25th January ’22 – Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle is a feast celebrated during the liturgical year on 25 January, recounting the conversion. This feast is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches. This feast is at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical observance that began in 1908, which is an octave (an eight-day observance) spanning from 18 January (observed in Anglican and Lutheran tradition as the Confession of Peter, and in the pre-1961 Roman Catholic Church as the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Rome) to 25 January. In rural England, the day functioned much like groundhog day does in the modern-day United States. Supposed prophecies ranged from fine days predicting good harvests, to clouds and mists signifying pestilence and war in the coming months.

The collect in the Roman Missal is: O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we pray, nearer to you through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world.

25th May: Africa Day

Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963. It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world. The organisation was transformed into the African Union on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, but the holiday continues to be celebrated on 25 May.

The First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana on 15 April 1958. It was convened by Prime Minister of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and comprised representatives from Egypt (then a constituent part of the United Arab Republic), Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon and of the host country Ghana. The Union of South Africa was not invited. The conference showcased progress of liberation movements on the African continent in addition to symbolising the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Although the Pan-African Congress had been working towards similar goals since its foundation in 1900, this was the first time such a meeting had taken place on African soil.

The Conference called for the founding of an African Freedom Day, a day to “…mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolise the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”

The conference was notable in that it laid the basis for the subsequent meetings of African heads of state and government during the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group era, until the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.

Towel Day

Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25 May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans.[2] On this day, fans openly carry a towel with them, as described in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author. The commemoration was first held 25 May 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on 11 May.

East at Easter

LYRIC

We go walking, hand in hand
All across the land it’s East At Easter
People walking hand in hand
When ships are moving south it will be East at Easter
We will rock you, rock you little child
We will rock you, rock you little child
All across the land it’s East At Easter
All across the land it’s East At EasterThings will lighten up the sky, East At Easter
Things will lighten up the sky, East At Easter
We’ll go walking hand in hand
‘Cause all across the land it will be East At Easter
Ah, we will rock you, rock you little child
We will rock you, rock you little child
All across the land it’s East At Easter
When ships go moving south it will be East At EasterThey’re gonna lighten up the sky
They’re gonna lighten up the sky
They’re gonna lighten up the sky
East At EasterAh, we’ll go walking hand in hand
We’ll go walking hand in hand, yes
We will rock you, rock you little child
We will rock you, rock you
Rock you little child
They’re gonna lighten up the sky
When they lighten up the sky it will be East At Easter
We will rock you, rock you, rock you

14th November: World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day is the primary global awareness campaign focusing on diabetes mellitus and is held on 14 November each year.

Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), each World Diabetes Day focuses on a theme related to diabetes; type-2 diabetes is largely preventable and treatable non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers worldwide. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections. Topics covered have included diabetes and human rights, diabetes and lifestyle, diabetes and obesity, diabetes in the disadvantaged and the vulnerable, and diabetes in children and adolescents. While the campaigns last the whole year, the day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.

World Diabetes Day was launched in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the rapid rise of diabetes around the world.

By 2016, World Diabetes Day was being commemorated by over 230 IDF member associations in more than 160 countries and territories, as well as by other organizations, companies, healthcare professionals, politicians, celebrities, and people living with diabetes and their families. Activities include diabetes screening programmes, radio and television campaigns, sports events and others.

13th November: 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 NSW, 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 USA which 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.

7th November: International Inuit Day

7th November is International Inuit Day, a celebration set up to acknowledge and celebrate Inuit culture and contributions, but most importantly to affirm the voices of Inuit across the circumpolar world, says the organization that established the occasion.

“Inuit inhabit 40 per cent of the Arctic and in an era where exterior forces, be it countries or industries, are increasingly voicing their intentions concerning the lands we live in, Inuit need to have a united voice now more than ever and reaffirm our human rights,” says Dalee Sambo Dorough, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, in an phone interview with Eye on the Arctic. 

Different Inuit organizations and groups mark the occasion in different ways each year.

“We observe (International Inuit Day) by promoting it through ITK’s social media platforms and also taking this opportunity to educate on who we are as Inuit in Canada,” says Kevin Kablutsiak, ITK’s director of communications.

Eben Hopson, Sr. pictured at the first Inuit Circumpolar Conference, in Barrow, Alaska in 1977. The ICC, which Hopson founded, chose his birthday, November 7, as International Inuit Day. (North Slope Borough/Courtesy ICC-Canada)
International initiative

International Inuit Day was established by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), the organization that represents the approximately 165,000 Inuit in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia.

The motion was made at their 2006 General Assembly in Barrow (now called Utqiagvik), Alaska, “to urge all Inuit governments, agencies, and communities to annually proclaim this day as Inuit Day, and conduct appropriate ceremonies and celebrations.”

November 7 was chosen as it was the birth date of Eben Hopson Sr., founder of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the precursor to the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

“This day is also to memorialize him, for his ingenuity and foresight in the importance of uniting Inuit voices,” Dorough said.

Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada, the Canadian chapter of ICC, is planning to post a video marking the day on Facebook and Twitter, as well as asking people to post what they’re doing on International Inuit Day as they did last year during their #InuitDay2018 campaign.

Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI), a counselling and resource centre for Inuit in Ottawa, Ontario, says the day is also a good occasion to think about the contributions, challenges and successes of Inuit in Canada who live outside of Canada’s four Arctic Inuit regions: the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, an area collectively referred to by Inuit as Inuit Nunangat. 

“At TI we recognize the regions outside of Inuit Nunangat (away from traditional homelands) as “The Fifth Region” and remind all that an Inuk is an Inuk is an Inuk regardless of geography and where they live,” said Joël Lamoureux TI’s communications manager. “Too often, Inuit outside of Inuit Nunangat are overlooked in celebratory days like International Inuit Day. “

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict is an international day observed annually on November 6. The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict was established on November 5, 2001 by the United Nations General Assembly, during Kofi Atta Annan‘s tenure as Secretary-General. Of this observance Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has since written, “We must use all of the tools at our disposal, from dialogue and mediation to preventive diplomacy, to keep the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources from fueling and financing armed conflict and destabilizing the fragile foundations of peace.” Various calendars found on the World Wide Web reference November 6th in abbreviated fashion as ‘World Day to Protect the Environment in War’.

15th october: Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.

Global Handwashing Day occurs on 15 October of each year. The global campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention. Respiratory and intestinal diseases can be reduced by 25-50%.

Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. This means that the first Global Handwashing Day took place on 15 October 2008. The date was appointed by the UN General Assembly. The year 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation. The founding bodies in 2008 included: FHI360 (a nonprofit human development organization based in the US), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Procter & Gamble, UNICEF, Unilever, World Bank Water & Sanitation Program and the United States Agency for International Development.

The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) (formerly called “Public Private Partnership for Handwashing” (PPPHW)) established Global Handwashing Day in 2008 as a way to promote a global and local vision of handwashing with soap.

Steering Committee members of the GHP include Colgate-Palmolive; FHI 360; The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Procter & Gamble; UNICEF; Unilever; University at Buffalo; USAID; the Water and Sanitation Programme at the World Bank; and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

Continued research on handwashing habits and practices is commissioned in conjunction with GHD. In 2011, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), sponsored a study to assess the handwashing habits of American and Canadian adults, finding that many were not using soap when washing their hands.

12th october: Colombus Day

Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492 (Julian Calendar; it would have been October 21, 1492 on the Gregorian Proleptic Calendar, which extends the Gregorian Calendar to dates prior to its adoption in 1582). Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer on behalf of Spain, who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the Far East only to land at the New World. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta took approximately three months. Columbus and his crew’s arrival to the New World initiated the Columbian Exchange which introduced the transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, and technology between the New World and the Old World.

The landing is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States but the name varies on the international spectrum. In some Latin American countries, October 12 is known as Día de la Raza or (Day of the Race). This is the case for Mexico, which inspired Jose Vasconcelos’s book celebrating the Day of the Iberoamerican Race. Some countries such as Spain refer the holiday as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional de España where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar. Since 2009, Peru has celebrated Día de los pueblos originarios y el diálogo intercultural (Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day) Belize and Uruguay celebrate it as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas). Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo is the formal name of Italy‘s celebration as well as in Little Italys around the world.