New Year’s Day, the first day of the year according to the modern Gregorian calendar, celebrated in most Western countries.
Feast Day of St. Basil, a holiday observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorating the death of Saint Basil the Great.
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church, commemorates the naming of the child Jesus.
World Braille Day, observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for blind and partially sighted people; celebrated on the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille.
Twelfth Night, a festival celebrated by some branches of Christianity that marks the coming of the Epiphany.
Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day), a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth.
Christmas, recognized on this day by Eastern Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas thirteen days later than other Christian churches because they follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar.
Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch on the first full-moon day in January.
Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs who initiated the Sikhs as the Khalsa (the pure ones) and who is known as the Father of the Khalsa.
Lohri-Maghi, an annual festival celebrated by Sikhs commemorating the memory of forty Sikh martyr.
Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India.
World Religion Day, observed by those of the Bahá’í faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, during which Christians pray for unity between all churches of the Christian faith.
Timkat, a holiday observed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River on Epiphany.
Lunar New Year, one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. The Lunar New Year is also celebrated at this time in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia.
Republic Day of India recognizes the date when the Constitution of India came into law in 1950, replacing the Government of India Act of 1935. This day also coincides with India’s 1930 declaration of independence.
Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day, Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture.
The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust; the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and UN Holocaust Memorial Day.
February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Since 1976, the month has been designated to remember the contributions of people of the African diaspora.
National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States in 1865.
St. Brigid of Kildare, feast day for St. Brigid celebrated by some Christian denominations.
A Gaelic, Pagan, and Wiccan traditional festival that represents making way for spring and the rebirth of nature.
Candlemas, a Christian holiday that celebrates three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus, Jesus’ first entry into the temple, and Virgin Mary’s purification.
St. Blaise Day (The Blessing of the Throats), the feast day of St. Blaise celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and some Eastern Catholic Churches.
Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated annually as part of the Spring Festival.
Four Chaplains Day commemorates the anniversary of the sinking of the US Army transport Dorchester and the heroism of the four chaplains aboard.
Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival especially for worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Devotees take a holy bath on this day and carry out charity work.
Magha Puja Day (also known as Maka Bucha), a Buddhist holiday that marks an event early in the Buddha’s teaching life when a group of 1,250 enlightened saints ordained by the Buddha gathered to pay their respect to him. It is celebrated on various dates in different countries.
Lantern Festival, the first significant feast after the Chinese New Year; participants enjoy watching paper lanterns illuminate the sky on the night of the event.
St. Valentine’s Day, a Western Christian feast day. This holiday is typically associated with romantic love and celebrated by people expressing their love with gifts.
Parinirvana Day (or Nirvana Day), the commemoration of Buddha’s death at the age of 80, when he reached the zenith of Nirvana; February 8 is an alternative date of observance.
Lailat al Miraj, a Muslim holiday that commemorates the prophet Muhammad’s nighttime journey from Mecca to the “Farthest Mosque” in Jerusalem, where he ascended to heaven, was purified, and given the instruction for Muslims to pray five times daily. Note that in the Muslim
calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Lailat al Miraj starting at sundown on February 17.
Maha Shivaratri, a Hindu festival celebrated each year to honor Lord Shiva. It is celebrated just before the arrival of spring. It is also known as the Great Night of Shiva or Shivaratri and is one of the largest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of India.
Meatfare Sunday (The Sunday of the Last Judgment), traditionally the last day of eating meat before Easter for Orthodox Christians.
Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, is a time of renewal through sacred and secular practices.
Presidents Day, a federally recognized celebration in the United States that honors the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln birthday, as well as those of every US president.
Mardi Gras, the last day for Catholics to indulge before Ash Wednesday starts the sober weeks of fasting that accompany Lent.The term “Mardi Gras” is particularly associated with the carnival celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Although named for its former religious significance, it is chiefly marked by feasting and celebration, which traditionally preceded the observance of the Lenten fast. It is observed by various Christian denominations.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent on the Christian calendar. Its name is derived from the symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence. It follows immediately after the excesses of the two days of Carnival that take place in Northern Europe and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar. Intercalary days are observed with gift-giving, special acts of charity, and preparation for the fasting that precedes the New
Cheesefare Sunday or Forgiveness Sunday, the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent for Orthodox Christians.
Beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Christian faith is also known as Clean Monday.
March is Women’s History Month. Established in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.
March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
March is National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month. It was established to raise public awareness of the autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
March is National Irish American Heritage Month. It celebrates the Irish American heritage and culture and pays tribute to the contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the United States.
St. David’s Day, the feast day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales.
Nineteen-Day Fast, a time in the Bahá’í faith to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God. This fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year.
Orthodox Sunday, celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent. It is the celebration of the victory of the iconodules over the iconoclasts by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Therefore, the service commemorates the restoration of icons for use in services as well as a
Christian’s private devotional life.
Lailat al Bara’a, also known as Lailat Al Baraah, Barat, or popularly as Shab-e-Bara or Night of Forgiveness. It is an Islamic holiday during which practitioners of the faith seek forgiveness for sins. Muslims spend the night in special prayers. It is regarded as one of the most sacred nights on the Islamic calendar.
Purim, a Jewish celebration that marks the time when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide. On Purim, Jewish people dress up in costumes, offer charity, and share food with friends.
International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
Holi, the annual Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival observed in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, along with other countries with large Hindu and Sikh populations. People celebrate Holi by throwing colored powder and water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlada accomplished when demoness Holika carried him into the fire. It is often celebrated on the full moon (the Phalguna Purnima) before the beginning of the vernal equinox as based on the Hindu calendar.
Hola Mohalla, a Sikh festival that takes place on the second day of the lunar month of Chet, a day after the Hindu spring festival Holi.
Asian-American Women’s and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the pay gap between Asian-American and Pacific Islander women and White men. Asian-American women are paid 90 cents for every dollar paid to White men.
Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf.
St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday started in Ireland to recognize St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who brought Christianity to the country in the early days of the faith.
St. Joseph’s Day, in Western Christianity the principal feast of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans. It is observed as a time to mark the coming of spring and the fertility of the land.
Naw-Rúz, the Bahá’í New Year, is a holiday celebrated on the vernal equinox. It is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is suspended.
Nowruz/Norooz, Persian New Year, a day of joy, celebration, and renewal. It is held annually on the spring equinox.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed annually in the wake of the 1960 killing of 69 people at a demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in South Africa. The United Nations proclaimed the day in 1966 and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer, and devotion to Islam.
Chaitra Navaratri, a nine-day festival which starts on the first day of Hindu Luni-Solar calendar.
Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, a Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus.
International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations international observation that offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. First observed in
2008, the international celebration also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.
Ram Navami, a Hindu day of worship and celebration of the seventh avatar of Vishnu (Lord Rama). Devotees typically wear red and place extravagant flowers on the shrine of the god.
International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities as well as recognize those who helped fight for rights for transgender people.
April is Celebrate Diversity Month, a celebration that was initiated in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will gain a deeper understanding of each other.
April is Autism Acceptance Month, established to raise awareness about and acceptance of the developmental disability that impacts an individual’s experience of the world around them.
April is National Arab American Heritage Month. It celebrates the Arab American heritage and culture and pays tribute to the contributions of Arab Americans and Arabic-speaking Americans.
Lazarus Saturday, a day celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy to commemorate the raising from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany.
World Autism Awareness Day, created to raise awareness around the globe.
Beltane, an ancient Celtic, Pagan, and Wiccan holiday commemorated about halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. The day is often used to celebrate love and romance.
Feasts of Saints Philip and James, a Roman rite feast day held on the anniversary of the dedication of the Church to Saints Phillip and James in Rome.
Native American Citizenship Day, commemorating the day in 1924 when the US Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans.
Trinity Sunday, observed in the Western Christian faith as a feast in honor of the Holy Trinity.
Canada Day, or Fête du Canada, a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act, which established the three former British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick as a united nation called Canada.
Asalha Puja, or Dharma Day, a celebration of Buddha’s first teachings.
Lammas, a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest within some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
Lughnasadh, a Gaelic, Pagan, and Wiccan festival celebrating sacrifice and giving back. The holiday marks the beginning of harvest season and is the first of three harvest rituals.
Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus, beginning of the fourteen-day period of preparation for Orthodox Christians leading up to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
Transfiguration of the Lord (Feast of the Transfiguration), celebrated by various Christian denominations, the feast day is dedicated to the transfiguration of Jesus.
Labor Day in the United States honors the contribution that workers have made to the country and is observed on the first Monday of September.
Krishna Janmashtami, a Hindu celebration of Lord Vishnu’s most powerful human incarnations, Krishna, the god of love and compassion. Celebrations include praying and fasting.
St. Francis Day, feast day for St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment, celebrated by many Catholic denominations.
Blessing of the Animals, in congruence with St. Francis Day. Many Unitarian Universalists have picked up on the Catholic tradition of blessing animals, particularly pets, as St. Francis was known for his special connection to animals.
Shemini Atzeret, a Jewish holiday also known as The Eighth (Day) of Assembly, takes place the day after the Sukkot festival, where gratitude for the fall harvest is deeply internalized.
All Saints’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all known and unknown Christian saints (In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the day is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost.)
All Souls’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all faithful Christians who are now dead. In the Mexican tradition, the holiday is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos (October 31– November 2), which is a time of remembrance for dead ancestors and a celebration of the continuity
World AIDS Day commemorates those who have died of AIDS and acknowledges the need for continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, designed to raise awareness in regard to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.