Many historical and religious observances and holidays are celebrated during October. It is a time to educate ourselves about the cultures and events that are close to our friends, family and community members.
LGBTQ History Month
Although Pride Month is recognized in June, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) History Month gets the spotlight in October. Throughout the month, historical events and achievements of LBGTQ people are celebrated.
First created in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri, LGBTQ History Month was originally observed as a commemoration and call to action. A year later, the General Assembly of the National Education Association officially dotted the month on a list of celebratory months. October was selected to accompany National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 and the anniversary of the first march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights on Oct. 14, 1979.
LBGTQ History Month quickly grew into a period where LGBTQ role models are highlighted, and communities come together in support of LGBTQ youth. Many people also participate in parades or events to promote a loving and educational environment.
This year, Yom Kippur will begin on October 4 just before sunset until October 5 after nightfall. The holiest day of the year in Judaism is also known as the Day of Atonement. The day is often recognized by people fasting, refrain from washing, applying lotion and wearing leather footwear. Much of Yom Kippur is spent in synagogue praying for forgiveness. Then, many people break the fast by joining together with friends and family for a meal.
Yom Kippur follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. As history tells it, Yom Kippur took place months after the people of Israel left Egypt and arrived at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Moses saw his people worshipping a golden calf when descending from the mountain and destroyed the tablets. After climbing back to the top of the mountain again, Moses received forgiveness from God on the 10th day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish Calendar. The 10th day of Tishrei has been called Yom Kippur.
Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali is one of the most celebrated holidays in India or by Hindus. The festival is celebrated over five days and starts on October 23 of this year. Dhanteras commemorates the first day, a time when Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to provide wealth and well-being. The third day of Diwali, Lakshmi-puja, is dedicated to the propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi. Throughout the festival people of all ages light lamps, decorate the house, burst firecrackers and enjoy a feast together. The lights are seen as a way to combat negative forces such as lust, anger, envy and greed. Diwali is one of the only few Hindu festivals celebrated in every part of India.
Other October Observances
National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Celebrates the contributions America’s workers with disabilities have made while promoting the support of equal labor rights.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Raises awareness for the impact of breast cancer.
National Polish American Heritage Month: Commemorates the month Polish settlers first arrived in America in 1608.
Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day raises awareness of the impact of mental health issues and highlights efforts that support mental health.
Oct. 10: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, formerly called Columbus Day, honors the indigenous people of North America.
Oct. 21: LGBTQ+ Spirit Day brings attention to LGBTQ youth and encourages people to speak out against bullying. Many wear purple on this day in support.