The revolutionary spirit in July continues into August with a large amount of independence days taking place around the world as many countries threw off their colonial shackles during this month. The biggest religious festival in August this year is the major Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha. 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 11th: 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.
Notable Holidays in August
August 1st: 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 ‘Fête 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.
August 1st: 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.
August 15th: 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.
August 15th: 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.
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||Benin||Independence Day: Independence from France in 1960|
|Aug 01||Switzerland||National Day: Alliance against the Holy Roman Empire 1291, between Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden|
|Aug 04||Cook Islands||Constitution Day: Self-government in free association with New Zealand in 1965|
|Aug 05||Burkina Faso||Independence Day: Independence from France in 1960 and Change of name from Upper Volta in 1984|
|Aug 06||Bolivia||National Day: Proclamation of Republic (independent from Spain) in 1825|
|Aug 06||Jamaica||Independence Day: The Colony of Jamaica’s independence from the UK on 6 August 1962|
|Aug 07||Ivory Coast||Independence Day: Independence from France in 1960|
|Aug 09||Singapore||National Day: Singapore became independent from the Federation of Malaysia on 9 Aug 1965|
|Aug 10||Ecuador||National Day: Proclamation of independence from Spain in 1809|
|Aug 11||Chad||Independence Day: Independence from France in 1960|
|Aug 14||Pakistan||Independence Day: Marks Pakistan’s independence from British rule in 1947|
|Aug 15||India||Independence Day: On August 15, 1947, India became a dominion within the British Commonwealth|
|Aug 15||Liechtenstein||Liechtenstein State Celebration: Commemorates the birthday of Prince Franz Josef II as well as the Feast of the Assumption|
|Aug 15||Republic of the Congo||National Day: Marks Independence from France in 1960|
|Aug 15||South Korea||Liberation Day: Gwangbokjeol. Liberation from Japanese rule in 1945|
|Aug 17||Gabon||National Day: Independence from France in 1960|
|Aug 17||Indonesia||Proclamation of Independence day: Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan R.I. Independence from Japan in 1945|
|Aug 19||Afghanistan||Independence Day: Independence from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs in 1919|
|Aug 24||Ukraine||Independence Day: Independence from the Soviet Union 1991|
|Aug 25||Uruguay||Independence Day: Dia de la Independencia. Declaration of independence from Brazil 1825|
|Aug 27||Moldova||Independence Day: Declaration of independence from the Soviet Union 1991|
|Aug 30||Turks and Caicos Islands||Constitution Day: The islands adopted a constitution on August 30, 1976|
|Aug 31||Kyrgyzstan||Independence Day: On 31 August 1991, the Kyrgyz parliament declared independence from the Soviet Union|
|Aug 31||Malaysia||Merdeka Day: Hari Merdeka. Independence (within the Commonwealth) from the United Kingdom in 1957|
|Aug 31||Trinidad and Tobago||Independence Day: Marks independence from the UK in 1962|
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 organization.
|7th||National Night Out Day||Discussion: What is your favorite night out?|
|12th||National Middle Child Day||Poll: Are you a middle child?|
|12th||International Youth Day||Action: Tell someone under 18 what you do and why it is important.|
|15th||National Relaxation Day||Discussion: What’s the best way to relax?|
|16th||National Tell a Joke Day||Discussion: Share a one-liner joke – keep it clean!|
|26th||National Dog Day||Gallery: Post a picture of your dog|