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Multicultural Calendar

National Disability Employment Awareness Month
In 1988, October was designated by presidential proclamation as a month to enhance public awareness of those with disabilities and encourage their full integration into the work force.

National Italian American Heritage Month
An executive order signed by the President designates October as National Italian American Heritage Month, to recognize the many achievements and contributions made to American culture by persons of Italian heritage.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.


Read more on our Heritage Month Guide.

2. Al Hijrah (New Year): Islamic

First day of Muharram of the new year 1438 based on the Islamic lunar calendar. The Islamic lunar calendar dates from the Hijrah, the emigration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in A.D. 622. Sweet dessert are an appropriate gift

3. Rosh Hashanah (New Year): Jewish

This holiday, which starts at sundown on the evening the day prior, begins the Jewish New Year 5777 and the Jewish month of Tishri. Rosh Hashanah is a time of serious reflection about the past year and the year to come. This period, which continues until Yom Kippur begins on October 11, is a time for asking forgiveness from both God and people and for committing oneself to live a better life in the year to come. A common greeting includes L'shana Tova, "Happy New Year."

5. Tecumseh (1768--1813): American Indian

Tecumseh, a political and military leader of the Shawnee Nation, led the resistance to the advance of White settlement in the Northwest Territories in the last years of the eighteenth century. He refused to sign a treaty that surrendered most of Ohio to the United States. He organized the northwestern tribes into a confederation pledged to make no further land concessions and allied himself with the British in the War of 1812. He died in a battle on this date.

5. Surrender of Chief Joseph (1877): American Indian

Chief Joseph led the Nez Percé Indians on a 1,321-mile trek aiming to resettle in Canada after the U.S. government ordered the Nez Percé to move from their ancestral lands in the Northwest to a reservation. But he could not overcome the army attacks and the terrible losses of his people to cold and sickness, Chief Joseph surrendered on this date with a moving speech, including the following:

No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs, my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more against the white man.
—The Bear Paw Mountains, 1877

9. Leif Ericsson Day: United States

Icelandic explorer Leif Ericsson is believed to be the first European to land on North American soil (980?–1025?). He was the son of explorer Erik the Red, who established the first settlement in Greenland. Their adventures are chronicled in the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Icelandic sagas Grænlendinga Saga (the "Greenlanders' Saga") and Eiriks Saga ("Erik's Saga"). In about A.D. 1000, Ericsson and his crew of thirty-five men sailed west from Greenland to the North American coast pursuing a story about a new land told by another Icelandic captain. They finally wintered in a spot where they found wild grapes growing, which prompted Ericsson to name the land "Vinland." Ericsson made no maps of his voyage. Some historians believe he landed first on the southern coast of Baffin Island, then Labrador, and finally northern Newfoundland, or Vinland. In the early 1960s, archaeologists found ruins of an old Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland. This commemoration was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

11. International Day of the Girl Child: United Nations

Observed every year to recognize the rights of girls and to raise awareness of the situation of girls around the world.

12. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement): Jewish

The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. Jews take this time to 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 deeper meaning of the last service of Yom Kippur, the Closing, is that the Book of Life is sealed for the ensuing year and the worshippers turn from the past to the future. For this holiest Jewish holiday, many Jews take no food or water from sundown the day before through sundown the following day. Many choose not to work the night before and the day of Yom Kippur.

12. Día de la Raza (Columbus Day): Latin America

This day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas and the common Spanish and Indian heritage of many Latin American countries.

12. Indigenous Peoples Day: Native Americans (U.S.)

The movement to replace the celebration of Columbus Day with the celebration of Indigenous People, recognizing the suffering of Native American people as a result of the American colonization. Last year, more than 20 states, cities, counties and college campuses supported this change. In 2016, 17 more jurisdictions joined the movement. Phoenix, AZ is the most recent city to adopt the commemoration as have Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Portland and San Antonio.  

17. Jean Jacques Dessalines (c. 1758-1806): Haitian

Dessalines, born a slave, became a revolutionary in the fight against French rule led by François Dominique Toussaint-Louverture. After Toussaint-Louverture's was captured in 1802, Dessalines, along with Henri Christophe, led the successful defeat of the French army of Napoleon I. He declared independence from France on January 1, 1804, gave the land the name Haiti (Indian for "hills"), and proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I. He ruled Haiti as the first independent nation in Latin America from 1804 to 1806. He died on this day.

19. Karva Chauth: Hindu

On this day, married Hindu women observe a fast and pray for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their husbands. On the eve of Karva Chauth, women buy new clothes, bangles, and mehndi, or henna, in preparation for the festival. Before dawn the next morning, they bathe, dress in their beautiful new clothes, and offer the first prayers for the long life of their husband. They partake of sargi, a meal of grains, sweets, and fruits provided by their mother-in-law, and drink lots of water. Then for the remainder of the day, women keep the nirjal vrat, or fast, abstaining from food and water until moonrise. When the moon is finally sighted, women offer prayers to the moon seven times for their husband's and family's welfare. Then, their husbands offer a sip of water and the fast comes to an end.

30. Imam W[arith] D[een] Mohammed (born Wallace Dean Muhammad) (1933-2008): African American

Imam W.D. Mohammed succeeded his father, Elijah Muhammad, as leader of the Nation of Islam when his father died in 1975. He transformed the Nation of Islam from a Black separatist organization to a mainstream Islamic group open to Muslims of all races and emphasizing racial and religious tolerance. Mohammed did not continue the militant Black supremacy beliefs of his father and advocated a return to orthodox Sunni Islam by studying the Qur'an and following the Five Pillars of Islam. He disbanded the Nation's paramilitary force, the Fruit of Islam, abolished the dress codes, and renamed ministers "imams" and temples "mosques." In 1976 he renamed the Nation of Islam the "World Community of Al-Islam in the West", then changed the name in 1980 to the "American Muslim Mission" and again in the 1990s to the "Muslim American Community." On February 6, 1992, Imam Mohammed was selected to be the first Muslim to deliver the traditional Invocation opening the U.S. Senate. He also participated in both of the inaugural prayer services of President William J. Clinton.

30. Diwali: Hindu, Jain

One of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus, this “festival of lights” lasts for five days and combines a number of festivals to celebrate different gods and goddesses and events in their lives as described in Hindu tradition. The day before Diwali is spent cleaning the house, shopping, and decorating with flowers. A design is painted in white in front of the door of the house to bring good luck. Lamps are lit for the entire five days beside roads and streams, along edges of roofs, and on window sills to enable Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity, to find her way to every home. For Jains, Diwali is celebrated as the day that Mahavira attained Nirvana.

31. Halloween: United Kingdom, United States

This festival, which takes its name from All Hallows Eve (the eve of the feast of All Saints), originated among the Celts of Britain and Ireland, for whom October 31 was new year's eve. On this night it was believed that the souls of the dead revisited their earthly homes, and huge bonfires were set to frighten away evil spirits. With the rise of Christianity, the autumn festival came to be associated with All Saints Day. Secular Halloween customs reflect its pagan origins and were introduced to the United States by immigrants, especially the Irish, in the nineteenth century.

31. Samhain (sow-in): Pagan and Wiccan

Samhain, the most important of the Sabbats, marks the end of the third and final harvest in the Wheel of the Year. It is a time to remember the dead and to celebrate the cycle of life. Since the new Celtic year began at dusk on October 31, the Night of Samhain (Oidhche Shamhna), or November Eve, was the most important part of the ancient Celtic holiday. The newly established Christian religion found many of the Celtic beliefs to be compatible with their own, such as the belief in the importance of family and showing respect for the dead. Christians incorporated Pagan customs into their holidays so that those who converted to Christianity could continue to celebrate their old festivals. Samhain was given a Christian blessing in A.D. 837, and November 1 was designated the Feast of All Saints, or Hallow Tide, and Oidhche Shamhna became Hallow E'en.









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

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