June 2019 Diversity Review

Cultural Diversity

In the Northern Hemisphere, June is a summer month when individual vacations start to take precedence over wondering when the next public holiday is. That doesn’t mean it is quiet at all, with some important and diverse festivals and holidays taking place. Depending on when the new moon is sighted, June begins with the major Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims observe fasting from dawn to dusk. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated over several days in most countries, meaning business in the Middle East will be disrupted during the first week of June.

Month infoProbably the name is derived from the latin word ‘iuvenis‘ which means youngbut it is also linked to the goddess Juno who personifies young women.

Featured Holiday in June

June 4th: Eid al-Fitr

The festival of Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Fast breaking, marks the end of Ramadan.

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith and is sacred to Muslims as it was during this month that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

‘Sawm’, which is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims believe that it was during the month of Ramadan that the text of the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims celebrate Eid by saying prayers, giving money to the poor, sending Eid greetings and feasting with their families.

The phrase commonly used by Muslims as a greeting on this day is “Eid Mubarak”, which is Arabic for ‘blessed festival’.

The first Eid al-Fitr was celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions after their victory in the battle of Jang-e-Badar, a turning point in Muhammad’s struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Mecca during in the early days of Islam.

Read more about Eid al-Fitr

Notable Holidays in June

June 1: International Children’s Day

The origin of this holiday goes back to 1925, when representatives from different countries met in Geneva, Switzerland to convene the first “World Conference for the Wellbeing of Children”.

After the conference, some governments around the world designated a day as Children’s Day to highlight children’s issues. There was no specific date recommended, so countries used whatever date was most relevant to their culture.

The date of June 1st is used by many ex-Soviet countries as ‘The International Day for Protection of Children’ was established on June 1st 1950 following the Women’s International Democratic Federation’s congress in Moscow that took place in 1949.

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 June 24: Saint John’s Day

Always celebrated on June 24th, this holiday celebrates the birthday of St. John the Baptist.

In the Gospel of Luke, certain verses imply that John the Baptist was born six months earlier than Jesus. And since it has become tradition that Jesus was born on December 25th (Christmas), Midsummer day, being six months before was taken to be the feast day of St. John the Baptist.

Usually a saint’s feast day is celebrated on the day that the saint died. St. John along with the Virgin Mary are the only two saints whose birthdays are celebrated.

St. John’s death (August 29th) is also marked by Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

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June 7: Dragon Boats Festival

Legend has it that the holiday honors the tragic death of Chu Yuan, who died in 288 BC. At the time of Warring States, Chu Yuan was a poet and the minister of the state. The King was captured during fighting and in honor and remembrance of the old King, Chu Yuan wrote a poem called “Li Soa.” This angered the new King, who ordered Chu Yuan into exile. Instead of leaving his beloved country, Chu Yuan threw himself into the Mi-Lo River.

The legend proclaims that the people tried to rescue their honored statesmen by chasing him down the river, beating drums to scare away the fish and throwing dumplings into the river so that the fish would not eat his body. Today’s celebrations symbolize the vain attempts of the friends and citizens who raced down the river to save Chu Yuan.

Today’s celebrations symbolize the vain attempts of the friends and citizens who raced down the river to save the respected Chu Yuan.

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June 29: Saint Peter and Paul Day

The day commemorates the martyrdom of two saints, the two great Apostles, Saint Peter and St. Paul, assigned by tradition to the same day of June in the year 67.

Peter was the leader of the apostles and the first pope. Paul was born Saul, but converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus.

They had been imprisoned in the infamous Mamertine Prison of Rome and both had foreseen their approaching death. It is said that they were martyred at the command of Emperor Nero.

Even though they were killed on the same day, their method of execution would have differed.

Saint Peter was crucified, whereas Saint Paul would have been beheaded with a sword as he was a Roman citizen and afforded a quicker execution.

It is said of Peter that he was crucified head downward as he didn’t feel worthy of being crucified in the same way as Jesus.

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National Days in June

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

DayDateCountryHoliday
SatJun 01 SamoaIndependence Day: On 1 January 1962 Western Samoa became independent of New Zealand
SunJun 02 ItalyRepublic Day: Festa della Repubblica. Italy is voted a republic in 1946
WedsJun 05 DenmarkConstitution Day: Grundlovsdag
ThursJun 06 SwedenNational Day: Commemorates the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523, seen as the foundation of Sweden
MonJun 10 PortugalPortugal Day: Commemorates the death of Luís de Camões on June 10, 1580
TuesJun 12 PhilippinesIndependence Day: Araw ng Kalayaan. Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898
TuesJun 12 RussiaRussia Day: Declaration of sovereignty in 1990, (law priority over Soviet Union laws)
SunJun 17 IcelandNational Day: Founding of republic and dissolution of personal union with Denmark 1944
ThursJun 21 GreenlandUllortuneq: Longest Day of the Year. The National Day was introduced in 1983 as part of Home Rule
SatJun 23 LuxembourgLuxembourg National Day: The official birthday of the Grand Duke
MonJun 25 CroatiaStatehood Day: Marks the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991
MonJun 25 MozambiqueIndependence Day: Independence from Portugal 1975
MondayJun 25 SloveniaStatehood Day: Commemorates independence from Yugoslavia in 1991
TuesdayJun 26 MadagascarIndependence Day: Marks independence from France in 1960 after 64 years of colonial rule.
WedJun 27 DjiboutiNational Day: Independence from France in 1977 after the third referendum on independence
FriJun 29 SeychellesNational Day: On 29 June 1976, the Seychelles became a republic within the Commonwealth
SatJun 30 Democratic Republic of CongoIndependence Day: Independence from Belgium in 1960

June 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.

DayObservanceQuestion/task
1stGlobal Day of Parents Post a picture of you and your children
5thWorld Environment Day What more could your company do for the environment?
6thNational Running DayActivity: How many steps can you do in one day?
6thRussian Language Day Poll: Who can speak Russian?
14thNational Flag DayAction: Set your desktop background to your national flag
15thNational Beer DayComment: What’s your favorite beer?
21stInternational Day of Yoga Poll: Do you do Yoga or any form of mindfulness? Would you recommend it to colleagues?
26thNational Chocolate Pudding DayCookery: Share your favorite Chocolate Pudding recipe