Birthday of Haile Selassie: Rastafari celebrate the final Ethiopian emperor

Dark-skinned man in Rasta hat and sunglasses, making peace sign with fingers

A Rastafari man. Photo courtesy of Pxhere

TUESDAY, JULY 23: Rastafari around the world—estimated to number 700,000 to 1 million—hold Nyabingi drumming sessions and celebrate the birthday anniversary of their God incarnate, Haile Selassie I. (Note: The belief that Selassie is God incarnate is not universally held; some Rastas regard Selassie as a messenger of God.) Born Ras Tafari Makonnen, Haile Selassie served as Ethiopia’s regent from 1916 to 1930 and emperor from 1930 to 1974.

TAFARI MAKONNEN: FROM MUD HUT TO PALACE

Beginnings were meager for this emperor-to-be, born in a mud hut in Ethiopia in 1892. Selassie—originally named Tafari Makonnen—was a governor’s son, assuming the throne of Ethiopia in a complex struggle for succession. The nation’s leaders favored Tafari for the role of emperor—and, in 1930, he was crowned. Selassie would become Ethiopia’s last emperor.

Years prior to Haile Selassie’s enthronement, American black-nationalist leader Marcus Garvey began preaching of a coming messiah who would lead the peoples of Africa, and the African diaspora, into freedom. When news of Selassie’s coronation reached Jamaica, it became evident to some that Selassie was this foretold of messiah. Beyond the prophesies in the book of Revelation and New Testament that Rastafari point to as proof of Selassie’s status, the emperor also could trace his lineage back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Rastafari pointed to Selassie as the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David and the King of Kings.

Did you know? The Rastafari receive their name from the combination of Ras—an honorific title, meaning “head”—and Tafari, part of Selassie’s birth name.

Selassie remained a lifelong Christian, but never reproached the Rastafari for their beliefs in him as the returned messiah. To this day, Rastafari rejoice on July 23, the anniversary of his birth.

TIME MAGAZINE AND THE WORLD: SELASSIE’S STORY

Magazine cover, man on front in fancy clothing of nobility

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

LEAGUE OF NATIONS—One of the most poignant chapters in Selassie’s life—and a key reason that he came to global attention—was an impassioned appeal for help that Selassie delivered to the League of Nations in 1936. In 1936, TIME magazine named him its Man of the Year.

The magazine’s “honor,” today, looks like nothing but ridicule for what TIME editors regarded as a foolish figure on the global stage. Dripping with sarcasm and openly racist, the TIME profile of Selassie included this description of him:

The astounding marvel is that Africa’s unique Museum of Peoples has produced a businessman—with high-pressure publicity, compelling sales talk, the morals of a patent medicine advertisement, a grasp of both savage and diplomatic mentality, and finally with plenty of what Hollywood calls “it.”

Selassie was in a life-and-death struggle with Italian aggression in his homeland. The TIME cover story appeared in January 1936. International opinions of Selassie changed dramatically that summer, when he made a passionate plea for help in a personal appearance before the League of Nations in Europe. His plea did not result in the help he sought, but the appeal now is considered a milestone in 20th century history. William Safire included the League address in his book, Great Speeches in American History.

NEWS: RASTAFARI PLEA FOR RELIGIOUS RECOGNITION FOR CANNABIS USE

Rastafari in the Bahamas are requesting state recognition and inclusion involving their use of cannabis in a sacramental manner in their communities, as was reported by Tribune 242. Sources report that Rasta priests in the Bahamas hold the opinion that, as occurred in Jamaica and Antigua, the government should issue a formal apology for the longstanding oppression placed upon Rastafari communities for their sacramental use of cannabis. Rather than risk arrest or job security for what Rastas regard as “a way of life” and their “sacrament,” those in the Bahamas are voicing requests for further national discussions on marijuana law.

Birthday of Haile Selassie: Rastafari celebrate his courage on global stage

1936 Haile Selassie as TIME magazine's Man of the YearSATURDAY, JULY 23: Rastafari far and wide hold Nyabingi drumming sessions and revel in the birthday anniversary of their God incarnate, Haile Selassie.

ORIGINS—Beginnings were meager for this emperor-to-be, born in a mud hut in Ethiopia, in 1892. Selassie—originally named Tafari Makonnen—was a governor’s son, assuming the throne of Ethiopia in a complex struggle for succession. The nation’s leaders favored Tafari for the role of emperor—and, in 1930, he was crowned. Selassie would become Ethiopia’s last emperor, and today, he is viewed as the messiah of the Rastafari. (Biography.com has more on Selassie’s life.)

Years prior to Haile Selassie’s enthronement, American black-nationalist leader Marcus Garvey began preaching of a coming messiah who would lead the peoples of Africa, and the African diaspora, into freedom. When news of Selassie’s coronation reached Jamaica, it became evident to some that Selassie was this foretold of messiah. (Wikipedia has details.) Beyond the prophesies in the Book of Revelation and New Testament that Rastafari point to as proof of Selassie’s status, the emperor also could trace his lineage back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Rastafari pointed to Selassie as the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David and the King of Kings.

Selassie remained a lifelong Christian, but never reproached the Rastafari for their beliefs in him as the returned messiah. To this day, Rastafari rejoice on July 23, the anniversary of his birth.

Did you know? The Rastafari receive their name from the combination of Ras—an honorific title, meaning “head”—and Tafari, part of Selassie’s birth name.

SELASSIE’S BITTERSWEET STORY

LEAGUE OF NATIONS—One of the most poignant chapters in Selassie’s life—and a key reason that he came to global attention—was an impassioned appeal for help that Selassie delivered to the League of Nations in 1936. It’s also the 80th anniversary of TIME magazine naming him its Man of the Year.

The magazine’s “honor,” today, looks like nothing but ridicule for what TIME editors regarded as a foolish figure on the global stage. Dripping with sarcasm and openly racist, the TIME profile of Selassie included this description of him:

The astounding marvel is that Africa’s unique Museum of Peoples has produced a businessman—with high-pressure publicity, compelling sales talk, the morals of a patent medicine advertisement, a grasp of both savage and diplomatic mentality, and finally with plenty of what Hollywood calls “it.”

Selassie was in a life-and-death struggle with Italian aggression in his homeland. The TIME cover story appeared in January 1936. International opinions of Selassie changed dramatically that summer when he made a passionate plea for help in a personal appearance before the League of Nations in Europe. His plea did not result in the help he sought, but the appeal now is considered a milestone in 20th century history. William Safire included the League address in his book, Great Speeches in American History.

After January, when TIME made fun of Selassie in its openly racist cover story, the world witnessed Italian armed forces brutally crushing Selassie’s Ethiopian army and conquering his country, declaring the nation to be the property of Italy. Selassie did not want to flee the country but did so for his own safety at the urging of Ethiopian leaders. He arrived in Geneva and delivered the plea to the League, excerpts of which were carried in newsreels around the world.

At one point, he declared:

I pray to Almighty God that He may spare nations the terrible sufferings that have just been inflicted on my people, and of which the chiefs who accompany me here have been the horrified witnesses.

The tragic aftermath of this speech was that the League did not help him, Fascists continued to take power in Europe and soon all of Europe was experiencing the “terrible sufferings” Selassie described.

GROUNDATION DAY—Each spring, Rastafari celebrate Groundation Day, marking Selassie’s triumphant visit to Jamaica in 1966—50 years ago this year. Some remarkable LIFE magazine photographs from that event are on display in the TIME website. They’re worth a look, partly because these photos by Lynn Pelham never ran in the American edition of LIFE. Now, we are able to look back at what the magazine describes this way:

The images capture something of the fervor and delight, as well as the barely restrained chaos, among thousands of believers upon seeing the man they considered a messiah—and whom countless others still view as a power-hungry fraud. Informal observations made by LIFE staffers who were there provide some fascinating insights into how the proceedings were viewed—hint: negatively—by at least some in the national press.

In notes that accompanied Pelham’s rolls of Ektachrome film to LIFE’s offices in New York just days after Selassie’s visit, for example, an editor for the magazine wrote privately to his colleagues that “the Rastafarians went wild on Selassie’s arrival. They broke police lines and swarmed around the emperor’s DC-6 [plane]. They kept touching his plane, yelling ‘God is here,’ and knocking down photographer Pelham, who got smacked. The Rastafarians fouled up the visit, as far as most Jamaicans were concerned. But Selassie seemed to love the attention these strange, wild-eyed, lawless and feared Jamaicans gave him.”

Interested in more? View a modern Rastafari celebration for Haile Selassie’s birthday here.

Anniversary: Rastafari, Civil Rights marks birthday of Marcus Garvey

“[Garvey] was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale … to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., June 1965

Painting of dark-skinned man with colorful background and quote

Marcus Garvey Square in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Mark Gstohl, courtesy of Flickr

MONDAY, AUGUST 17: A Black Nationalist who inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., united Malcom X’s parents and now has schools, colleges, highways and buildings honoring him across Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and United States is honored today, on the anniversary of his birth: the birthday of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.

Throughout his life, Marcus Garvey led the Black Nationalist movement by creating the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founding the Negro World newspaper as a major vehicle for communication and launching the Black Star Line, an international shipping company. Through the 1920s, Garvey’s public speeches contained mention of a “black king” who would soon be crowned in Africa and offer deliverance; the Rastafari believe Garvey to be prophetic, foretelling the crowing of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. For the Rastafari, Garvey is still seen as a religious prophet, similar to St. John the Baptist.

UNIA AND PAN-AFRICAN MOVEMENT

Born in Jamaica in 1887, Marcus Garvey learned to read in his father’s library and sought to unite Africans of the diaspora. The UNIA, formed in 1914, was the “broadest mass movement in African-American history,” created with a mission to provide economic and educational opportunities and inspiration for Africans of the diaspora. (Learn more from History.com and Biography.com.) The UNIA developed the Pan-African flag (colored red, black and green) to represent a race and movement. Though ultimately unsuccessful, Garvey worked hard to develop a colony for free blacks in Africa. (Wikipedia has details.) At its peak, the UNIA claimed millions of members.

GARVEY’S INFLUENCE: RASTAFARI & MORE

During his lifetime, Marcus Garvey also faced criticism from many quarters, including from many African-Americans. One of his critics was W.E.B Du Bois. Nonetheless, Garvey’s efforts fueled what eventually became the Civil Rights movement and the concept of a secular organization for blacks. Earl and Louise Little, parents of Malcolm X, met at a UNIA convention in Montreal; the Rastafari continue to view Garvey as a prophet. Garvey died in London in June of 1940.

Haile Selassie: Celebrating Bob Marley’s 70th on a Rastafari birthday

Colored headshot of Bob Marley laughing

Bob Marley brought international attention to the Rastafari movement. Photo by Jason H. Smith, courtesy of Flickr

THURSDAY, JULY 23: During what would have been the year of Bob Marley’s 70th birthday, the world celebrates the legend of a Reggae artist—and, for the Rastafari, the man who helped place their religion on the international stage. Today, the Rastafari acclaim the birthday of their messiah, Emperor Haile Selassie—a man referenced in lyrics of Marley’s songs. In Rastafari communities worldwide, Selassie’s birthday is met with Nyabingi drumming sessions, chanting and dancing. Born in a mud hut in Ethiopia in 1892, Selassie—named Tafari Makonnen at birth—was the son of a governor who would become the final emperor of Ethiopia.

Did you know? The Rastafari receive their name from the combination of Ras—an honorific title, meaning “head”—and Tafari, part of Selassie’s birth name.

Looking for more Marley and other artists’ peacemaking music? Check out modern-day interfaith peacemaker Dan Buttry’s column—complete with links to videos.

Rastafari point to several sources as proof of Selassie’s destiny: astrological occurrences at the time of Selassie’s birth, a lineage traceable to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the prophesies of Marcus Garvey and biblical passages relating to Ethiopia and Zion. The constellation of Leo, which represents the house of Judah, was in full effect during the birth of Selassie on July 23, 1892. Marcus Garvey had been preaching of a messiah who would lead the African people to freedom. Biblical text relays that “he will be called … conquering lion of the tribe of Judah.” (For a Rasta view, click here.) When news of Selassie’s assumption of the Ethiopian throne reached Jamaica in 1930, the Rastafari movement was born.

Are Rastas Christian? Many Rastas believe in Jesus and embrace the Bible. What sets Rastas apart from other Christians is their belief that Haile Selassie was (is) a messiah. During his lifetime, Haile Selassie remained an Ethiopian Christian.

NEWS: OBAMA VISITS MARLEY MUSEUM, FAMILY CONTINUES LEGEND

President Barack Obama visited The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, last April, and the museum has been receiving international media attention throughout the year of Marley’s 70th birth anniversary. Beyond Reggae, Marley wrote songs about war, revolution, protest, human rights and justice. Marley’s greatest hits collection, Legend, has been certified platinum 15 times, and the BBC named “One Love” the Song of the Millennium. This year, Billboard reviewed both the continued marketing of Marley’s image (he ranked No. 5 on Forbes’ 2014 Top Earning Dead Celebrity list) and the 10 protest songs that best exemplify his fight for social justice.

Interested in more? View a modern Rastafari celebration for Haile Selassie’s birthday here, and Time’s photos of Selassie’s 1966 visit to Jamaica here. Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s wife, converted to the Rasta faith after seeing Haile Selassie on his trip to Jamaica, claiming to have seen a stigmata print on his palm as he waved to the crowd. Rita influenced Bob in his conversion to Rastafari.

Ethiopians and Rastafari mark Enkutatash, New Year, 40th anniversary

Dark-skinned boy holding out orange flower  with yellow flowers in background

An Ethiopian New Year card. Photo courtesy of the International Livestock Research Institute and Flickr

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: Harvest and autumn themes take center stage in many September holidays and celebrations, but in Ethiopia, the opposite is true: Today is Enkutatash, the first day of the Ethiopian New Year and the end of the rainy season. Flowers are bursting into bloom in the fields, and young children gather bouquets to bring to friends. Enkutatash typically begins in church and leads to traditional shared meals, the exchange of New Year’s songs and greetings. (Wikipedia has details.) Many Ethiopians recall, today, the return of the Queen of Sheba from her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem.

Did you know? The Ethiopian calendar is based on the Coptic calendar, which was fixed to the Julian calendar in 25 BCE. The New Year date is August 29 on the Julian calendar—which, given the current 13-day gap between calendars—pegs Enkutatash as September 11 on the Gregorian calendar.

Beyond Ethiopia, many families around the world have begun marking Enkutatash. The Ethiopian African Millennium Group promoted a massive festival in 2007, and large celebrations have taken place in Washington, San Jose and Seattle. Long before the Western festivals for Enkutatash, though, the Rastafari—ardent believers in late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie as the Messiah—have marked this event, with Nyabinghi drumming sessions, shared meals and joy.

Hungry? Try an easy-to-follow recipe for traditional Enkutatash wat (stew), courtesy of In Culture Parent.

ANNIVERSARY OF EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE

Rastafari and Ethiopians may note tomorrow’s 40th anniversary of the ousting of Emperor Haile Selassie, by the Dergue junta. On September 12, 1974, reformist officers toppled the monarchy that had ruled Ethiopia for centuries. Emperor Haile Selassie—nicknamed Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings—could trace his lineage back thousands of years, to (many believe) the Queen of Sheba. The final emperor of Ethiopia had ruled 26 million subjects and gained the worship of growing numbers of Rastafari—many of whom still believe today.

Centennial of United Negro Improvement Association; birth of Marcus Garvey

Black-and-white photo of seated adult Marcus Garvey

Today, Rastafari and followers of Marcus Garvey celebrate his birth anniversary; this year, many also mark the centennial of the organization Garvey founded, the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17: Global celebrations, this summer, mark the centennial anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Exhibits in his name, lectures and events are drawing Rastafari devotees as well as families of Jamaican heritage and those interested in African-American history. In the midst of that observance, today marks the August 17, 1887, birth of Marcus Garvey.

Regarded as a prophet the likes of St. John the Baptist in the Rastafari religion, Garvey was born in Jamaica. During his lifetime, Garvey attracted millions of followers and built an enormously popular organization that honored African heritage in the Americas. Though his politics and viewpoints were regarded as controversial by many, Garvey earned the title of Jamaica’s first national hero and left an undeniable imprint on history.

LIFE AND TIMES:
THE STORY OF MARCUS GARVEY

Born the youngest of 11 children, Marcus Garvey developed a devotion to reading during childhood. After departing from Jamaica in 1910, Garvey worked as a newspaper editor, and began traveling; he attended college and, in 1914, organized the UNIA. As the organization grew, Garvey’s popularity soared—although opposition to his philosophies and ideas accompanied his success.

When the UNIA’s business, the Black Star Line, drew charges of mail fraud, the consequences would later haunt Garvey. Nonetheless, during that same time, the UNIA’s membership continued to grow—surpassing 4 million members. (Wikipedia has details.) Garvey tried to develop Liberia as a permanent homeland for the African Diaspora and spoke frequently on education, economics and independence.

During speeches in the 1920s, Garvey often spoke of looking to Africa for a black king who was to be crowned. When Haile Selassie I was crowned emperor of Ethiopia, many regarded Garvey as a prophet. The followers of this philosophy, who call themselves Rastafari, still believe Garvey to be a prophet.

In 1940, Garvey died in London, at age 52. Primarily, Garvey is memorialized globally for advancing a global mass empowerment focused on Africa and blacks of the Diaspora. Martin Luther King commented, in a speech in 1965, that Garvey “was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.”

IN THE NEWS:
UNIA CENTENNIAL

Last month, the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, D.C., praised the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the UNIA, duly noting Garvey’s heroic status in Jamaica and the continuing influence of his life in the lives of people in the Diaspora. (Atlanta Black Star reported.) This month, the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will be exhibiting a gallery of original photos, magazines, books and posters dedicated to Garvey’s cause and the UNIA. The exhibit will also showcase the UNIA’s current membership and activities. (Read more in this article.)

Interfaith Calendar: Religious and Cultural Observances

Read The Spirit reports on major holidays, festivals, milestones and other observances that shape community life around the world. As we approach these special dates, our columnist Stephanie Fenton reports fresh stories about the way each milestone is marked. Please remember: DATES and OBSERVANCES VARY. Contact us if you notice an error—or want to suggest a holiday we should include in our coverage.

Here is our 2020 list …

JANUARY 2020

1—Mary, Mother of God (Catholic Christian)

1—Feast of St. Basil (Orthodox Christian)

1—Gantan-sai (New Year) (Shinto)

5—Twelfth Night (Christian)

Ring-shaped cake with colorful candied fruits on top

A ring-shaped Epiphany cake, decorated with candied fruits. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6—Epiphany (Christian)

6—Theophany (Feast of the Epiphany) (Orthodox Christian)

6—Nativity of Christ (Armenian Orthodox)

7—Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian)

10 –New Year (Mahayana Buddhist)

12—Baptism of the Lord Jesus (Christian)

13—Maghi (Sikh)

18—Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Christian)

19—World Religion Day (Baha’i)

20—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

20—Timkat (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)

25—Chinese New Year

27—World Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day

29—Vasant Panchami (Hindu)

FEBRUARY 2020

2—Candlemas / Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Christian)

2—Imbolc / Lughnassadh (Wicca / Pagan)

2—Groundhog Day

2—Feast of St. Brighid of Kildare (Celtic Christian)

2—Four Chaplains Sunday (Interfaith)

3—Setusban-sai (Shinto)

5—Chinese New Year (Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist)

8—Nirvana Day (Buddhist)

10—Tu B’Shevat (Jewish)

14—St. Valentine’s Day (Christian)

15—Nirvana Day (Buddhist, Jain)

17—Presidents’ Day

21—Maha Shivaratri (Hindu)

23—Meatfare Sunday / Transfiguration Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

25—Shrove Tuesday (Christian)

26—Intercalary Days begin (Ayyam-i-Ha) (Baha’i)

26—Ash Wednesday / Lent begins (Christian)

29—Leap Day

MARCH 2020

1—Intercalary Days end (Baha’i)

1—Cheesefare Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

2—Clean Monday / Great Lent begins (Orthodox Christian)

2—Nineteen Day Fast (Baha’i)

3—New Year (Hindu)

6—National Day of Unplugging

8—Orthodox Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

8—Daylight Saving Time begins

9—Magha Puja Day (Buddhist)

9—Sunset, Purim (Jewish)

9—Holi (Hindu)

10—Hola Mohalla (Sikh)

13—Birthday of L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology)

17—St. Patrick’s Day (Christian)

19—St. Joseph’s Day (Christian)

19—Lord’s Evening Meal (Jehovah’s Witness Christian)

20—Equinox

20—Ostara / Mabon (Wicca/Pagan)

20—Naw-Ruz (New Year) (Baha’i)

21—International Day of Nowruz

21—Naw-Ruz / Norooz (New Year) (Persian/Zoroastrian)

22—Lailat al Miraj (Islam)

25—Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Christian)

25—Ramayana (Hindu)

April 2020

2—Ramanavami (Hindu)

5—Palm Sunday (Christian)

8—Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu)

8—Sunset, Lailat al Bara’ah (Islam)

8—Sunset, Passover (Pesach) (Jewish)

9—New Year (Theravadin Buddhist)

9—Mahavir Jayanti (Jain)

9—Maundy Thursday (Christian)

10—Good Friday (Christian)

12—Easter (Christian)

12—Palm Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

13—Easter Monday

14—Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) (Sikh)

17—Holy Friday (Orthodox Christian)

18—Lazarus Saturday (Orthodox Christian)

19—Pascha (Easter) (Orthodox Christian)

20—First Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

21—Palm Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

21—Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) (Jewish)

22—Earth Day

23—Sunset, Ramadan begins (Islam)

27—Mahavir Jayanti (Jain)

28—Yom HaZikaron (Jewish)

29—Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Jewish)

28—Ninth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

MAY 2020

1—Beltane / Samhain (Wicca / Pagan)

1—Twelfth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

5—Cinco de Mayo

7—Visakha Puja (Buddha Day) (Buddhist)

7—National Day of Prayer, U.S. (Interfaith)

10—Mother’s Day

12—Lag B’Omer (Jewish)

19—Laylat al Qadr (Islam)

21—Ascension of Jesus (Christian)

23—Declaration of the Bab (Baha’i)

23—Sunset, Eid al-Fitr (Islam)

25—Memorial Day

28—Sunset, Shavuot (Jewish)

28—Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)

29—Ascension of Jesus (Orthodox Christian)

31—Pentecost (Christian)

JUNE 2020

7—Pentecost (Orthodox Christian)

7—Trinity Sunday (Christian)

9—St. Columba of Iona (Celtic Christian)

11—Corpus Christi (Catholic Christian)

14—All Saints (Orthodox Christian)

19—Sacred Heart of Jesus (Catholic Christian)

19—New Church Day (Swedenborgian Christian)

19—Juneteenth

21—Father’s Day

21—Solstice

21—Litha / Yule (Wicca / Pagan)

JULY 2020

4—Independence Day

5—Asalha Puja Day (Buddhist)

9—Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha’i)

9—The Three Weeks begins (Jewish)

14—Flag Day

23—Crowing of Haile Selassi I (Rastafarian)

24—Pioneer Day (Mormon Christian)

28—Hajj (Islam)

29—Sunset, Waqf al Arafa (Islam)

30—Tisha B’Av (Jewish)

30—Sunset, Eid al-Adha (Islam)

AUGUST 2020

1—Lammas (Christian)

1—Lughnassadh / Imbolc) (Wicca / Pagan)

1—Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus (Orthodox Christian)

3—Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)

6—Transfiguration of the Lord (Orthodox Christian)

9—World Indigenous Peoples’ Day

11—Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

13—Obon (Ullambana) (Buddhist/Shinto)

15—Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Catholic Christian)

15—Dormition of the Theotokos (Orthodox Christian)

19—Sunset, Hijra (New Year) (Islam)

22—Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu)

29—Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Christian)

28—Sunset, Ashura (Islam)

SEPTEMBER  2020

1—Ecclesiastical year begins (Orthodox Christian)

7—Labor Day

8—Nativity of Virgin Mary (Christian)

11—Patriot Day

14—Elevation of the Life Giving Cross (Holy Cross) (Christian)

18—Sunset, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)

21—Paryushan Parva (Jain)

23—Equinox

23—Mabon / Ostara (Wicca / Pagan)

27—Meskel (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)

27—Sunset, Yom Kippur (Jewish)

29—Michael and All Angels (Christian)

OCTOBER 2020

2—Sunset, Sukkot (Jewish)

4—St. Francis Day (Blessing of the Animals) (Catholic Christian)

9—Sunset, Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)

10—Sunset, Simchat Torah (Jewish)

12—Thanksgiving (Canada) (Interfaith)

12—Columbus Day

12—Indigenous People’s Day

17—Navaratri (Hindu)

18—St. Luke, Apostle and Evangelist (Christian)

18—Birth of the Bab (Baha’i)

19—Birth of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)

22—Christ the King (Christian)

25—Reformation Day (Protestant Christian)

25—Dasara (Hindu)

29—Reformation Day (Protestant Christian)

28—Sunset, Mawlid an Nabi (Islam)

31—All Hallows Eve (Christian)

NOVEMBER   2020

1—Daylight Saving Time ends

1—All Saints Day (Christian)

1—Samhain / Beltane (Wicca / Pagan)

2—All Souls Day (Catholic Christian)

11—Veterans Day

13—Jain New Year (Jain)

14—Diwali (Deepavali) (Hindu / Sikh / Jain)

15—Nativity Fast begins (Orthodox Christian)

22—Christ the King (Christian)

25—Day of the Covenant (Baha’i)

26—Thanksgiving (U.S.) (Interfaith)

27—Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha (Baha’i)

29—Advent begins (Christian)

DECEMBER 2020

6—St. Nicholas Day (Christian)

7—Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

8—Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) (Buddhist)

8—Immaculate Conception of Mary (Catholic Christian)

10—Sunset, Hanukkah (Jewish)

12—Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Catholic Christian)

16—Posadas Navidenas (Hispanic Christian)

21—Solstice

21—Yule / Litha (Wicca / Pagan)

24—Christmas Eve (Christian)

25—Christmas (Christian)

25—Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian)

26—Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) (Zoroastrian)

26—St. Stephen’s Day (Christian)

27—Holy Family (Catholic Christian)

28—Holy Innocents (Christian)

31—Watch Night (Christian)

 

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NOTE TO READERS

We continue to update this list, month by month. As you read the list, you may discover we have missed a fascinating observance or detail. If so, please email us at [email protected].