On behalf of the GSWNY Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, every month we’re highlighting different holidays and events that are celebrated by people around the world. DEI Celebrations in March include Women’s History Month; International Women’s Day; the beginning of Deaf History Month; Pi Day; St. Patrick’s Day; Vernal Equinox; Nowruz; World Down Syndrome Day; the start of Passover; and Holi.
Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month is and always has been about celebrating the contributions of women in American history. It’s a time to further recognize their work and learn more about all that they have done (and continue to do) for our world.
This year, we’re celebrating by asking YOU about the woman who most inspires you. Learn more about Women’s History Month and our contest here.
International Women’s Day (March 8)
This year, we celebrated International Women’s Day during Girl Scout Week! This day serves as a way to celebrate the achievements of women around the world as well as to boost push for gender parity. It helps to raise awareness about equality for women as well as fundraise for charities that are female focused.
Deaf History Month (Begins March 13)
This month actually spans two, as it ends April 15. The reason for this comes down the significant days for the Deaf community in history. The first was April 15, 1817, when the first permanent public school for the deaf was established in Hartford, Connecticut. The second recognizes the signing of the Gallaudet University charter on April 8, 1964, by President Abraham Lincoln. This established the only university in the world that exists only for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Finally is March 13, 1988, when the Deaf Now protest took place, which resulted in the first Deaf President of Gallaudet University. Read more from the National Association of the Deaf
Pi Day (March 14)
Pi Day brings out the math lover in all of us (and baked good lover, if you celebrate right!). Pi is an infinite number that represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is shortened to 3.14. This remains the same regardless of the circle size.
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
This widely celebrated holiday instantly brings up mental images of green shirts and shamrocks. Many use it as a celebration of Irish culture, but traditionally it is a religious holiday. Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain and originally came to Ireland as a slave before escaping. Later, he returned and receives the credit for being the person who brought Christianity to Ireland. He is now recognized as the patron saint of Ireland.
The first parade for St. Patrick’s Day actually happened in Florida in 1601, not Ireland as you would expect. They began to grow in popularity, with homesick Irish soldiers marching on March 17, 1772 in New York City to honor their patron saint. More parades took off and enthusiasm continued to grow.
Despite how we celebrate in the United States, traditionally St. Patrick’s Day is a religious occasion in Ireland where people attend church in the morning and later eat Irish bacon and cabbage because the Lenten restrictions are waived for the day. Recently, Ireland has made more of a push in their own celebrations to boost tourism and showcase Irish culture.
Vernal Equinox (March 20)
The Vernal Equinox marks the first day of spring and one out of two times in the year when the Sun is directly above the Equator, making the day and night the same amount of time. Many celebrate this as a time of fresh starts and fertility. In fact, many areas in Asia observe the New Year on this day, called Nowruz.
Nowruz (March 20)
This Persian word translates to “new day” and is known as either the Iranian New Year or Persian New Year. People of different beliefs celebrate the day, but it also serves as a holy day for certain groups, including some Muslim communities, Zoroastrians, and more. In preparation for the day, spring cleaning is important as well as purchasing new clothes to wear for the new year. Then visits are made to family and friends before they gather around the Haft-sin table to celebrate the moment the New Year arrives.
World Down Syndrome Day (March 21)
Passover (Begins March 27)
Passover is a Jewish celebration to represent the Israelites being led out of Egypt, also know as the Exodus. The standard length is eight days and it begins with either one or two nights of seder, a specific feast. Individual celebrations may vary, but there are certain things to expect at seder, including prayers and a seder plate. This contains a number of things including unleavened bread (matzoh), bitter herbs (maror), and more.
The matzoah, or unleavened bread, represents the speed in which the Israelites left Egypt. Their bread didn’t have time to rise, so they honor this during Passover celebrations. Learn more about Passover
Holi (March 28-29)
This famous Hindu holiday is celebrated throughout most of India, sometimes under a different name. This “festival of love” represents a time to forget bad feelings and resentments and unite in friendship and love. Color plays a major part of this holiday, with the vibrancy representing positivity. No matter what part of the country it is is celebrated in, all partake with great joy and excitement. Before the day of Holi, a bonfire is lit to represent how good triumphs over evil. The colors come out in force on Holi as people play with them with their friends and family and then in the evening show their love and respect.