2020 Culturally Significant Dates & New Years (x19)

20200109_233920_0000Time to pull out your calendars and start marking off dates. Here is the 2020 Fakequity list of culturally significant dates, new years, and monthly celebrations.

Why this list

A few years ago I invited a colleague to coffee. She was ridiculously gracious in reminding me the date fell during Ramadan. I knew she was Muslim and I should have realized she would be fasting during Ramadan. At that moment I realized I couldn’t rely upon western calendars to remind me of these important dates in doing cross-cultural and cross-racial work. I made sure to put in Ramadan on my calendar and continue to do this annually.

Another year, as we were planning an event, we checked with our very diverse planning group to see if a certain date would be ok. Everyone signed off on it and only the week before we realized it fell during another important religious holiday. Another western calendar fail.

I also decided to update the list because it is interesting and fun to explore cultures through their important days. Such as this year I learned Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Moon Cake day. I love a good moon cake, sooo yummy and so calorie dense. I also learned a little more about important Buddhism dates by including a few into this year’s list. We can learn about people and cultures by what they celebrate or choose to use as remembrances.

Notes and Biases

The list below does not include too many Western or Christian holidays. Those dates are easily found on Western calendars and many online calendars (MS Outlook or Google Calendar) have plugins that will pre-populate those for you. I also purposefully did not want to center American/European/white-centric holidays with this list.

No list can incorporate every culture’s dates and holidays. I did my best to include dates that a very diverse friend and colleague group mentioned as being important to them and their faiths, cultures, and backgrounds. This means there are a lot of biases included in the list. To name a few of those biases – US West Coast, English speaking/literate, social media connected. I double-checked this list against a few other lists (here is one from Cultures Connecting) to see if I missed major events. Some list are more inclusive than the Fakequity list, and others skewed differently, such as they included American holidays and Christian holy days. As authors and editors, we make editorial and political decisions on what to include and exclude. It is important for you to do your own research and decide what is important to include you and your network and daily work.

I did my best to make the list as accurate as possible, however there are cultural nuances that may have been missed. Such as in regionality is important. Such as the Puget Sound and Minneapolis have large Somali communities, so those dates play more prominently than in other places like Hawaii. Hawaii has holidays that aren’t celebrated elsewhere (I didn’t include those on this list, but look up Kamehameha day). Some holidays or events have different starting and ending on different dates than what I may have listed due to different practices. Some events may start at sundown/sunset on one day but Western calendars (which I relied on) may show the date differently. Please check with your own networks to ensure you are being culturally sensitive if observing a date.

2020 Culturally Significant Dates

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – 1/20/20
  • Lunar New Year (Chinese) / Tet (Vietnamese) / Seollal (Korean) – 1/25/2020
  • Leap Day / 2020 Leap Year – 2/29/20 (Not necessarily culturally significant, but author’s bias and privilege to insert this)
  • Hinamatsuri – Girl’s Day (Japanese) – 3/3/20 – annual date 3 March
  • Holi – 3/9/20 sundown, ends 3/10/20 sundown
  • Passover (Jewish) – 4/8-16/20 ends nightfall
  • Eretria Easter – 4/12/20
  • Ethiopian Orthodox Easter – 4/19/20
  • Orthodox Easter – 4/19/19 [Edit — corrected to this date]
  • Children’s / Boy’s Day (Japanese) – 5/5/20 –annual date 5 April
  • Ramadan – 4/23 (sundown) -5/23/20 (tentative dates, dependent on the sighting of the moon)
  • Vesak / Vesākha / Vaiśākha / Buddha Jayanti / Buddha Purnima / Buddha Day (Buddhist) – 5/7/20
  • Eid ul-Fitr – 5/24/20
  • All Saints Day (Orthodox) — 6/14/20
  • Juneteenth – 6/19/20
  • Summer Solstice (northern hemisphere) – 6/20/20
  • Hajj (Islam) – 7/30/20 (ten-day period)
  • Liberation Day (Guam) – 7/21/20
  • Ethiopian New Year – 9/11-9/12/20
  • Mid-Autumn Festival – 10/01/20
  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/18-9/20 (starts sundown 9/18)
  • Yom Kippur – 9/27-9/28 (starts sundown 9/27)
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – 9/13 – annually recognized
  • White Sunday (Samoa) – 10/11/20
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 10/12/20
  • All Saints Day – 11/1/20 (always 1 Nov)
  • Día de los Muertos – 11/1/20 (always 1 Nov)
  • US Presidential Election Day – 11/3/20
  • All Souls Day – 11/2/20 (always 2 Nov)
  • Diwali / Deepavali / Dipavali / Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) – 11/14/20
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance – 11/20/20 – annually recognized
  • Bodhi Day (Buddhist) – 12/8/20
  • Human Rights Day – 12/10 – annually recognized
  • Las Posadas and Noche Buena (Christian Latin American) – 12/16-24/20
  • Simbang Gabi (Filipino) – 12/16 – 12/24/20
  • Winter Equinox (northern hemisphere) 12/21/20
  • Hanukkah / Chanukah – 12/10-18/20 (starts and ends at nightfall)
  • St. Nicholas Feast Day (celebrated by Greek Orthodox) — 12/26/20
  • Kwanzaa – 12/26-1/1 annually celebrated
  • Orthodox / Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas / Eritrean Orthodox Christmas (Note: Not all Orthodox celebrate Christmas on this day, many celebrate Christmas on 12/25, the 1/7/21 date follows the ‘old calendar’) – 1/7/21

New Years Dates

This is a favorite list to put together. I enjoy seeing all of the different new year dates and thinking fresh starts are available to us year-round – 19 different dates listed. It stretches our thinking from a linear January – December frame to thinking more wholly. Lunar new year is coming up, so get that second round of new year’s resolutions going.

  • Orthodox New Year – 1/7/20 and 1/7/21 (including 2021 since we passed the 2020 date)
  • Losar / Tibetan New Year – 2/24/20
  • Lunar New Year (Chinese) / Tet (Vietnamese) / Seollal (Korean) – 1/25/20
  • Tsagaan Sar/ White Moon (Mongolian) – 1/24/20
  • Persian Nowruz / Iranian New Year – 3/20/20
  • Naw-Rúz / first day of the Baháʼí calendar – 3/20/20
  • Nyepi Bali Hindu New Year – 3/25/20
  • Ugaadhi / Telegu and Kannada New Year – 4/6/19
  • Thingyan / Burmese New Year Festival – 4/13-16/20
  • Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese New Year, Sri Lanka) – 4/13-14/20
  • Songkran (Thailand) – 4/13-16/20
  • Khmer New Year – 4/13-16/20
  • Bun Pi Mai (Lao) – 4/13-15/20
  • Bengali New Year, Pohela Boishakh – 4/14/20
  • Matariki, Maori New Year (New Zealand) – 7/13/20
  • Al-Hijra / Muharram (Islamic / Muslim) – 7/20/20
  • Enkutatash / Ethiopian New Year – 9/12/20 (due to 2020 being a leap year)
  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/18-9/20 (starts sundown 9/18)
  • Diwali / Deepavali / Dipavali / Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) – 11/14/20

Monthly Recognitions

  • January – none
  • February – African American History Month
  • March – Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • April – Arab American Heritage Month
  • May – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month
  • June – LGBT Pride Month
  • July – none
  • August – none
  • September – Hispanic Heritage Month (15 Sept – 15 Oct)
  • October – Disability Employment Awareness Month, Filipino American History Month, LGBT History Month
  • November – Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month
  • December – none

A special thank you to everyone who contributed to this list this year and in the past. I appreciate all of you sharing your wisdom, time, and talent to make this as rich and diverse as all of you. A heartfelt thank you.

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