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August Cultural Awareness Brief

aug-cultural-awareness

August 1 is Lughnasadh, a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season; and Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus, beginning the fourteen-day period of preparation for Orthodox Christians leading up to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. August 5 to 6 is Tisha B’Av, a fast in commemoration of the two holy and sacred temples of Judaism destroyed by the Babylonians (in 586 BCE) and Romans (in 70 CE). August 6 is Transfiguration of the Lord (Feast of the Transfiguration); celebrated by various Christian denominations, the feast day is dedicated to the transfiguration of Jesus. August 7 to 8 (sundown to sundown) is Ashura, an Islamic holiday marked by Muslims with a voluntary day of fasting which commemorates the day Noah left the Ark and the day that Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God; for Shia Muslims, specifically, this day honors the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali who was the beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

August 11 is Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu holiday commemorating the loving kinship between a brother and sister; “Raksha” means “protection” in Hindi. August 12 is Hungry Ghost Festival, a Chinese holiday in which street, market, and temple ceremonies take place to honor dead ancestors and appease other spirits. August 13 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, whose aim is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Black women and White men; Black women are paid 62 cents for every dollar paid to White men. August 13 to 15 is Obon (Ullambana), a Buddhist festival and Japanese custom that honors the spirits of ancestors.

August 15 is Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary; according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, as well as parts of Anglicanism, the day commemorates the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life. August 15 is also Dormition of the Theotokos, a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches that commemorates the “falling asleep,” or death, of Mary the Theotokos (“Mother of God”) and her bodily resurrection before ascending into heaven. August 17 is Marcus Garvey Day, which celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist who is revered by Rastafarians; Garvey is credited with starting the Back to Africa movement, which encouraged those of African descent to return to the land of their ancestors during and after slavery in North America. August 18 to 19 is Krishna Janmashtami, a Hindu celebration of Lord Vishnu’s most powerful human incarnations, Krishna, the god of love and compassion. August 21 is Khordad Sal, the birth anniversary of Zoroaster, a spiritual leader and ethical philosopher who taught a spiritual philosophy of self-realization and realization of the divine.

August 23 is International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and the anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (today, Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean. August 24 is Paryushana Parvarambha, a Jain festival lasting eight to ten days that is observed through meditation and fasting; it focuses on spiritual upliftment, pursuit of salvation, and a deeper understanding of the religion. August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. August 29 is the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, a holy day observed by various Christian churches that follow liturgical traditions; the day commemorates the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, who was beheaded on the orders of Herod Antipas through the vengeful request of his stepdaughter, Salome, and her mother. August 31 is Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu holiday lasting approximately ten days in which the elephant-headed Hindu god is praised and given offerings.

 

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