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(January 1) 2011
Happy New Year!

The New Year is the day that marks the beginning of a new calendar year, and is the day on which the year count of the specific calendar used is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner.

On the modern Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated on January 1, as it was also in ancient Rome In all countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar with the exception of Israel, it is a public holiday. often celebrated at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1.

(January 6)

Epiphany

In western Christian tradition, January 6 is celebrated as Epiphany. It goes by other names in various church traditions. In Hispanic and Latin culture, as well as some places in Europe, it is known as Three Kings’ Day (Span: el Dia de los Tres Reyes, la Fiesta de Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos; Dutch: Driekoningendag). Because of differences in church calendars, mainly between the Eastern Orthodox and the western Catholic and Protestant traditions, both Christmas and Epiphany have been observed at different times in the past. Today, most of the Eastern Orthodox traditions follow the western church calendar. Epiphany is the climax of the Advent/Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are usually counted from the evening of December 25th until the morning of January 6th, which is the Twelfth Day. In following this older custom of counting the days beginning at sundown, the evening of January 5th is the Twelfth Night.

(January 17)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Observed)

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Observed) is a United States Federal holiday marking the birthday of
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King's birthday, January 15. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. He was assassinated in 1968.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest, he was assassinated.

The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination. Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983 and it was first observed in 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

(January 24)

UMMS Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Observance

February
National Black History Month

Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month." What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.


We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to
Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Born to parents who were former slaves, he spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population-and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.


Established Journal of Negro History

Woodson, always one to act on his ambitions, decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history.

Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in black American history.

(February)

American Heart Association Month
The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is: "Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke."

The American Heart Association publishes a standard for providing basic and advanced life support, including standards for proper performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Most widely accepted certification for basic life support (BLS). The AHA is now also a provider of training for first aid in addition to CPR.

The AHA also operates an affiliated organization, the American Stroke Association, which focuses on care, research and prevention of strokes.

(February 3)

Chinese Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year is the main Chinese festival of the year and it is not a religious event.
Also known as the Spring Festival.

As the Chinese use the Lunar calendar for their festivals the date of Chinese New Year changes from year to year. The date corresponds to the new moon (black moon) in either late January or February. Traditionally celebrations last for fifteen days, ending on the date of the full moon. In China the public holiday lasts for three days and this is the biggest celebration of the year.

 

(February 14)

Valentine’s Day

Saint Valentine's Day (commonly shortened to Valentine's Day) is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending valentine cards.

Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards

(February 21)

President’s Day

Washington's Birthday is the official name designated to what many of us know as President's Day. During the month of February the birthday of two of our greatest President's takes place.
George Washington who was born on Feb. 22nd and Abraham Lincoln born on Feb. 12th.

However, Washington's Birthday has been publicly celebrated since he was in office, before Abraham Lincoln was even born. Much of the debate over the name of the holiday springs from the fact that state's can follow their own holidays how they see fit and many of them chose to also honor Lincoln, calling the celebration President's Day.

It was in 1968 that the term President's Day came up for legal consideration in the Congress but was shot down, though the holiday was moved to fall between the two President's birthdays. Again in the 1980's there was a resurgence of the term with advertisers which solidified the holiday name in American culture. Today, few Americans prefer to call the holiday Washington's Birthday in lieu of President's Day.



March, 2011

National Women’s History Month

Before the 1970’s, the topic of women’s history was largely missing from general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978 and chose the week of March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The celebration was met with positive response, and schools began to host their own Women’s History Week programs. The next year, leaders from the California group shared their project at a Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. Other participants not only became determined to begin their own local Women’s History Week projects but also agreed to support an effort to have Congress declare a national Women’s History Week.

In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) cosponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a “Women’s History Week.”


In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, the National Women’s History Month Resolution has been approved every year with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

(March 7 - Eastern Rite Catholics)
Lent – Clean Monday
The season of Lent, the time of preparation for Easter Sunday, begins on a different date each year.


(March 9)

Ash Wednesday

In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned. In the liturgical practice of some churches, the ashes are mixed with the Oil of the Catechumens (one of the sacred oils used to anoint those about to be baptized), though some churches use ordinary oil. This paste is used by the minister who presides at the service to make the sign of the cross, first upon his or her own forehead and then on those of congregants

(March 15)
Women’s Faculty Committee
Women’s History Month Program

Insert flyer

April, 2011

(April 17) Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, the final Sunday before Easter Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week. Christian churches distribute palms (and sometimes pussy willows) on Palm Sunday to commemorate Christ's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in His path, before His arrest and Crucifixion on Good Friday.



(April 17)

Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a yearly holiday celebrated on the 17th of March. It is named after Saint Patrick (circa AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It began as a purely Catholic holiday and became an official feast day in the early 17th century. It has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Ireland's culture.

It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and a large, national multi day festival now takes place each year called St. Patrick's Festival. In Northern Ireland it is a bank holiday instead. The Northern Ireland Assembly has discussed this frequently but as of yet no decision has been made to make it a public holiday. It is a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Montserrat, among others.

(April 19) Passover (Pesach)

Passover will start on Tuesday, the 19th of April and will continue for 7 days until Monday, the 25th of April. The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. And, by following the rituals of Passover, we have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that our ancestors gained.

Note: that in the Jewish calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews will celebrate Passover on the sunset of Monday, the 18th of April.

(April 22)

Good Friday

In the Catholic Church, Good Friday is the day on which we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, the act that brought salvation to all who believe. It is the culmination of Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, and it takes place two days before Easter Sunday.

(April 24)

Easter

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, is Christianity's most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar. Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance.

(April 27)

Administrative Professionals Day

Since 1952, the International Association of Administrative Professionals has honored office workers by sponsoring Administrative Professionals Week. Today, it is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.

In the year 2000, IAAP announced a name change for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. The names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of today’s administrative workforce.

Over the years, Administrative Professionals Week has become one of the largest workplace observances. The event is celebrated worldwide, bringing together millions of people for community events, educational seminars and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff.

Today, there are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles. More than 475,000 administrative professionals are employed in Canada. Millions more administrative professionals work in offices all over the world.

APW is always the last full week in April. In 2011, Administrative Professionals Week is April 24-30 with Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 27.



May 2011
National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
National Older Americans Month

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy's meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as "Senior Citizens Month."

Thanks to President Jimmy Carter's 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called "Older Americans Month," and has become a tradition.

Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since JFK has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pays tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other such activities.

National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill. In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

 

(May 1)
Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day
it has been over 60 years since the Holocaust. To survivors, the Holocaust remains real and ever-present, but for some others, sixty years makes the Holocaust seem part of ancient history. Year-round we try to teach and inform others about the horrors of the Holocaust. We confront the questions of what happened. How did it happen? How could it happen? Could it happen again? We attempt to fight against ignorance with education and against disbelief with proof.

But there is one day in the year when we make a special effort to remember (Zachor). Upon this one day, we remember those that suffered, those that fought, and those that died. Six million Jews were murdered. Many families were completely decimated.

Jewish history is long and filled with many stories of slavery and freedom, sorrow and joy, persecution and redemption. For Jews, their history, their family, and their relationship with God have shaped their religion and their identity.

(May 2)

UMMS /Daybreak Women Author’s Evening
(insert flyer - more information to follow)
Author: Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen, Internationally bestselling author of Harvest (1996), Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), and The Keepsake (2008); released in the UK under a different title, Keeping the Dead



(May 5)
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a holiday held on May 5 that commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo sees limited significance and celebration nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed nationwide in the United States (especially at bars around the country) and other locations around the world, also in bars, as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

(May 13)

UMMS International Festival
The International Committee works to support a welcoming and a more inclusive environment for international students and scholars. The committee, in collaboration with the International Students and Scholar’s Office of Human Resources, works to assure a seamless transition into Massachusetts and the University. In addition, the committee in collaboration with DEOO and HR annually sponsors an international festival that is a celebration of the 64 countries and numerous cultures that make up the University community.

Insert flyer (Insert International website)

(Date TBD)

UMMS Older Americans Month
Program flyer – inserted here
(insert website Mature Workforce)

(May 30)
Memorial Day (Observed)
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service.

First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

In the United States, Memorial Day marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day marks its end.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.

June 2011

National Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June. The last Sunday in June is celebrated as Gay Pride Day. On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month". U.S. President Barack Obama declared June 2010 to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, stating, “I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.” The month was chosen to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village that sparked the modern LGBT liberation movement in the United States.

This month is meant to recognize the impact gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people have had on the world. GLBT groups celebrate with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost from hate crimes as well as HIV and AIDS, and other group gathering events that attract thousands upon thousands of individuals. Although June remains the primary month for pride events the annual calendar shows events in most months.

(UMMS/CEOD GLBTA website) http://www.umassmed.edu/Content.aspx?id=57972&linkidentifier=id&itemid=57972

(June 5)

University of Massachusetts Medical School
Commencement

(June 8)

Women’s Faculty Committee Health Program

(June 14)
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, though on June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first (and only) U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday.

One of the longest-running Flag Day parades is held annually in Quincy, Massachusetts, which began in 1952, celebrating its 59th year in 2010. The 59th Annual Appleton Wisconsin 2009 Flag Day Parade featured the U.S. Navy. The largest Flag Day parade is held annually in Troy, New York, which bases its parade on the Quincy parade and typically draws 50,000 spectators.

Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is at Fairfield WA. Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and will celebrate the "Centennial" parade in 2010, along with some other commemorative events.

July 2011

(July 4)

Independence Day – Happy Birthday America!

Independence Day is regarded as the birthday of the United States as a free and independent nation. Most Americans simply call it the "Fourth of July," on which date it always falls.

The holiday recalls the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. At that time, the people of the 13 British colonies located along the eastern coast of what is now the United States were involved in a war over what they considered unjust treatment by the king and parliament in Britain. The war began in 1775. As the war continued, the colonists realized that they were fighting not just for better treatment; they were fighting for freedom from England's rule. The Declaration of Independence, signed by leaders from the colonies, stated this clearly, and for the first time in an official document the colonies were referred to as the United States of America. It is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks. The flying of the American flag (which also occurs on Memorial Day and other holidays) is widespread. On July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence was marked by grand festivals across the nation.

(July 14)

Bastille Day

Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th's Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people signaled that the king's power was no longer absolute: power should be based on the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers. Like the Tricolore flag, it symbolized the Republic's three ideals: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all French citizens. It marked the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, eventually, the creation of the (First) Republic, in 1792.


Bastille Day was declared the French national holiday on 6 July 1880, on Benjamin Raspail's recommendation, when the new Republic was firmly entrenched. Bastille Day has such a strong signification for the French because the holiday symbolizes the birth of the Republic. As in the US, where the signing of the Declaration of Independence signaled the start of the American Revolution, in France the storming of the Bastille began the Great Revolution. In both countries, the national holiday thus symbolizes the beginning of a new form of government.

On the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, delegates from every region of France proclaimed their allegiance to a single national community during the Fête de la Fédération in Paris - the first time in history that a people had claimed their right to self-determination.

August 2011
(August 1)

Ramadan

The Meaning of Ramadan

Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. There are as many meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims.

The third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God. Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Qur'an, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.

As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.

While voluntary fasting is recommended for Muslims, during Ramadan fasting becomes obligatory. Sick people, travelers, and women in certain conditions are exempted from the fast but must make it up as they are able. Perhaps fasting in Ramadan is the most widely practiced of all the Muslim forms of worship.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The much-anticipated start of the month is based on a combination of physical sightings of the moon and astronomical calculations. The practice varies from place to place, some places relying heavily on sighting reports and others totally on calculations. In the United States, most communities follow the decision of the Islamic Society of North America, which accepts bonafide sightings of the new moon anywhere in the United States as the start of the new month.

The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. In between -- that is, during the daylight hours -- Muslims totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and marital sex. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset.

The Islamic lunar calendar, being 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, migrates throughout the seasons. Thus, since Ramadan begins on January 20 or 21 this year, next year it will begin on January 9 or 10. The entire cycle takes around 35 years. In this way, the length of the day, and thus the fasting period, varies in length from place to place over the years. Every Muslim, no matter where he or she lives, will see an average Ramadan day of the approximately 13.5 hours.

The last ten days of Ramadan are a time of special spiritual power as everyone tries to come closer to God through devotions and good deeds. The night on which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet, known as the Night of Power (Lailat al-Qadir), is generally taken to be the 27th night of the month. The Qur'an states that this night is better than a thousand months. Therefore many Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.

During the month, Muslims try to read as much of the Qur'an as they can. Most try to read the whole book at least once. Some spend part of their day listening to the recitation of the Qur'an in a mosque.

(August 26)
Women’s Equality Day -

August 26 of each year is designated in the United States as Women's Equality Day. Instituted by Rep. Bella Abzug and first established in 1971, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave U.S. women full voting rights in 1920.  

(August 30)

Islamic – Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.

Before the day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food -- rice, barley, dates, rice, etc. -- to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-Fitr (charity of fast-breaking).

On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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