October

Rosh Hashanah: September 30
Yom Kippur: October 9
Columbus Day: October 13
Canadian Thanksgiving: October 13
Sweetest Day: October 18
Bosses’ Day: October 16
Halloween: October 31

Rosh Hashanah: September 30
Yom Kippur: October 9

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur make up the Jewish High Holy Days. Meaning “head of the year” in Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah is observed on Tishri 1 by the Hebrew calendar, which takes place in early autumn.

Rosh Hashanah celebrates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It’s a time for reflecting on the past year and for making resolutions for the year ahead. Apples and honey are eaten in the hopes that the new year is “sweet.”

Observance of Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset and lasts for two days. The synagogue service includes the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) and a liturgy which emphasizes God’s authority.

Rosh Hashanah begins the penitential season, then ends ten days later on Yom Kippur, the most important day in the Jewish year. Yom Kippur is also known as the “Day of Atonement.” Observance of Yom Kippur begins at sunset with the Kol Nidre service of repentance,and ends at nightfall the following day with the sounding of the shofar. It is commonly observed by fasting and prayer.

The days between and including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are recognized as “Days of Awe” or “Days of Repentance.” During this time Jewish people seek out and ask forgiveness from those they’ve wronged. These reconciliations must take place before Yom Kippur.

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Columbus Day: October 13

Columbus Day commemorates Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World on October 12, 1492.

Christopher Columbus was first honored in New York City in 1792 when the Society of St. Tammany, or Columbian Order, organized a ceremony to mark the 300th anniversary of his landing. In 1882, the first Catholic fraternal group — the Knights of Columbus — began a campaign to have Columbus Day proclaimed an official holiday. And while the governor of Colorado requested that his state observe Columbus Day in 1905, the first legal celebration did not take place until October 12, 1909, when a parade featuring sixty Italian societies marched to Columbus Circle in New York City.

In 1937, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Columbus Day be observed nationally on October 12; in 1971, President Nixon declared it a statutory holiday to be held every second Monday in October.

Today, Columbus Day is celebrated not only in the United States, but also in Central and South America and parts of Canada. Its largest celebration continues to take place in New York City, where close to 300 bands and 75,000 marchers make their way along Fifth Avenue. Italian consulates in various US cities host banquets and dinner-dances while local communities celebrate with special activities for school children.

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Canadian Thanksgiving: October 13

While Canadians have observed this harvest feast since the mid-1500s, Thanksgiving Day wasn’t observed on any particular date until 1957. That’s when the Canadian government proclaimed the second Monday of October a federal holiday.

The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday evolved separately from the U.S. one, but its main tradition — families and communities coming together to feast on turkey, stuffing, and pie — remains the same.

Since Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving during the height of autumn, the vibrancy of the changing leaves and the hearty autumn produce are the holiday’s focus. Centerpieces adorn Thanksgiving dinner tables, wreathes made from fall leaves hang on front doors, and pumpkin pie is the dessert of choice.

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Sweetest Day: October 18


Sweetest Day, originally set aside for spreading goodwill and cheer to the underprivileged, reminds us that a thoughtful word or deed can give life meaning. Nowadays this special celebration includes everyone. On Sweetest Day, friends, family, and associates exchange small gifts to show their appreciation for one another.

Bosses’ Day: October 16

Bosses’ Day applauds managers who inspire us to reach our highest potential. Day to day, these exceptional bosses set an example for teamwork and cooperation: they praise our successes, show faith in our abilities, and reassure us during challenging times. Remember to thank your boss for helping you be the best that you can be.

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Halloween: October 31

Originally known as “All Hallow’s Eve,” Halloween is one of the year’s most exciting festivals. Today, we celebrate the coming of winter by dressing up in costumes, going to parties, carving pumpkins, and bobbing for apples. However, in ancient times, Halloween was a much more serious and profound event.

Many contemporary Halloween traditions come from an old Celtic festival called Samhain that marked the end of the harvest season and the coming of a new year.

Cold, gray days and dying leaves represented death to the Celts. They put their dead to rest for the winter season through solemn funeral rites and passages. Their traditions helped form the modern-day assocations between “scary” things — like haunted houses, cemeteries, and witches — and the Halloween holiday.

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