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Calendar of Holidays & Observances

July features several events celebrating important diversity leaders, as well as cultural and religious festivals.  Below are just a few holidays, observances and commemorations to help you celebrate equity, varying diversity dimensions, and inclusion in June. Share your celebration with us on social media: #IamEDI.  We welcome additions to this list – please email us at

July 1        Canada Day
Canada Day, or Fête du Canada, is a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act, which established the three former British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as a united nation called Canada.

July 2        Thurgood Marshall’s Birthday
Thurgood Marshall was a lawyer, civil rights activist, and the first Black American to serve on the Supreme Court. As Executive Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, he argued several cases in front of the Supreme Court, including Smith v. Allwright, Shelley v. Kraemer, and Brown v. Board of Education. One of his most famous quotes is, “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” 

July 4        Independence Day (United States)
Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day is a United States federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The original 13 American colonies declared independence from Britain and established themselves as a new nation known as the United States of America.

July 6        14th Dalai Lama’s Birthday 
The 14th Dalai Lama, known as Tenzin Gyatso or Gyalwa Rinpoche, is the current Dalai Lama and the highest spiritual leader of Tibet. After the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama escaped to India, where he currently lives in exile. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

July 6        Frida Kahlo’s Birthday
One of the best-known artists of the 20th century, Frida’s exploration of diverse topics leaves a lasting legacy. She is celebrated for her attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and for her depiction of the female experience and form. On this day, take time to explore the life and art of this beloved Mexican painter.

July 8-9    The Martyrdom of the Báb (Bahá’í)
This major holy day is celebrated on the 9th July at noon and commemorates the events surrounding the death of the Báb, one of the founders of the Baháʼí faith, in Tabriz, Iran, in 1850.

July 11    World Population Day
An observance established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of global population issues.  The day was established by the United Nations as a result of the massive interest people had in Five Billion Day in 1987.

July 11    Feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia (Catholic)
The son of a Roman noble, Saint Benedict of Nursia gave Christian monasticism its lasting foundation in Western Europe. Benedict's main achievement, his "Rule of Saint Benedict," contains a set of rules for his monks to follow. It has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness which persuaded most Christian religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For his historic role as the “Father of Western Monasticism,” St. Benedict was declared a co-patron of Europe, along with Saints Cyril and Methodius.

July 14    International Non-Binary People’s Day
International Non-Binary People's Day is observed each year on 14 July and is aimed at raising awareness and organizing around the issues faced by non-binary people around the world while celebrating their contributions. The date was chosen for being precisely between International Men's Day and International Women's Day. This occasion shines a light on those who identify as non-binary and celebrates the rich diversity of the community.

July 14    Bastille Day (France)
A French federal holiday that commemorates the Storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris that held political prisoners who had displeased the French nobility. The Storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789, was regarded as a turning point of the French Revolution. Celebrations are held throughout France.

July 15    St. Vladimir the Great Day (Eastern Orthodox, Christian)
This day marks the anniversary of the death of St. Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev, who is honored by the Byzantine churches as one of the most important figures in the Christianization of the Eastern Slavs. Originally a follower of Slavic paganism, Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the Kievan Rus'. He is thus also known as Saint Vladimir. His feast day is celebrated the by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Byzantine Rite Lutheran churches

July 17    The Hajj (Muslim)
The Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. A pillar of Islam, this pilgrimage is required of all Muslims once in their lifetime. The word Hajj means "to attend a journey," which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. Muslims believe that it offers a chance to wipe away their past sins and start new in the eyes of God.  

July 17-18    Tisha B'Av (Jewish)
A fast day which commemorates the destruction of two holy and sacred temples of Judaism – Solomon’s Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E, and the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. The observance of the day includes five prohibitions, most notable of which is a 25-hour fast. The Book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue, followed by the recitation of liturgical dirges that lament the loss of the Temples and Jerusalem. 

July 18    Nelson Mandela International Day
Launched on July 18, 2009, in recognition of the civil rights leaders’ birthday via unanimous decision of the U.N. General Assembly, It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices: “It is in your hands now.” Nelson Mandela International Day is more than a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and to change the world for the better.

July 19-20    Eid al-Adha (Muslim)
One of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year, Eid al-Adha is a festival that commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as an act of obedience to God's command. Muslims around the world observe this event, which has a clear message of devotion, kindness and equality.

July 24    Asalha Puja (Buddhist)
Also known as Dharma Day, this is one of Theravada Buddhism’s most important festivals, celebrating the Buddha’s first sermon in which he set out to his five former associates the doctrine that had come to him following his enlightenment. This first sermon is not only the first structured discourse given by the Buddha after his enlightenment, it also contains the essence of all his subsequent teaching. The day is observed by donating offerings to temples and listening to sermons.

July 24   Pioneer Day (Latter-day Saints)
A state holiday in Utah, Pioneer Day marks the arrival of Brigham Young in the Salt Lake area. Young and the first group of Latter-day Saints settled in the area. Pioneer Day is considered a special occasion by many members of the LDS Church, and celebrated with songs, dances, potlucks, and pioneer-related activities.

July 26    Americans with Disabilities Act
Passed by Congress in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and requires that certain access and amenities are provided in public places.  It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unlike the Civil Rights Act, the ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

July 30    International Day of Friendship
First proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities, the International Day of Friendship is an initiative that follows on the proposal made by UNESCO defining the Culture of Peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and endeavor to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems. It was then adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997.