Calendar of Cultural and Religious Observances

Members of the Yale community come from many backgrounds and places. The following cultural and religious dates are some of the many that are observed by community members. 

The Chaplain’s Office provides a downloadable calendar featuring holy days throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Other observances include:

October, second Monday

  • Columbus Day. A United States federal holiday that marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. 
  • Indigenous People’s Day, an alternative celebration to Columbus Day that gives recognition to the Indigenous populations of North America. 

October 11

  • National Coming Out Day.  An annual LGBT awareness day.

November 11

  • Veterans Day.  A United States federal holiday honoring military veterans.

November 20

  • Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Remembering and honoring individuals killed as a result of transphobia and raising awareness of the violence against transgender people.

November, fourth Thursday

  • Thanksgiving Day.  A United States federal holiday, first celebrated nationally in 1789.

December 10

  • Established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

January

  • 1/1 New Year’s Day. Marks the beginning of the calendar year.
  • Third Monday. Martin Luther King Day. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1/27 The International Day of Commemoration. Remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust.

February

  • Since 1976, February is designated as Black History Month in the United States and Canada.
  • Third Monday. Washington’s Birthday. A United States federal holiday. It is also widely known as Presidents’ Day.

March

  • Started in 1987, March is designated as Women’s History Month.
  • March is also designated as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to increase understanding of issues affecting people with disabilities.
  • 3/8 International Women’s Day. Global celebration honoring women’s contributions and achievements.

April

  • April is Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s normal development of social and communication skills.
  • 4/22 Earth Day. Promote peace and sustainability of planet Earth.

May

  • May is designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States.
  • 5/5 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).
  • Last Mondya. Memorial Day. A United States federal holiday commemorating those who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

June

  • June is designated as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

July

  • 7/1 Canada Day or Fête du Canada. Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act.
  • 7/4 Independence Day (also known as the Fourth of July). A United States federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  • 7/14 Bastille Day. French federal holiday that commemorates the Storming of the Bastille.
  • 7/18 Nelson Mandela International Day. Recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009 in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

August

  • 8/17 Marcus Garvey Day. Jamaica. Celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist.
  • 8/23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade. Designated by UNESCO. Anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean.
  • 8/26 Women’s Equality Day. Commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the United States Constitution 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.

September

  • From September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16th, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.
  • First Monday. Labor Day. A United States celebration honoring the contribution laborers have made to the country.