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  2017 Diversity Holidays

The world is rich with diversity, which is reflected in the observances celebrated by its various cultures and populations. Knowledge of the following diversity holidays and celebrations can enhance your workplace diversity and inclusion efforts.


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.

October is also LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

October 1: Ashura, An Islamic holiday commemorating the day Noah left the ark and the day Allah saved Moses from the Egyptians.

October 4 - 11 (Evening): Jewish Holiday of Sukkot is a seven day festival giving thanks for the fall harvest.

October 9: Canadian Thanksgiving. It is a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.

October 9: National Indigenous People’s Day is an alternative celebration to Columbus Day, promoting political correctness in giving recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.

October 11 - 12 (Evening): Shemini Atzeret is the day after the Sukkot festival where gratitude for the fall harvest is deeply internalized.

October 11: National Coming Out Day. For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

October 12-13 (Evening): Simchat Torah marks the end of the weekly readings of the Torah.  The holy book is read from chapter one of Genesis, to Deuteronomy 34, then back to chapter one again, in acknowledgement of the words of the Torah being a circle; a never ending cycle.

October 19: The Diwali, Hindu, Jain and Sikh five-day festival of lights celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, lightness over darkness.

October 20: The day Sikhs celebrate Sri Guru Granth Sahib who is their spiritual guide.

October 20: The Birth of the Bab, a holiday celebrated by the Baha’i recognizing the birth of the founder of the Baha’i faith. This celebration starts on October 19 and ends October 20.

October 22 marks the beginning of Dussehra (Dasera), a ten-day festival celebrated by Hindus to recognize Rama’s victory over evil.

October 23: Ashura, a holiday recognized by Muslims to mark the martyrdom of Hussain. It also commemorates the day Noah left the ark and Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.

October 24: Shemini Atzeret, “The Eighth (Day) of Assembly”, which is the observed on the day following Sukkot.