2019 Culturally Significant Dates & New Years (x15)

By Erin Okuno, with much thanks and appreciation to friends who contributed to the list

We’re ten days into 2019, which means we still have over 300 days to go in this new year. For those who checked the box: “Mark important religious holidays on your calendar,” on last week’s Fakequity pledge here is a handy list of culturally significant dates.

I’ve crowd-sourced a list of dates that are culturally significant to many cultures, religions, and people. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, no list could capture everything. I purposefully left off dates well-known in Western culture and easily identified on mainstream calendars (e.g. Christmas, Catholic/Christian Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.), no need to perpetuate whiteness here. This is meant to be a starting point in thinking about how richly diverse we are as communities. In assembling the list I enjoyed learning about the traditions, importance, and cultures of my friends and colleagues who contributed to the list. I was also keenly aware of how much I don’t know and humbled and grateful that people shared important dates and traditions with me.

A few notes and naming a few biases: This list was put together with the help of many of my friends via social media. My network is deeply diverse and I am thankful for their generosity. My friends and colleagues come from many different backgrounds, religions, places, cultures, etc. Yet there are blindspots, such as it is a very US West Coast and Pacific-centric network, very connected to the education sector, heavily college educated, and majority English speaking. This affects the way the list was put together because people shared what they know, and we don’t know what we don’t know. It doesn’t make it a bad list, but it is incomplete and will always be incomplete in some way.

The list was assembled by me, and I relied on basic internet research to compile the dates. English based mainstream internet sites are not always completely accurate, especially for non-dominant culture traditions. As an example, in an early draft, many of the dates for Jewish holidays were inaccurate. A friend corrected the dates and explained that many US calendars are slightly off because of the timing of Jewish holidays which often start at sundown and different religious practices sometimes vary within the religion. I am grateful to Hannah for correcting my oversights. This is a cultural nuance she understands well and I have to learn about.

As you do your own work please consult with people in your networks to ensure the dates match their local practices and celebrations. Local nuances are equally important – such as if you find me on Japanese Girl’s Day you’ll find me with sticky fingers from making and eating mochi – oishi! The spellings I used are a best attempt to be accurate, but spellings can vary greatly. Such as Sarawati, a friend, noted Diwali and Deepavali are spelled differently depending on regions. Through further research we found additional spellings.

Below is a graphic to share. In an attempt to practice #13, accessibility, from the Fakequity Pledge, I’ve listed the text below for people who want to use a text-to-speech reader or to copy-and-paste (graphics don’t allow for these options).

2019 dates (4)

2019 Culturally Significant Dates

  • Lunar New Year (Chinese) / Tet (Vietnamese) / Seollal (Korean) – 2/5/2019
  • Hinamatsuri – Girl’s Day (Japanese) – 3/3/19
  • Holi – 3/21/19
  • Ethiopian Orthodox Easter – 4/8/19
  • Passover (Jewish) – 4/20-27/19
  • Eretria Easter – 4/21/19
  • Orthodox Easter – 4/28/19
  • Children’s / Boy’s Day (Japanese) – 5/5/19
  • Ramadan – 5/7-6/4/19 (tentative dates, dependent on the sighting of the moon)
  • Eid ul-Fitr – 6/5/19
  • Juneteenth – 6/19/19
  • Summer Solstice (northern hemisphere) – 6/21/2019
  • Ethiopian New Year – 9/11/19
  • Mid-Autumn Festival – 9/13/19
  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/29-10/1/19
  • Yom Kippur – 10/8-9/19
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – 9/13 – annually recognized
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 10/14/19
  • Diwali / Deepavali / Dipavali / Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) – 10/27/2019
  • All Saints Day – 11/1/19
  • Día de los Muertos – 11/2/19
  • Human Rights Day – 12/10 – annually recognized
  • Las Posadas (Christian Latin American) – 12/16-24/19
  • Winter Equinox (northern hemisphere) 12/22/19
  • Hanukkah / Chanukah – 12/22-30/19
  • Kwanzaa – 12/26-1/1/ annually celebrated
  • Orthodox / Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas / Eritrean Orthodox Christmas – 1/7/20

*Correction to Eid ul-Fitr date. Thank you to Jeanne for catching it.

New Years Dates

If you already messed up on your new year’s resolutions — such as KonMari’ing your house (I’ve already gone down the Netflix rabbit KonMari rabbit hole), don’t worry there are several more new years to restart.

In researching this piece I really enjoyed stretching my brain to think about how non-linear and non-binary we can be with time and dates. A new year doesn’t have to be January and traditions of reflection and celebration are around us year round. Take a moment and learn about some of these new year traditions.

2019 new year dates (2)

  • Orthodox New Year 1/14/19
  • Losar / Tibetan New Year – 2/5-7/19
  • Lunar New Year (Chinese) / Tet (Vietnamese) / Seollal (Korean) – 2/5/19
  • Nyepi Bali Hindu New Year – 3/7/19
  • Persian Nowruz / Iranian New Year – 3/21/19
  • Ugaadhi / Telegu and Kannada New Year – 4/6/19
  • Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese New Year, Sri Lanka) 4/13-14/19
  • Khmer New Year – 4/14-16/19
  • Songkran (Thai) – 4/13-16/19
  • Bengali New Year, Pohela Boishakh – 4/15/19
  • Matariki, Maori New Year (New Zealand) – 6/10/19
  • Al-Hijra / Muharram (Islamic / Muslim) – 8/31/19
  • Ethiopian New Year – 9/11/19
  • Rosh Hashanah (Jewish) – 9/29/19
  • Diwali / Deepavali / Dipavali / Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) – 10/27/2019

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