who founded schools, hospitals, and orphanages.
3 REASONS WHY ITALIAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IS IMPORTANT
The Italian food phenomenon: Big plates of spaghetti and meatballs, baked ziti, and chicken parmigiana are not common in Italy, but they reflect the unique Italian-American culture immigrants created.
Italian-American star power: Whether it’s the music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, or the films of Martin Scorsese and Sofia Coppola, Italian-Americans have powerfully impacted the entertainment industry in America.
Italy's favorite pasta sauce is everywhere: Ragu alla Bolognese, also known simply as Bolognese, is recognized as the national dish of Italy, and it enjoys worldwide popularity.
National Hispanic American Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually from September 15 to October 15. It is a time to appreciate and celebrate the colorful cultures, rich histories, and diversity of the American Latino community. Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries.
Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month below or by visiting: https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/
- What is Hispanic Heritage Month & Why is it Celebrated?
- What is the difference between Hispanic and Latino?
- Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start mid-month?
- What are some traditions of Hispanic Heritage Month?
What is Hispanic Heritage Month & Why is it Celebrated?
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history and countless contributions that Latinos have made to the nation over the years.
Hispanic Heritage Month is important for many reasons, including the following...
Strong impact on America: Hispanic influences are tightly woven into the fabric of American life — think music, food, art, cinema, politics, literature, and so much more.
Around one-fifth of the U.S. population is Hispanic: The state with the largest Hispanic and Latino population overall is California with over 14 million.
Our kids benefit from it: While Hispanic children learn about their roots this month, all kids can benefit from learning about Spanish history and culture.
What is the difference between Hispanic and Latino?
Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start mid-month?
What are some traditions of Hispanic Heritage Month?
National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the culture and contributions of both Latino and Hispanic Americans. The history and accomplishments of these groups in the shaping of the country are celebrated.
The month is celebrated in a plethora of ways. As several other celebratory holidays fall during this month — such as the independence days of several Latin American countries — concerts, parades, food fairs, and more are organized throughout. Educational events like art exhibitions take place as well, highlighting important Latino heroes in history.
The U.S. government honors the immeasurable contributions of Hispanic Americans to our economy, culture, and society.
Otherwise known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day in Judaism. The holiday lasts approximately 25 hours and is typically observed with fasting and prayer in alignment with the themes of atonement and repentance.
- What is the main purpose of Yom Kippur?
- What does Yom Kippur celebrate?
- What are the rules of Yom Kippur?
- Why is Yom Kippur important?
What is the main purpose of Yom Kippur?
What does Yom Kippur celebrate?
What are the rules of Yom Kippur?
Why is Yom Kippur important?
(1) Encourages intense self-reflection
It's easy to forget to set aside time to focus on personal growth, but Yom Kippur ensures that you take the day to committing to developing a better you.
(2) Brings family and friends closer
In considering how our actions affect those closest to us, those bonds are made tighter in the promise of better treatment.
(3) Helps us disconnect
Whether it's work, smartphones, or shopping, it's easy to let what surrounds us consume our every day. It's important to take a step back and take a break from our indulgences every now and then.
Rosh Hashanah, literally translating to ‘head of the year’, is the Jewish New Year, starting on the first day of Tishrei — the Jewish calendar’s first month.
DID YOU KNOW?
As of 2021, the two-day celebration marks the
start of the year 5782 on the Jewish calendar.
- What is Rosh Hashanah & How is it Celebrated?
- What do you eat on Rosh Hashanah?
- Is it Okay to Say "Happy Rosh Hashanah"?
- Why Rosh Hashanah is Important
What is Rosh Hashanah & How is it Celebrated?
What do you eat on Rosh Hashanah?
Is it Okay to Say "Happy Rosh Hashanah"?
Why Rosh Hashanah is Important
(1) A new beginning: As the first of the Jewish High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah is viewed as an opportunity to reset and establish the tone for the next year. During this time, people are reminded to think about their past years' experiences, practice penitence, settle any debts they may have accrued, and ask for forgiveness.
(2) A father's sacrifice: On Rosh Hashanah, it is a custom for a shofar (ram's horn) to be blown like a trumpet. This gesture takes place in synagogue— where most of Rosh Hashanah is spent — and reminds people of the blessed event in which God allowed Abraham to sacrifice a ram instead of his son Isaac.
(3) Reflection: Rosh Hashanah's a time to begin self-reflection, repent for their past wrongdoings, practice righteousness, and set new goals.
Do you get weekends off work? Lunch breaks? Paid vacation? An eight-hour workday? Social security? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you can thank labor unions and the U.S. labor movement for it. Years of hard-fought battles (and the ensuing legislation they inspired) resulted in many of the most basic benefits we enjoy at our jobs today. On the first Monday in September, we take the day off to celebrate Labor Day and reflect on the American worker’s contributions to our country.
- What does Labor Day really mean?
- Who Invented Labor Day?
- What is the Difference between Labor Day and May Day (May 1) ?
What does Labor Day really mean?
Who Invented Labor Day?
It’s more confusing than you might think. The Labor Department explains it this way:
While most sources, including the U.S. Department of Labor, credit Peter McGuire with the origination of Labor Day, recent evidence suggests that the true father of Labor Day may, in fact, be another famous union leader of the 19th century, Matthew Maguire.
Maguire held some political beliefs that were considered fairly radical for the day and also for Samuel Gompers and his American Federation of Labor. Allegedly, Gompers, who co-founded the AFL along with his friend McGuire, did not want Labor Day to become associated with the sort of “radical” politics of Matthew Maguire. So in an 1897 interview, Gompers’ close friend Peter J. McGuire was assigned the credit for the origination of Labor Day.
What is the Difference between Labor Day and May Day (May 1) ?
May 1 (or May Day) is a more radicalized version of Labor Day in many countries. The date recalls Chicago’s Haymarket affair in 1886. American workers, tired of 18-hour days, staged a protest. Police eventually fired on the workers — killing eight. The following night, May 4, another rally turned violent when someone threw a bomb at police officers. An estimated 11 people died and scores more were injured. Communist and socialist political parties eventually chose May 1 as the date to honor the dead and injured workers.
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