Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May and June mark the season of the Hopi Kachina Dances, in which Arizona Hopi celebrants represent various spirit-powers and perform ritual dances in open pueblo areas. It is also the time of Yansa’altt, the season of berry blossoms—anticipating the berry harvest in summer, which is essential for survival in winter.
Wednesday, May 1
• Beltane [also called Beltain or May Day] – Wicca
Celebration of the sacred marriage of the divine forces—and the conception of the sun-child—that are the basis of all creation.
Thursday, May 2
• Birthday of Gurū Arjan Dev – Sikhism
Gurū Arjan Dev (1563 – 1606 C.E.) was the fifth of the Sikh Gurūs.
• Twelfth Day of Ridván – Bahá’í
The conclusion of the Bahá’í festival that commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s exile in Baghdad leading up to his declaration as the one announced by the Báb in 1863 C.E.
• Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Day) – Judaism
A day of remembrance for the six million Jews who died because of Nazi atrocities during World War II. The date chosen is the closest date on the Jewish calendar to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.
Friday, May 3
• National Day of Prayer – Multi-faith, USA
Saturday, May 4
• Ghambar Maidyozarem ends – Zoroastrianism
The end of the celebration of the creation of the sky and the harvesting of the winter crops.
Sunday, May 5
• Ramadān begins – Islam
A holy month of fasting and prayer, in which all adult and physically competent Muslims abstain from food, water, and sexual relations from dawn to sunset. Ramadān ends on June 4th.
Tuesday, May 7
• Akshaya-tritiya [Immortal Third] – Jainism
A day celebrating when Lord Adinatha or Rishabhadeva, the traditional founder of the Jain faith and the first tīrthankar (a being who helps others to cross the great ocean of worldly life and achieve liberation), broke his first year-long fast by drinking juice from a sugar cane.
Wednesday, May 15
• Restoration of the Aaronic priesthood – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Marking the restoration of this order by John the Baptist and conferred upon the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on this date in 1829 C.E.
Friday, May 17
• ‘Azamat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the fourth month of the Bahá’í year, ‘Azamat means “grandeur.”
Monday, May 20
• Visakha Puja [Buddha Day] – Buddhism
Celebrated by Theravdin Buddhists on the full moon of the sixth lunar month, this is a triple commemoration of the historical Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death and entrance into nirvana.
Thursday, May 23
• Birthday of Gurū Amar Das – Sikhism
Gurū Amar Das (1479 – 1574 C.E.) was the third of the Sikh Gurūs.
• Lag B’Omer – Judaism
The 33rd day in the counting of the period between Pesach [Passover] and Shavuot [the giving of the Law]; the festival begins at sundown.
Friday, May 24
• Declaration of the Báb – Bahá’í
The celebration of the day in 1844 C.E. when he announced his identity as the Gate or herald of the new age in Shiraz, Persia (modern-day Iran).
Monday, May 27 Memorial Day
Wednesday, May 29
• Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh – Bahá’í
The anniversary of the death of the founder of the Bahá’í faith in Palestine in 1892 C.E. Adherents suspend work on this day.
Thursday, May 30
• Ascension Day – Christianity (Western churches)
The anniversary of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, celebrated forty days after Easter. In the Roman Catholic Church, this day is celebrated on Sunday, June 2nd.
• Laylat al-Qadr [Night of Power or Destiny] – Islam
A festival commemorating the first revelation of the Qur’ān to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 C.E., at the age of forty. Often fixed as the 27th day of the Islamic month of Ramadān, Sunnis may also observe it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th or 29th. Shi’ites observe it on the 19th, 21st or 23rd of Ramadān. The festival begins at sundown.