Hinduism (Tamil people in India and Sri Lanka)
Pongal is a four-day harvest festival celebrated as a giving ceremony for the year’s harvest.
Photo: Jason Chung/Flickr CC2.0
Throughout the year around the world people come together in recognition, commemoration and celebration of significant national and international dates. The Diversity calendar provides some further information about these significant dates. By acknowledging and celebrating these days we can foster a more inclusive culture and increase the visibility of Diversity within the Faculty of Arts.
If there are other national and internationally recognised dates you would like us to include in the Diversity Calendar, please email Arts Students Programs.
Pongal is a four-day harvest festival celebrated as a giving ceremony for the year’s harvest.
Photo: Jason Chung/Flickr CC2.0
It is observed in over 80 countries. The Day aims to foster interfaith understanding and harmony by emphasising the common elements underlying all religions.
The Day originated among American Baha’i’s and inspired by the religion’s but it has taken a life of its own. More information...
For some Australians, particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 26 January, commonly celebrated as Australia Day is not a day of celebration. Rather, it is seen as a day that commemorates the invasion by British settlers of lands already owned.
World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) was conceived to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence. WIHW was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010. In its resolution, the General Assembly pointed out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. More information...
On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the National Apology to Australia’s Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the injustices of past government policies, particularly to the Stolen Generations. More information...
Photo: butupa/Flickr CC2.0
12-22 February – date varies each year
The Spring Festival marks a new year on the Lunar Calendar. It is celebrated in several Asian countries. Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist practitioners celebrate this festival.
Photo: Chris Phutully/The Urban List
The day is reserved for the celebration of language diversity and variety worldwide. It purposes ‘to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world’. More information...
Photo: Fahad Faisal/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
27 (or 28 February)
Also known as Sangha Day, this day celebrates the community of followers of the teachings of Buddha (Theravada tradition).
Photo: Tevaprapas/Wikimedia Commons CC3.0
The day celebrates the right of everyone to live a full and productive life – and live it with dignity. Zero Discrimination Day highlights how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace and, above all, a movement for change. More information...
A global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.
UN Women, Australia has more information about this year’s celebration on their website. More information...
18 March (date varies)
World Sleep Day (the Friday before the northern hemisphere vernal equinox) is an annual event organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society since 2008.
The goal is to celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep and to draw society’s attention to the burden of sleep problems and their medical, educational, and social aspects, and to promote the prevention and management of sleep disorders. More information...
The campaign seeks to close the gap in health and life expectancy outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.
This year marks a decade since the campaign begun. See ANTAR’s website to take the pledge, donate or register an activity. More information...
19-20 March (date varies with countries)
Naw Ruz is the Baha’i New Year festival, marking the first day in the Baha’i calendar. It falls at the spring equinox, although it has been fixed on 21 March for countries outside the Middle East. It also marks the end of the 19-day Baha’i Fast and symbolises the new life of spring. Work is suspended on this day.
Photo: Picasa Web Albums/Wikimedia Commons CC3.0
On this day, people all around the world celebrate the lives and achievements of people with Down syndrome. March 21st provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the rights and inclusion of people with Down syndrome around the world.
Each year Down Syndrome International creates a new official #LotsOfSocks design, and the socks are sold to raise awareness and to raise vital funds so that they may continue their work supporting people with Down syndrome around the world. More information...
Photo: Tama Leaver/Flickr CC2.0
Also known as ‘End racism day’, it is ‘observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960’. More information...
Photo: Public Services International/Flickr CC2.0
Cultural Diversity Week features a program of festivals and events highlighting Victoria’s cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. Cultural Diversity Week is held in March to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Harmony Day on 21 March. More information...
27 March (to evening of 4 April)
Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar. Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.
Trans Day of Visibility is an annual international celebration of trans pride and awareness, recognising trans and gender diverse experiences and achievements. More information...
Photo: Ted Eytan CC4.0
The day ‘recognises and celebrates the rights of persons with autism’.
The Day aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism and others living with autism face every day. Tickets are on sale for AUStism 2021 events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. More information...
Also known as Holy Friday; it is a religious and national holiday in Australia and is held on the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day, Christians commemorate the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his death by crucifixion.
Also known as Holy Friday; it is a religious and national holiday in Australia and is held on the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day, Christians commemorate the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Photo: Lawrence OP/Flickr CC2.0
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is a day set aside to remember the millions of Jews who died as victims of the Nazis during World War II and emphasises respect for human dignity – observed by many people of Jewish and other faiths.
Also known as the Water Festival. The festival is celebrated in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Vaisakhi is the most important occasion in the Sikh calendar. The festival commemorates 1699 – the year that Guru Gobind Singh – the revered Tenth Guru of Sikhs laid the foundation of Khalsa Panth. Sikhs come together on Vaisakhi to strengthen their practice of Sikh ideals and values, including praying and working to achieve prosperity for the whole human race. More information...
Photo: Michael Clark/Wikimedia Commons CC2.0
13 April (month long)
The holy month of Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad. Throughout this month, Muslims fast during daylight hours, celebrate an evening meal with family and friends, pray fervently and show charity to the poor.
The date varies every year as per the Islamic Calendar. The Australian National Imams Council decides the start and end of Ramadan for Australian Muslims. More information...
Photo: rana ossama/Flickr CC2.0
19 April (to 5 May)
‘Midsumma is Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural organisation, bringing together a diverse mix of LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities and audiences’.
Due to COVID-19, the festival will return between 19 April and 5 May in 2021. Midsumma Pride March 2021 will be at Fitzroy St, St Kilda on Sunday 23 May 2021. More information...
Photo: Midsumma festival/Wikimedia Commons CC3.0
This festival celebrates the day of Mahavira’s birth. Jains will gather in temples to hear readings of the teachings of Mahavira. Images of Mahavira are paraded through the streets with much pomp and ceremony.
Photo: Francis Harry Roy S/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
‘ANZAC’ stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name continues to this day. More information...
Photo: Adam.J.W.C./Wikimedia Commons CC2.5
Also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan.
Photo: Strawberry/Flickr CC2.0
People are encouraged to wear the rainbow on May 17 and use the day as a ‘catalyst for creating safe spaces for LGBTIQ people all year round!’. More information...
Photo: RUOK?/Flickr CC2.0
It became UNESCO’s responsibility at the close of the 1960s to stimulate the process of worldwide reflection on how cultural policies could be integrated with development strategies. This led to the declaration of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997). The aims of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development are to acknowledge the cultural dimension of development, affirm and enrich cultural identity, broaden participation in cultural life and promote international cultural cooperation. More information...
Photo: FTTUB/Flickr CC2.0
26 May (dates vary among Buddhist communities)
Also known as Visakha Puja, Wesak, Buddha’s Birthday, Saga Dawa Duchen; Vesak celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha on the one day. It is recognised internationally by the UN ‘to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity’. More information...
Photo: Kamal Sellehuddin/Wikimedia Commons CC2.0
National Sorry Day provides an opportunity for people to come together and share the journey towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities.
It is a significant day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly for Stolen Generations survivors. The idea of holding a ‘Sorry Day’ was first mentioned as one of the 54 recommendations of the Bringing them home report, which was tabled in Parliament on 26 May 1997. This report was the result of a two-year National Inquiry into the forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families, communities and cultural identity. On 26 May 1998, the first ‘Sorry Day’ was held in Sydney, it is now commemorated across Australia, with many thousands of people participating in memorials and commemorative events, in honour of the Stolen Generations. More information...
Photo: butupa/Flickr CC2.0
27 May - 4 June
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
The Week’s celebrations commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey-the anniversaries of the successful 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo Decision. More information...
Every June, Pride Month celebrates the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. It’s a time to reflect on just how far civil rights have progressed in half a century and an opportunity to protest discrimination and violence.
Photo: LLs/Wikimedia Commons CC2.0
The Day ‘commemorates the courageous efforts of Eddie Koiki Mabo to overturn the fiction of ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no-one), the legal concept that Australia and the Torres Strait Islands were not owned by Indigenous peoples because they did not ‘use’ the land in ways Europeans believed constituted some kind of legal possession’.
The decision has paved the way for Native Title legislation. More information...
‘The Day celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognise their resilience in rebuilding their lives. It shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilise political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive’. More information...
Photo: Biggestkartal/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
Since early 1945, more than seven million people have come to Australia as new settlers, including around 800 000 people under humanitarian programs, Initially as displaced persons and more recently as refugees. More information...
Photo: John Englart/Wikimedia Commons CC2.0
The Coming of the Light is celebrated annually by Torres Strait Islander peoples. It marks the adoption of Christianity through island communities during the late nineteenth century.
Religious and cultural ceremonies are held by Torres Strait Islander Christians across the Torres Strait and on the mainland to commemorate this day.
National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is an excellent opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. More information...
Held precisely in between International Men’s Day and International Women’s Day. Non-binary is an umbrella term for any number of gender identities that sit within, outside of, across or between the spectrum of the male and female binary.
The day was proclaimed in 2011 by the UNGA ‘with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.’ More information...
Photo: Julie Kertesz/Flickr CC2.0
NAICD is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.
It was first observed by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) in 1988. Each year SNAICC produces and sends out resources to help celebrations for NAICD. More information...
Photo: mingzhuxia/Flickr CC2.0
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on 9 August each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. This event also recognises the achievements and contributions that Indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
Photo: HalanTul/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. The commemoration will take the form of a podcast-style discussion that is hosted by youth for youth, together with independently organized commemorations around the world that recognize the importance of youth participation in political, economic and social life and processes. More information...
Photo: Michael Foley/Flickr CC2.0
LGBTIQA+ awareness day – wear it Purple strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people. More information...
Photo: Scott Robinson/Flickr CC2.0
This festival is one of the most important events in the Hindu calendar. It celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, a Hindu deity, the eighth avatar of the God Vishnu. Worship of Krishna is characteristically expressed in dance and song.
Photo: Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Belur Math/Flickr CC2.0
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival, commemorates the creation of the world. A synagogue ritual is the blowing of the Shofar, a ram’s horn trumpet. Apples are dipped in honey as a symbol of the sweet New Year that lies ahead. Work is not permitted.
Photo: Yair Aronshtam/Wikimedia Commons CC2.0
AU Day offers an occasion to promote the African Union and its activities all over the African continent and in the world.
Photo: William Murphy/Flickr CC2.0
R U OK? inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. More information...
Photo: RUOK?/Flickr CC2.0
Also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, characterised by repentance and forgiveness. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
Photo: US National Archives/Public domain
‘International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time this 18 September, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value’. More information...
Photo: Mike Alewitz/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
The National Week of Deaf People (NWDP) is an opportunity for Deaf people to: Celebrate their community, language, culture and history; Recognise their achievements; Make the public aware of their local, state and national Deaf communities.
Be aware that many in the Deaf community do not identify deafness with disability, but rather as ‘capital D’ deaf culture ... so there are some important sensitivities to how this might be presented (Professor Keith McVilly). More information...
Mid-Autumn Festival, or “Mooncake Festival”, is a celebration of the harvest and the Autumn season at the time of the full moon. This celebration is observed in Australia, mostly by east and southeast Asian people.
Photo: Karen/Flickr CC2.0
International Day of Older Persons is observed every year on October 1. The day aims to raise awareness of the impact of an aging population and the need to ensure people can grow old with dignity and to elevate consciousness about points which are affecting the aged, like COVID-19, senescence and elder abuse. More information...
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. More information...
Photo: United Nations Photo/Flickr CC2.0
4-10 October (official day 10 Oct)
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. More information...
World Cerebral Palsy Day is a movement of people with Cerebral Palsy and their families, and the organisations that support them, in more than 75 countries. Our vision is to ensure that children and adults with Cerebral Palsy (CP) have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society. More information...
World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. More information...
Photo: IAPB/VISION 2020/Flickr CC2.0
Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is a two-day holiday that reunites the living and dead. Families create ofrendas (Offerings) to honour their departed family members that have passed. These altars are decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favourite foods and drinks of the one being honoured. The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers, smell their foods and join in the celebrations! More information...
Photo: Day of the Dead Facebook
4 November (date varies)
Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.
In Australia, the Hindu Council hosts a yearly celebration at Parramatta Park in western Sydney. More information...
Photo: Khokarahman/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
International Day for Tolerance is observed on 16 November to ‘affirm that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human’. More information...
Women's rights activists have observed 25 November as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. This date was selected to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).
The UN General Assembly have adopted a number of resolutions to pave a path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide. More information...
Photo: UN Women/Flickr CC2.0
In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. More information...
Photo: Montecruz Foto, Flickr
29 November - 6 December
Also known as Chanukah, the festival commemorates the recapture and rededication by the Jewish people of the Jerusalem Temple. It lasts for eight days and nights, and each night an additional candle is lit.
Photo: Maor X/Wikimedia Commons CC4.0
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year. It raises awareness across the world and in the community about HIV and AIDS. It is a day for the community to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died of AIDS related conditions or other conditions associated with HIV. More information...
Photo: CDC Global/Flickr CC2.0
Aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions. More information...
Photo: UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. More information...
On 4 December 2000, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants Day (A/RES/55/93).
The day was selected to mark the anniversary of the 1990 adoption by UNGA of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (A/RES/45/158). More information...
Photo: Montecruz Foto/Flickr
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, peace on earth and goodwill.
Photo: Jamie McCaffrey/Flickr