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October is Hispanic Heritage Month:

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration of culture and heritage as well as the long and important presence of Hispanics and Latin Americans in the United States. The celebration begins September 15 recognizing the independence celebrations of five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua—followed by Mexico, Chile and Belize on September 16. Ending on October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month was signed into law in 1988.

 

Read more on our Heritage Month Guide.

1. Eid al-Adha, Islamic (9/1-9/4)

This four-day festival comes at the culmination of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims are required to make this pilgrimage once in their lifetime, if they can. Mecca and Medina, both in Saudi Arabia, are Islam's two holiest sites. Traditionally, Eid al-Adha is celebrated as an official holiday in all Muslim-majority countries. The number of days and starting date may vary, depending on the country. This religious observance commemorates the story of Abraham and Ishmail as told in the Qur'an. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son as a proof of his faith, but stopped him and provided a ram for the sacrifice thus sparing Ishmail. The Eid al-Adha celebration commences with a congregational prayer and sermon, or khutba, at the mosque.

4. Labor Day: United States, Canada

Labor Day is a public holiday in the United States and Canada that honors all working people. In most other countries, Labor Day is celebrated May 1. Labor Day in the United States, celebrated on the first Monday in September, was proposed by a labor union leader in 1882, and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labour Day in Canada is a federal statutory holiday and officially celebrates workers and the labour union movement. Workers, schools, government and banks all get the day off.

14. Lola Rodríguez de Tio (1843-1924): Puerto Rican

A supporter of the Puerto Rican independence movement, Rodríguez de Tio. a poet and a patriot, spent much of her life in exile in New York, where she worked with the Cuban exile José Martí to plan his revolutionary invasion of 1895. She wrote several volumes of poetry. Her most famous work is the patriotic verses of "La Borinqueña," the national anthem of Puerto Rico.

15. International Day of Democracy: United Nations

In 2007, the U.N. General Assembly declared that September 15 should be observed each year as the International Day of Democracy to promote and uphold the principles of democracy and to encourage and inspire the full participation of the international community in the pursuit of democracy. This day celebrates the democratic values of freedom, respect for human rights, and universal suffrage. The preamble to the resolution affirms that, while all democracies share common features, being based on the will of the people to determine their own political, economic, and social systems and the people’s participation in all aspects of their lives, there is no single model of democracy and democracy does not belong to any country or region. Each year a theme is chosen to highlight an important aspect of democracy.

16. Independence Day (Día de Independencia): Mexico

On September 16, 1810, a small group of people responded to the call of a parish priest in the small town of Dolores, in the province of Guanajuato, Mexico, to take up arms against the Spanish colonial government. This rebellious and courageous act began the fight for Mexican independence that ended 350 years of Spanish rule. The church bell that Father Hidalgo rang to call people to revolt, now hangs in the National Palace in Mexico City, and is rung annually by the President of Mexico on the eve of September 16 in a colorful and nationally televised ceremony.

17. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day: United States

The final draft of the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention, which replaced the Articles of Confederation as the governing document of the newly formed country. The United States celebrates Constitution Week September 17 through September 23, 2017.

18. Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro No Hi): Japan

This is a day set aside for paying respect to the aged and celebrating their longevity. On this day the Japanese Health Ministry presents a silver cup to people who have reached 100 years of age. Last year, nearly 20,000 silver cups were awarded and the number is growing.

21. International Day of Peace: United Nations

In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly adopted September 21 as an International Day of Peace, during which time all nations are encouraged to suspend hostilities and observe a day of ceasefire and nonviolence.

20-22. Rosh Hashanah (New Year): Jewish

The holiday begins at sundown and lasts for two days. It is a period for inner renewal and divine atonement. Many Jewish families celebrate with big feasts on both nights of Rosh Hashanah that may include honey cake and brisket. One common practice is to attend High Holy Days services; one such service is called the Tashlich where people throw bread crumbs into a natural stream or river as a way to cast off their sins. On the second night of the celebration, many people eat a new fruit as a symbol of newness.

23. Puerto Rico : Grito de Lares (1868)

This day is commemorated in Puerto Rico as the anniversary of the uprising that initiated the movement for Puerto Rican independence. On this date, a 400-man army of liberation led by Manuel Rojas, under orders from the exiled leader Ramón Emeterio Betances, gathered and took the town of Lares. They formed a provisional government and issued four proclamations, including one promising freedom for all slaves who joined the rebel army. Although the army was defeated and disbanded the following day, some of its aims were realized nearly immediately (the Spanish government decreed the gradual abolition of slavery by 1873), and the revolt is remembered as the first large-scale armed rebellion against Spanish colonial rule.

24. Heritage Day: South Africa

Set aside to reinforce the importance of African culture and heritage in the lives of South African people, this day recognizes that they are powerful agents for promulgating a South African identity, fostering reconciliation, and celebrating diversity. The government determines a theme for each year's celebrations.

26. Durga Puja (Dussehra): Hindu

Dussehra, meaning "the tenth day," is celebrated at the culmination of the "nine nights" festival of Asuj Navratras. Celebrated with feasting and rejoicing, it commemorates Rama's victory over Ravana and honors the goddess Durga. This festival is also known as Vijay Dasami. Keep in mind that Hindus neither eat meat nor drink alcoholic beverages. Appropriate greetings for all Hindu holidays include "God bless you with prosperity and happiness" or "I wish you happiness and prosperity."

29-30. Yom Kippur: Jewish (begins at sundown)

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism with central themes aof atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. During this time Jews remind themselves of their sins and seek forgiveness for their wrongdoings. Wrongdoing against God can be forgiven by God, but wrongdoing against others can be forgiven only by the person wronged. Because sin corrupts not only the person who commits it, but the entire community as well, all sins are confessed by the whole congregation. The last service of Yom Kippur, the Closing, occurs as the sun begins to set. Initially, the "closing" pertained to the gates of the Temple. The deeper meaning, however, is that the Book of Life is sealed for the ensuing year. Thus, freed from sin by repentance and sealed in the Book of Life, the worshippers turn from the past to the future. Many Jews observe Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, by taking no food or water from sundown the day before through sundown the following day. It is also common for Jews not to work on the night before and the day of Yom Kippur. Appropriate greetings include "May you be sealed in the book of life for a good year" and "Good yuntef."

The entries for this calendar have been adapted from the Electronic Diversity Calendar (TM). Used with permission.

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