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March Diversity Holidays

March is Women’s History Month. Established in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society. 

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

March is National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month. It was established to raise public awareness of the autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. 

MARCH 1

  • Lailat al Miraj, a Muslim holiday that commemorates the prophet Muhammad’’ nighttime journey from Mecca to the “Farthest Mosque” in Jerusalem, where he ascended to heaven, was purified, and given the instruction for Muslims to pray five times daily. Note that in the Muslim calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Lailat al Miraj starting at sundown on February 28.  
  • Maha Shivaratri, Hindu festival celebrated each year to honor Lord Shiva. It is celebrated just before the arrival of spring. It is also known as the Great Night of Shiva or Shivaratri and is one of the largest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of India.  
  • Mardi Gras, the last day for Catholics to indulge before Ash Wednesday starts the sober weeks of fasting that accompany Lent. The term “Mardi Gras” is particularly associated with the carnival celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
  • Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Although named for its former religious significance, it is chiefly marked by feasting and celebration, which traditionally preceded the observance of the Lenten fast. It is observed by various Christian denominations. 
  • St. David’s Day, the feast day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales.

MARCH 2

  • Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent on the Christian calendar. Its name is derived from the symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence. It takes place immediately after the excesses of the two days of Carnival that take place in Northern Europe and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. 

MARCH 2 (sunset) - MARCH 20 (sunset)

  • Nineteen-Day Fast, a time in the Bahá’í faith to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God. This fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year.

MARCH 3 - 5

  • Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, a time of renewal through sacred and secular practices  

MARCH 6

  • Cheesefare Sunday or Forgiveness Sunday, the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent for Orthodox Christians  

MARCH 7

  • Beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox Christian faith. March 7, the day Great Lent begins this year, is also known as Clean Monday.  

MARCH 8

  • International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements. 

MARCH 9

  • Asian-American Women’s and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the pay gap between Asian-American and Pacific Islander women and White men. Asian-American women are paid 90 cents for every dollar paid to White men. 

MARCH 13 - APRIL 15

  • Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf. 

MARCH 13

  • Orthodox Sunday, celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent. It is the celebration of the victory of the iconodules over the iconoclasts by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Therefore, the service  commemorates the restoration of icons for use in services as well as a Christian’s private devotional life. 

MARCH 16 - 17

  • Purim, a Jewish celebration that marks the time when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide. On Purim, Jewish people dress up in costumes, offer charity, and share food with friends. 

MARCH 17

  • St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday started in Ireland to recognize St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who brought Christianity to the country in the early days of the faith 

MARCH 18

  • Holi, the annual Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival observed in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, along with other countries with large Hindu and Sikh populations. People celebrate Holi by throwing colored powder and water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlada accomplished when demoness Holika carried him into the fire. It is often celebrated on the full moon (the Phalguna Purnima) before the beginning of the vernal equinox as based on the Hindu calendar.  

MARCH 18 - 19

  • Lailat al Bara’a, also known as Lailat Al Baraah, Barat, or popularly as Shab-e-Bara or Night of Forgiveness. It is an Islamic holiday during which practitioners of the faith seek forgiveness for sins. Muslims spend the night in special prayers. It is regarded as one of the most sacred nights on the Islamic calendar. 

MARCH 18 - 20

  • Hola Mohalla, a Sikh festival that takes place on the second day of the lunar month of Chet, a day after the Hindu spring festival Holi.

MARCH 19

  • St. Joseph’s Day, in Western Christianity the principal feast of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

MARCH 20

  • Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans. It is observed as a time to mark the coming of spring and the fertility of the land. 

MARCH 21 - 22

  • Naw-Rúz, the Bahá’í New Year, is a holiday celebrated on the vernal equinox. It is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is suspended.  
  • Nowruz/Norooz, Persian New Year, a day of joy, celebration, and renewal. It is held annually on the spring equinox. 

MARCH 21

  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed annually in the wake of the 1960 killing of 69 people at a demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in South Africa. The United Nations proclaimed the day in 1966 and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.  

MARCH 22

  • Hindi New Year 

MARCH 25

  • International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations international observation that offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. First observed in 2008, the international celebration also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.  
  • Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, a Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus 

MARCH 31

  • International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities as well as recognize those who helped fight for rights for transgender people.

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