August 2021 - Global Traditions
Let’s start off with some trivia. Did you know that this month was once called Sextillia (Roman for “sixth” in case your naughty brains thought otherwise), as it was the sixth month of the Roman year? It was later changed to August by the Emperor Augustus.
Do you recall reading July’s incredible list of national and Independence Day celebrations? Well, let’s just say August puts July to shame. There are so many, let’s give them a collective salute to Independence! As a world traveler, I am also humbled that I have only been to 11 of these countries!
1st Independence Day in Benin, Trinidad & Tobago; Confederation Day in Switzerland
2nd Freedom Day in Guyana
3rd Independence Day in Niger
5th Independence Day in Burkina Faso
6th Independence Day in Bolivia and Jamaica
7th Republic Day in the Ivory Coast
9th Independence Day in Georgia and National Day in Singapore
10th Independence Day in Ecuador
11th Independence Day in Chad
13th Independence Day in the Central African Republic
14th Independence Day in Pakistan
15th Independence Day in India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
15th Independence Day in South Korea and National Day in Liechtenstein
16th Independence Day in Gabon and Indonesia, Republic Day in Dominican Republic
17th Independence Day in Afghanistan (Jashn, the liberation from the British)
20th Independence Day in Estonia and Senegal, and Constitution Day in Hungary
24th Independence Day in Russia and National Day in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Libera
25th Independence Day in Uruguay and Belarus, and Constitution Day in Paraguay
27th Independence Day in Moldova
29th Independence Day in Uzbekistan
31st Independence Day in Kyrgyzstan, Trinidad & Tobago, and in Malaysia
August 1st means it’s time to celebrate the pagan festival of Lughnasadh (also called Lammas) and falls roughly halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. The name comes from Old Gaelic and is a combination of Lugh, a Celtic god, and násad, or assembly. The holiday honors Lugh, the Celtic god of light, but it also celebrates his mythical foster mother Tailtiu, who is said to have cleared the lands of Ireland to make way for the planting of crops.
Hiroshima Day is observed on 6th August annually. It marks the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States of America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima’s city on 6th August in 1945; three days later, on 9th August, another nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, forcing Japan to surrender, and ending World War II in the Pacific. This somber day is a day of remembrance and a day committed to sustaining peace.
August 9th is mentioned above but gets a special call-out because of my personal relationship to this beautiful country. So, let’s celebrate National Day in Singapore in honor of the birthday of this fascinating nation. I miss living there and can’t wait to return!
The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is also observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. The date commemorates the first United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations meeting in Geneva in 1982. On this day, people from around the world are encouraged to spread the UN’s message on the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples.
August 10th is the Islamic New Year, Hijiri or Muharram refering to the first month of the Islamic Calendar. The complete month of Muharram is sacred according to the Muslims. However, it is the tenth day which is of most significance. Different factions of the Muslim community observe this day for different reasons. While the Shia Muslims celebrate this day to mourn the death of Husayn Ibn Ali, the Sunni Muslims observe this day to celebrate the victory of Moses over Egyptian Pharaoh.
The Queen's Birthday is a national holiday in Thailand held annually on June 3rd since 2019, the coronation of the current queen of Thailand, Queen Suthida. But August 12th is still an important day, celebrating the birthday of Queen Dowager Sirikit, and remains a holiday as National Mother’s Day.
August 13th is an important day for me as we celebrate International Left-Handed Day! On behalf of all lefties, it’s a chance to tell the world how proud we are of being left-handed while also raising (comical) awareness of the everyday issues that lefties face as we live in a world designed for right-handers!
On August 15, Christians around the world celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. This holy day marks the occasion of the Virgin Mary’s bodily ascent to heaven at the end of her life. Assumption celebrations are accompanied by festivals, colorful street processions, fireworks, and pageantry. While a “feast” isn’t required, there is a longstanding tradition of blessing the summer harvest.
As promised last month, we return to Siena, Italy on August 16th, for part two of the Palio di Siena! The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano. The second round of the palio is known as Palio dell’Assunta in honor of the Assumption of Mary. I think the key is to basically spend July and August in Italy so you’re able to see both of these races!
On World Humanitarian Day (WHD) August 19, the world commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work, and we honor all aid and health workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need. Especially this year, these special people deserve an extra level of thanks.
We travel to Japan on August 23rd and 24th to join Japanese Buddhists as they celebrate Jizō Bon, or the Festival of Jizō (Kṣitigarbha) Bodhisattva. This day honors the deity who protects those in hell, animals, travelers, and children. Jizō is one of Japan’s most loved gods. Since the end of World War II, believers have worshipped him as the guardian of “water children,” the souls of stillborn, miscarried, or aborted fetuses. According to legend, the souls of children who die before their parents cannot enter the afterlife. This is because they have not yet performed good deeds and have grieved their parents. Jizō saves these children by hiding them from demons in his robe sleeves. Parents often pile stones and pebbles by Jizō statues in the hope of shortening their children’s time in hell. They put infants’ clothing, red hats, or bibs on the statues so he will specially protect the children.
August 30th is is a national holiday in Peru that commemorates Saint Rose of Lima who died on August 24th, 1617. Rose of Lima is the patron saint of Peru and the indigenous natives of Latin America. On this day there is a religious procession that takes place from the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, where the Saint’s remains are kept, all the way to the Cathedral Basilica of Lima. A tradition on this day is to throw cards with wishes written on them into the well outside of the Shrine of Saint Rose de Lima, in commemoration of keys to a heavy chain she tied around her waist that she threw into the well many years before.
August 31st is Pashtuni Day an international day celebrated by Balochis and Pashtuns to express unity and brotherhood to one-another. Balochis are an Iranian people who live mainly in the southeast edge of the Iranian Plateau crossing the countries of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Pashtuns are native to the land comprising southern Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan.
Lastly, don’t forget that August means vacation time for many of our colleagues, customers and partners – especially in Europe! Hopefully all of you have also found or will find a little time to rejuvenate!