International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Resolution 54/134). The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rapedomestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. For 2014, the official Theme framed by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, is Orange your Neighbourhood. For 2018, the official theme is “Orange the World:#HearMeToo”, for 2019 it is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”, for 2020 it is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” and for 2021 it is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”.

Historically, the date is based on the date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic; the killings were ordered by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). In 1981, activists at the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros marked November 25 as a day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women more broadly; on February 7, 2000, the date received its official United Nations (UN) resolution.

The UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have encouraged governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities to support the day as an international observance. For example, UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) observes the day each year and offers suggestions for other organizations to observe it. For 2014, the focus is on how violence cuts across all 12 of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which turns 20 next year.

24th November (2021): Evolution Day

Evolution Day is a celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the initial publication of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin on 24 November 1859. Such celebrations have been held for over a century, but the specific term “Evolution Day” for the anniversary appears to be a neologism which was coined prior to 1997. By highlighting Darwin’s contributions to science, the day’s events are used to educate about evolutionary biology. It is similar to the better-known Darwin Day, held on the anniversary of his birth (12 February 1809). It is unrelated to the secularization campaign by the Giordano Bruno Foundation to have the German public holiday of Ascension Day renamed to “Evolutionstag” (Evolution Day).

1909, the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Origin of Species and the 100th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, saw several major events celebrating both. At Cambridge, more than 400 scientists and dignitaries from 167 countries met in a widely reported event of public interest to honour Darwin’s contributions and discuss the latest discoveries and ideas related to evolution, the New York Academy of Sciences held a celebration at the American Museum of Natural History, and the Royal Society of New Zealand held an event with “a very large attendance”.

The Darwin Centennial Celebration (1959) had a major, well publicised event from 24–28 November at the University of Chicago.

In 2009, the BBC aired BBC Darwin Season, a series of television and radio programs, to celebrate Darwin’s bicentenary and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin.

20th November (2021) – Declaration of the Rights of the Child

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, sometimes known as the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, is an international document promoting child rights, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb and adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, and adopted in an extended form by the United Nations in 1959.

The text of the document, as published by the International Save the Children Union in Geneva on 23 February 1923, is as follows:

  1. The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.
  2. The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.
  3. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
  4. The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
  5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.

This text was endorsed by the League of Nations General Assembly on 26 November 1924 as the World Child Welfare Charter, and was the first human rights document approved by an inter-governmental institution. It was reaffirmed by the League in 1934. Heads of State and Government pledged to incorporate its principles in domestic legislation. In France, it was ordered to be displayed in every school.

After considering a number of options, including that of drafting an entirely new declaration, the United Nations resolved in 1946 to adopt the document, in a much expanded version, as its own statement of children’s rights. Many different governments were involved in the drafting process. A slightly expanded version, with seven points in place of five, was adopted in 1948. Then on 10 December 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Declaration of the Rights of the Child, based on the structure and contents of the 1924 original, with ten principles. An accompanying resolution, proposed by the delegation of Afghanistan, called on governments to recognise these rights, strive for their acceptance, and publicise the document as widely as possible. This date has been adopted as the Universal Children’s Day.

This Declaration was followed in 1989 by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989; entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49.

International Men’s Day

International Men’s Day (IMD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on November 19 to recognise and celebrate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of men. The objectives of celebrating an International Men’s Day are set out in ‘All The Six Pillars of International Men’s Day’. It is an occasion to celebrate boys’ and men’s achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to nation, union, society, community, family, marriage, and childcare. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values, as well as awareness towards men’s issues.

Inaugurated in 1992 on 7 February by Thomas Oaster, the project of International Men’s Day was conceived one year earlier on 8 February 1991. The project was re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago. The longest running celebration of International Men’s Day is Malta, where events have occurred since 7 February 1994. Now as Malta was the only country that observed the February date of celebrating Men and their contribution to the society, the Maltese AMR Committee voted in 2009 to shift the date for IMD to 19 November.

Jerome Teelucksingh, who revived the event, chose November 19 to honour his father’s birthday and also to celebrate how on that date in 1989 Trinidad and Tobago’s football team had united the country with their endeavours to qualify for the World Cup.Teelucksingh has promoted International Men’s Day as not just a gendered day but a day where all issues affecting men and boys can be addressed. He has said of IMD and its grass roots activists, “They are striving for gender equality and patiently attempt to remove the negative images and the stigma associated with men in our society”. Unlike International Women’s Day (March 8), International Men’s Day is not officially recognised by the United Nations, which observes World Toilet Day on November 19.

19th November (2021): National Day of Monaco

The National Day of Monaco (French: La Fête du Prince, literally Prince’s holiday) also known as The Sovereign Prince’s Day is currently annually celebrated on 19 November.

The date of the National day is traditionally determined by the reigning Prince. The previous Princes often chose the day of the saint they were named after. For instance the late Prince Rainier III chose 19 November, the day that celebrates Saint Rainier. When Prince Albert II ascended the throne he ended this tradition by choosing the same day as his father, instead of the day of St. Albert, 15 November. The 19 November also happens to be the same day of Albert II’s official ascension to the throne.

National day is typically celebrated with fireworks over the harbour the evening before and a mass in the St. Nicholas Cathedral the next morning.

The people of Monaco may celebrate by displaying the Monegasque flag.

It is an opportunity to see the pomp and circumstance of the Principality. Knights of Malta, distinguished ambassadors, consuls and state officials wear medal-laden uniforms as they congregate in the Saint Nicholas Cathedral after the mass. The Princely Family of Monaco is expected to show up on national day. The birth of Albert II’s children has been celebrated in a similar fashion as a national day and 7 January 2015 was declared a public holiday (one-time only).

15th November (2021): Day of the Imprisoned Writer

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer is an annual, international day intended to recognize and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information. This day is observed each year on November 15. It was started in 1981 by PEN International‘s Writers in Prison Committee.

In addition to increasing the public’s awareness of persecuted writers in general, PEN uses the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to direct attention to several specific persecuted or imprisoned writers and their individual circumstances. Each of the selected writers is from a different part of the world, and each case represents circumstances of repression that occur when governments or other entities in power feel threatened by what writers have written. On this day, the general public is encouraged to take action—in the form of donations and letters of appeal—on behalf of the selected writers.

The day also serves to commemorate all of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Between November 15, 2007, and November 15, 2008, at least 39 writers from around the world were killed in circumstances that appeared to be related to their professions.

13th November (2021): World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day is an international observance on 13 November. It was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations’ kindness NGOs. It is observed in many countries, including Canada, Australia, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates. Singapore observed the day for the first time in 2009. Italy and India also observed the day. In the UK, it is fronted by David Jamilly, who co-founded Kindness Day UK with Louise Burfitt-Dons.

In 2010, at the request of Michael Lloyd-White, the NSW Federation Parents and Citizens Association wrote to the Minister of The NSW Department of Education to place World Kindness Day on the NSW School Calendar.

In 2012, at the request of the Chairman of World Kindness Australia, World Kindness Day was placed on the Federal School Calendar and the then Minister of School Education, Early Childhood, and Youth. The Hon Peter Garrett provided a Declaration of Support for World Kindness Australia and placed World Kindness Day on the National School Calendar for over 9000 schools.

Schools across the globe are now celebrating World Kindness Day and work with local NGOs such as the Be Kind People Project and Life Vest Inside In the USA. In 2012 in Australia, Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, hosted an event for the first time at Government House to celebrate World Kindness Day and accepted a Cool To Be Kind Award from year 3 & 4 students. Australian Councils representing over 1.3 million residents have also signed Declarations of Support for World Kindness Australia placing World Kindness Day on the Council Calendar of Events.

Events include THE BIG HUG, handing out Kindness Cards, Global Flashmob, which was coordinated by Orly Wahba from the US and was held in 15 countries and 33 cities with its images of the event making the big screens in New York City. Canada celebrates with The Kindness Concert and in Singapore in 2009, 45,000 yellow flowers were given away. In 2017 World Kindness day was also celebrated in Slovenia, organised by volunteering organisation Humanitarček as part of their project Randomised Kindness.

World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness for good which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender and location. Kindness Cards are also an ongoing activity which can either be passed on to recognize an act of kindness and or ask that an act of kindness be done. Approaches are being made to the United Nations by the peak global body, the World Kindness Movement, to have World Kindness Day officially recognized and its members unanimously sign a Declaration of Support for World Kindness.

According to Gulf News, “it is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion.”

12th November (2021): World Pneumonia Day

World Pneumonia Day (12 November) provides an annual forum for the world to stand together and demand action in the fight against pneumonia. More than 100 organizations representing the interests of children joined forces as the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia to hold the first World Pneumonia Day on 2 November 2009. Save The Children artist ambassadors Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Laurie, Charles MacCormack of Save The Children, Orin Levine of PneumoADIP, Lance Laifer of Hedge Funds vs. Malaria & Pneumonia, the Global Health Council, the GAVI Alliance, and the Sabin Vaccine Institute joined together in a call to action asking people to participate in World Pneumonia Day on 2 November. In 2010, World Pneumonia Day falls on 12 November.

Pneumonia is a preventable and treatable disease that sickens 155 million children under 5 and kills 1.6 million each year. This makes pneumonia the number 1 killer of children under 5, claiming more lives in this age group than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Yet most people are unaware of pneumonia’s overwhelming death toll. Because of this, pneumonia has been overshadowed as a priority on the global health agenda, and rarely receives coverage in the news media. World Pneumonia Day helps to bring this health crisis to the public’s attention and encourages policy makers and grassroots organizers alike to combat the disease.

In spite of the massive death toll of this disease, affordable treatment and prevention options exist. There are effective vaccines against the two most common bacterial causes of deadly pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae type B and Streptococcus pneumoniae, and most common viral cause of pneumonia, Orthomyxoviridae. A course of antibiotics which costs less than $1(US) is capable of curing the disease if it is started early enough. The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) released by the WHO and UNICEF on World Pneumonia Day, 2009, finds that 1 million children’s lives could be saved every year if prevention and treatment interventions for pneumonia were widely introduced in the world’s poorest countries.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. The fourth of these goals is to reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. Because pneumonia causes such a large number of under five deaths (almost 20%), in order to achieve MDG 4, the world must do something to reduce pneumonia deaths.

11th November: Saint Martin’s Day

Martin of Tours (Latin: Sanctus Martinus Turonensis; 316 – 8 November 397) was the third bishop of Tours. He has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints in France, heralded as the patron saint of the Third Republic, and is patron saint of many communities and organizations across Europe. A native of Pannonia (in modern central Europe), he converted to Christianity at a young age. He served in the Roman cavalry in Gaul, but left military service at some point prior to 361, when he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, establishing the monastery at Ligugé. He was consecrated as Bishop of Caesarodunum (Tours) in 371. As bishop, he was active in the suppression of the remnants of Gallo-Roman religion, but he opposed the violent persecution of the Priscillianist sect of ascetics.

The tradition of cutting the cloak
San Martino shares his precious cloak with a poor man, detail of the facade of the Cathedral of Lucca dedicated to the saint

As a circitor, his job was the night patrol and the inspection of the guard posts, as well as the night surveillance of the garrisons. During one of these patrols, the episode took place that changed his life (and which is still today the one most remembered and most used by iconography). In the harsh winter of 335 Martino met a half-naked beggar. Seeing him in pain, he cut his military cloak (the white chlamys of the imperial guard) in two and shared it with the beggar.

The following night he saw in a dream Jesus dressed in half of his military cloak. He heard Jesus say to his angels: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized, he has clothed me.” When Martin woke up his cloak was intact. The miraculous cloak was kept as a relic and became part of the relic collection of the Merovingian kings of the Franks. The medieval Latin term for “short mantle”, chapel, was extended to the people in charge of keeping the mantle of St. Martin, the chaplains, and from these it was applied to the royal oratory, which was not a church, called a chapel.

In Italy the cult of the saint is linked to the so-called summer of San Martino which manifests itself, in a meteorological sense, at the beginning of November and gives rise to some traditional popular festivals. In the Abruzzo municipality of Scanno, for example, large fires called “glories of San Martino” are lit in honor of San Martino and the districts compete against each other who makes the highest and most durable fire

11th November: National Independence Day (Poland)

National Independence Day (Polish: Narodowe Święto Niepodległości) is a national day in Poland celebrated on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic in 1918 from the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires. Following the partitions in the late 18th century, Poland ceased to exist for 123 years until the end of World War I, when the destruction of the neighbouring powers allowed the country to reemerge. It is a non-working day and a flag flying day in Poland.

The restoration of Poland’s independence was gradual. The date of 11 November is the one on which Marshal Józef Piłsudski assumed control of Poland. It was a day of military ceremony since 1920. The holiday was constituted in 1937 and was celebrated only twice before World War II. After the war, the communist authorities of the People’s Republic removed Independence Day from the calendar, though reclamation of independence continued to be celebrated informally on 11 November. The holiday was officially replaced by the National Day of Poland’s Revival as Poland’s National Day, celebrated on 22 July anniversary of the communist PKWN Manifesto under Joseph Stalin. In particular, during the 1980s, in many cities, including Warsaw, informal marches and celebrations were held, with the outlawed Solidarity Movement supporters participating. Typically these marches were brutally dispersed by the communist militarized police forces, with many participants arrested by the security police. During this time 11 November Independence Day marches, alongside the Constitution Day on 3 May celebration gatherings, also banned by the communist authorities, were the customary dates of demonstrations by the opponents of the communist regime. As Poland emerged from communism in 1989, the original holiday—on its original 11 November date—was restored.

The date coincides with the celebration of the Armistice in other countries. All of these holidays and Polish Independence Day are indirectly related because they all emerged from the circumstances at the end of World War I. In other countries, holidays were established in the spirit of grief and horror at the enormous human cost of the war, and they mark the sacrifices of those who fought.