As part of the children’s program it’s important to undertake cultural celebrations in acknowledging rights and traditions. This yearly calendar has a variety of monthly cultural celebrations which can be acknowledged within the program and adapted to suit the needs of the children and their families within the service.
When selecting festivals or religious celebrations it’s important to choose those that are relevant to the children and families within the setting and that enable children to become aware of each other’s cultures.
- 1st New Year’s Day - the time at which a new calendar year begins.
- 4th World Braille Day - to commemorate the birthday of Louis Braille. Louis Braille is credited with inventing the Braille language which helps blind people to read as well as write.
- 7th Orthodox Christmas - to remember Jesus Christ’s birth, described in the Christian Bible. This date works to the Julian calendar that pre-dates the Gregorian calendar, which is commonly observed.
- 26th Australia Day - it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip.
- 26th Indian Republic Day - honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.
- 31st Chinese New Year (dates vary each year) - it is also known as the Spring Festival.
- 31st Tet Vietnamese New Year (dates vary each year) - celebrates the arrival of spring.
- 6th Waitangi Day (NZ) - celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, on that date in 1840.
- 14th Valentine’s Day - a holiday in remembrance of Saint Valentine, celebrated by sending cards or similar tokens of love.
- 5th Ash Wednesday (dates vary each year) - a day of fasting and is the first day of Lent in Western Christianity.
- 17th St Patricks Day - the day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.
- 17th Holi, (dates vary each year), India – a spring festival also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love.
- 21st Harmony Day - is intended to show cohesion and inclusion in Australia and promote a tolerant and culturally diverse society.
- 22nd World Water Day – promote issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water.
- 1st April Fool’s Day - a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.
- 8th Rama Navami, (dates vary each year), Hindu - celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya.
- 13th Palm Sunday, (dates vary each year), Christian & Orthodox - is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter.
- 14th Tamil New Year, India - is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil new year by Tamils in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India, in Sri Lanka and by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore, Réunion and Mauritius.
- 14th Sinhalese New Year, Sri Lanka - generally known as Aluth Avurudda (Sinhala) in Sri Lanka, is the new year of the Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka.
- 18th Good Friday (dates vary each year) - observed primarily by Christians, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary.
- 20th Easter Sunday (dates vary each year) - celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion.
- 21st Easter Monday (dates vary each year) - the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday.
- 22nd Earth Day - promotes environmental awareness among the masses.
- 25th Anzac Day, Australia & New Zealand - broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.
- 1st May Day - an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival.
- 11th Mother's Day, Australia, Mexico, Venezuela - is a celebration honouring one's own mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.
- 21st World Day for Cultural Diversity - a day to help people learn about the importance of cultural diversity and harmony.
- 26th National Sorry Day, Australia - to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the continent's indigenous population.
- 27th National Reconciliation Week, Australia - to celebrate indigenous history and culture in Australia and foster reconciliation discussion and activities.
- 1st International Children's Day - to honour children globally.
- 3rd Mabo Day, Torres Strait Island - commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo, a Torres Strait Islander whose campaign for Indigenous land rights led to a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia.
- 5th World Environment Day - to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.
- 20th World Refugee Day - dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.
- 21st International Day Of Yoga - celebration of Yoga, a physical, mental and spiritual practice, aims to integrate the body and the mind.
- 28th Ramadan begins, (dates vary each year), Islamic Faith - this annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
- 4th Independence Day, USA – a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
- 6th Dalai Lama's Birthday - the Dalai Lama is traditionally thought to be the rebirth in a line of tulkus who are considered to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion.
- 5th NAIDOC Week (dates may vary each year) - Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander's celebration throughout Australia.
- 14th Bastille Day, France - commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille.
- 18th Nelson Mandela's Birthday, South Africa - he was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
- 30th July International Day Of Friendship - a United Nations (UN) day that promotes the role that friendship plays in promoting peace in many cultures.
- 2nd Friendship Day (dates vary each year), United States of America - a day for celebrating friendship.
- 9th International Day of the World's Indigenous People, Australia - to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
- 17th Krishna Janmashtami, (dates vary each year), Hindu - an annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.
- 29th Ganesh Chaturthi (dates vary each year) Hindu – celebrates the birthday (rebirth) of the lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati.
- 6th Father’s Day - a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.
- 5th Teachers Day, India - it is considered a "celebration" day, where teachers and students report to school as usual but the usual activities and classes are replaced by activities of celebration and thanks.
- 20th Oktober Fest begins (dates vary each year), Germany – it’s the world's largest fair held annually.
- 10th Double 10 day, Republic of China – the national day of the Republic of China (ROC). It commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising.
- 23rd Diwali Festival, (dates vary each year), India - the festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.
- 31st Halloween, Canada, United States of American, Japan & United Kingdom - dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows),martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
- 1st Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico - the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.
- 2nd All Souls Day, Christian faith - day of prayer for the dead.
- 3rd Culture Day, Japan - for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts, and academic endeavour.
- 4th Melbourne Cup Day (dates vary each year) - marketed as "the race that stops a nation", it is a 3,200 metre horse race for three-year-olds and over.
- 6th World Kindness Day - a celebration of kindness, which aims to increase the value of kindness in society as well as increase the amount of kind acts that take place, making kindness a greater part day to day life.
- 7th Loy Krathong (dates vary each year), Thailand - comes from the tradition of making buoyant decorations which are then floated on a river.
- 11th Veterans Day, United States of America - an official United States holiday that honours people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- 11th Armistace / Remembrance Day, Australia & France - observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.
- 11th Feast of St Martin, St Martin, Caribbean - a time for feasting celebrations.
- 27th Thanksgiving Day, (dates vary each year) United States of America - President Washington declared a national Thanksgiving "for the civil and religious liberty", for "useful knowledge", and for God’s "kind care" and "His Providence".
- 5th Sinterklaas, The Netherlands - a traditional winter holiday figure based on Saint Nicholas.
- 12th Our Lady of Guadalupe Day, Mexico - a title of the Virgin Mary associated with a celebrated pictorial image housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City.
- 13th St Lucy's Day Italy, Scandinavia - the church feast day dedicated to Lucia of Syracuse (d.304), also known as Saint Lucy.
- 23rd Emperor's Birthday, Japan - a public ceremony celebrating the emperor’s birthday, takes place at the Imperial Palace, where the gates of the palace are opened to public traffic.
- 24th Christmas Eve – it’s the day before Christmas Day.
- 25th Christmas Day - an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
- 26th Boxing Day - traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their bosses or employers.
- 26th Family Day, Vanuatu - to enable workers to take a break from their hectic working lives and to spend some quality time with their family and friends.
- 30th Rizal Day, Philippines - commemorating the life and works of José Rizal, one of the Philippines ‘national.
- 31st New Year’s Eve - commemorating the life and works of José Rizal, one of the Philippines ‘national.
This calendar represents a snapshot of the main cultural events celebrated by Australia's diverse population. It does not include the celebrations of all cultural groups and please keep in mind some of the dates may vary each year and may not be updated for the current year (right as of 2014).
Honouring cultural diversity and awareness through celebrations and experiences requires commitment and respect for being and belonging in the world. “Educators honour the histories, cultures, language, traditions child rearing practices and lifestyle choices of families”.
The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
Putting Children First (Issue 33, March 2010)