With October comes the last issue of our tribulations around the world. It looks like regardless of our nationality or culture, we all like to celebrate the good things in life. Click on any event below to learn more about it.
Wouldn’t be nice if all the scary things could disappear with the night?
1 October – National Day – People’s Republic of China
The Central People's Government has chosen October 1st to celebrate the founding of the PRC in 1949, although the exact founding date is September 21st. This public holiday also marks the beginning of one of two Golden Weeks, a semi-annual 7-day national holiday, implemented in 2000. Expect delays around that time if you deal with the PRC.
India’s most recognizable figure, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as the “Father of the Nation,” is exalted with one of three national holidays observed by all Indian states and union territories. Such a celebration of his birthday testifies to his paramount role in India’s independence from the British in August 1947.
Note the use of the word ‘Unity’ since this day commemorates both the 19th-century unification goal and the actual 1990 reunification. This is a legal holiday for the Federal Republic of Germany.
3 October – Rosh Hashanah – Jews Worldwide
A High Holy Day for the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a new year, symbolic of the creation of Adam and Eve according to the Hebrew bible. It is customary to sound the shofar on that day to awaken listeners and alert those of the upcoming judgment, Yom Kippur (see below).
South Korea celebrates Gaecheonjeol on this day to commemorate the creation of the first Korean state, Gojoseon, in 2333 BC. Although North Korea also celebrates that day, it is only a public holiday in South Korea.
Deeply rooted in tradition and spiritual iconography, this Chinese holiday takes place on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese calendar. Since the number nine is considered to be a yang or negative number, by opposition to yin or positive (see yin and yang), this double-nine date is seen as inauspicious, and climbing a high mountain, incorporating chrysanthemum in both dress and drink, and paying respect to the graves of ancestors seem to be efficient antidotes.
9 October – Hangeul Day – South Korea
Just like American youngsters who learn their ABCs, Korean children learn their Hangeul. Few countries honor the creation of their alphabet as the Koreans do since October 9th has been a national holiday in South Korea since 2013.
Set on the anniversary date of the opening of the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, this national holiday aims at promoting an active lifestyle.
Much like us, our Canadian neighbors celebrate the harvest and other blessings on Thanksgiving, or Jour de l’Action de grâce as it’s known in Quebec. It has been an annual holiday since 1879, set on the second Monday in October. So don’t fret if your Canadian colleagues ignore your emails on that day!
Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911, hence the double ten moniker. This uprising would eventually lead to the downfall of the Qing Dynasty that had been ruling since the mid-17th century and the founding of the ROC on January 1, 1912.
Although Christopher Columbus discovered America on 12 October 1492, the US celebrates this event on a fixed day, namely the second Monday in October. This federal holiday is an excellent opportunity for US bank, education, and government employees to explore ubiquitous retail sales.
12 October – Yom Kippur – Jews Worldwide
After the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, Jews have a few days to reflect, repent, and become righteous before the final judgment of Yom Kippur. On this Day of Atonement, the holiest day in Judaism, it is customary for Jewish people to fast for a 25-hour period and be immersed in intense prayer.
The Fiesta Nacional de España coincides with the anniversary date of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America. It has been a national holiday since 1981 when a royal decree established the Día de la Hispanidad, or Day of the Hispanic Community.
17 October – Sukkot – Jews Worldwide
During this seven-day holiday in Israel (eight outside Israel), work is forbidden on the first day (second day elsewhere). This “Feast of Booths” commemorates the 40 years the people of Israel spent wandering the desert and marks the end of the harvest and agricultural year.
When the Third Republic of Hungary was proclaimed in 1989, the date of 23 October was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the student uprising against the Soviet Union occupation on that date in 1956. Hungary would stay behind the Iron Curtain for another 30 years.
24 October – Simchat Torah – Jews Worldwide
Immediately following the end of the Sukkot holiday, this “Rejoicing with the Torah” is the only time of year when the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark to be read, a joyous occasion when worshipers leave their seats in the synagogue to sing and dance, sometimes for several hours.
This day commemorates the passing in 1910 of King Chulalongkorn, aka King Rama V, who led several major reforms in Thailand encompassing the educational system, some military affairs, the railroad, and the liberation of slaves. Government institutions are closed, but most businesses remain open.
28 October – Ohi Day – Greek Communities Worldwide
Ohi, the Greek word for No, is allegedly the answer given by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas to an ultimatum given by his Italian counterpart Mussolini on 28 October 1940. It was this refusal to let the Italian forces enter the Greek territory that drew Greece into WWII.
30 October – Diwali – Hindus Worldwide
This “Festival of lights” celebrates the spiritual triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, hope over despair, and knowledge over ignorance. The date of this five-day celebration is calculated so that the last night, or night of Diwali, coincides with the new moon. Millions of lamps and lanterns are lit in addition to lavish gifts to oneself and offerings of sweets and regional delicacies to friends and family.
31 October – Halloween – USA and Other Countries Worldwide
Halloween falls on the eve of the Western Christian feast known as All Hallows' Day, thus its name. The modern day take on this holiday involves kids dressing in scary costumes, trick-or-treating for candy, carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and the occasional scare which is hopefully all in good fun.