Holidays Around the World: Diwali, Festival of Lights

Diwali Day is the first of a five-day festival of lights celebrated by Hindus around the world. The holiday observes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, hope over despair, and knowledge over ignorance. Celebrating those victories seems to me to be something people of all religions, or even of no religion, couldContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: Diwali, Festival of Lights”

Holidays Around the World: Leif Erikson Day

Leif Erikson Day has been observed in the United States on October 9 every year since 1964. The date is significant, but not for the reason I thought. Until 1971, when Columbus Day (now Indigenous People’s Day) was observed on October 12 instead of on the second Monday of each month, Leif Erikson Day alwaysContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: Leif Erikson Day”

Holidays Around the World: Mexico’s Independence Day

In the US, or at least in the parts of the US I lived before moving to San Diego—the East Coast and Midwest—most people know two Mexican holidays: Cinco de Mayo (May 5) and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I didn’t realize May 5 wasn’t Mexican Independence Day until we moved toContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: Mexico’s Independence Day”

Holidays Around the Country: US Coast Guard Day

This post breaks with the theme of international holidays, but it is in line with the theme of little known holidays or observations. August 4 marks US Coast Guard Day each year. The Coast Guard is one branch of the US military, charged with protecting our waters and shorelines, that is rarely in the newsContinue reading “Holidays Around the Country: US Coast Guard Day”

Holidays Around the World: Canada’s Independence Day

Canada observes its independence day in the same month we do in the United States. Theirs is earlier, July 1. The date is only one difference between the significance of independence days of these neighboring countries. Where in the US, we observe July 4 as the anniversary of our announcement of independence from Britain, trueContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: Canada’s Independence Day”

World Refugee Day

The United Nations designated June 20 each year as World Refugee Day in order to highlight the needs, rights, and desires of refugees who have fled their homes in order to escape persecution and conflict. The goal is to keep the focus on the plight of refugees until ways to improve their lives are foundContinue reading “World Refugee Day”

Holidays Around the World: International Workers Day

I wouldn’t be surprised if most readers think of May Day as either a day to leave a basket full of flowers and treats on the doorstep of someone special or as a day of military parades down the wide streets of Moscow. It is both of those things. But those military parades in countriesContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: International Workers Day”

Holidays Around the World: Ramadan

I chose Ramadan as the holiday to highlight in April not because it is so little known, but in order to share my personal experiences of living in countries where Ramadan is widely celebrated. These observations cover four countries in the world and span nearly 30 years. First, a basic description of the holiday asContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: Ramadan”

Holidays Around the World: International Women’s Day

My first exposure to International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8, was in Romania in 1978. That was one year after the United Nations began observing it as a holiday, but Romanians had been celebrating the holiday for longer as the origins go back much further. International Women’s Day is one of two international celebrations thatContinue reading “Holidays Around the World: International Women’s Day”