Observing Native American Heritage Month
For Native Americans, November marks Gwilatkw, the blanket season of the first snow, in which the Earth covers herself for her winter sleep.
Thursday, November 1
• All Saints Day – Christianity [Western churches]
A commemoration of the lives of people, known and unknown, whose holiness and compassion toward others represent the best Christian virtues. In some Christian traditions, the following day is reserved for intercessions for the dead and is known as All Souls’ Day. Latino/a people in North and Central America mark these days in connection with celebrations of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.
Friday, November 2
• Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I – Rastafari
Because Rastafarians recognize Haile Selassie (born Ras Tafari Makonnen in 1892; died in 1975) as an incarnation of God and a messiah who will lead the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora to freedom, peace, and prosperity, his coronation day as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930 is remembered as a major festival.
Sunday, November 4
• Qudrat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the thirteenth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “power.”
Wednesday, November 7
• Diwali (Deepavali) – Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism
The festival of lights and Hinduism’s most popular festival. It is dedicated to the Goddess Kali in Bengal and to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in the rest of India. Diwali is also associated with stories of the destruction of evil by the god Vishnu in one of his many forms, as well as with the coronation of Sri Rama. Sweets and gifts are exchanged, and it is a time for cleaning and preparing for the future. This festival is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains, with this day bearing additional names and significance as shown immediately below.
• Bandi Chhor Divas – Sikhism
Called “the day of the prisoner’s release,” this festival marks the return of the sixth gurū, Sri Hargobind Ji, and 52 other princes with him to the holy city of Amritsar after being released from detention in 1619 C.E.
• Mahavira Nirvana – Jainism
On this day Jains celebrate that the soul of Lord Mahavir (6th century B.C.E.), the 24th Tirthankara, attained nirvana and release from the cycle of rebirth [moksha].
Thursday, November 8
• Day of Enlightenment of Lord Gautamswami (Jain New Year) – Jainism
Vikram Samvat 2075 begins. In the early morning of the first day of the new year, Ganadhar Gautamswami, the first disciple of Lord Mahavir, attained absolute enlightenment. Jains begin the new year with the glorification of Lord Gautamswami; and listen with devotion to the nine Stotras holy hymns and with listening to the auspicious Rasa (epic poem) of Gautamswami from their Guru Maharaj.
Friday, November 9
• Birth of the Báb — Bahá’í
Anniversary of the birth of the Báb, one of the twin Prophet founders of the Bahá’í faith, in 1819 C.E. His nineteen disciples, known as Letters of the Living, taught his religion throughout 19th century Persia. His shrine is located in Haifa, Israel. Bahá’ís suspend work on this day.
Saturday, November 10
• Birth of the Bahá’u’lláh — Bahá’í
Anniversary of the birth of the Bahá’u’lláh (“Glory of God”), the founder of the Bahá’í faith, in Tehran, Persia [modern-day Iran], in 1817 C.E. Devout followers suspend work on this day; some begin their observance of the day on the previous day’s sundown.
Wednesday, November 14
• The Advent (or Nativity) Fast – Christianity (Eastern churches)
The beginning of a forty-day vegetarian fast in preparation for the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) commences at sundown. For Orthodox Christians who follow the old calendar, this fast begins two weeks later.
Saturday, November 17
• Lokasha Jayanti – Jainism
Celebrating the births of revered and scholarly persons, such as the 15th century reformer Lonka Saha, whose opposition to temple worship and the use of images led to the founding of the Sthanakavasi sect.
Monday, November 19
• Mawlid al-Nabi – Islam
The anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca in ca. 570 C.E., observed by Sunni Muslims beginning at sundown. Shi’a Muslims celebrate five days later, on November 24th.
Wednesday, November 21
• Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Christianity (Catholic churches)
• Entry of the Mother of God (Theotokos) into the Temple – Christianity (Eastern churches)
This day commemorates the entrance of the three-year-old Virgin Mary into the temple at Jerusalem to receive an education and begin her life of absolute dedication to God. According to some apocryphal writings, Mary also entered the Temple’s Holy of Holies on this occasion, thus becoming the first and only woman ever to enter that sacred space.
Thursday, November 22
• Thanksgiving Day
This national holiday was first officially observed after a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, in 1863 C.E. Establishing the fourth Thursday of November for the observance, Lincoln wrote that “[The blessings enjoyed in this country] are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”
Friday, November 23
• Qawl – Bahá’í
The beginning of the fourteenth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “speech.”
• Gurū Nanak’s Birthday – Sikhism
Sikhs commonly celebrate the birthday of their founder, Gurū Nanak Dev Ji, on the full moon day of Kartik, even though the guru’s biographers record his birth on April 15, 1469 C.E. A poet and mystic, Guru Nanak wrote 974 hymns that are included in the Sikh scriptures, known as the Gurū Granth Sahib.
Saturday, November 24
• Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji – Sikhism
This day commemorates the martyrdom of the ninth of the Ten Sikh Gurus (1621-1675 C.E.). He is remembered for defending the Sikh faith, as well as the rights of Hindus and the cause of religious liberty.
Sunday, November 25
• Christ the King Sunday – Christianity (Western churches)
This feast day commemorates Jesus’ teaching that he will return at the end of time to judge humanity. In the Western Christian liturgical year, this is the last Sunday; the following Sunday (i.e., the first Sunday of Advent) marks the beginning of a new year.
Monday, November 26
• Day of the Covenant – Bahá’í
A celebration of the appointment of ’Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh, as the Center of the Covenant in New York City in 1912 C.E. Devout followers begin their remembrance the preceding evening and do not suspend work on this day.
Wednesday, November 28
• Ascension of ’Abdu’l-Bahá – Bahá’í
The commemoration of the death of the Center of the Covenant in Haifa, Palestine, in 1921 C.E. Devout followers begin their remembrance the preceding evening and are allowed to work on this day.