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Multicultural Calendar

1. Emancipation Proclamation (1863): United States

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on this day, freeing all slaves in the territories of the Confederacy.

In the Proclamation, the President  Lincoln said,  “…the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”

Anniversary of the Revolution (1959): Cuba

This was victory day for the Revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959 after which the present government in Cuba was established.

New Year's Day: International

Although many people around the world celebrate this secular holiday based on the solar calendar and established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, some groups celebrate other dates. For example, many Orthodox Eastern churches continue to celebrate the New Year according to the earlier Julian calendar on January 14. Some cultural groups, such as Jews, Chinese, Hindus, and Muslims, use a lunar calendar or some combination of lunar and solar calendars. The Chinese New Year may fall on any date between January 21 and February 19–for 2015, it occurs on February 19. The first day of the Jewish New Year begins at sundown on September 13. Years may also have different starting points for different cultures; January 1 is year 2015 according to the Gregorian calendar, but falls in year 5775 in the Jewish calendar and in year 1436 in the Islamic calendar.

5. Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Birthday: Sikh

This day celebrates the birth of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708), the Sikhs' tenth great master and teacher. He sought to abolish the caste system in India by creating a single community. His birthdate is celebrated on the basis of the Nanakshahi calendar.

6. Christmas: Armenian Apostolic Church

The Armenian Apostolic Church, also known as the Armenian Orthodox Church, has one of the oldest traditions in the Christian world. Armenia became the first country to accept Christianity as a state religion in the early fourth century. In A.D. 506, the Armenian Apostolic Church broke from the Eastern Orthodox Churches, one of the original Oriental Orthodox Churches. Centuries later in 1923, the Armenian Orthodox Church adopted the Gregorian calendar but with one significant difference: the Church celebrates the birth of Jesus on Epiphany rather than on December 25. Originally, the Christian tradition of the feast of Epiphany celebrated three events that revealed God to mankind: the nativity, the visit of the three Magi, and the baptism of Christ. Things changed in the fourth century when the Roman Church adopted December 25 as the date to celebrate the nativity. The Armenian Apostolic Church is the only Christian church that still celebrates the nativity on Epiphany, its original date of celebration.

Three Kings Day (Día de los Tres Magos): Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico

Corresponding to the Christian Feast of Epiphany, this celebration commemorates the arrival of the three kings, or Magi, in Bethlehem. Children participate by leaving straw or grass under their beds and awake to find a gift in its place. In the Dominican Republic, the holiday is known as Día de los Santos Reyes. For both Epiphany and Three Kings Day, it is common to eat cake or special breaks containing a trinket, sometimes shaped like a cross, or to give some kind of sweet candy.  

12. Eugenio María de Hostos' Birthday: Puerto Rico

A public holiday, this day commemorates the birth of Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903), patriot, distinguished scholar, and writer of works ranging from treatises on law to children's stories. However, María de Hostos spent most of his life in exile, working as a university teacher and leading educational reform efforts in the Dominican Republic and Chile. He promoted cooperation among Latin American countries by traveling the continent and advocated freedom for Puerto Rico and Cuba.

14. Carlos P. Romulo (1899-1985): Filipino

After beginning with a career in journalism, Romulo received a commission in the U.S. Army when the United States entered World War II. As the war went on, he worked as a staff member for General Douglas MacArthur and in the Philippine government in exile in Washington. He participated in the liberation of Manila in early 1945. After the war, he served in several diplomatic positions: representative to the United Nations, ambassador to the United States, secretary of foreign affairs, minister of education, and president of the University of the Philippines. He is also known for writing a number of books on history and public affairs.

15. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968): African American

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gained national prominence during the bus boycott of 1955-1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. He soon was the acknowledged national leader of the growing movement to obtain civil rights for African Americans. His commitment to nonviolence, along with his courage and the moral power of his vision, eloquently expressed in masterful oratory and writings, won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. His thinking evolved and he became convinced that all forms of social, economic, and military oppression were interrelated.  He broadened his activism, for example he spoke out against the U.S. war in Vietnam. He was preparing to lead a massive Poor People's March on Washington when he was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, where he was helping to organize the city's sanitation workers. His birthday is celebrated on January 19 as a federal holiday.

19. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: United States

A federal holiday offers a national observance of Dr. King's birthday.

22. Day of Embracing Islam: Maldives

This day commemorates the conversion of the Republic of Maldives from Buddhism to Islam in 1153 A.D.

27. International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust: United Nations

Established in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly, this day commemorates the victims who died and suffered during the Holocaust before and during World War II. This date was chosen because it was the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland by the Soviet Union on January 27, 1945. The United Nations organizes special events such as concerts by musicians who survived the Holocaust or are survivors' descendants, art exhibitions influenced by the Holocaust, special educational programs, and film screenings and book signings focused on the Holocaust.

31. Benjamin L. Hooks (1925-2010): African American

An inspirational leader and champion for civil rights, Hooks was the executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1977 to 1992. When no Southern law school would admit him, he opted to go north to DePaul University College of Law in Chicago where he earned a law degree in 1948. He became a Baptist minister in 1956, and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headed by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. In 1965 he was appointed to serve as a criminal judge in Shelby County, Memphis, the city of his birth, becoming the first African American criminal court judge in Tennessee's history. Hooks was the first African American named to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1972, where he encouraged the commission to hire more African Americans and to treat them more fairly in news coverage. In 1977 he became executive director of the NAACP and spent the next 15 years revitalizing the organization by increasing its membership and strengthening its political power. Hooks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

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

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