March 2012 National/International Cultural Celebrations

March 1                                    Irish American Heritage Month

A month to honor the contributions of the nearly 40 million Americans who trace their roots to Ireland.


March 1                                    Martenitza – Bulgaria, Romania

An ancient Thracian celebration marking the end of winter and arrival of spring blossoms.  People wear pins with red and white tassels, symbolizing health and happiness.


March 1                                    St. David’s Day – Wales

                                    Celebrates Saint David or known as Dewi Sant in Welsh, the patron said of Wales.


March 1                                    Samiljol – South Korea

Also known as Independence Movement day, it commemorates the national anti-colonial rallies of 1919 against Japanese rule.


March 2                                    Jamahiriya Day – Libya

Also known as Declaration of the People’s Authority Day.  Schools and businesses are closed, and citizens attend rallies and speeches in honor of the founding of Jamahiriya – the term has no official translation but means roughly “state of the masses.”


March 3                                    Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri) – Japan

During this festival for girls, families elaborately display 15 dolls representing the emperor and empress and their court.


March 3                                    Throne Day – Morocco

Commemorates King Hassan II’s accession in 1961.


March 4                                    Casimir Putaski Day – Poland, U.S.

Honors the 1747 birthday of the patriot who led an unsuccessful uprising against foreign intervention.  He came to America in 1777 to join the Revolution.


March 6                                    Independence Day – Ghana

Commemorates the date in 1957 when the Gold Coast became an independent member of the British Commonwealth.


March 8                                    International (Working) Women’s Day – International

Marks the 1857 revolt of women in New York City protesting conditions in the U.S. textile and garment industries.  It acknowledges the contributions made by working women.


March 8                                    Holi (Festival of Color) – Hindu, Sikh

Celebration of spring throughout Northern India that is a fun time followed by relaxation. During the morning, brightly colored powder and water are thrown at passerbys and the afternoon is spent relaxing in a river or bath.


March 8                                    Purim (Feast of Lots) – Jewish

A joyous commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews of Persia in the 6th century BCE from a plot by Haman, the king’s advisor, to annihilate them.  The king did not realize that his own wife, Queen Esther, was Jewish until she intervened and pleaded with him to spare her people.  The Old Testament Book of Esther is read aloud in synagogues, and listeners drown out each mention of Haman’s name by jeering and stamping their feet.  Begins at sundown the previous day.


March 9                                    Hola Mohalla – Sikh

A celebration that was originally created to distract Sikhs from the Hindu festival Holi. Today, the day includes parades, poetry readings, and music.


March 11                  Restoration of Statehood – Lithuania

                                    Commemorates independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. The country had initially declared its independence from Russia in 1918 but lost it to the Soviet Union in 1940.


March 11                  Daylight Savings Time begins – U.S.

Daylight savings time begins on this day and ends November 1.  Many use the popular rule “spring forward, fall back” to remember which way to turn their clocks.


March 12                  Mosheshoe’s Day – Lesotho

Commemorates the country’s founder and leader, Chief Mosheshoe I, who sought to unify Basotho people in the mid-1800’s during a time of war in southern Africa.


March 13                  Charshanbesuri (Last Wednesday Festival) – Iran

Celebrates the return of guardian angels to earth on the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian calendar.  Bonfires are made to guide the angels while family members sing and jump over the fire.


March 13                  Deaf History Month begins – US

Celebrates three important anniversaries in the history of deaf Americans: establishment of the American School for the Deaf, on April 15, 1817; the signing by President Lincoln of a charter authorizing the board of directors of what is now Gallaudet University to grant college degrees to deaf students, on April 8, 1864; and the victory of the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet, on March 13, 1988.


March 15                  Memorial Day for the 1848 Revolution & War of Independence – Hungry

                                    Commemorates the beginning of the revolution in Hungry that grew into a war for independence from Habsburg rule.

March 15                  Independence – Hungary

                                    The Hungarian Declaration of Independence declared the independence of Hungary from the Hapsburg Monarchy during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.


March 17                  St. Patrick’s Day – Ireland/U.S.

Commemorates the patron saint of Ireland, who converted the island to Christianity in 432 CE.  Tradition says that St. Patrick died on this date in 461 CE.  The shamrock is worn to remember its use as a symbol of the Trinity.


March 19                  St. Joseph’s Day – Christian

An international festival honoring St. Joseph, in which special foods are prepared and some people reenact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter when Mary was about to give birth to the baby Jesus.  It is a weeklong festival in Valencia, Spain, called Fallas de San Jose.


March 20                  Equinox – International

In the Northern Hemisphere, spring begins today with the vernal equinox.  In the Southern Hemisphere, today is the beginning of autumn.  The daylight is virtually the same everywhere on earth today – 12 hours and 8 minutes.


March 20                  Independence Day – Tunisia

Celebrates the day in 1956 when the country was formally recognized as independent from France.


March 20                  Ostara (Northern Hemisphere) / Mabon (Southern Hemisphere) – Celtic/Pagan

Ostara occurs on this day in the Northern Hemisphere; in the Southern Hemisphere, today is Mabon.


March 21                  Benito Juarez’s birthday – Mexico

Commemorates the birth in 1806 of the first Mexican president of Indian descent.  He is a symbol of liberation and of Mexican resistance to foreign intervention.


March 21                  International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – U.N.

A day to promote efforts to eradicate racial discrimination worldwide and also to remember the killing of 69 protesters against injustice in Sharpeville, South Africa in 1960.


March 21                  New Year (Noruz) – Iran

The New Year festival and celebration of the spring equinox.  The awakening of natural life and also the coronation of Jamshid, a mythical king, are celebrated.  Observed in many countries and by many religions.


March 22                  Emancipation Day (1873) – Puerto Rico

Commemorates the abolition of slavery in 1873.


March 22                  World Water Day – UN

A day to promote awareness of how water resource development contributes to economic development and social well-being, and to advocate for sustainable management of freshwater resources.


March 23                  Vaisakhi – Hindu, Jain

Marks the first day of the Hindu New Year, celebrated in several countries and Indian states.


March 23                  National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice Day – Argentina

Commemorates those who died or suffered under the National Reorganization Process, a military dictatorship that seized power in 1976.


March 25                  Independence Day – Greece

Celebrates independence from the Ottomans in 1829.


March 26                  Swadhinata Dibash (Independence Day) – Bangladesh

Commemorates the declaration of the state of Bangladesh in 1971, and the start of the Liberation War with Pakistan.


March 29                  Boganda Day – Central African Republic

Marks the anniversary of the 1959 death of Barthelemy Boganda, the country’s first president.

March 29                  Commemoration Day – US

A day to honor citizens who died in the 1947 revolt against French colonialism.


March 31                  Cesar Chavez Day – U.S.

A day to honor Latino labor leader, who was born this day in 1927 in Yuma, Arizona.  He died on April 23, 1993.


March 31                  Earth Hour – International

Around the globe individuals, communities, businesses, and governments are invited to switch off lights for 1 hour at 8:30 p.m. local time to send the message that the earth’s citizens care enough about climate change to take action.  From its inception in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, the event has grown to include 135 countries and territories and nearly 2 billion people, resulting in the largest voluntary action ever witnessed.


Source:  Diversity/Cultural Celebrations from Novations 2012 Honoring Differences Diversity Calendar,





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.