This year, July is a relatively quiet month for international holidays until the very last day, when the major Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha takes place. That’s not to say there aren’t any other interesting holidays or festivals taking place. In fact, July can be considered the most revolutionary of months with 25 independence holidays taking place around the world, more than any other month.
In most cases, these independence days are the national days of the countries, and a great chance to celebrate the culture and heritage of those nations. The list of national days in July is shown below.
Month info: The name was chosen by Augustus to honor Julius Caesar, who was born in July. The month was previously known as Quintilis – meaning fifth month. The month was pronounced in English as ‘Julie’ until the eighteenth century. In other languages, the month retains this pronunciation.
July 4: US Independence Day
On July 4th 1776, the United States of America proclaimed its independence from England by adopting the Declaration of Independence.
While the signing of the Declaration itself was not completed until August, the Fourth of July holiday is seen as the official anniversary of U.S. independence.
As this is a Federal holiday, not only will schools and libraries be closed. Most federal and state offices will also be closed and there will be no mail deliveries on Independence Day.
Independence Day Facts
- The Declaration of Independence was signed by only two people on July 4th 1776 – John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most added their signatures on August 2 1776
- 56 people signed the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of it.
- Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving signer of the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95
- The two future presidents who signed, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the 50th anniversary of signing the Declaration in 1826.
- John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, signed the declaration first but his signature was so large it left little room for the others. The term “John Hancock” is still used as a slang term for a signature in the US today.
Notable holidays in July 2019
July 11 – 15: Mongolian Naadam Festival
The Naadam Festival is a celebrated in Mongolia with public holidays from July 11 – 15 each year. This is the largest and most popular holiday in Mongolia. The first day of the festival takes place on Revolution Day, Mongolia’s National Day, which commemorates independence from China on 11 July 1921.
During the Naadam Festival, Mongolians participate in the “Three Manly Games” of archery, wrestling and horseback riding which represent the heritage of the nation.
The festival originated in the 12th century as a way for Mongolians to demonstrate their military prowess. From the 17th century, Naadam contests were held during religious holidays. Since 1922, they have been held on Revolution Day, the anniversary of the People’s Revolution.
July 14: Bastille Day
Technically the holiday marks the Fête de la Fédération of the July 14th 1790, which was a huge feast and event to celebrate the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France. However the holiday is usually seen as a celebration of the storming of the Bastille.
After years of misrule by the Monarchy, the French people had finally united in a popular uprising in an effort to take control of their own country.
On July 14th 1789 the people of Paris banded together to march on the Bastille, 14th century medieval fortress that became a state prison. It was used by the King to imprison his opponents, often without trial.
The storming of the prison marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
July 21: Belgian National Day
Belgium had been part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815, but the majority of the population were Roman Catholic and increasingly felt the rule of King William I favoured the Northern protestants.
In August 1830, riots led to a wider uprising and calls for Belgium to succeed from the Netherlands. A London Conference of major European powers then recognized Belgian independence.
After Belgium asserted its independence from the Netherlands on 4th October 1830, the Belgian National Congress asked Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg to become king of the newly formed country.
Leopold accepted and was proclaimed “King of the Belgians” on June 26th 1831. He swore allegiance to the constitution in the Royal Palace in Brussels on July 21st 1831.
July 31: 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.
National Days in July
34 countries have their national days in July. How many people in the company do you know from each country? Remember to wish them a happy national day!
|Jul 01||Burundi||Independence Day: Independence from Belgium in 1962|
|Jul 01||Canada||Canada Day: Marks the union of the British North America provinces under the name of Canada in 1867|
|Jul 01||Cayman Islands||Constitution Day: 1st Monday in July|
|Jul 01||Hong Kong||HKSAR Day: Transfer of sovereignty to the PRC 1997|
|Jul 01||Rwanda||Independence Day: Independence from Belgium in 1962|
|Jul 01||Somalia||Independence Day: Foundation of the Republic, from Italy and the formation of Somali Republic in 1960|
|Jul 01||British Virgin Islands||Territory Day: Celebrates becoming a self-governing colony in 1956|
|Jul 03||Belarus||Independence Day: Marks the liberation of Minsk in 1944|
|Jul 04||United States||Independence Day: Marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776|
|Jul 05||Cape Verde||Independence Day: Marks independence from Portugal on 5 July 1975|
|Jul 05||Isle of Man||Tynwald Day: Tynwald (parliament) annual meeting. July 5 or next weekday.|
|Jul 05||Venezuela||Independence Day: Signing of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence in 1811|
|Jul 06||Comoros||National Day: Independence from France 1975|
|Jul 06||Malawi||Independence Day: Independence from the United Kingdom in 1964|
|Jul 07||Solomon Islands||Independence Day: Independence from the UK in 1978|
|Jul 09||Palau||Constitution Day: In 1981, the constitution of Palau gave the world its first nuclear-free constitution.|
|Jul 09||South Sudan||Independence Day: South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011|
|Jul 10||Bahamas||Independence Day: Independence from the United Kingdom in 1973|
|Jul 11||Mongolia||Naadam Holiday: Declaration of independence from China 1921|
|Jul 12||Kiribati||Independence Day: Independence from the United Kingdom in 1979|
|Jul 12||São Tomé and Príncipe||Independence Day: Independence from Portugal 1975|
|Jul 13||Montenegro||Statehood Day: Recognised as independent at the Congress of Berlin 1878|
|Jul 14||France||Bastille Day: Fête de la Fédération. Bastille Day, 14 July 1789|
|Jul 14||French Guiana||Bastille Day: Fête de la Fédération. Bastille Day, 14 July 1789|
|Jul 20||Colombia||Independence Day: Declaration of independence from Spain 1810|
|Jul 21||Belgium||Independence Day: Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld takes the oath as first king of the Belgians in 1831|
|Jul 21||Guam||Liberation Day: Americans landing on Guam 1944, the beginning of the Battle of Guam|
|Jul 23||Egypt||Revolution Day: The revolution of 1952|
|Jul 25||Puerto Rico||Constitution Day: Establishment of Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 1952|
|Jul 26||Liberia||Independence Day: Proclamation of the Republic: independence from the United States 1847|
|Jul 28||Peru||Independence Day: Declaration of independence from Spain in 1821|
|Jul 29||Faroe Islands||Saint Olav’s Day: Ólavsøka. Saint Olaf’s death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030|
|Jul 30||Vanuatu||Independence Day: Independence from the United Kingdom and France in 1980|
There is a Day for That!
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.
|11th||World Population Day||Quiz: Which are the biggest countries that your company operates in?|
|18th||Nelson Mandela International Day||Discussion: what were you doing on the day Nelson Mandela was freed?|
|23rd||National Hot Dog Day||Hot Dogs on the staff canteen menu?|
|30th||International Day of Friendship||Discussion: How has working with colleagues from around the world helped widen your view on life?|