Gladiolus is the traditional flower of August.

August 2018 Diversity Review

Cultural Diversity

Like July there is a revolutionary spirit in the air in August with a large amount of independence days taking place around the world as many countries threw off their colonial shackles during this month. In 2018, the difference between the Islamic calendar and the Western calendar means August features the main Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha for the first time since 1981. Another key religious festival is the widely observed but not well known Christian festival of Assumption.

Month info: Originally called Sextilis by the Romans. In 8 BC it was renamed in honor of Augustus. It was chosen to honour his victories that took place in this month. The Anglo-Saxons called August “weod-monath” (weed month).

Featured Holiday in August

August 22: Eid al Adha

Eid al-Adha concludes the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid al-Adha lasts for three days and commemorates Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son.

The same story appears in the Bible and is familiar to Jews and Christians. One key difference is that Muslims believe the son was Ishmael rather than Isaac as told in the Old Testament.

According to the Quran, Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son when a voice from heaven stopped him and allowed him to make something else as a ‘great sacrifice’. In the Old Testament, it is a ram that is sacrificed instead of the son.

In Islam, Ishmael is regarded as a prophet and an ancestor of Muhammad.

During the feast of Eid Al Adha, Muslims re-enact Ibrahim’s obedience by sacrificing a cow or ram. The family will eat about a third of the meal a third goes to friends and relatives, and the remaining third is donated to the poor and needy.

The giving of charity in the form of money, food or clothes to the homeless or poor is another key tradition of Eid al Adha.

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Notable Holidays in August

August 1: Swiss National Day

On 1st August 1291, three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter, which is seen as the foundation of Switzerland.

In German it is known as ‘Schweizer Bundesfeier’ ; in French as ‘FĂȘte nationale Suisse’; in Italian as ‘Festa nazionale svizzera’ and Romansh as ‘ Fiasta naziunala Svizra’.

It was in 1891 that the date of Swiss National day was first decided upon, though it took over a hundred years before the Swiss decided to have a vote and give themselves the day off. Following the vote in September 1993, the day became an official national holiday in 1994.

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August 1: Emancipation Day

This holiday marks the end of slavery in the British Empire.

It is a public holiday in several Caribbean countries and though the holiday commemorates events that took place on 1 August 1834, it may be celebrated in different days in these countries.

Slavery was finally abolished throughout the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which came into effect on 1 August 1834. The territories controlled at that time by the East India Company, Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) and St. Helen’s were excluded. Slavery was not abolished in these regions until 1843.

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August 15: Indian Independence Day

Indian Independence Day is always celebrated on 15 August. It is the National Day of India.

Also known as ‘I-Day’, this public holiday marks 15 August 1947, when India became a dominion within the Commonwealth.

Friction between Hindus and Muslims led the British to partition British India, creating East and West Pakistan.

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The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is a very important day in the Catholic religion. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin, the mother of Jesus Christ.

This feast day commemorates two events – the departure of Mary from this life and the assumption of her body into heaven.

The Church’s official doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven. This is why there are no relics for Mary as according to the Catholic Church, she didn’t die and leave a body.

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National Days in August

25 countries have their national days in August. How many people in the company do you know from each country? Remember to wish them a happy national day!

Aug 01 BeninIndependence Day: Independence from France in 1960
Aug 01 SwitzerlandNational Day: Alliance against the Holy Roman Empire 1291, between Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden
Aug 04 Cook IslandsConstitution Day: Self-government in free association with New Zealand in 1965
Aug 05 Burkina FasoIndependence Day: Independence from France in 1960 and Change of name from Upper Volta in 1984
Aug 06 BoliviaNational Day: Proclamation of Republic (independent from Spain) in 1825
Aug 06 JamaicaIndependence Day: The Colony of Jamaica’s independence from the UK on 6 August 1962
Aug 07 Ivory CoastIndependence Day: Independence from France in 1960
Aug 09 SingaporeNational Day: Singapore became independent from the Federation of Malaysia on 9 Aug 1965
Aug 10 EcuadorNational Day: Proclamation of independence from Spain in 1809
Aug 11 ChadIndependence Day: Independence from France in 1960
Aug 14 PakistanIndependence Day: Marks Pakistan’s independence from British rule in 1947
Aug 15 IndiaIndependence Day: On August 15, 1947, India became a dominion within the British Commonwealth
Aug 15 LiechtensteinLiechtenstein State Celebration: Commemorates the birthday of Prince Franz Josef II as well as the Feast of the Assumption
Aug 15 Republic of the CongoNational Day: Marks Independence from France in 1960
Aug 15 South KoreaLiberation Day: Gwangbokjeol. Liberation from Japanese rule in 1945
Aug 17 GabonNational Day: Independence from France in 1960
Aug 17 IndonesiaProclamation of Independence day: Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan R.I. Independence from Japan in 1945
Aug 19 AfghanistanIndependence Day: Independence from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs in 1919
Aug 24 UkraineIndependence Day: Independence from the Soviet Union 1991
Aug 25 UruguayIndependence Day: Dia de la Independencia. Declaration of independence from Brazil 1825
Aug 27 MoldovaIndependence Day: Declaration of independence from the Soviet Union 1991
Aug 30 Turks and Caicos IslandsConstitution Day: The islands adopted a constitution on August 30, 1976
Aug 31 KyrgyzstanIndependence Day: On 31 August 1991, the Kyrgyz parliament declared independence from the Soviet Union
Aug 31 MalaysiaMerdeka Day: Hari Merdeka. Independence (within the Commonwealth) from the United Kingdom in 1957
Aug 31 Trinidad and TobagoIndependence Day: Marks independence from the UK in 1962

August Observances

Throughout the month, there are days set aside to observe all sorts of events, some serious and some not so serious. These days can provide interesting ways to engage employees in diversity issues. The table below shows a selection of these days with some ideas how you could use them within your organisation.

7thNational Night Out DayDiscussion: What is your favorite night out?
12thNational Middle Child DayPoll: Are you a middle child?
12thInternational Youth Day  Action: Tell someone under 18 what you do and why it is important.
15thNational Relaxation DayDiscussion: What’s the best way to relax?
16thNational Tell a Joke DayDiscussion: Share a one-liner joke – keep it clean!
26thNational Dog DayGallery: Post a picture of your dog