As the year comes to a close and the rest of the world is looking back and reflecting on 2023, we at LEXIGO are looking forward to the new year and all the possibilities that come with it.
As we come into 2024, and look at the year ahead, we’ve put together a calendar of cultural events, religious holidays, and special occasions to help you (and us) plan for the year ahead.
This cultural calendar focuses on a mix of events from around the world that have shaped communities, countries, their heritage and culture. Take a deep dive with us as we go on a journey that explores the unique stories behind each holiday and its significance to those who celebrate it.
Introducing LEXIGO’S 2024 Diversity Calendar
1 January: New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar and is celebrated by most Western countries as the start of the new year, symbolising a fresh start and new beginnings.
7 January: Orthodox Christmas Day
Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on this day. Some of the Orthodox Christians who celebrate Christmas on this day come from Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and Ethiopia.
10 January: World Hindi Day
World Hindi Day commemorates when Hindi was first spoken at the United Nations General Assembly in 1949. Hindi is the third most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin Chinese and English with 615 million speakers worldwide.
14 January: Orthodox New Year
This celebration, also known as the Julian New Year, follows the Julian calendar. The same communities that celebrate the Orthodox Christmas celebrate the start of the new year on this day.
26 January: Australia Day/ Invasion Day
Known by some as Australia Day, January 26 commemorates Captain Arthur Phillip’s landing in Sydney Cove in 1788.
However, for First Nations Peoples, it’s known as Invasion Day. Signifying a painful history, Invasion Day highlights the impact of dispossession, loss of culture, and the profound repercussions of British colonisation and the Stolen Generation on their communities.
10 February: Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is celebrated across multiple countries, including China, Vietnam, and Korea. The occasion commemorates the first new moon of the lunar calendar. The event is typically celebrated with a festival that begins on the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later at the first full moon of the lunar calendar. Throughout the festival, dances and fireworks abound, culminating in the Lantern Festival, celebrated on the final day of the New Year’s festivities.
11 February: Japan’s National Foundation Day
Japan’s National Foundation Day commemorates the establishment of Japan as an influential nation that has shaped the fields of architecture, education, engineering and beyond. The national holiday highlights the need for a strong community connection to propel the ongoing development and success of Japan.
15 February: Nirvana Day
Nirvana Day, or Parinirvana Day, is a Mahayana Buddhist holiday celebrated in East Asia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The holiday commemorates Buddha’s death and when he attained complete Nirvana. The holiday is a time for contemplation of Buddha’s teachings. Some monasteries and temples hold meditation retreats to celebrate the occasion.
21 February: International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day, observed by the United Nations, celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity. International Mother Language Day recognises that language is more than just a means of communicating but rather a vehicle for cultures, heritage and philosophies around the world. The day highlights how multilingualism plays a significant role in promoting inclusion in society.
24 February: Makha Bucha Day
Makha Bucha is observed on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and on the full moon day of Tabaung in Myanmar. Theravada Buddhists celebrate by visiting temples with offerings of food and other items for the monks or nuns. The occasion is marked by solemn candlelight processions.
24 February: Chinese Lantern Festival
As mentioned above, the Lantern Festival is an annual festival marking the final day of celebrations for the Chinese New Year. Communities engage in various traditions during this festival, including children carrying paper lanterns, solving riddles on lanterns, participating in lion and dragon dances, and even walking on stilts. The symbolic colour of red is prevalent as families seek good fortune and happiness for the upcoming year.
8 March: Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri is a sacred Hindu festival honouring the Hindu god of Shiva. This day serves as a remembrance of overcoming darkness and ignorance in the world. The celebration revolves around discovering compassion from emptiness. Through performances, meditation, and nighttime prayers, individuals aspire to achieve spiritual awakening. It underscores the importance of holistic well-being, encompassing both spiritual and physical aspects. Maha Shivaratri is particularly prominent in India, which has the largest Hindu population in the world.
10 March: Ramadan
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic faith, symbolising the cleansing of the heart and mind. Aligned with the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan marks the beginning of the Quranic revelation to Prophet Muhammad. Muslims aim for physical and spiritual discipline by abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset. The month highlights the significance of fasting, not only for physical purposes, but as a way to remove negative qualities in oneself and cultivate virtues of patience and generosity.
14 March: Nyepi Balinese NY
Balinese New Year, also known as Nyepi or the Day of Silence, is an important day that symbolises the start of a new year. The event is a federal holiday and the country comes to a halt with restrictions on electricity, work, travel, and entertainment. Instead, this Hindu celebration is marked by self-reflection, contemplation, and introspection. People review the year they’ve had, set goals for the new year, and seek forgiveness from those they may have wronged. After the pause, the country takes to the streets to celebrate with parades and dances.
15 – 21 March: Harmony Week
Harmony Week is dedicated to celebrating and recognising the diverse communities within Australia. From 15 to 21 March, Australia comes together to explore the different cultures that shape the country. Within Harmony Week, Australia also celebrates Harmony Day on 21 March. The day is celebrated with cuisines, dances and music that highlight the cultural richness of Australia.
20 March: Nowruz
Nowruz, also known as Iranian New Year or Persian New Year, marks the first day in the Baha’i calendar. The day marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer. The celebrations include a feast at sunset to signal the end of the fasting period, combined with jumping over bonfires, and lighting off firecrackers that the whole community takes part in.
20 March: International Francophone Day
International Francophonie Day celebrates the French language and its diverse culture. With millions of French speakers around the world, this day recognises the significance of the French language in creating unity and harmony within societies.
21 March: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination aims to increase global awareness to fight against racial prejudice in all communities. This day recognises all minority backgrounds and acknowledges how history hasn’t maintained an equitable space for all. This day also commemorates the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa in 1960, where police opened fire at a peaceful protest against apartheid pass laws, killing 69 people and injuring 180.
25 March: Holi
Holi, otherwise known as the Festival of Love, Festival of Colours and Festival of Spring, is one of the biggest celebrations in India, signifying overcoming evil through goodness. This religious festival is primarily celebrated by Hindus, however, one of the main themes of the festival is unity. So, while it is a Hindu festival, the event is celebrated all over the world against a backdrop of vivid colour fights.
31 March: Easter
Easter is a Christian holiday that symbolises the end of the Lenten season. The day is typically celebrated with coloured Easter eggs.
1 April: Kha b-Nisan
The Assyrians and Chaldeans commemorate their New Year at the onset of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This celebration is embraced by the indigenous Assyrians residing in Northern Iraq, North-eastern Syria, South-eastern Turkey, and North-western Iran.
9 April: Eid Al-Fitr
Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim holiday observed by Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan. The day is celebrated by families and friends enjoying a daytime feast together after 30 days of fasting.
13 April: Vaisakhi
Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is an ancient harvest festival that signifies the start of a new solar year and harvest season. The day is observed by Sikhs primarily in Punjab and Northern India.
13 – 17 April: Songkran (Thai New Year)
Songkran, the Thai New Year and Water Festival, is celebrated with food, crafts and entertainment. Songkran begins on 13 April yearly and is recognised as a federal holiday in Thailand.
20 April: Chinese Language Day
Chinese Language Day, observed by the United Nations, recognises the importance of the Chinese language, which has over 1.3 billion speakers around the world.
23 April: Spanish Language Day
Spanish Language Day, recognised by the United Nations, celebrates the linguistic diversity of the Spanish language. Spanish is the 4th most spoken language in the world with over 500 million speakers around the world.
5 May: Cinco De Mayo Day
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s defeat of the French empire. Mexicans around the world observe this day with speeches and parades that celebrate Mexican culture and heritage.
21 May: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
World Day for Cultural Diversity celebrates the richness and beauty of all the cultures of the world, highlighting how exposure to a range of cultures can help expand our knowledge and understanding of the world. This day emphasises the need for intercultural recognition, acceptance, and acknowledgement, at a local and global level.
23 May: Vesak (Buddha Day)
Vesak, also known as Buddha Day, is an important day of celebration for Buddhists around the world. Traditionally, the holiday celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. This day is observed in many countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Japan and more.
25 May: Africa Day
Africa Day celebrates the cultural diversity of the continent of Africa, giving people from over 50 countries in Africa a chance to express pride in their history, heritage and culture.
27 May – 3 June: National Reconciliation Week
National Reconciliation Week honours two significant events in Indigenous Australian history: the 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo case. These events marked the start of fair and equal treatment for First Nation communities, promoting respect, support, and compassion. It’s crucial to recognise and address the nation’s history, providing ongoing support services for Indigenous communities. This day raises awareness of the need to assess reconciliation effectiveness, not just through talk, but also through policies, education, and laws.
2 June: Italian National Day
Festa della Repubblica is Italy’s National Day and Republic Day. It’s a special day when Italians remember the time in 1946 when they voted to get rid of the monarchy and create a republic. In Italy, and even at Italian embassies in other countries, people celebrate with small festivals, concerts, and parades.
3 June: Mabo Day
Mabo Day honours Eddie Koiki Mabo, a brave man from Mer Island, for his efforts to challenge the idea that the land belonged to no one (terra nullius). He fought for Indigenous land rights, and after almost ten years, the High Court of Australia ruled in his favour on June 3, 1992. This decision is celebrated every year on Mabo Day to recognize this important achievement.
16 June: Eid Al-Adha
Known in many Middle Eastern countries as the big Eid, Eid al Adha lasts five days and is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar. Eid al Adha means ‘feast of the sacrifice’ and is celebrated with a feast of either sheep, goat, camel, or cow.
4 – 11 July: NAIDOC Week
NAIDOC Week, which stands for National Aborigines’ and Islanders’ Day Observance Committee, is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
14 July: Bastille Day
Bastille Day is a French celebration of the turning point in the French Revolution that led to an uprising against the feudal system. The day is seen as a chance to rejoice in the success and culture of France and the country’s values of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’.
18 July: Nelson Mandela International Day
Created to inspire people to embrace the values of democracy and contribute towards the ideals of ensuring a just and fair society, Nelson Mandela International Day was created by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday and the values of democracy that he inspired in South Africa.
21 July: Racial Harmony Day
Racial Harmony Day in Singapore commemorates the nation’s success in achieving racial harmony. In 1964, Singapore faced racial tensions leading to violent clashes between Chinese and Malay communities. The July 21 riots resulted in significant loss of life and injuries. Today, Racial Harmony Day serves as a reminder for students about the importance of maintaining racial and religious harmony in Singapore’s multicultural society, learned from the tragic events of 1964.
4 August: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is a time for the entire community to celebrate the children. People from all over the country organise and participate in events that highlight kids, culture, family, and community.
9 August: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
Created by the United Nations in 1994, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples aims to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous populations around the world. The day also serves as a commemoration of the contributions and accomplishments of the Indigenous People, such as environmental protection.
17 September: Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival is a Chinese festival that celebrates the full moon, symbolising family togetherness. It is observed on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar when the moon is at its fullest throughout the year. In celebration of the event, people gather with their families to acknowledge the moon and eat mooncakes together.
25 September: National Heritage Day of South Africa
National Heritage Day of South Africa celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the country. The event recognises the rich cultural heritage of the unique and diverse cultures that make up the population of South Africa.
26 September: European Day of Languages
The European Day of Languages, recognised by the Council of Europe, celebrates linguistic diversity in Europe and promotes language learning. This day aims to preserve linguistic diversity in Europe and promote multilingualism and intercultural understanding by recognising the need to diversify the range of languages people learn so they can play their full part in democratic citizenship in Europe.
28 September: International Day for Universal Access to Information
This day highlights the importance of having constitutional or statutory policies in place that guarantee the public’s right access to information that could save lives and help people make informed decisions. The day serves as a reminder that everyone has the right to ask for, get, and share information.
30 September: International Translation Day
International Translation Day pays tribute to the work of language professionals around the world. The day provides an opportunity to promote the diverse cultural heritage in our ever-changing world.
2 October: Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish Holiday, marking the New Year and the beginning of the High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar. It is a time of reflection, repentance, and renewal. Traditionally observed for two days, it involves special prayers, festive meals, and the sounding of the shofar (a ram’s horn).
11 October: Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It follows Rosh Hashanah and is a day of fasting, reflection, and repentance. Observed with solemnity, it is a time for Jewish people to seek forgiveness for their sins, both individually and collectively.
31 October: Halloween
Halloween commemorates the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, an evening when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. However, in recent times, the holiday is seen as a holiday to celebrate all things scary, with people dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treat-ing to gather candy.
1 November: Diwali
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a major Hindu festival celebrated by millions of people worldwide. The festival typically spans five days, with the main day observed on the third day. Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. During the festival, homes are adorned with oil lamps, candles, and colourful decorations. Families come together to share festive meals, exchange gifts, and participate in prayers and religious ceremonies. Fireworks and the lighting of lamps symbolise the victory of knowledge over ignorance.
1-2 November: Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead or el Día de los Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday that honours deceased loved ones. During this time, families create altars adorned with photographs, candles, flowers, food and mementos of those departed for a brief reunion with them at midnight. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of the deceased return to the world of the living to enjoy the offerings and the company of their families.
16 November: International Day for Tolerance
The International Day for Tolerance, created by UNESCO in 1994, commemorates the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and raises awareness of the dangers that intolerance poses to society. The day aims to promote mutual understanding between cultures and peoples as well as appreciation for diversity.
18 December: World Arabic Language Day
World Arabic Language Day recognises the fifth most internationally spoken language in the world, the Semitic language of Arabic, which has communicated groundbreaking findings in the disciplines of engineering, social sciences, philosophy and mathematics. World Arabic Language Day also celebrates the diversity of the Arabic language, as it has evolved into a range of dialects distinct to each Arabic-speaking country and region.
25 December: Christmas
Christmas is a widely celebrated day around the world. For many, it marks the birth of baby Jesus and the Christian faith. However, Christmas has a long history and is now a joyful time for people of all backgrounds to come together, enjoy the festive season, and unite with loved ones.
26 December – 1 January: Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African cultural holiday celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. The holiday emphasises the values of family, community, and culture. During Kwanzaa, participants light candles on a kinara (candleholder), each representing one of seven principles, known as Nguzo Saba. These principles include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
31 December: New Year’s Eve
December 31, the last day in the Gregorian calendar, is a major global celebration that marks the end of the year. The holiday is celebrated around the world with extravagant light and firework shows in major cities such as Sydney, Dubai and Paris. People use this time to reflect on the year they’ve had and define their resolutions and changes for the upcoming year.