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May Diversity Holidays

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.  

May is Military Appreciation Month - celebrated every May and is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity. NMAM honors current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom.

May is Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.  

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month (or Mental Health Month), which aims to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.  


  •  Beltane, an ancient Celtic festival celebrated on May Day, signifying the beginning of summer 


  • Feasts of Saints Philip and James, a Roman rite feast day held on the anniversary of the dedication of the Church to Saints Phillip and James in Rome 
  • Equal Pay Day, an attempt to raise awareness about the raw wage gap, a figure that shows that women, on average, earn about 80 cents for every dollar men earn. The date moves earlier each year as the wage gap closes. Equal Pay Day was initiated in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity as a public awareness event to illustrate the gender pay gap


  • National Day of Prayer, a day of observance in the United States when people are asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation” 


  • Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861–1867). This day celebrates Mexican culture and heritage with a variety of festivities, including parades and mariachi music performances. 

MAY 8 - MAY 9

  • Lag BaOmer, a Jewish holiday marking the day of hillula of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai 

MAY 17

  • International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, a global celebration of sexual orientation and gender diversities  

MAY 18

  • Ascension of Jesus or Ascension Day, celebrated as the ascension of Christ from Earth in the presence of God within most of the Christian faith  

MAY 19

  • Malcolm X Day, a holiday celebrated either on May 19th, his birthday, or on the third Friday in May, to commemorate the Civil Rights leader.

MAY 21

  •  World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day set aside by the United Nations as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together in harmony 

MAY 23 - 24 (sundown to sundown)

  • Declaration of the Báb, the day of declaration of the Báb, the forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith  

MAY 26

  •  Buddha Day (Vesak or Visakha Puja), a Buddhist festival that marks Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death. It falls on the day of the full moon in May and is a gazetted holiday in India. 

MAY 26 - 27 (sundown to sundown)

  • Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that has double significance. It marks the wheat harvest in Israel and commemorates the anniversary of the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai.  

MAY 28

  • Pentecost, a Christian holiday which takes place on the 50th day after Easter Sunday. It
    commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ
    while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the

MAY 29

  • Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, commemorates the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith
  • Memorial Day in the United States, a federal holiday established to honor military veterans who died in wars fought by US forces