May - June
Beltane, also spelled Beltine, Irish Beltaine or Belltaine, also known as Cétamain,
festival held on the first day of May in Ireland and Scotland, celebrating the beginning
of summer and open pasturing.
Visit Beltane web page for more information.
Lag ba-ʿOmer, also spelled Lag Bʾomer or Lag Be-omer, minor Jewish observance falling
on the 33rd day in the period of the counting of the ʿomer (“barley sheaves”); on
this day semi-mourning ceases and weddings are allowed.
Visit Lag B'Omer web page for more information.
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib
Guru Arjan, (born 1563, Goindwal, Punjab, India—died May 30, 1606, Lahore, Punjab,
Mughal Empire [now in Pakistan]), the Sikh religion’s fifth Guru (1581–1606) and its
Visit Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib web page for more information.
Shavuot, also called Pentecost, in full Ḥag Shavuot, (“Festival of the Weeks”), second
of the three Pilgrim Festivals of the Jewish religious calendar. It was originally
an agricultural festival, marking the beginning of the wheat harvest.
Visit Shavout web page for more information.
Pentecost, also called Whitsunday, (Pentecost from Greek pentecostē, “50th day”),
major festival in the Christian church, celebrated on the Sunday that falls on the
50th day of Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles
and other disciples following the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus
Christ (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2), and it marks the beginning of the Christian
church’s mission to the world.
Visit Pentecost Sunday web page for more information.
Ethiopia Independence Day
National Day of Ethiopia is observed annually on May 28. It is also known as the Downfall
of the Derg. The Derg, a dictatorial military regime led by Mengistu Haile Mariam,
was brought to an end in 1991. The largest celebrations take place in the capital
city of Addis Ababa, where there are usually many crowds during the holidays. Business
and traffic disruptions are frequent during this time. The holiday celebrates the
country’s liberation and serves as a reminder for people to appreciate the privilege
of living in freedom.
Visit Ethiopia Independence Day web page for more information.
Originally called Decoration Day for over a century, this special holiday was changed
to Memorial Day by federal law in the 1880's. Other names this day has been called;
Memorial Day USA, Remembrance Memorial Day, US Memorial Day and others.
Visit the US Memorial Day web page for more information.
On “Freedom’s Eve,” or the eve of January 1, 1863, the first Watch Night services
took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches
and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation
had taken effect. At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved
people in Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom
were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small
copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom in Confederate
States. Only through the Thirteenth Amendment did emancipation end slavery throughout
the United States.
But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the
Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented
in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate
state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally
came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas.
The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state,
were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth," by the newly
freed people in Texas.
Visit the Historical Legacy of Juneteenth web page for more information.
Midsummer, Swedish Midsommar, Finnish Juhannus, Norwegian Jonsok or Sankthansaften,
Danish Sankt Hans Aften, a holiday celebrating the traditional midpoint of the harvest
season and the summer solstice (June 20 or 21), the longest day of the year in the
Visit Litha web page for more information.
Madagascar Independence Day
Madagascar Independence Day is on June 26, and we are thrilled to celebrate this day.
Did you know that Madagascar was a French colony for over 65 years before finally
gaining independence in 1960? The struggle for freedom was hard and riddled with violence,
but freedom is characterized by beautiful colors. Known for its flora and fauna all
over the world, it is the fourth largest beach in the world. It is located in the
Indian Ocean and is about 250 miles from the African continent.
Visit Madagascar Independence Day web page for more information.
Eid al-Adha, (Arabic: “Festival of Sacrifice”) also spelled ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, also called
ʿĪd al-Qurbān or al-ʿĪd al-Kabīr (“Major Festival”), Turkish Kurban Bayram, the second
of two great Muslim festivals, the other being Eid al-Fitr.
Visit Eid al-Adha web page for more information.
Hajj, also spelled ḥadjdj or hadj, in Islam, the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca
in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime.
Visit the Hajj web page for more information.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Independence Day
In January 1959, riots broke out in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) after a rally was
held calling for the independence of the Congo. Violent altercations between Belgian
forces and the Congolese also occurred later that year, and Belgium, which previously
maintained that independence for the Congo would not be possible in the immediate
future, suddenly capitulated and began making arrangements for the Congo’s independence.
The Congo became an independent republic on June 30, 1960.
Visit Democratic Republic of the Congo Independence Day web page for more information.