Now that Juneteenth has been recognized as a national holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S., many organizations are looking for more ways to honor their diverse teams and support social justice issues.
While recognizing Juneteenth is important, knowing and learning about other diverse celebrations and holidays is a great way to enhance your workplace culture and keep DEI top of mind throughout the year.
To help you contemplate how to bring opportunities to learn about DEI into your company’s engagement calendar, we created this list of diversity holidays, observances, and celebrations.
Note: the list isn't exhaustive – there are so many amazing global holidays and events you can choose to honor! But this is a great starting point for HR leaders who want to level up their DEI programming in a way that will be fun and engaging to their teams.
Downloadable DEI Holiday Calendar
Scroll below to see the list of DEI holidays and events in 2021 — or you can use this Google calendar! (Aside from 2021 holidays, we've also set dates on the calendar to repeat annually.)
Want to save these holidays/events for future use? Tap the "+" symbol in the lower righthand corner of the calendar below to add it to your own Google calendar.
List of DEI Holidays, Events, and Observances
Now for the full list! (You can also find more tips on incorporating these events into your DEI programming below.)
- Poverty in America Awareness Month
- Third Sunday in January: World Religion Day
- Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Black History Month
- February 1: National Freedom Day
- Date Varies: Chinese New Year
- February 14: Valentine’s Day
- Date Varies: Madri Gras
- February 20: World Day of Social Justice
- National Women’s History Month
- Ethnic Equality Month
- Gender Equality Month
- First Friday in March: Employee Appreciation Day
- March 8: International Women’s Day
- March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
- March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
- Stress Awareness Month
- April 7: World Health Day
- 3rd week of April: National Volunteer Week
- Mental Health Awareness Month
- May 5: Cinco de Mayo
- LGBT Pride Month
- June 19: Juneteenth
- June 28: Pride Day
- Social Wellness Month
- July 4: Independence Day
- July 11: World Population Day
- July 14: Bastille Day
- July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day
- July 26: National Disability Independence Day
- July 30: International Day of Friendship
- August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
- August 26: Women’s Equality Day
- Hispanic Heritage Month
- First Monday in September: Labor Day
- Fourth Friday in September: National Native American Day (California and Nevada)
- September 26: European Day of Languages
- Global Diversity Awareness Month
- LGBT History Month
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month
- October 10: World Mental Health Day
- Second Monday in October: Indigenous Peoples' Day
- Second Monday in October: National Native American Day (South Dakota and Wisconsin)
- October 16: World Food Day
- National Native American Heritage Month
- Date Varies: Hanukkah
- December 1: World AIDS Day
- December 10: International Human Rights Day
- December 25: Christmas
- December 26 to January 1: Kwanzaa
Deciding Which Holidays to Observe
With so many diversity and inclusion events and religious observances, it can be a challenge to determine which to observe. When building your DEI calendar for the year, be sure to ask your employees what holidays would mean the most to them.
You can do this by leveraging your ERGs, building a task force, or sending out a quick pulse survey. The important thing is to listen carefully to your team and take their thoughts into consideration.
Example Programming for DEI Holidays
So how do you bring diversity, equity, and inclusion into your engagement programming? Cooleaf offers DEI programming to help you foster a more inclusive culture, along with a digital platform to build a sense of belonging and encourage employees to grow deeper connections. Here's a few examples of DEI holiday programming hat has helped our customers spark conversations on their teams.
May - Cinco De Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the U.S., but the holiday’s origins are often misunderstood.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the first battle of Puebla, when the Mexican Army successfully defended the city against invading French forces in 1862. In fact, many U.S. citizens make the common mistake of identifying Cinco de Mayo as the Mexican Independence Day, which is in September.
To celebrate this holiday, we encouraged employees to learn more about the real history of Cinco de Mayo. By sharing resources and guiding employees to start having conversations, you can strengthen the culture intelligence of your team.
July - Nelson Mandela International Day
Nelson Mandela International Day celebrates the legacy of the former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary and the light that he shined on the world. Celebrated annually on his birthday July 18, Nelson Mandela International Day is a global call to action that celebrates the belief that every individual is capable of transforming the world.
For this holiday, we challenged employees to consider their beliefs around making an impact. In the example below, employees used the Cooleaf platform to connect with one another and share how they define a commitment to social purpose.
Additionally, simply taking the time to share information and resources about diverse national events in your communication channel of choice (such as Slack or Microsoft Teams) can be a great way to start a conversation and bring DEI into daily work life!