Images of people practicing their Christin, Islamic and Hindu faiths.
April brings the promise of spring, of colorful flowers and greenery! Of everything beautiful in nature, each in its own way! What better month than April to celebrate diversity!
April was chosen as “Celebrate Diversity Month” way back in 2004 by two national diversity companies, ProGroup, Inc. and Diversity Best Practices, to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hoped that people will gain a deeper understanding of each other. April holds celebrations for different faiths and causes. Let’s look at some:
2nd -11th: Chaitra Navratri, a nine-day festival that marks the first month of the Lunar calendar.
2nd: Gudi Padwa, a celebration of the new year in western India/ Ugadi/Vishu: Southern India, Navreh: Kashmir.
10th: Ram Navami, a celebration of the birth of the seventh avatar of Vishnu (Lord Rama).
April 2nd–May 2nd: Ramadan, marked by fasting, praise, prayer, and devotion.
10th: Palm Sunday, commemorating the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
14th: Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper.
16th: Lazarus Saturday, commemorating the raising from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany.
15th/17th: Good Friday/Easter, to recognize Jesus’ rise after crucifixion.
14th: Mahavir Jayanti, a Jain faith holiday commemorating the birth of Lord Mahavira.
14th : Vaisakhi, a Sikh community celebration of spring and harvest.
15th –23rd: Passover, the commemoration of the emancipation of Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
27th: Yom Hashoah, a Jewish holiday for remembrance of the holocaust.
April 21st –May 2nd: a Bahai faith Festival of Ridvan.
2nd: World Autism Awareness Day, to honor the contributions of people on the autism spectrum and the autism community.
8th: The Day of Silence, to protest the actual silencing of LGBTQ+ students and their straight allies.
13th: Equal Pay Day, an attempt to raise awareness about the wage gap,
22nd: Earth Day, to promote world peace and sustainability of the planet.
I belong to the Hindu faith. We just had one of our biggest festivals in March: Holi- the festival of colors, which marks the start of a new year. We enter April in a more meditative mood when we pray for nine days. We call this festival Chaitra Navratri. Chaitra means beginning; Nav = 9; Ratri = nights. So, the New Year begins with nine days of turning inwards, recognizing the Divinity in the whole creation and enlivening that aspect. We worship different forms of Durga, the goddess of Energy, who we also refer to as the Mother. I, too, will be praying and reading verses from an Indian text called Durga Saptashati (means 700). It is an ancient text whose reference is found in other texts around 700BC. Each chapter of this book talks about conquering a vice – need to hear flattery, need to criticize, need to feed ego – to then embark on a fruitful new year.
Every single week of the month of April has some part or the other of our world celebrating, so it is truly apt that April is Celebrating Diversity Month.
Here are some ways you can celebrate too:
- Host a multicultural movie night with your family. Watch a Bollywood movie like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham on Netflix.
- Attend a virtual cultural art exhibit like the National Museum, New Delhi – Virtual Tour.
- Ask your friends, family, and colleagues to share music from their culture or heritage.
- Have a discussion with someone from another culture about their cultural values.
- Explore local ethnic restaurants and try foods from different cultures.
As Maya Angelou said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” Happy Diversity Celebrations!