Roses are the traditional flower of June

June 2023 Cultural Diversity Review

Cultural Diversity General

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. For the first time in about 30 years, June welcomes the major Islamic festival of Eid Al-Adha.

Month infoProbably the name June 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 28: 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.

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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 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.

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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. 

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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

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!

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

Zoom into June!

Zoom Background for Republic Day

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.

5thWorld Environment Day What more could your company do for the environment?
7thNational Running DayActivity: How many steps can you do in one day?
14thNational Flag DayAction: Set your desktop background or Zoom background to your national flag.
15thNational Beer DayComment: What’s your favorite beer?
18thFather’s DayMany countries celebrate Father;s Day today – is yours one of them?
19thJuneteenthTest your knowledge and celebrate Juneteenth with our multiple-choice quiz! Discover the rich history, significance, and cultural impact of Juneteenth as you answer eight thought-provoking questions. 
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

All observances in June 2022