Wednesday, December 21, 2005

December 21 - Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice, or Yule, is held on or around December 22nd. It marks the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) and is an important holiday to those who follow the old ways.

Winter Solstice Symbols

The Yule Log, candles, mistletoe and other icons of the Christmas season are borrowed from the Solstice celebration. While mostly viewed as decorative in nature today, these items had deep symbolic significance to the elder faith.


Friday, December 16, 2005

December 16 - Posadas (Mexico)


Dec 16 - (Thru Dec 24)

A nine day traditional celebration throughout Mexico. Processions of pilgrims go door to door asking for "posada", which means shelter, commemorating the search by Mary and Joseph for shelter.

Monday, December 12, 2005

December 12th - Our Lady Of Guadalupe (Mexico)

An important religious festival in Mexico. It commemorates the appearance of the Blessed Virgin to an Indian boy in 1531.

Processions, dances and visits are led to her Mexico City shrine.

Monday, December 05, 2005

December 5th - Saint Nicholas Eve

Saint Nicholas Day is a festivity for children in much of Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American and British Santa Claus derives from this festivity, the name 'Santa Claus' being a degeneration of the Dutch word Sinterklaas.

In mid-November, Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) and his helper Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) arrive in the Netherlands. In the following weeks before St. Nicholas Day, December 6, Sinterklaas goes about the country to determine if the children have been well-behaved. He and his Zwarte Piet helpers visit children in schools, hospitals, department stores, and even at home.

Friday, November 11, 2005

November 11th - Remembrance Day | Veteran's Day | Armistice Day

Remembrance Day - Canada/UK
This day commemorates the soldiers killed in World Wars I and II. Canadians always set aside this day in memory of those who gave their lives for freedom. Many observers wear red poppies as a symbol of this day.

Veteran's Day - USA
It was first proclaimed as Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the termination (at 11 AM on November 11, 1918) of World War I.

Armistice Day - France

Monday, November 07, 2005

November 5th - Guy Fawkes Day (Bonfire Night)

[From TCM's Multicultural Calendar...]
Also known as Bonfire Night.

Guy Fawkes was a leader of a group of Catholic men who were plotting to blow up the king and Parliament but were arrested in time. The English and Irish burn bonfires topped by a figure known as "the guy". West Indians from the Bahamas and Barbados celebrate it as well.

To receive weekly notifications of upcoming holidays, subscribe to: TCM's Weekly Multicultural Holidays Bulletin.

Friday, November 04, 2005

November 4 - Eid_ul-Fitr - The End of Ramadan

Eid_ul-Fitr - The End of Ramadan

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر), often abbreviated as simply Eid, marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fitr means to break and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period and of all evil habits. On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family gets up very early and attends special prayers held only for the occasion in big mosques, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas. The festivities and merriment start after the prayers with visits to the homes of friends and relatives and thanking the Creator for all blessings. Eid is a time to come together as a community and to renew friendship and family ties. This is a time for peace for all Muslims in the world to devote to prayers and mutual well-being.

It's a joyous occasion with significant religious significance. Happiness is observed at attaining spiritual uplift after a month of fasting. Muslims dress in holiday attire. After attending the special congregational prayer in the morning, worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace, love, and brotherhood. Visiting friends and relatives is common.

For Muslims, Eid ul Fitr is a joyful celebration of the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory and peace, of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking God for the help and strength that he gave them throughout the previous month to help them practice self-control.

A common greeting during this 3-day festival is the Arabic greeting "Eid mubarak" or its Urdu variation "Eid mubarak ho!" which, loosely translated, means "Happy Eid!"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Multicultural Education Week - Nov. 14 through 18

Northwestern will celebrate multicultural education

ORANGE CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern College will celebrate Multicultural Education Week Nov. 14 through 18 with a global fair, an international coffeehouse and a multicultural chapel.

Racial justice advocate Dr. Steve Robbins will address issues related to "Unintentional Intolerance" at 10:05 a.m. Nov. 14 and at 11:05 a.m. Nov. 15 in Christ Chapel. Born Nguyen Long in Saigon in 1965, Robbins now teaches communications at Grand Valley State University in Michigan and runs SLRobbins & Associates, a consulting firm that works with national companies and organizations to promote racial justice.

The global fair will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 15 in Rowenhorst Student Center. International students, along with past study abroad students and Summer of Service students, will have display booths.

The Persian film, "Children of Heaven," will be shown at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 in Bogaard Theatre. Multicultural connection interns will show the film "Crash" which deals candidly with racial issues at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 in Bogaard Theatre. The interns will lead a discussion following the film.

The International Club chapel will be Nov. 18 and the international coffeehouse will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 18 in Rowenhorst Student Center. Entertainment will include singing, dancing, reading a story, reciting poetry and acting. Coffee will be provided by De Koffie Boon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November 1st - Diwali (Indian, Hindu)

DIWALI means 'row of lights' and is the Hindu New Year.

Diwali lasts for 5 days:
Day 1 - New Year for business,
Day 2 - the triumph of god Vishnu over the evil demon,
Day 3 - Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity visits homes lit by lamps,
Day 4 - Bali worship day,
Day 5 - devoted to brothers and sisters.

November Multicultural Schedule Alerts

Schedule alert days are national or religious holidays when individuals may take time off to observe a holiday.

November 1, 2005
Diwali - Hindu, Sikh
It means 'row of lights' and is the Hindu New Year. Diwali lasts for 5 days: Day 1 - New Year for business, Day 2 - the triumph of god Vishnu over the evil demon, Day 3 - Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity visits homes lit by lamps, Day 4 - Bali worship day, Day 5 - devoted to brothers and sisters.

November 4, 2005
Eid-Ul-Fitr - Islam
This marks the end of the Ramadan fast and is celebrated for 3 days. Date of observance may vary according to sighting of new moon.

November 15, 2005
Guru Nanak's Birthday - Sikh
He was born in 1469 CE and was the first of the Ten Gurus of the Sikh faith and founded Sikhism. An accomplished poet, the Sikh scriptures called the Guru Granth Sahib contain 974 of his hymns.

November 24, 2005
Thanksgiving Day - USA
Early American settlers gave thanks for good harvests by decorating their churches with fruits and vegetables and celebrated dinner with venison and waterfowl.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Confucius' Birthday

Confucius Birthday
The birthday of Confucius is celebrated with a dawn ceremony at temples around the world. His birthday, in 551 BCE, is celebrated as Teacher's Day in Taiwan.

Columbus Day - USA

Columbus Day (Obsvd)

This day commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World.

Columbus Day in the United States
Columbus Day is celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October. The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the USA was held by the Tammany Society, also known as the Colombian Order, in New York on October 12th 1792, marking the 300th anniversary of Columbus's landing in the Bahamas.

Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of Italian-American heritage. Columbus Day was first celebrated by Italians in San Francisco in 1869, following on the heels of 1866 Italian celebrations in New York City. The first state celebration was in Colorado in 1905, and in 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set aside Columbus Day as a holiday in the United States. Since 1971, the holiday has been commemorated in the U.S. on the second Monday in October, the same day as Thanksgiving in neighboring Canada.

Banks are almost always closed on this day, as are government offices. Public schools however are not usually closed on Columbus Day; nor is it recognized by most American employers as a day off from work.

Thanksgiving - Canada

A schedule alert in Canada

Oct 10 - Thanksgiving
Early Canadian settlers gave thanks for good harvests by decorating their churches with fruits and vegetables and celebrated dinner with venison and waterfowl.

A Canadian Thanksgiving

The Canadian Thanksgiving makes an interesting counterpoint to the holiday celebrated by its southern neighbor. As mentioned earlier, the first North American thanksgiving event occurred in Newfoundland in 1578. In the 1600s, Samuel de Champlain and the French Settlers who came with him established an "Order of Good Cheer." This group would hold huge celebrations marking the harvests and other events, sharing their food with Native American neighbours.

The First Canadian Thanksgiving
The first Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated on April 15, 1872 in thanks for the recovery of the future King Edward VII from a serious illness. The next Thanksgiving didn't occur until 1879 when it was celebrated on a Thursday in November.

Setting a Date
Much like the United States, Canada seemed to have a difficult time deciding when a day of Thanksgiving should occur. From 1879 to 1898 it was celebrated on a Thursday in November; from 1899 to 1907 on a Thursday in October (except in 1901 and 1904 when it was celebrated on a Thursday in November); from 1908 to 1921 on a Monday in October; and between 1922 and 1930 the Armistice Day Act declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on Armistice Day, the Monday of November 11. In 1931 the Act was amended and the old practice of Parliament declaring a day of Thanksgiving each year was resumed.

On January 31, 1957 Parliament issued a proclamation to fix permanently the second Monday in October as "a day of general Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."

Much like the United States' Thanksgiving Day, the Canadian celebration includes parades and festive meals, often including turkey and all the "fixins." Yet, again, at the heart of the celebration is the idea of giving thanks for the goodness of the season past.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

12th Annual Ethnic & Multicultural Marketing - Oct 17th

Ethnic/Multicultural marketing is big business. At this annual conference, major organizations, like Nike, McDonalds, Avon, Lufthansa, share their experiences and approaches.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ramadan - October 5th to November 4th


This is the holiest period in the Islamic Year and begins at the sighting of the new moon. It commemorates the period during which Prophet Mohammad received divine revelations. Observing Muslims fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset during the entire month, read the Qu'ran and worship in the mosque or at home.

Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. There are as many meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims.

The third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God. Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Qur'an, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.

As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rosh Hashanah / New Year


Rosh Hashanah/New Year - thru Oct 5
The Jewish New Year which 'ushers in the Days of Judgment for all mankind' and the anniversary of the creation of the world.

The Jewish High Holy Days are observed during the 10 day period between the first day (Rosh Hashanah) and the 10th day (Yom Kippur) of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most important of all Jewish Holidays and the only holidays that are purely religious, as they are not related to any historical or natural event.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated the first and second days of Tishri. It is a time of family gatherings, special meals and sweet tasting foods.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

October 2005 - Schedule alerts


October 4, 2005
ROSH HASHANAH / NEW YEAR (Jewish) - thru Oct 5
The Jewish New Year which ushers in the Days of Judgement
for all mankind and the anniversary of the creation of
the world.

October 10, 2005
Commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus'
discovery of the New World.

Early Canadian settlers gave thans for good harvests by
decorating their churches with fruits and vegetables and
celebrated dinner with venison and waterfowl.

October 13, 2005
The Day of Atonement is the holiest and most solemn of all
days in the Jewish year. They believe that once you atone
for your mistakes, you can be 'at one' with God. Jews do
not work, and fast from sunset to sunset.


October, 2005

October - National Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month began with the
Presidential Proclamation in 1988. This law replaced "National
Employ the Handicapped Week" which had occurred annually since
1945 during the first week of October. The new law also
recognized a change in terminology and replaced the term
"handicap" with "disability".

Adopt-A-Pet Month
Campaign for Healthier Babies Month
Hunger Awareness Month
Awareness Month
Gourmet Adventures Month
International Doll Collectors Month
International Marine Travel Month
Museum Month
National Disability Awareness Month
International Book Fair Month
Polish Heritage Month

Thursday, September 01, 2005

September, 2005

· Back to school time
· Baby Safety Month
· Children's Eye Health and Safety Month
· Classical Music Month
· Library Card Sign-Up Month
· Read-A-New Book Month
· Emergency Care Month
· Youth Month
· Be Kind to Sewing Month
· National Chicken Month
· Latino Heritage Month
· National Honey Month
· National Literary Month
· National Piano Month
· National Rice month
· Organic Harvest Month
· National Courtesy Month
· National School Success Month


*** Holiest days; some may abstain from work


Sep - National Hispanic Heritage Month
It is initiated in 1968 as 'National Hispanic Heritage Week' but was established in 1988 by the U.S. Congress, and includes the days between September 15-October 15. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 because this day marks the anniversary of independence for five Hispanic countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico achieved independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18. Latinos from all across the nation take a moment to reflect upon their history, customs and culture, as well as the contributions their people have made to the U.S.

Sep - Sep Navajo Nation Fair And Rodeo
Dates vary according to native reservations.

Sep - Sept Sunrise Dance
Apache. This is an ancient rite of passage for 14-year old girls and lasts four days. After a girl's first mentruation, the girl is massaged and prayed for by an elder female relative. Then, the girl's family decides which ceremony will be sponsored, which medicine man to choose, and whom to ask to be her godparents and cosponsors of the ceremony.

Sep - Sep 30 San Geronimo Day
Named after St. Jerome (1829-1909), an Apache fighter, this day is celebrated by the Native Americans and Hispanics in the Pueblo. Among the ceremonies are the morning races, the sacred clowns and the pole climb.

September 2005 schedule alerts

Schedule Alerts*** for September 2005

September 1, 2005
Paryushana-Parva - Jain
The holiest time of the year, is marked by fasting, worship of
the Jina and celebrated for eight days concluding on Samvatsari.

September 5, 2005
Labour Day - Canada, USA
On June 29th, 1894, the US Congress voted Labour Day as a National

*** *** Schedule alert: National holiday or Religious day when individuals may wish to take, or just take, time off work to observe the holiday.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hindus in Kashmir valley celebrate Janmashtami in big way

Hindus in Kashmir valley celebrate Janmashtami in big way

Outlook (subscription) - New Delhi,India

Hindus in Kashmir valley today took out processions and offered prayers in temples amid tight security to mark Janamashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. ...

[more stories...]

Friday, August 26, 2005

Janmashtami (Hindu)

Janmashtami is another "schedule alert" day celebrated by Hindus around the world on August 27th.

About Janmashtami

Dwarka all set for festival of Janmashtami. The famous temple of Lord Krishna has been decked up with multicoloured lights, which is visible from 10 km away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Aug 24 - Ukraine Independence (1991)

Looking north on Maydan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev on Independence Day.

Ukraine proclaimed its independence on August 24, 1991.

About Ukraine

What else happened on August 24th...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

August 23, 2005: Happy NAW RUZ !!

*** NAW RUZ - Zoroastrian

First day of the Bahá'í and Iranian New Year.

Naw-Ruz (aka Now-Ruz) is celebrated rather like the Christian Easter, with many symbols indicating spring and renewal. A week or so before the holiday lentils are placed in a dish to sprout into a mass of green blades. On the day of Naw-Ruz the family gathers in new or freshly cleaned clothes. The table is decorated with fruit, cakes, coloured eggs and other treats, as well as symbolic objects such as a holy book and a mirror. Among the best known customs of Naw-Ruz is the haft-sin -- the `seven S's'. These are seven objects beginning -- in Persian -- with the letter `S', such as hyacinths, apples, lilies, silver coins, garlic, vinegar and rue, decoratively arranged on a table. A great deal of time is spent exchanging visits with friends and relations. The celebrations end on the thirteenth day of Naw-Ruz with a picnic in the country. The sprouted lentils are thrown into running water, carrying away the bad luck of the previous year.

*** Schedule alert: National holiday or Religious day when individuals may wish to take time off work to observe the holiday.

Brought to you by TCM's Multicultural Calendar

Haiti--August 23, 1791: Uprising of African slaves

Liverpool remembers slave trade

Liverpool was Europe's principal slave port in the 18th century

People in Liverpool were marking the city's darker past with a Slavery Remembrance service on Tuesday.

The multi-faith service to remember the victims of slavery was being held at St Nicholas Church, in the city centre.

Liverpool was regarded as the principal slave port in Europe by the 1740s and the trade contributed much of the city's wealth during the 18th century.

The service is one of many commemorations being held across the world for Slavery Remembrance Day.

It is held each year on 23 August - the anniversary of an uprising in 1791 of African slaves on the Caribbean island of St Domingo, now called Haiti.

Aug 23rd - World Slavery Survives...

World: Slavery Survives, Despite Universal Abolition

UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization, has proclaimed 23 August as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The date commemorates a revolt in 1791 by slaves in what is now Haiti -- an event considered a decisive victory of slaves against their oppressors. But despite laws in all of the world's countries against slavery, the United Nations says the practice continues in illegal underground forms.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Aug 6, 2005 - Hiroshima Day

Hiroshima Day

This solemn day commemorates the day that United States dropped the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. People from different backgrounds unite on this day to declare their commitment to never letting another nuclear bomb be used against humans again.

[source TCM's Multicultural Calendar]

Monday, August 01, 2005

August "schedule alerts" **

Guests at a Jewish Moroccan wedding are treated to a
traditional Belly Dance. According to tradition, the
women have an amiable competition trying to outdo

each other in the art of this graceful dance.
(Artwork: TCM's Multicultural Calendar - Aug/05)

In August, 2005 the following "schedule alert" events occur***:
*** August 1, 2005
Civic Holiday - Canada
Bank Holiday - Scotland

*** August 27, 2005
Janmashtami - Hindu

*** August 29, 2005
Summer Bank Holiday - U.K., Ireland

Question: What the heck are "schedule alerts"?

Answer: Schedule alerts are National Holidays or Religious days when individuals may want to take time off to observe a holiday. Although there are only 9 or 10 statutory holidays, there are 37 schedule alerts occurring in 2005.

Proactive organizations sensitive to the diversity within their workforce often plan their schedules around these alerts in order to avoid any unnecessary conflicts with employees personal scheduling. They realize that some employees, if they are reticent to disclose their religious or National affiliations, may just call in sick and TAKE the time off.

Celebrate Annual Holidays and Traditions for Motivation and Team Building

Celebrate Annual Holidays and Traditions for Motivation and Team Building

In her blog, Susan Heathfield talks about building employee motivation by creating and celebrating traditions in the workplace. Employee picnics, Christmas parties, etc. are great events to build community at work.