In the Northern Hemisphere, June is a summer month when individual vacations start to take precedence over wondering when the next public holiday. However there are still some important and diverse festivals and holidays taking place. June begins with the major Christian holiday of Whit Monday, which marks the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles.
Month info: Probably the name June is derived from the latin word ‘iuvenis‘ which means young, but it is also linked to the goddess Juno who personifies young women.
Featured Holiday in June
June 6th: Whit Monday
Whit Monday marks the end of the Easter cycle, that began 90 days ago with Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent.
It gets its English name for following “Whitsun”, the day that became one of the three baptismal seasons. The name “Whitsunday” is now generally attributed to the white garments formerly worn by the candidates for baptism on this feast.
The day commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament in Acts, 2.
The Holy Spirit allowed the apostles to speak in other languages, and they started preaching the word of Jesus to the Jews who come to Jerusalem for the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost). Saint Peter then delivered the first Christian sermon, which led to the conversion and baptism of 3,000 people. Many Christians recognize this event as the birth of the Church.
Based on the Holy Spirit bringing understanding and wisdom to the Apostles, some argue that Whitsunday may have its origins in the Anglo-Saxon word “wit”, meaning “understanding”.
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.
June 6: Sweden National Day
Swedish National Day is celebrated annually on June 6th.
Also known as Svenska Flaggans Day (Swedish Flag Day), this public holiday commemorates two historical anniversaries: the coronation of King Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the ratification of the modern constitution on this day in 1809, which established a separation of governmental power.
Surprisingly for a holiday that remembers such an old event, it only became a public holiday rather more recently, in 2005.
National Day is celebrated with parades, marching bands and local folk band performances. Normally, the King and Queen of Sweden take part in a ceremony at the Skansen.
June 19: Juneteenth
Juneteenth National Independence Day is a US federal holiday. It was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday June 17th 2021.
Officially known as Emancipation Day and also called Juneteenth Independence Day and Freedom Day, Juneteenth is a portmanteau word for June and nineteenth and commemorates the June 19th 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas and the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South.
The annual commemoration of this date, which became known as Juneteenth, was seen as a stabilizing and motivating presence in the lives of African-Americans in Texas, who despite their newly-acquired freedom, still faced many uncertainties and challenges.
The Juneteenth flag was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation.
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.
National Days in June
16 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!
|Sat||Jun 01||Samoa||Independence Day: On 1 January 1962 Western Samoa became independent of New Zealand|
|Sun||Jun 02||Italy||Republic Day: Festa della Repubblica. Italy is voted a republic in 1946|
|Wed||Jun 05||Denmark||Constitution Day: Grundlovsdag|
|Thur||Jun 06||Sweden||National Day: Commemorates the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523, seen as the foundation of Sweden|
|Mon||Jun 10||Portugal||Portugal Day: Commemorates the death of Luís de Camões on June 10, 1580|
|Tues||Jun 12||Philippines||Independence Day: Araw ng Kalayaan. Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898|
|Tues||Jun 12||Russia||Russia Day: Declaration of sovereignty in 1990, (law priority over Soviet Union laws)|
|Sun||Jun 17||Iceland||National Day: Founding of republic and dissolution of personal union with Denmark 1944|
|Thur||Jun 21||Greenland||Ullortuneq: Longest Day of the Year. The National Day was introduced in 1983 as part of Home Rule|
|Sat||Jun 23||Luxembourg||Luxembourg National Day: The official birthday of the Grand Duke|
|Mon||Jun 25||Mozambique||Independence Day: Independence from Portugal 1975|
|Mon||Jun 25||Slovenia||Statehood Day: Commemorates independence from Yugoslavia in 1991|
|Tues||Jun 26||Madagascar||Independence Day: Marks independence from France in 1960 after 64 years of colonial rule.|
|Wed||Jun 27||Djibouti||National Day: Independence from France in 1977 after the third referendum on independence|
|Fri||Jun 29||Seychelles||National Day: On 29 June 1976, the Seychelles became a republic within the Commonwealth|
|Sat||Jun 30||D.R. Congo||Independence Day: Independence from Belgium in 1960|
Zoom into June!
Want to avoid the stigma of having your bookcase judged by your colleagues, but also want to celebrate cultural diversity? Well, you are in luck – during June there are several national days and notable festivals and we have made some free virtual backgrounds for these days. Just check the date of the holiday and follow the simple instructions to add the images to Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
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.
|1st||National Running Day||Activity: How many steps can you do in one day?|
|5th||World Environment Day||What more could your company do for the environment?|
|14th||National Flag Day||Action: Set your desktop background or Zoom background to your national flag.|
|15th||National Beer Day||Comment: What’s your favorite beer?|
|21st||International Day of Yoga||Poll: Do you do Yoga or any form of mindfulness? Would you recommend it to colleagues?|
|26th||National Chocolate Pudding Day||Cookery: Share your favorite Chocolate Pudding recipe|