National Women’s History Month:
March celebrates National Women’s History Month.
March also celebrates Irish American Heritage Month. First proclaimed by the U.S. Congress in 1995, and each year, the President issues a proclamation declaring March as the month to celebrate the many achievements and contributions to American culture by Americans of Irish heritage.
Read more on our Heritage Month Guide.
This day to honor women was initially begun by the socialist movement that advocated for greater women’s rights, especially the right to vote. The celebratory date was changed from the last Sunday in February to March 8 to honor women’s role in the Russian Revolution. As feminism reignited in the late 1960s, International Women’s Day gained popularity as a day to celebrate women’s lives and work.
Shi’a Muslims in Iran and countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan observe the anniversary on this day of the martyrdom of Hazrat Fatemeh Zahra, known as the “shining one.” Fatemeh was the only daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and the wife of his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, whom Shi’as believe was designated by Muhammad to be his successor. After the Prophet Muhammad died, Fatemeh was mortally wounded defending her husband Ali, the first Imam, for refusing to give his allegiance to Abu Bakr, Ali’s uncle, whom the Sunni Muslims believe was Muhammad’s legitimate successor. When Ali was assassinated in A.D. 661, Fatemeh and Ali’s elder son Hasan ibn Ali became the second Imam. Upon the death of Hasan, their younger son Hussein ibn Ali became the third Imam, whose martyrdom at Karbala is commemorated on Ashura.
Einstein was the leading theoretical physicist of the twentieth century. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After the Nazi government confiscated his property and deprived him of German citizenship in 1933, he immigrated to the United States. Einstein became a naturalized citizen and took a post at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick, is believed to have died on this date in 493 A.D. at the age of 106. The anniversary of his death is celebrated in Ireland as a national holiday, and the color of the day is green to signify undying gratitude to the memory of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The shamrock is worn to commemorate its use by the saint as a symbol of the Trinity. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of Irish descent all over the world as an expression of pride in their heritage. Cities such as Boston, Chicago, and New York in the United States have very large parades. As part of the celebration, the city of Chicago turns the Chicago River green.
This Sunday before Easter, Christians remember Jesus' last entry into Jerusalem, when his way was strewn with palms by those gathered to see him. Christian churches are decorated with palm on this Sunday. Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the most important week of the Christian year. The Lenten fast is strictest on Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. Holy Week or Semana Santa in Spanish, is Mexico's biggest holiday period with many cities holding candlelight processions.
On this day in 1960, at least sixty-nine people were killed by police in a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid "pass laws" in the township of Sharpeville, South Africa. This day is commemorated in South Africa as Human Rights Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this international day in 1966 in commemoration of the Sharpeville Massacre.
This festival of colors celebrates the coming of spring throughout India and the new harvest of the winter crop. It is celebrated over two days, Holi and Dhuleti, also known as chhoti holi and badi holi. Celebrations begin on the full moon night of the Hindu month of Phalgun, when large bonfires are lit to cleanse the air of evil spirits and to symbolize the destruction of Holika, for whom the festival is named. Newly harvested grains, coconuts, and sweets are thrown into the fire as offerings, followed by singing and dancing around the bonfire. When the fire dies down, water is splashed on the embers, and everyone applies the ash to their forehead. The following day is the festival of colors, a riotous and exuberant celebration of throwing colored powder, or gulal, on friends and spraying them with colored water, playing games, folk dancing, singing, feasting, and general merrymaking.
Begins at sundown and continues through the next day
Height was a pioneer in the civil rights movement whose activism spanned three-quarters of a century from the Roosevelt administration to the election of President Barack Obama. From 1957 until 1997 she led the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune to advance opportunities for African American women. The leading woman in the higher ranks of the early civil rights movement, she marched alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and stood on the platform when he delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. During Freedom Summer in 1964, she organized "Wednesdays in Mississippi" (WIMS) with her friend Polly Cowan during which Northern women of different races traveled to Mississippi to create dialogue with Southern women across regional, racial, and class differences in an effort to promote racial integration. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
The days from Good Friday through the Monday after Easter are public holidays in many countries. Governmental services and banks are closed, and most people have time off from work. Countries for which this is the case include England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Canada, Australia, Austria, France, and Germany. When making plans, please check to see whether or not this holiday is observed.
The entries for this calendar have been adapted from the Electronic Diversity Calendar (TM). Used with permission.
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