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August Diversity Holidays

August is Black Business Month — A time to acknowledge and appreciate black-owned businesses across the nation and all that they represent in the country's continual striving for diversity and equality.

AUGUST 1

  • Lammas, a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest within some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Lughnasadh, a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season.

AUGUST 6

  • Transfiguration of the Lord (Feast of the Transfiguration), celebrated by various Christian denominations, the feast day is dedicated to the transfiguration of Jesus.

AUGUST 12 - 13

  • Tisha B’Av, a fast in commemoration of the destruction of two holy and sacred temples of Judaism destroyed by the Babylonians (in 586 BCE) and Romans (in 70 CE). At the Tisha B’Av, after select passages from the Torah are read and understood, netilat yadayim, or the washing of the hands, is performed.

AUGUST 13 - 15 

  • Obon (Ullambana), a Buddhist festival and Japanese custom that honors the spirits of ancestors.

AUGUST 15 

  • Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus, beginning of the fourteen-day period of preparation for Orthodox Christians leading up to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
  • Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, as well as parts of Anglicanism, the day commemorates the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life. 
  • Dormition of the Theotokos, a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches that commemorates the “falling asleep,” or death, of Mary the Theotokos (“Mother of God”) and her bodily resurrection before ascending into heaven.

AUGUST 17

  • Marcus Garvey Day, which celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist who is revered by Rastafarians. Garvey is credited with starting the Back to Africa movement, which encouraged those of African descent to return to the land of their ancestors during and after slavery in North America.  

AUGUST 18

  • Hungry Ghost Festival, a Chinese holiday in which street, market, and temple ceremonies take place to honor dead ancestors and appease other spirits.

AUGUST 19

  • Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu holiday commemorating the loving kinship between a brother and sister. “Raksha” means “protection” in Hindi and symbolizes the longing a sister has to be protected by her brother. During the celebration, a sister ties a string around her brother’s (or brother-figure’s) wrist and asks him to protect her. The brother usually gives the sister a gift and agrees to protect her for life.

AUGUST 23

  • International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and the anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean.

AUGUST 26

  • Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920, certification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution that gave women the right to vote. Congresswoman Bella Abzug first introduced a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day in 1971. Since that time, every US president has published a proclamation recognizing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

AUGUST 26 - 27

  • Krishna Janmashtami, a Hindu celebration of Lord Vishnu’s most powerful human incarnations, Krishna, the god of love and compassion. Celebrations include praying and fasting.

AUGUST 29

  • Beheading of St. John the Baptist, a holy day observed by various Christian churches that follow liturgical traditions. The day commemorates the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, who was beheaded on the orders of Herod Antipas through the vengeful request of his stepdaughter, Salome, and her mother.

AUGUST 31

  • Paryushana Parvarambha, a Jain festival lasting eight to ten days that is observed through meditation and fasting. It focuses on spiritual upliftment, pursuit of salvation, and a deeper understanding of the religion.

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