I was hoping to get one for last month, but sadly, I didn’t. That’s okay, though! Matt’s workplace still does these, and it’s nice to see how inclusive they are of all religions. (See all the way at the bottom for Beltane!)
Like the one in February, below is the section of the email sent to all NASA Goddard employees this morning with the holidays for the month of April, including some links at the bottom with additional information and a diversity calendar. And thank you to Matt for sharing!
All Fools’ Day (International) The origins of this day are probably in France in 1564 when the change of the Gregorian calendar moved New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. Those who insisted on celebrating the “old” New Year became known as “April Fools,” and it became common to play jokes and tricks on them.
Palm Sunday (Christian) Commemorates the day Jesus Christ was given a king’s entry into Jerusalem, marked by the strewing of palm leaves before him. Marks the beginning of Holy Week, a time of solemn devotion to and memorializing of the suffering (passion), death, and burial of Jesus Christ that followed, begins today.
Ramanavami (Birthday of Rama) (Hindu). Celebrates the birth of Shri Rama, one of the incarnates of the Hindu god Vishnu. Fasting is common on this date.
La Semana Santa (Holy Week) (Latin America, Spain) Celebrated April 1-8, 2012 this is one of the highest holy days of the year is Easter for Latino Catholics. Holy week involves solemn processions, masses, and prayer. Cascarones (confetti-filled, painted egg) is a custom in Mexico and the U.S.
World Autism Awareness Day (International) A day to acknowledge that autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the world. As many as 1 in 150 children are affected, and the disease does not discriminate by geography, class or ethnicity.
Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday (Christian) is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.
The Memorial of Jesus Christ’s Death/ Lord’s Evening Meal (Jehovah’s Witness)
On the evening of Nisan 14, 33 C.E., Jesus introduced a special observance that the Bible calls “the Lord’s evening meal.” (1 Corinthians 11:20; Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus instituted it to help his apostles and all true Christians after them to bear in mind that by means of his death as a perfect human, he gave his soul, or life, as a ransom. Regarding this observance, Jesus commanded: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) Observing the Memorial reminds us of the great love shown by both Jehovah and Jesus in connection with the ransom. We can show our appreciation for the ransom by being present at the yearly observance of the Memorial of Jesus’ death. This year the anniversary falls on Thursday, April 5, after sundown. Jehovah’s Witnesses engage in a special campaign a few weeks before the event distributing invitations to neighbors worldwide to attend this most sacred event. Please check with Jehovah’s Witnesses locally for the exact time and place.
Good Friday (Christian) Culminates the Lenten season and commemorates the crucifixion of Christ. There are few explanations as to why the holiday is known as “Good” Friday since it commemorates a sorrowful time in Christianity. Some scholars believe that “good” is a corruption of the word “God’s” while others speculate that “good” was used to denote “holy”.
National Tartan Day (Canada, U.S.) Tartan Day was established by an act of Congress in 1998 to recognize the role Scottish Americans played in the founding of the nation and to acknowledge the many contributions that have been made by people of Scottish ancestry. Some notable Americans of Scottish descent include John Witherspoon, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, Woodrow Wilson, and Sir Alexander Fleming. Tartan Day also commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, on April 6, 1320.
Passover (Jewish) Am eight day festival marking the liberation of the Isrealites from bondage in Egypt. Traditionally, the first and last two days are viewed as holy, while dietary restrictions last the entire week. Begins at sundown the previous day.
The Annunciation (Coptic & Eastern Orthodox Christian) This holy date celebrates the Angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary of Galilee that she would be the mother of Jesus.
Buddha’s Birthday (Vesak) (Buddhist) Celebrates the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama. He is thought to have lived in India from 563 to 483 BCE.
Easter (Christian) This is the holiest day for Christians. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after he was crucified and died in Jerusalem. It is Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, often referred to as the “passion,” followed by his resurrection that is central to Christian faith. Easter culminates the penitential period of Lent that starts with Ash Wednesday. Palm Sunday, which marks the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, occurs one week before Easter. Easter is a joyous holiday, since it marks for Christians the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. Many churches hold sunrise services on Easter Sunday to symbolize the return of light to the world after Jesus’ resurrection. The day is observed with feasts and celebrations. The name “Easter” reflects many pagan customs that are now associated with the holiday. Present day scholars accept St. Bede’s theory that “Easter” is derived from the “Ostern” and “Ostra”, Teutonic and Scandinavian goddess associated with spring and fertility. The Easter egg is an example of the pagan origins of Easter. Pagans believed that eggs symbolized earth being reborn each spring. Christianity adapted this custom to symbolize the rebirth of humanity. Easter eggs were first decorated in the late 13th century C. E. but the most famous eggs were created by Carl Faberge.
Palm Sunday (Coptic & Eastern Orthodox) Palm Sunday is observed on this day according to the Julian calendar followed by Coptic Orthodox Christians and Eastern Orthodox Christians. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Palm Sunday is often called the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem and is the beginning of Holy Week. On Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday, believers prepare palm fronds by knotting them into crosses in preparation for the procession on Sunday.
Vaisakhi (Sikh) Marks the first day of the Hindu New Year, celebrated in several countries and Indian states. It is widely celebrated by Sikhs as the day when Guru Gobind Singh chose five leaders, known as the Panch Payare, and declared this day as the birthday of the Sikh nation.
Good Friday (Coptic & Eastern Orthodox Christian). Also known as Great Friday, this is the day Coptic Orthodox Christians and Eastern Orthodox Christians commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion.
Easter (Coptic & Eastern Orthodox Christian) Easter is celebrated on this day according to the Julian calendar followed by Coptic Orthodox Christians and Eastern Orthodox Christians. In the Orthodox church, the celebration of Easter begins just before midnight on Holy Saturday with the lighting of candles during Easter midnight mass.
Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Ha-Shoah) (Jewish) This day has been designated by Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament, as a memorial to the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in their program of mass extermination of all Jews in Germany and the countries under German occupation. This program, building on long-standing anti-Semitism, began with arrests and imprisonment of Jews in the early 1930’s and extended in the 1940’s to forcing Jews into slave labor camps and extermination in death camps such as Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz. May be observed by a fast from sundown the previous day to sundown this day
National Day of Silence (GLBT) A day to protest the discrimination, harassment and abuse – in effect, the silencing – of members of the GLBT community.
Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i) A 12-day celebration commemorating Baha’u’llah’s stay in the Garden of Ridvan. During this time, the prophet-founder of the faith made his declaration of his mission as God’s messenger. Begins at sundown the previous day.
Earth Day (United States) First observed in 1970 to call attention to pollution in the environment and the need to conserve natural resources. Now celebrated internationally on various dates as a time to call attention to the need to conserve natural resources.
Administrative Professionals Day (United States) National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary’s Day was created in 1952 as a holiday in recognition of the importance of secretaries. The National Secretaries Association was formed to recognize the contributions of secretaries and other administrative personnel to the economy, to support their personal development and to help attract people to administrative careers in the field. The association’s name was changed to Professional Secretaries International in 1981 and, finally, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 1998. In 2000, IAAP announced that names of the week and the day were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of the modern administrative workforce. Administrative Professionals Day® highlights the important role of administrative professionals in all sectors of the modern economy worldwide. It is on the Wednesday of Administrative Professionals Week®, which is on the last full week of April. Many employers and supervisors arrange events to show their appreciation of the work carried out by administrative professionals
Gathering of Nations Powwow (4/23–25) (American Indian) This three-day event, held annually at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, is the largest powwow in North America. More than five hundred tribes from Canada and the United States come every year to participate in this celebration of American Indian culture, which features drum groups and ceremonial singing, chanting, and dancing in traditional dress. There are exhibitions of American Indian artifacts and authentic Indian crafts for sale. The Gathering of Nations organization seeks to promote the traditions and culture of the American Indian people in the most positive manner possible and to dispel stereotypes created about the Indian people. The powwow provides educators with an opportunity to develop instructional materials on Indian history and culture for elementary and secondary schools. (m)
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (United States) Parents are encouraged to bring their daughters (and/or sons) to work on this day, and to use this opportunity to educate their children on the nature of employment. Information regarding Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day events at Goddard in Greenbelt is forthcoming, check Dateline later this week.
Arbor Day (US) Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it’s celebrated on the last Friday in April.
Beltane (Celtic, Pagan) Beltane divided the ancient Celtic year in half. Fires were often lit to symbolize contact with the life-giving sun. The holiday is one of the “Greater Sabbats” during the Wiccan year and celebrates the union of the Goddess and God.
Día de los Niños (Latin Americans) A holiday recognizing children as the center of the Latino family.
We invite you to visit the Web sites used to compile this calendar for additional information. There you will find a wealth of information on days that are recognized throughout the world. Please find the sources listed below: