January Diversity Calendar

African-American Events, Asian New Year, Christmas in January, and More

By Richard T. Alpert, Ph.D., President, Diversity Resources, Inc.

African-American Events

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
Born on January 15th, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is celebrated on the following Monday, January 16, 2012. Dr. King was the preeminent leader of the United States civil rights movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, and in the use of non-violence in the pursuit of social justice. He was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He spoke out against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, and was preparing to lead a massive Poor People's March on Washington when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Events Ending of Slavery
January is a key month in African-American history, marking two events that helped slavery in North America. On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the Confederate states. That same day in 1804 marked Haiti’s independence from France, a result of the only successful slave revolt in history. For a complete list of upcoming diversity events, please see our award-winning 18-month multicultural calendar


Chinese New Year and a Celebration of Spring
The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year for roughly 1/5th of the world’s population. Celebrated by Chinese worldwide, the first day of the Year of the Dragon falls on January 23. Also known as the Spring Festival, it marks the end of winter. And those of the Hindu faith will welcome spring with Vasant Panchami on January 28, celebrating Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art.

Christmas in January?
Just when we thoughts we had finished the Christmas holiday and celebrated the New Year, much of the world had yet to do so. Coptic Christians in Egypt and Armenian Christians celebrated Christmas on January 6, while those following the Eastern Orthodox rite (Greek, Russian, and Ukrainian Orthodox) celebrated on January 7.


Islam – Arbaeen
Arbaeen marks the end of the traditional 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali. Ibn Ali was grandson of Islam's prophet Muhammad and third Imam of the Shi'a Muslims. For Shi'a Muslims, who represent the majority in such countries as Iraq and Iran, Arbaeen is a day of commemoration and pilgrimage to the shrine of Hussein at Karbala, Iraq. For a complete list of upcoming religious events affecting the workplace, see our best-selling 18-month cultural diversity calendar.


Independence and National Days: Australia to Africa
On January 26, Australians will engage in nationwide Australia Day festivities marking its unique founding as a penal colony to relieve crowding in British prisons. The first prisoners arrived on that date in 1788. Formerly known as Foundation Day or Anniversary Day, the event has been celebrated since 1817.

A number of countries celebrate gaining national independence during this month. On January 11, Morocco will enjoy Independence Manifesto Day. On that date in 1944, it declared independence from France. On January 18, Tunisia marks the unseating of its monarchy in 1957.

For a complete list of upcoming business closures at home and abroad, please see our best-selling 18-month diversity calendar.